(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday sent a telegram expressing his condolences for the death of Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier, OP, Theologian-emeritus of the Papal Household.
Cardinal Cottier died during Thursday night at Rome’s Agostino Gemelli Hospital at the age of 93.
In the telegram addressed to Cardinal Cottier’s sister, the Holy Father conveyed his ‘profound gratitude’ in remembrance of the Cardinal’s ‘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 also invoked the intercession of the Virgin Mary and St. Dominic, sending his Apostolic Blessing to all who knew Cardinal Cottier during the course of his long life.
Cardinal Georges Marie Cottier, O.P., Theologian-emeritus of the Papal Household, died during the night between 31 March and 1 April 2016 at Rome’s Agostino Gemelli Hospital.
The funeral Mass is to be presided over by Cardinal Angelo Sodano at St. Peter’s Basilica on 2 April at 8.30 am.
Born 25 April 1922 in the Carouge municipality of Ginevra, Switzerland, Dominican Cardinal Cottier served as the Theologian of the Papal Household from 1990 until 2005.
Cardinal Cottier entered the Dominican Order in 1945, studying philosophy and theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, also known as the ‘Angelicum’. He was ordained a priest on 2 July 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.
Cardinal Cottier also taught courses in modern and contemporary philosophy at the Universities of Fribourg, Montréal, and Padua, as well as at the Catholic Institute of Paris and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.
He participated in the Second Vatican Council 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 an interview on the impact of Vatican II, Cardinal Cottier once said, “I would say that much has been done. For example, the structure of episcopal conferences; the way some of them function now; or the dicasteries of the Church which didn’t exist before, Christian union, dialogue with non-believers – all these are new things which often function well. Also those areas that regard justice and peace – these things didn’t exist before the Council, as well as concern for dialogue with the world, the idea itself of the New Evangelization was born with the Council. Also the Synod of Bishops and the doctrine itself of the last Popes, which have as their no. 1 program the implementation of the Council.”
In 1986 he was nominated a member of the International Theological Commission, becoming its Secretary in 1989.
Cardinal Cottier also served as a consultant for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Council for Culture.
He was consecrated Archbishop on 20 October 2003 with the titular Church of Tullia and nominated Cardinal of the Consistory by Pope St. John Paul II on 21 October 2003.
Below is a Vatican Radio translation of Pope Francis’ telegramme:
To Madame Marie Emmanuelle PASTORE COTTIER
I have learned with sadness the news of the passing of your brother, Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier, O.P. I would like to express my deep involvement in the mourning which affects everyone who knew this zealous servant of the Gospel. With profound gratitude, 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. I offer a fervent prayer to the Lord, so that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and St. Dominic, he may grant the late Cardinal the reward promised to his faithful disciples. As a sign of comfort, I send my Apostolic Blessing with all my heart to you, and to all who appreciated his priestly zeal and dedication to the Church and to the Sovereign Pontiff.