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The famed Jesuit Cardinal¬†Carlo Maria Martini, 85, died today following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He had been living at a Jesuit retirement home near Milan.

Born in Turin, Carlo Maria Martini entered the Society of Jesus in 1944, was ordained a priest in 1952, being solemnly professed of four vows as a Jesuit in 1962, a bishop in 1980 and created a cardinal in 1983. He retired in 2002 and participated in the conclave that elected Benedict.

By training Martini earned two doctorates and he is known as a Scripture scholar (working on the Gospel of Luke)  having been the head of the Biblicum at the time of his appointment to the archbishopric of Milan. A man of great sensitivity for the spiritual life and sacred Scripture, Martini, in his healthy years, was sought after as a retreat master. His insight in Ignatian spirituality has aided many people.

With Cardinal Martini’s death the College of Cardinals numbers 206 members, 118 of whom are able to enter a conclave to elect a new pope.

Saint Ambrose and Blessed Ildefonso, pray Cardinal Carlo Maria, and for us.