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Rome Reports

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Cardinal Camerlengo Jean-Louis Tauran dies, key player in dialogue with Islam

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran died during the night of July 5 to 6. He was the person who announced the election of Pope Francis.

"Habemus Papam."

He was French, born in Bordeaux 75 years ago. At at 26 he was ordained a priest and he started working at the Vatican 20 years later. He was a loyal and close collaborator of the last three popes, with John Paul II appointed him foreign minister of the Vatican.

“I remember that he jokingly told me: 'They will say you are too young. How old are you?' I told him I was 47. He responded, 'Ah, yes. You are young, but you'll get over that sickness soon.'”

John Paul II made him the Cardinal Archivist and Librarian and Benedict XVI put him at the head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. While there, he worked to build bridges with the Muslim world. For this reason, he couldn't disguise his pain at the attacks committed by radicals.

“We always try to dialogue, but then these crimes occur and they have no possible justification. They don't follow true Islam either. They are very harmful as well, because they decrease the credibility of inter-religious dialogue. People get confused about whether they are true believers or not.”

Pope Francis appointed him Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, that is, head of the Catholic Church during the Vacancy of the Apostolic See.

He died in Connecticut, United States, where he was receiving a treatment to combat Parkinson's.

With his death, the number of cardinal electors is reduced to 124.