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He was ordained on 22 April 1956 for the archdiocese of Albi, serving as a vicar and chaplain of the lyceum La Pérouse. He was also the chaplain of the university parish, chaplain of students in Toulouse, 1967-1970 and secretary general of the presbyteral council from 1973-1974.
He was appointed titular bishop of Tibili and appointed auxiliary bishop of Annecy, April 18, 1974. He was promoted to the metropolitan see of Aix by Pope Paul VI on 30 November 1978. He was named coadjutor bishop of succession of Marseille on 24 August 1994. He succeeded to the archbishopric of Marseille on 22 April 1995. He served as the first Metropolitan archbishop when Marseille was elevated to that rank on 16 December 2002.
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He was created and proclaimed Cardinal-Priest of San Gregorio Barbarigo alle Tre Fontane in the consistory of 2003 by Pope John Paul II. He is currently Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Marseille. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.
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