Pope Francis sent condolences to the Colombo family upon learning of the Monday death of Emilio Colombo. The former prime minister of Italy was 93.
"The Holy Father wishes to express his profound condolences to his sister, to his other relatives and to all those who knew and esteemed this fervent Catholic, an outstanding figure of the Italian Republic, a distinguished man of institutions, who in public responsibilities did his utmost with generous commitment to promote the common good," said the message, signed by the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Colombo was a life senator and also served as president of the European Parliament in the 1970s. He was elected to the assembly that wrote Italy's new constitution after a referendum in 1946 chose to end the monarchy and establish a republic.
He was first elected to parliament in 1948 and served as prime minister from 1970 to 1972.
"His Holiness raises fervent prayers for the repose of the soul of the deceased, entrusting his soul to the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and imparting from his heart his comforting apostolic blessing to his relatives and all those participating in his funeral," the papal message concluded.