“I asked the Pope if he believed that the tower of Mary of the Holy Family in Barcelona should be higher than that of the evangelists and he replied: without any doubt”
“I visited Pope Benedict at his residence in the Vatican, we talked about the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. He had an unforgettable memory of the dedication of the temple, which was confirmed by the interest he expressed in the current state of its construction. I asked him a question, as a very good theologian he is. In Gaudí’s project, the tower dedicated to Mary was somewhat lower than the four dedicated to the evangelists that surround the tower of Jesus Christ, the highest in the temple, probably because of some aesthetic factor. But I think that the tower of Mary, the Mother of God, must be something higher than that of the evangelists. He answered me: without any doubt. As president of the foundation for the construction of the temple, I told the architects that it would be like that and it will be like that. Gaudí, for his devotion to the Virgin Mary under the invocations of Misericordia, Montserrat and Merced, without doubt will contemplate it from the sky with very good eyes”.
This is one of the revelations of Lluís Martínez Sistach, archbishop emeritus of Barcelona and regular contributor to the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED), made in “Un cardenal se confiesa” (A cardinal confesses) (Planeta), an extensive work where responds to the questions of the journalist and priest Jordi Piquer Quintana. Throughout its more than 300 pages, the cardinal explains his experiences since his ordination in 1961 and as auxiliary bishop of Barcelona, bishop of Tortosa, archbishop of Tarragona and archbishop of Barcelona. A life dedicated to the Catalan church in which he hasn’t shied away from the social and political problems that have been found in his path.
The cardinal also recalls his close friendship with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who visited Barcelona for the dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Family after his personal efforts, the surprise that led to his resignation from the Papacy and the election of the current Pope Francis, in which he participated as cardinal elector. “The time that the conclave lasted was for me a time of silence, prayer and reflection centred fully on the Church, on the mission that she carries out and has to carry out in the world, on the great challenges that the world of today presents to our generations and the Church itself and in the help that the chosen successor of Peter can lend to the world created and loved by God, I think that the conclave has been the moment of greatest transcendence that I have lived in my life”, he confesses in book.
Martínez Sistach also talks about his relationship with the current Pope and highlights his transforming role in the Church, from his social interest to his courage to address issues such as the environment and the conception of a more open family than the traditional.