On behalf of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Prefect Card. Peter K.A. Turkson, having learned with great regret the news of the death of Card. Roger Etchegaray, expressed his deep condolences and joined in prayer together with the whole ecclesial community.
The entire staff of the Dicastery remembers Card. Etchegaray, who returned to the Father's House at the age of 96, with respect and affection. He had been president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".
In his memory, the meeting room of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is entitled "Etchegaray Room".
Cardinal Etchegaray visited the staff of the newly formed Dicastery in December 2016 and, on that occasion, recalled the openness and attention to others typical of the four former Pontifical Councils and the joy of feeling "at home in the most open and favourable place to live with others". "This is my pride", said Etchegaray, leaving his precious testimony.
French, from the Basque Country, Etchegaray was born in Espelette (Diocese of Bayonne, France), on September 25, 1922. After studying at the Seminary, he entered the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, obtaining a Licentiate in Sacred Theology and a Doctorate in Canon Law.
Ordained as a priest on 13 July 1947, he began his pastoral ministry in the native diocese.
From 1966 to 1970 he served as Secretary General of the French Episcopate; on March 29, 1969, Paul VI appointed him titular Bishop of Gemelle di Numidia and Auxiliary for the Archdiocese of Paris. On 22 December 1970 he was promoted to Archbishop of Marseille (where he remained until 1984) and in 1975 he succeeded Cardinal Marty as president of the French Episcopal Conference. He was then re-appointed from 1978 to 1981.
In 1971 he became the first president of the new European Council of Episcopal Conferences, to which he was re-elected in 1975. He was the creator and animator of the Symposium of Noordwikeroot and Chur and also one of the main architects of the European ecumenical meeting of Chantilly.
He participates on many occasions in the work of the Synod of Bishops. His theological and socio-religious interventions recall the commitment of a living Church, always attentive to the problems of European man.
Cardinal was created and published by St. John Paul II in the consistory of 30 June 1979, of the Title of the Suburbicarian Church of Porto-Santa Rufina (24 June 1998).
On 8 April 1984 he was called to Rome by Pope John Paul II and appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (post held until 24 June 1998) and President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" (until 2 December 1995) .
In all these years, Cardinal Etchegaray carries out an indefatigable service in favor of peace, human rights and the needs of the poorest, bringing the message and the charity of the Pope to numerous nations throughout the world.
On 15 November 1994 he was appointed Chairman of the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, and in this capacity he directed the preparation and conduct of the Holy Year of 2000.
On 30 April 2005, the Holy Father Benedict XVI approved the election, made by the Cardinals of the Order of Bishops, as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals. On 10 June 2017, the Holy Father Francis accepted his request for a dispensation.
From 2017 he returns to his Diocese of Bayonne.