VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II sent a telegram of sympathy to the Archdiocese of Bordeaux and the family of Cardinal Pierre Eyt, who died of cancer this morning. The French prelate was 67.
In his message, addressed to the archdiocese´s administrator, the Pontiff refers to the cardinal as a “man of dialogue and peace” and “passionate in the search for truth,” who placed his gifts from God at the service of his brothers.
Likewise, the Holy Father expressed his admiration for the courage with which the cardinal suffered his sickness, trusting in God.
Cardinal Eyt told his priests on Monday of Holy Week 1999 about his sickness, which in the last weeks was extremely painful. Despite his sufferings, he led his diocese with total dedication, a statement from the archdiocese said.
His cancer kept him from attending last month´s consistory of cardinals at the Vatican.
Pierre Eyt was created cardinal in 1994, eight years after being named bishop. On June 29 he would have celebrated his 40th anniversary of priestly ordination.
An outstanding figure of the Church in France, he was also one of the great theologians of the late 20th century. Famous for his frank and honest temperament, he had led the Archdiocese of Bordeaux since 1989, following three years as coadjutor.
A member of the Vatican Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and Catholic Education, Cardinal Eyt was also president of the Doctrinal Commission of the French bishops.
With his death, the Church now has 182 cardinals, 133 of whom are eligible to participate in a conclave to elect a new pope. France now has five cardinals, four of whom are electors.