DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     May 8-10, 1998     vol. 9, no. 90

from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO


          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, presided today at the funeral for Colonel Alois Estermann, the slain commandant of the Swiss Guard, and his wife Gladys Meza Romero.

          "This is the time for pardon," the cardinal said, as he asked for "mercy" for Cedric Tornay, the Swiss Guard corporal who apparently killed the couple before committing suicide.

          Remarking that the slain commandant had attended Mass just two hours before his death, Cardinal Sodano called upon mourners to revive their "Christian hope," and to look forward to the resurrection from the dead. He called for "contemplation on the mercy of our heavenly Father, who never takes anything from his children without giving them something greater."

          Seven cardinals and 30 bishops concelebrated the funeral Mass, as the Swiss Guard in full regalia surround the casket of their fallen leader. Cardinal Sodano stressed that he was acting on behalf of the Holy Father as he conveyed his profound sympathies for the families of the victims. Turning to the members of the Swiss Guard, he added: "The Pontiff renews his thanks to you, and his gratitude for the precious service you have done for 500 years.... He hopes that this dark hour will not dampen your enthusiasm, but rather will be an occasion for still greater dedication to your important work, and greater fraternal spirit among your ranks."

          Finally the cardinal paid tribute to Colonel Estermann for his "great example of silence, fidelity, and continual generous service to the successor of Peter and the Holy See." He noted that Estermann had no fear of death-- as he had shown when he leapt to the aid of Pope John Paul II during the assassination attempt of May 1981-- and that he finished his service with a remarkable record of devotion.

          In a dramatic gesture of forgiveness, the parents of Colonel Alois Estermann today attended the funeral of Cedric Tornay, the man accused of killing their son.

          The Tornay funeral was held at St. Anne's church at the Vatican today, Bishop Amedee Grab, the head of the Swiss bishops' conference, presiding. Claudio Caratsch, the Swiss ambassador to the Holy See, also attended, as did a Vatican delegation led by Cardinal Darien Castrillon Hoyos, and a large number of uniformed Swiss Guards.

          Tornay died of a gunshot wound, evidently self-inflicted, soon after he apparently shot and killed the Swiss Guard commandant and his wife.

          At the moment of the Kiss of Peace, Tornay's parents turned to those of Alois Estermann and embraced in a sign of their mutual mourning and reconciliation.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 8-10, 1998       volume 9, no. 90


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