ROME, MARCH 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II expressed grief over the death of Nicola Calipari, the Italian intelligence officer killed in the liberation operation of journalist Giuliana Sgrena in Iraq.
The Pope was happy to hear Friday of the journalist’s liberation. He had appealed publicly for her release Feb. 13.
U.S. soldiers at a checkpoint shot at the convoy carrying the freed journalist to the airport in Baghdad, wounding Sgrena and two agents, and killing Calipari instantly. A White House aide said it was a “horrific accident” and promised a full investigation.
The Holy Father sent a message of sympathy to Father Maurizio Calipari, brother of the agent, an official of the Pontifical Academy for Life and professor of bioethics at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome.
In the message sent by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, the Pope expressed his “profound spiritual closeness” to the Calipari family, in particular to his mother, wife and two children.
The Pope admired the “heroic gesture” with which the agent gave his life to save that of the journalist, “inspired by his sense of duty and sentiments of Christian virtue.” The Pope said that he “raises fervent prayers for his soul.”
Father Calipari blessed his brother’s body upon its arrival to Rome.
John Paul II also sent a telegram to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, in which he expressed his “satisfaction for the work carried out by you and the Italian government, and all those who worked generously for the successful outcome of the deplorable abduction.”
The Holy Father also expressed his sympathy to Berlusconi for Calipari’s death.