Milan's Cardinal Martini celebrates last Mass before retirement

Posted: Friday, September 13, 2002

MILAN, Italy (AP) -- Milan's popular Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, often mentioned over the years as a possible pope, celebrated his last Mass at the Duomo cathedral Sunday before heading into retirement in Jerusalem, where he plans to dedicate himself to prayer.

Martini, who has reached the customary retirement age of 75 for heads of dioceses, served in Italy's financial capital since 1979. His veiled calls for change in the church endeared him to the liberal minority among cardinals.

A Sept. 29 welcoming ceremony is set for his successor, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, 68, formerly of Genoa. Tettamanzi is considered a strong moderate prospect in the next papal election.

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