DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     March 19-21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 55


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      This new feature that we introduce today will spotlight each member of the Conclave. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

33.   Cardinal Paolo Dezza, S.J.

          The second oldest cardinal is Cardinal Paolo Dezza, S.J. who was born December 13, 1901, making him four months younger than the oldest - China's Igatius Pin-mei Gong. Cardinal Dezza was born in Parma in Northern Italy just south of Cremona. At the age of 17 he entered the Jesuit Seminary in Naples where he was ordained on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1928. After ordination he took higher studies in Theology and then taught Metaphysics at the Gregorian University in Rome until 1932. After various other teaching assignments, he was instrumental in helping establish the Aloisianium a new center for Scholastic Philosophy in Gallarate where he became Rector on September 24, 1939. Two years later Pope Pius XII summoned him to Rome to appoint him Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University there during World War II.

          Renowned for being a precise, caring professor who conveyed his material with the utmost sincerity and clarity, he was well loved by his students, many of who would go on to become bishops and cardinals within the Church. In fact, one of his students there was a young priest from Poland - Father Karol Wojtyla. When the latter became Pope John Paul II he would remember this great teacher who imparted so much to our current Holy Father. In 1965 Cardinal Dezza was elected Assistant General of the Jesuits during the 31st General Congregation in Rome and moved to the Jesuit headquarters a stone's throw from St. Peter's. On October 5, 1981, with the Superior General of the Society of Jesus very sick and unable to fulfill his duties, Pope John Paul II recalled his excellent professor, mentor and friend Cardinal Dezza and appointed him to head the vast Jesuit empire as Superior General locum tenens until an election could be held to appoint a permanent Superior General.

          At the age of 90, out of respect for this devoted Jesuit who had taught so many leaders of the Church, the Holy Father made him a cardinal during the Consistory of June 28, 1991 even though he was well-past the retirement age and not eligible for the Sacred Conclave. He received the titular church of St. Ignatius of Loyola on a Campo Marzio with the title of cardinal deacon.

March 19-21, 1999       volume 10, no. 55


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