VATICAN CITY, JULY 4, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II celebrated the 100th birthday of Cardinal Corrado Bafile, prefect emeritus of the Vatican Congregation for Sainthood Causes.
At a gathering today in the Clementine Hall, the elderly but lucid cardinal was surrounded by relatives and friends.
In a letter to the centenarian dated June 19, John Paul II recalled the years that Cardinal Bafile was at the service of the Holy See.
Corrado Bafile, a lawyer from Aquila, Italy, entered the seminary following his 30th birthday.
He worked two decades in the Vatican Secretariat of State before being appointed by Pope John XXIII as apostolic nuncio in Germany and consecrated archbishop in 1960. After 15 years of diplomatic activity in Bonn, he was named by Pope Paul VI to head the Congregation for Sainthood Causes. He was made a cardinal in May 1976.
He participated in the Second Vatican Council; to him is owed the formulation of the last paragraph of the constitution on the sacred liturgy. An expert canonist, he collaborated in 1980 in the redaction of the Code of Canon Law.
In an interview Thursday, the cardinal said that he looks at the Church of today “with admiration. Its grandiose structure cannot but cause concern at times because of its path, but it goes forward, and this elicits a sense of admiration.”
The next oldest cardinal is the former archbishop of Vienna, Franz König, born in 1905. He is the last living cardinal named by John XXIII.
At present, 57 cardinals have reached the age of 80, which means they cannot participate in a possible conclave. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, archbishop of Philadelphia, turned 80 on June 17. There are 110 elector cardinals.
The two youngest cardinals are Archbishop Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, who will be 58 in September, and Archbishop Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, who turned 58 last January.