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French Cardinal Etchegaray, vice-dean of College of Cardinals, retiring at 94

January 26, 2017

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, is leaving Rome at the age of 94 to spend his last days in his native France.

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A former Archbishop of Marseilles, Cardinal Etchegaray had been president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum before his resignation in 1998 at the age of 75. He had subsequently carried out special diplomatic missions for the Holy See.

On Christmas Eve in 2009, Cardinal Etchegaray suffered a broken leg when a disturbed woman, rushing at Pope Benedict XVI, knocked him down in St. Peter’s basilica. In a remarkable coincidence, he again fractured a leg in October 2015, when he fell as he approached Pope Francis to greet him after a Mass in the same Vatican basilica.

The French prelate was raised to the College of Cardinals by St. John Paul II in 1979, and became vice-dean of the College of Cardinals—a mostly ceremonial post—in 2005 after the election of Pope Benedict XVI. The dean of the College, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, remains in that post at the age of 89.

Cardinal Etchegaray plans to live in Bayonne, France, in a retirement home, with his sister.


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