This morning in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided at the funeral of Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, C.I.C.M., who died on Monday at the age of 76.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated Mass along with other cardinals.
In his homily, the Pope highlighted how the late cardinal "was a man of peace. He made the value of peace one of the central points of his long and intense service to the universal Church and, especially, to the Holy See.”
Such was his conviction that a Christian must bear witness to peace that he chose as his episcopal motto 'Parare viam Domino pacis', a recognizable reference to St John the Baptist, Patron of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to which he belonged."
In that motto, John Paul II recalled how Cardinal Schotte "wanted to add the explicit reference to peace, placing it alongside the name of the Lord - 'Parare viam Domino pacis' - as if to underline that only by accepting Christ and His Gospel can true peace be achieved."
For more than thirty years, the Belgian cardinal "generously and tirelessly, placed his multiple gifts of intelligence, humanity and spirituality at the disposal of the Roman Curia" said the Pope, referring to the cardinal's work in the Secretariat of State, in the then Pontifical Commission for 'Iustitia et Pax', and finally as secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.
"Nor can I forget," the Pope added, "his work as president of the Labor Office of the Holy See. A tireless architect of communion, he collaborated actively in the universal pastoral concerns of Peter's Successor."
The Pope concluded by remembering Cardinal Schotte as "a witness of love who has come from God and who constitutes the foundation of the unity of the Church.”
We are comforted by the hope that he is now contemplating the 'Lord of peace' face to face, whom he generously loved and served during his life."