Following the death of Archbishop Mario Conti, who died on Tuesday, Nov. 8, many mourners have paid tribute to a “much-loved” Catholic prelate.Mourners pay tribute to ‘much-loved’ Scottish archbishop | Catholic News Agency
A statement released on the same day by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, U.K., reported that the archbishop died peacefully following a short illness at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. He was 88.
The archbishop had given his life to the Catholic Church, having served as a priest for 64 years and a bishop for 45 years.
Reflecting on his predecessor’s passing, Archbishop Nolan of Glasgow said: “The death of Archbishop Mario will be felt not just in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, but across Scotland and beyond. He was a much-loved figure, a man of great energy and pastoral zeal, who loved the Church and the people in his care.”
Mario Conti was born in the town of Elgin, Moray, in Scotland, on March 20, 1934, and he later attended St. Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeenshire.
Conti had always said he wanted to be a priest for as long as he could remember. After leaving St. Mary’s, he went on to study at the Scots College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He graduated in philosophy and theology and was finally ordained a priest in Rome on Oct. 26, 1958.
After serving as a parish priest in Wick and Thurso, situated in the far North of Scotland, he was ordained bishop of Aberdeen in May 1977. Until his death earlier this week, Mario Conti was one of the few surviving members of the clergy appointed bishop during the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, who presided over the historic Second Vatican Council and the promulgation of the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
Twenty-five years after his ordination as bishop of Aberdeen, he was made archbishop of Glasgow in 2002, where he presided over the renovation of the famous St. Andrew’s Cathedral during his time there. Following the announcement of his death, Paul Sweeney, a member of the Labour Party and the Scottish Parliament, tweeted: “It is sad news that Archbishop Emeritus of Glasgow, Mario Conti, has died tonight … His finest legacy will be the beautiful restoration of Glasgow Metropolitan Cathedral. Requiescat in pace.”
According to a statement from the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Conti was reputed for his expertise in ecumenism and interreligious dialogue and his concern for the situation in the Holy Land. It also said that one of his proudest moments was welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to Bellahouston Park during his papal visit to the U.K. in 2010.
During the pontificate of St. John Paul II, he also served the Roman Curia through the Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the Council for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church. He retired as archbishop of Glasgow in 2012.
The archbishop’s passing prompted condolences from beyond the Church, including from First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, who tweeted: “I am very sad to hear that Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti has died. His life of service as a priest, bishop of the Catholic Church of Scotland and archbishop of Glasgow will be long and fondly remembered. May he rest in peace.”
The official statement from the Archdiocese of Glasgow noted: “His episcopal motto was Sincero corde servire’ — to serve with a sincere heart — and those who knew him well can testify that he lived up to that motto to a heroic degree.”