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Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini
Often considered to be one of the more "progressive" members of the College of Cardinals, he has achieved widespread notice for his wide-ranging and open-minded writings — popularity in some circles, notoriety in others.
Born in Turin, Italy in 1927, Martini entered the Society of Jesus in 1944 and was ordained a priest in 1952. He earned his Theological laurea in 1958 from the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1962 he was installed in the chair of Textual Criticism at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, of which he became rector in 1969. In 1978 Paul VI sent him back to the Pontifical Gregorian University as "rector magnificus." Throughout these years he edited a number of scholarly works.
In December 1979, Pope John Paul II nominated him as Archbishop of Milan, a post he undertook after receiving episcopal ordination the following January. Thus his first diocesan appointment was to one of the largest and most prominent sees, with a history of many distinguished archbishops. When made a cardinal in 1983 he was made titular priest of Santa Cecilia in Rome. From 1987–1993 he was president of the European Bishops' Conference .
In 2002 he reached the Church's mandatory retirement age of 75 and was succeeded as Archbishop by Dionigi Tettamanzi. At the time of the Papal conclave, 2005 he was 78 years old and hence eligible to vote for the new pope (being under 80). For years many progressive Catholics harboured hopes that he might himself be elected Pope someday; however thanks to the longevity of John Paul II most commentators believed that he would be considered too old. His election was probably never very likely thanks to his liberal reputation, and as he is older than Pope Benedict XVI and it has been centuries since a Pope was succeeded by an older man, his chance can now be said to have passed.
Among the most well-known of his works is (2001), co-authored with famous Italian author Umberto Eco.
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