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Roger Etchegaray

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Roger Marie Élie Etchegaray (born in Espelette/Ezpeleta, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, September 25, 1922) is a French Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Etchegaray served as Archbishop of Marseille (1970-1985) before entering the Roman Curia, where he served as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (1984-1998) and President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (1984-1995). He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1979.

Etchegaray came to the attention of an international audience on Christmas Eve 2009 when he was seriously injured in an unsuccessful attack on Pope Benedict XVI as they processed into Mass at St Peter's Basilica. Etchegaray had to be hospitalised with broken bones.


Early life and ordination

Etchegaray was born in the Northern Basque Country to Jean-Batiste and Aurélie Etchegaray. The eldest of three children, he has two younger siblings, Jean and Maïté; their father worked as an agricultural mechanic.

He attended the minor seminary in Ustaritz and the major seminary in Bayonne before studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from where he obtained a Licentiate of Sacred Theology and a Doctorate of Canon Law. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Jean Saint-Pierre on July 13, 1947.

Priest and Bishop

He then did pastoral work in the Diocese of Bayonne, also serving as secretary to Bishop Léon-Albert Terrier, secretary general of the diocesan works of Catholic Action, and vicar general. He then served as deputy director (1961-1966) and later secretary general (1966-1970) of the French Episcopal Conference.

On March 29, 1969, Etchegaray was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Paris and Titular Bishop of Gemellae in Numidia by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 27 from Cardinal François Marty, with Cardinal Paul Gouyon and Bishop Władysław Rubin serving as co-consecrators, at Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Archbishop and Cardinal

Etchegaray was the Archbishop of Marseille from 1970–1985, and was made Cardinal Priest of S. Leone I by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 1979. Cardinal Etchegaray was the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1984–1998, and the President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum from 1984–1995. In 1995 he was appointed Cardinal Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina, and was elected Vice-Dean following the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Etchegaray is the longest-serving cardinal to have never participated in a papal conclave. On November 26, 2008 he overtook in this respect Giacomo Antonelli, longtime cardinal secretary of state to Pope Pius IX. He turned eighty on 25 September 2002, becoming ineligible to enter a conclave to choose a pope, and so did not participate in the 2005 conclave, which elected Pope Benedict XVI.

Etchegaray currently serves as Cardinal Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina and Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals.

Injuries sustained during Papal attack

On December 24, 2009, Cardinal Etchegaray was knocked down along with Pope Benedict XVI when 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo jumped over a barrier and grappled with the Pope as he processed through St Peter's Basilica for Christmas Eve mass. The Pontiff appeared to be unhurt, but Etchegaray suffered a broken leg and a broken hip in the process.[1][2][3] He had been standing a few metres away from the Pope and was knocked down in the scuffle.[4] He needs surgery to correct his bones; this is expected to happen at Gemelli Hospital, Rome.[5] The Vatican claimed Maiolo was "psychologically unstable" and had already lunged at the Pope before.[6][5] The attack shocked the Catholic world but there was relief when it emerged the Pope had not been hurt.[7]


U.S. invasion of Iraq

The Vatican opposed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and sent Cardinal Etchegaray as an envoy to persuade Washington, DC to refrain from war.

Relations with China

When Etchegaray visited China for a "Symposium on Religions and Peace" (September 12-19, 2000) he said that he recognized the fidelity to the Pope of the Catholics of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA). The CCPA constitution explicitly rejects submission to the Pope and declares itself to be autonomous from Rome.

Styles of
Roger Etchegaray
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Porto-Santa Rufina (suburbicarian)
Preceded by
Bernardin Gantin
President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum
8 April 1984–2 December 1995
Succeeded by
Paul Josef Cordes
Preceded by
Bernardin Gantin
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
8 April 1984–24 June 1998
Succeeded by
Nguyen Van Thuan


  1. Gammell, Caroline (2009-12-25). "Pope Benedict XVI knocked over during Christmas Eve Mass: Pope Benedict XVI was knocked down by a woman who jumped over security barriers at the start of Christmas Eve Mass." (in English). The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  2. [|Gardham, Duncan] (2009-12-25). "Psychiatric patient identified as woman who attacked the Pope: The woman who assaulted the Pope was identified as Susanna Maiolo, 25, a Swiss-Italian national." (in English). The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  3. McKenna, Josephine (2009-12-25). "Vatican security criticised after Christmas Eve Mass attack on Pope" (in English). The Times. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  4. "Pope knocked down by woman at Christmas Mass" (in English). BBC News. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Woman Drags Pope To Ground In Repeat Attack" (in English). Sky News. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  6. "Pope calls for peace amid concern over his security" (in English). Reuters. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  7. "Pope survives attack by woman in red" (in English). Euronews. 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 

External links

eu:Roger Etxegaraino:Roger Etchegaraypt:Roger Etchegaray

ru:Эчегарай, Роже fi:Roger Etchegaray sv:Roger Etchegaray

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