The St. Gallen Group lost a member today. Cardinal Danneels, whom Pope Francis describes as “a zealous pastor who served the church with dedication,” died this morning at age 85.
A statement on the website of the Belgian Church said: “Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and chairman of the Belgian bishops’ conference, has the sad duty to inform you that Cardinal Godfried Danneels, emeritus archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, died this morning, Thursday March 14 2019, in his hometown in Mechelen.”
Although his later years were marred by the abuse crisis—he was recorded telling a man who had been abused by his uncle, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, that it would be better to remain silent until the bishop had retired—he nevertheless somehow found himself honored to be selected to stand alongside Pope Francis the night he was introduced to the world on the loggia.
May God have mercy on his soul.