His Eminence Jan P. Cardinal Schotte, CICM, died on Monday, January 10, 2005.
Cardinal Schotte was a great friend of Christendom College. In April of 1995, Cardinal Schotte dedicated Christendom’s Chapel of Christ the King, bringing with him a chalice and paten as gifts from the Holy Father.
In 2002, His Eminence presided over the College’s 25th Anniversary celebrations.
Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, President of the Labor Office of the Holy See and Secretary General emeritus of the Synod of Bishops, was born on 29 April 1928 in Beveren-Leie, in the Diocese of Bruges, Belgium, and entered the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (C.I.C.M., the Scheut Missionaries) in 1946 in Brussels, Belgium.
He was ordained a priest on 3 August 1952. Promoted to titular Bishop of Silli on 20 December 1983, he was ordained a Bishop by John Paul II on 6 January 1984. He was promoted to titular Archbishop of Silli on 24 April 1985 and most recently was the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops and President of the Apostolic See’s Labour Office.
He studied canon law at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, from 1953 to 1956, at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, USA, from 1962 to 1963.
He was vice-rector of the C.I.C.M. theological seminary in Louvain from 1956 to 1962. In 1963 he became rector of the Immaculate Heart mission seminary in Washington, DC, USA, where he served until 1966.
From 1955 to 1962 he was professor of canon law at the C.I.C.M. theological seminary in Louvain and assistant professor at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, from 1957 to 1962, as assistant to Mons. W. Onclin.
In 1967 he came to Rome as General Secretary of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a post he held until 1972. During this period he was extensively involved in international and social issues as chairman of the SEDOS Working Group on Development (Rome, 1968-1972); rapporteur of the Intermediate Technology Seminary (Rome, 1968); member of the board of directors of Agrimissio (1969); co-organizer of the Ecumenical Planning Session on Credit Unions (Rome, 1970), member of the Justice and Peace Round Table, Plenary Consultation II (1968), III (1969) and IV (1970); vice-chairman of the Superiors General’s Commission for the 1971 Synod of Bishops on Justice in the World (Rome, 1970-1971), vice-chairman of the Joint (USG-UISG) Committee on the Year of Peace through Justice (Rome, 1972); vice-chairman of the Commission on Justice in the World, Unions of Superiors General (Rome, 1969-1972).
He was intensely involved in service to the Holy See: attaché in the international organizations division of the Secretariat of State of Popes Paul VI (1972-1978), John Paul I (1978) and John Paul II (1978-1980); Secretary of the Pontifical Commission ‘Iustitia et Pax’ (1980-1983); member of the Pontifical Commission on Migration and Tourism (1980-1985); consultor to the Pontifical Council for Latin America (1980-1985); consultor to the Secretariat for Non-Christians (1981-1985); member of the Joint Consultative Group on Social Thought and Action of the Holy See and the World Council of Churches (1981-1985); chairman of the Vatican Labour Relations Commission (1982-1989); member of the Joint Working Group of the Holy See and the World Council of Churches (1981-2005).
He was also a staff member of the Special Synod of Bishops for the Netherlands (1980); press officer (French language) for the Synod of Bishops on the family (1980) and for the Synod of Bishops on penance and reconciliation (1983); chairman of the Drafting Commission of the Holy See’s Charter on the Rights of the Family (1981-83); rapporteur of the Informal Consultation on Nuclear Disarmament, Vatican City, 18-19 January 1983; Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission ‘Iustitia et Pax’ (1983-1985).
He has been General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops since 1985. He took part in the Second Extraordinary Synod of Bishops (1985), the Seventh Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the laity (1987), the Eighth Ordinary Synod on priestly formation (1990), the Special Synod for Europe (1991), the Special Synod for Africa (1994) and the Ninth Ordinary Synod on consecrated life (1994).
He has been a consultor to the Congregation for Bishops (1986-1994 ), member of the Pontifical Commission for the Universal Catechism (1986-1992), member of the Interdicasterial Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993-2005), President of the newly established Labour Office of the Apostolic See (1989-2005), and a consultor to the Commission for Latin America (CAL) of the Congregation for Bishops (1989-1994 ).
He was a member of the papal entourage for the Apostolic Visits of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Ireland (1979), the United Nations Organization (1979), the United States of America (1979), Zaire (1980), Congo (1980), Kenya (1980), Ghana (1980), Burkina Faso (1980), Côte d’Ivoire (1980), France (1980), the International Labour Organization, Geneva (1982), the Netherlands (1985), Luxembourg (1985), Belgium (1985), Côte d’Ivoire (1990), Angola (1992) and Uganda (1993).
He served on the Holy See’s Delegations to various international meetings. As a member of the Holy See’s Delegations to: the UN World Population Conference in Bucharest, Romania, 1974; UN World Food Conference in Rome, Italy, 1974; Second General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Lima, Peru, 1975; UN Committee on United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna, Austria, 1976; and the International Conference on South-East Asia Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland, 1979.
He was head of the Holy See’s Delegation to the World Christian Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in Upsala, Sweden, 1983, and represented the Holy See at the General Assembly of the ‘Club of Rome’ in Tokyo, Japan, 1984.
He has been awarded a number of honours, including Knight Commander with Star of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Knight Commander of the Order of Leopold, Belgium, and Officer of the Legion of Honour, France.
Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, 24 April 1985 – 11 February 2004.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.