Fr. Giussani with Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes (Nicola Costanzi/Fraternity CL)

Cordes' death. Prosperi: "Grateful for his paternity"

Davide Prosperi's message to the movement of Communion and Liberation on the death of Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, signatory of the decree of Pontifical recognition of the Fraternity and of the Memores Domini Association.

Dear friends,

I learnt this morning the painful news of the death of His Eminence Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and former Vice-President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Our movement owes much to him and to the relationship of mutual esteem and friendship he had with Fr. Giussani. As Vice-President of the then Pontifical Council for the Laity, he signed the decree of Pontifical recognition of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation in 1982, and the decree recognising the Memores Domini Association in 1988–with whom he subsequently established a personal relationship, living for over twenty-five years with some of them, who looked after him until the last moments of his life.

On the occasion of the recognition of the Fraternity, an event that Fr. Giussani defined as the “greatest grace in the entire history of the movement,” the then Bishop Cordes stated how “of primary importance and pastoral urgency is the contribution that the Fraternity can bring to the Church by working together for the growth of a Christian, communal, and evangelizing sensibility and experience in the spheres-often secularized and “distant”-of the creation and dissemination of culture and the edification of society. A missionary presence in these spheres is seen to be more necessary than ever for bearing witness to Christ, as the Church, where the basic principles of human life and social interaction are at stake. […] Its ‘Catholic’ and ‘missionary’ vocation calls it to a progressive extension toward new secular and ecclesiastical realities.”

As a sign of his esteem for Fr. Giussani, in the Introduction to the third volume of the history of CL by Monsignor Massimo Camisasca (Il riconoscimento) [The Recognition], Cordes wrote: “Fr. Giussani was God’s collaborator on the only foundation that has true consistency: Jesus Christ. […] The Spirit of God strengthened Fr. Giussani, who wanted to dedicate himself specifically to the ‘new evangelisation’ throughout the course of his arduous journey. His action was characterised by fervour, dynamism, ardour. Nothing was more urgently desired than to arouse the desire for a real relationship with Christ in the hearts of young people.”

A close collaborator of John Paul II, Cardinal Cordes was a staunch defender and an authoritative point of reference for the new forms of ecclesial aggregation brought about by the Holy Spirit, whose value for the entire Church he immediately recognized. We are therefore deeply grateful to him for the way in which he was able to accompany our journey, and that of all the movements, with paternity and affection over time.

In these hours we join the Holy Father Francis and the entire Church in prayers for this man taken by Christ and who spent his entire life for His Glory.

Davide Prosperi