The Catholic Church of India, Indonesia’s Muslims and Iran have expressed their sorrow at the death of French His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Vatican Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who passed away last week. The 74-year old cardinal died on July 5 at Hartford, United States, where he was undergoing treatment for Parkinson’s disease. His Eminence Cardinal Tauran’s funeral service is scheduled for July 12 in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinal will preside over the funeral Mass, at the end of which Pope Francis will preside over the valedictory ceremony. The veteran diplomat who served under 3 popes, was the senior cardinal who announced the election of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013.
As reported by en.vaticannews.va, His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) in a statement wrote, “In him, the world has lost a great leader who could build bridges and a diplomat of rare quality who could speak the truth with charity, grace and compassion. He was much appreciated by State and Government officials around the world. Cardinal Tauran visited India several times and most memorably led the Vatican delegation for inter-religious dialogue with very senior representatives of Hinduism at a two-day Colloquium in Mumbai, a Colloquium that was a major step forward in fostering inter-religious dialogue in India. He knew how to respect every religion and understood the dignity and values that different expressions of faith contributed to the wellbeing of the world.” Further, His Eminence added, “n the death of Cardinal Tauran not simply the Church in India and the world has lost a great leader, but India itself has lost one of its great admirers and lovers of our religions and cultures. We deeply mourn his death and pray to God to reward him for all his endeavors on earth and especially his efforts to bring people of all faiths, religions and cultures together.”
Indonesian Muslims are also mourning the late cardinal, saying he did much to develop interfaith ties during his visit to the country nine years ago. Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condoled the death of Cardinal Tauran, recalling his efforts in fostering understanding among faiths.