On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (1927-2012), numerous books have been published and various articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers. Many aspects of the cardinal’s life, thought and pastoral ministry, have been recalled and studied. Recent texts explore the way Martini carried out his commitment at the European level and some experiences of the period when he lived in Rome as a teacher and rector at the pontifical institutions entrusted to the Jesuits (the Biblical Institute and the Gregorian University).
Other publications take their cue from his reflections, showing their ability to be a leaven for contemporary culture and for the life of the Church. Among the latter, the re-publication of the volume Il Vescovo (The Bishop) stands out, with its considerations and comments by the Bishop of Rome. Indeed, Pope Francis enthusiastically accepted the proposal from Paulist Press and the Martini Foundation to engage with the cardinal’s reflections on a ministry dear to them both. In addition, numerous studies and research projects are underway, including some doctoral theses. We will thus be able to know the thought and focus of Martini with more completeness and greater precision.
The multiplicity of the themes he dealt with and the initiatives he undertook with originality, wisdom and breadth of vision raise the question: is it possible to identify a generating center of his thinking and working? In fact, on the one hand, his activity and his interventions are characterized by a unifying stamp that pushes us to look for the soul that inspired them; on the other hand, the attempt to list the themes or to pigeonhole Martini’s ideas by means of criteria that do not support their intrinsic dynamic always leaves us somewhat unsatisfied. This is the question we propose to explore in the following pages.