The Order of Malta mourns the passing of Cardinal Paolo Sardi
Cardinal Patronus of the Order, 2009- 2014
The Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Order of Malta learned with great sadness of the death on 13 July in Rome of His Eminence Cardinal Paolo Sardi, Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion, after a short illness. As Cardinal Patronus of the Order from June 2009 until November 2014, Cardinal Sardi leaves the Order family a profound memory. On learning of his passing, the Grand Master, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, immediately prayed for the repose of his soul.
Paolo Sardi was born on 1st September 1934 in Ricaldone, province of Alessandria, in the diocese of Aqi. He was ordained a priest on 29 June 1958, and after studies in theology, graduated in canon law and jurisprudence at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. He taught moral theology in Turin until 1976, when he was called to the Vatican to work in the Secretariat of State. In 1992 he was nominated vice-councillor and on 10 December 1996, apostolic nuncio with special assignments and titular archbishop of Sutri. Pope John Paul II ordained him a bishop on 6 January 1997. On 23 October 2004 he was nominated vice-camerlengo of the Church and six years later he was created cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, 20 November 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI nominated him Cardinal Patronus of the Order of Malta on 6 June 2009, an assignment he carried out with devoted commitment until his retirement on 8 November 2014.
The members of the Order of Malta remember Cardinal Paolo Sardi most especially for his gentle and modest ways, for his warmth of character, for his inspiring oratory and for his devoted participation in the Order’s annual pilgrimages to Lourdes, Loreto and Assisi. He was also a concelebrant at the International Mass of the Order in Lourdes in May of this year.
The funeral of Cardinal Paolo Sardi was celebrated on 15 July in St. Peter’s Basilica. Attending the mass for the Cardinal Patron Emeritus of the Sovereign Order of Malta were the Grand Master with the Grand Hospitaller, Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, as well as numerous members and volunteers.
After mass, Pope Francis joined the celebrants to preside over the rite of the final commendation and farewell.
The cardinal was a “professor of moral theology” who “contributed to the formulation of the moral teaching of Pope Saint John Paul II,” said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State Emeritus, in his homily. Referring to Sardi’s position as patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Cardinal Bertone said that he was “animated by his awareness of the Order of Malta’s extraordinary potential for responding appropriately to the many dramatic problems that afflict the world”.