French Cardinal Billé, 63, Battling Cancer

PARIS, NOV. 5, 2001 ( Cardinal Louis-Marie Billé, 63, resigned the presidency of the French episcopate unexpectedly Oct. 24 after his doctors confirmed he has colon cancer.

The cardinal plans to continue his work as archbishop of Lyon.

The French bishops, meeting in Lourdes for their annual assembly, are expected to elect a new president. Cardinal Billé held the post for five years.

In a message to the gathering, Cardinal Billé said the Church´s priorities in France lie in catechesis and marriage preparation for couples.

Regarding the international situation, Cardinal Billé said it “is legitimate to foresee and repress terrorist acts; however, peace will not come by responding to violence with violence.”