Pope Meets With Aides and an Old Friend

Cardinal Gantin Pays a Visit

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI held meetings with several of his closest collaborators and a close friend, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, the retired dean of the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal Gantin, of Benin, was elevated to cardinal by Pope Paul VI together with Joseph Ratzinger in 1977.

Until 1998, Cardinal Gantin was prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

He met with the new Pope today, the Vatican press office said. The Holy Father also met with close aides including Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar for the Diocese of Rome, and Archbishop Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City.

On Wednesday, Cardinal Gantin revealed that in his meeting with his old friend — for years he was a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Ratzinger was a member of the Congregation for Bishops — he hoped to speak, among other things, about «my Africa, where I will return next Monday to remain as the simple Roman missionary that I have decided to be since my return to Benin.»

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, the African cardinal, who worked for some 30 years in the Roman Curia, explained that Cardinal Ratzinger «always had much respect for his brothers.»

«He always listened to them carefully and then expressed his opinion, which not always coincided with the one who preceded him in the discussion,» Cardinal Gantin said.

«He is a man of superior culture,» the prelate added, «but, above all, a man of great faith and great piety. He is a man of prayer. He is a man who is nourished by the Second Vatican Council and a man who knows the Tradition, who knows the Fathers of the Church.»

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