Pope Mourns Former Italian President Cossiga

Held Office From ’85 to ’92

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is mourning the death today of Francesco Cossiga, 82, who was president of Italy from 1985 to 1992.

Cossiga had been admitted to the hospital last week with respiratory problems. Vatican Radio reported that the Pope sent Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella to visit the ex-president in the hospital.

The Vatican press office affirmed the Holy Father’s condolences for the family of Cossiga, an «important protagonist in Italian national life and a man of faith.»

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, recalled in a statement today Cossiga’s «deep sense of state and intense experience of faith, attested to during long years of academic activity and political involvement.»
Francesco Cossiga was born July 26, 1928, in Sassari, Sardinia.

When he was serving as minister for internal affairs, Aldo Moro, a former Italian prime minister, was kidnapped and killed by the Red Brigades terrorist organization; Cossiga would then resign.

However five years later he was elected president of the Italian Senate and then president of the republic. He was the first candidate to win on the first ballot, where a majority of more than two-thirds is necessary.

Man of state

The Vatican’s semi-official daily, L’Osservatore Romano, also recalled Cossiga’s contribution to the nation.

The name Francesco Cossiga «appeared in many crucial moments for the life of the country, from the post-war reconstruction to the student movements, from the dark years of terrorism to the exhaustion of an age and a political generation, under the blows of judicial investigations and the turbulence caused by the fall of the Berlin Wall,» the paper reported.
The deceased statesman was also a «man of the so-called First Republic, of which he can be considered a symbol, representative of a generation that, from the ashes of the Fascist 20s and the Second World War, was able to build a new Italy, in a context full of difficulties and contradictions as was that of the Cold War,» it continued.
L’Osservatore Romano called Cossiga «a man of state. Of that state that at times has been able to transmit the sense of firmness and the certainty of law and that at times has trembled under the blows of terrorism and plots, real or alleged, which every now and then flowered in a certainly particular context such as the Italian one, especially from the 70s to the 90s of the last century.»

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