Cardinal Righi Lambertini, former nuncio in Paris, dies at 94

One of Church´s Greatest Diplomats

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2000 ( Cardinal Egano Righi Lambertini,
one of the most eminent figures in the Vatican´s diplomatic service, died
Wednesday in his home in Rome. He was 94.

The cardinal was apostolic nuncio in Paris for 10 years, after having
represented popes in Korea, Lebanon, Chile and Italy. After entering the
College of Cardinals during the 1979 consistory, he served the Holy See as
consultor of several of its organizations.

His Christian witness gained force a year ago, when his health obliged him
to use a wheelchair. He was looked after for several years by a Polish family.

Cardinal Righi Lambertini´s funeral will be presided over Friday by the
Pope in St. Peter´s Basilica.

The cardinal had a personal vision of the Vatican diplomatic service: «To
realize the great human hopes of interior tranquility, progress and peace
among nations.» That is how he explained it when he became apostolic nuncio
in Paris in 1969.

In 1960 Pope John XXIII made him an archbishop and named him apostolic
nuncio in the Lebanon.

Cardinal Righi Lambertini achieved high recognition in the countries where
he served as nuncio. In France, at the end of his mission, he was awarded
the prestigious title of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.

In a telegram sent by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state,
the Holy Father expressed his condolences for the cardinal´s death and
recalled «with intense emotion the prolonged witness of priestly life,
totally consecrated to the glory of God and the service of the Holy See,»
in which he gave «witness of an authentic pastoral spirit and profound love
for the Church.»

The College of Cardinals now has 143 members; 99 are electors who can vote
in a conclave. The other 44 who are older than 80 years. There are 35
Italian cardinals, 17 of whom are electors.

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