Cardinal Jan P Schotte, CICM, died in Rome on Monday, aged 76. His funeral takes place tomorrow at 11am at the altar of the Confession in the Vatican Basilica. The Holy Father will preside at the Mass concelebrated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, with other cardinals. A much-loved figure, who had many friends in Britain and Ireland, the Belgian cardinal was secretary general emeritus of the Synod of Bishops and president of the Central Labour Office of the Holy See. On hearing the news, Pope John Paul II issued the following message: "It was with great sadness that I learned the news of the sudden demise of the dear Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, and I wish to express my deepest sympathy to you and to your relatives, as well as to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to all those who knew and respected him. With a grateful soul I recall his many years of industrious collaboration with the Holy See, and especially his generous service as secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. He leaves the example of a life spent for Christ in coherent devotion to his own priestly and religious vocation and ever attentive to social questions in complete faithfulness to the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. I raise fervent prayers appealing to the Lord to welcome this dearly beloved brother cardinal in joy and eternal peace, and I send to you and to others mourning his demise a comforting apostolic blessing as a sign of my sincere participation in your pain". Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham said: "Cardinal Schotte served the Church in many ways but mostly through the Synod of Bishops. He was a doughty General Secretary of the Synod for many years. Like his family forebears he had a passion for the proclamation of the Gospel and a keen sense of the challenges of the modern world. I will miss his encouragement and friendship." Source: VIS/Archdiocese of Birmingham
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