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Theologian Emeritus of Papal Household Passes Away

Pope Sends Telegram of Condolences for Death of Cardinal Cottier

Pope Francis has sent his heartfelt condolences for the loss of Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier, theologian-emeritus of the Papal Household.

In a telegram sent to the late cardinal’s sister, the Pontiff said he shares in the mourning “which affects everyone who knew this zealous servant of the Gospel.”

“With profound gratitude,” he expressed, “I remember his strong faith, his paternal kindness, and his intense cultural and ecclesial activity, especially in the service of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as Theologian of the Papal Household.”

Pope Francis concluded, praying for the Virgin Mary and St. Dominic’s intercession, and imparting his Apostolic Blessing.

A look at his life

Cardinal Cottier, who would have reached age 94 this April 25th, died at Rome’s Agostino Gemelli Hospital last night. The cardinal served as the theologian of the Papal Household from 1990 until 2005  and as a consultant for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Tomorrow morning, Cardinal Angelo Sodano will preside over the funeral Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at 8:30 a.m, reported Vatican Radio.

Born in the Carouge municipality of Ginevra, Switzerland in 1922, Georges Marie Martin Cottier entered the Dominican Order in 1945. After studying philosophy and theology at Rome’s Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum, he was ordained a priest on July 2, 1951.

In 1959, he defended his doctoral thesis at the Liberal Arts Faculty of the University of Ginevra on ‘The Atheism of the young Marx and his Hegelian origins.” In 1962, he became a professor at the same University until his retirement in 1987.

Moreover, the Swiss cardinal taught courses in modern and contemporary philosophy at the Universities of Fribourg, Montréal, and Padua, and at the Catholic Institute of Paris and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.

During the Second Vatican Council, he participated as an ‘Expert of the Council’ and was a ‘Council Consultant’ in the dialogue with non-believers, participating in a series of meetings in Ljubljana, Budapest, Strasburg, and Moscow.

In 1986, he was nominated a member of the International Theological Commission, becoming its Secretary in 1989. In October 2003, he was consecrated archbishop with the titular Church of Tullia and made a cardinal by Saint Pope John Paul II.

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