Last week a man died whom I considered one of my great mentors. He never knew me. We never spoke. He simply inspired me. I have some of his books. When I was a student in Rome I sneaked into some of his classes for the sheer pleasure of listening to an intellectual giant, even though I did not belong there. I was not a post-doctorate student. He inculcated in me a passion for the Bible, Old and New Testament. It was he who introduced me to the works of Abraham Joshua Heschel whose writings I grew to love. I would have wanted him to become Pope some day, but he was a Jesuit. Jesuits don’t become Popes. I think most people are intimidated by them.
Carlo Martini died last week outside Milan. He was 85 years of age. When I studied in Rome at a Jesuit university, he was the Rector of the Pontifical Biblical Insitute. He later became a cardinal and the Archbishop of Milan. I have never known anybody who could make the wonderful stories of the Bible alive, exciting and relevant. He influenced my thinking hugely. I will always be grateful to him.
I am attaching this article on Cardinal Martini from the New York Times.