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French cardinal Roger Etchegaray, one of the most active in recent decades, dies

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray passed away in France on Wednesday evening, September 4. He was soon to turn 97 years old. 

Pope Francis received the news in Mozambique and remembered him as “a man of dialogue and peace.”

John Paul II appointed him cardinal in 1979. He was one of the most esteemed persons in the Vatican.  

He was the organizer of the first meeting in Assisi in 1986, which brought together the pope and leaders of other religions. 

He supported John Paul II's idea to ask for forgiveness for the Church's past faults, during the Jubilee year of 2000. 

The pope also asked him to meet personally with Saddam Hussein to stop the war in Iraq.  

Additionally, during Christmas Eve 2009 he fell to the ground when a young woman tried to violently greet Benedict XVI. 

In October 2015 he broke his hip during a Mass at St. Peter's.

For years he has been living in retirement in the south of France. There he was visited by the cardinal and Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin.  

The College of Cardinals is now 213, 118 of which are able to vote in an eventual conclave. This number will change though on October 5 when the pope elets new cardinals.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Sean Richadrson