Italian Actor Alberto Sordi Mourned by Pope

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2003 ( John Paul II sent a message of sympathy over the death of Alberto Sordi, one of Italy’s greatest actors, describing him as a «valid protagonist of the world of entertainment.» Sordi was 82.

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In a telegram sent to the actor’s sister by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, the Pope expresses sorrow over Sordi’s death and assures prayers for his eternal repose.

Sordi, who died in Rome on Tuesday, was the symbol of Italian-style comedy. He captured on screen, better than any one else, the virtues and vices of the average Italian.

A practicing Catholic, Sordi represented actors at the Jubilee of the World of Entertainment, in December 2000.

On that occasion, he recalled that during his life, he kept the faith of his childhood when he was an altar server in a church in the Trastevere area of Rome. At the end, he thanked John Paul II «for being Pope.»

Sordi once told a journalist: «I have never concealed my belonging to the Catholic Church. In the realm of entertainment also, the fact that one goes to Mass on Sunday is considered archaic.»

«I answer, on the contrary, that I believe in Jesus, in the Virgin, in heaven and hell,» he said. «Atheists have never convinced me.»

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