VALLETTA, Malta, AUG. 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI proposed a former president of Malta who died suddenly last week as an example for politicians.
The Pope classified Guido de Marco as a fine statesman, Vatican Radio reported. De Marco died Aug. 12 at age 79. He was the president of Malta between 1999 and 2004, the year in which Malta joined the European Union.
A state funeral was held Monday. At the end of the ceremony a papal telegram was read, signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father’s secretary of state.
The papal message noted the “significant contribution [de Marco] made not only on the level of Maltese internal issues, but also to the life of the international community, in particular during the period he was president of the United Nations General Assembly.”
Benedict XVI greeted de Marco personally during his apostolic visit to the island last April.
In the papal telegram, the Holy Father recalled “with esteem” that De Marco “distinguished himself in the service of the Maltese nation for many years.” He “gave witness of his faith in Christ in the exercise of political life.” In this regard, the Pontiff proposed “that many of those involved in politics be inspired by his example.”
Born in La Valetta on July 22, 1931, de Marco was Malta’s foreign minister in 1990, the year in which he was elected president of the U.N. General Assembly.