Farewell to Tauran, the cardinal of inter-religious dialogue

French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

Farewell to Tauran, the cardinal of inter-religious dialogue

By Andrea Tornielli/ lastampa.it

He was 75 years old, he died in the U.S., he was sick with Parkinson’s disease for years. He had been “Vatican’s foreign minister” with Wojtyla, Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, and was the current chamberlain.

The 75-year-old French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue and chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, died in the United States. The news was broadcast by Vatican News. The cardinal, then “protodeacon”, had announced to the world the election of Pope Francis on 13 March 2013.

Tauran was in Connecticut to treat his long-standing illness, Parkinson’s disease, and resided with the community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

In April 2018, less than three months ago, the cardinal - despite his increasingly precarious state of health - had made a visit to Saudi Arabia and on that occasion, had once again stated: “What is threatening all of us is not the clash of civilizations, but the clash of ignorance and radicalism. To know each other is to recognize each other. The future - he added - is in education. Christians must not be considered second-class citizens”.

The cardinal was born in Bordeaux in April 1943. After completing classical studies at the “Michel Montaigne” High School of the French city, and after two years spent in the diocesan Major Seminary he was sent to Rome as a student of the Pontifical French Seminary and the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he had completed his theological and philosophical studies, graduating in Philosophy and Theology. In the years 1964-1965, he had fulfilled his military service obligations, under the title of French cultural cooperation, teaching at a Catholic college in Lebanon.

Ordained priest on 20 September 1969, he had been parish vicar of St. Eulalia in Bordeaux and had begun to attend courses in Canon Law at the Catholic Institute of Toulouse. Called to Rome in 1973, he had attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (where the diplomatic staff of the Holy See is trained) and the Pontifical Gregorian University, graduating in Canon Law.

He joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See in March 1975, and was assigned to the nunciature in the Dominican Republic, then he was transferred to the Vatican diplomatic see in Lebanon, where he remained until July 1983, when he was called to work in the Secretariat of State.

From 1984 to 1988, he followed the work of the then Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe, participating, inter alia, in 1984 at the Stockholm Conference on Disarmament, in 1985 at the Budapest Cultural Forum, in 1986 at the Vienna Follow-up Conference, which opened that year. In 1988, he was appointed Undersecretary of the Council for Public Affairs of the Church (later to become a Section for Relations with States).

On 1 December 1990 John Paul II appointed him “Foreign minister of the Holy See elevating him to archbishop. During his 13 years as head of the Section for Relations with States he has carried out many missions abroad and led the Vatican delegation in numerous international conferences.

John Paul II created him cardinal in the Consistory of 21 October 2003, deacon of St. Apollinaris at the Terme Neroniane-Alessandrine. On 24 November 2003, he was appointed Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church. On 25 June 2007 Benedict XVI appointed him President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue. On 26 June 2013 Pope Francis appointed him member of the Pontifical Commission as referent on the IOR. In 2014 Bergoglio appointed him chamberlain cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, therefore with the task of presiding over the vacant See in the event of the death (or renunciation) of the Pope.

A man with a fine sense of humor and with decade-long Curial experience, Tauran, who had been a valuable collaborator of three Popes, in the last phase of his life, though increasingly tried by the disease, spent himself to counter the idea of “clash of civilization with Islam pushing to isolate the fundamentalists and violent elements.

In an interview in December 2017 he explained the position of the Holy See in favor of dialogue as follows: “We believe in it: after all, despite the positions that at times may seem distant, spaces of sincere dialogue must be promoted. Malgré tout, despite everything, we are truly convinced that it is possible to live together; as the Pope demonstrates, who every day reminds us the importance of mutual respect with the faithful of other traditions. And not only with Islam, but also with Buddhists, for example, as he did during his recent trip to Asia”.

After the Paris bombings of 2015, Tauran said: “Extremists easily turn into terrorists: they present themselves as defenders of justice and equality, in reality they try to recruit the soldiers of “Allah”. It must be clear that the defenders of the oppressed are not the terrorists but the believers, along with men and women of good will who do not profess religion”.

“Often - the cardinal added - ignorance is the basis of fear. Most Europeans have never met a Muslim or opened the Koran. The opposite is also true: many Muslims have never opened the Bible. Most Muslims are still injured and humiliated because their religion has been damaged. The hope is that hatred will not triumph, we must overcome it with love”.

Fri, 07/06/2018 - 12:49
Comment through the site Comment through facebook

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.