French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a frequent collaborator of Pope St. John Paul II, has died at 96.
Etchagaray, from the French Basque region, was born in Espelette on September 25, 1922.
He attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, obtaining licentiate in theology and a doctorate of canon law.
He was ordained a priest in 1947 and incardinated in the Diocese of Bayonne.
In 1961 he began working in the French bishops' conference, and from 1966 to 1970 was its general secretary.
In 1969, Pope Paul VI appointed him an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Paris.
On Dec. 22, 1970 he became the Archbishop of Marseille. In 1975 he was elected president of the French episcopal conference.
In 1979, Pope St. John Paul II named him a cardinal.
In April 1984 Pope John Paul II named him the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the president of the pontifical council Cor Unum, he retained this second post until 1995.
In 1994 he was taken with overseeing the Church’s observance of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
He served often as de facto "ambassador" of John Paul II in delicate diplomatic missions: in 2003 he worked on behalf of the pope to avoid the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that began the Second Gulf War.
On April 30, 2005, Benedict XVI approved his election as Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals.
In January 2017, he left the Vatican to return to his native Diocese of Bayonne.
After the death of Cardinal Pimiento Rodriguez , which occurred yesterday, he was, briefly, become the oldest living cardinal.
A version of this story was first published by ACI Stampa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.