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from issue no. 03 - 2004

At the Council with Cardinal Journet

by Gianni Valente

Georges Marie Martin Cottier was born on 25 April 1922 in Carouge (Geneva, Switzerland), his father Louis, like his grandfather Emmanuel, was a watchmaker.
Graduating with a degree in Classics from the University of Geneva in 1944, he entered the Dominican Order in 1945, then engaging in philosophical and theological studies at the Angelicum in Rome up to 1952 and gaining a degree in Theology and bachelorship in Philosophy. He also became a student of the theologian Charles Journet, who was to be created cardinal by Paul I in 1965.
Cardinal Georges Cottier during  the consistory of 21 October 2003

Cardinal Georges Cottier during the consistory of 21 October 2003

Back in Geneva, Father Cottier continued his philosophical studies, in 1959 defending his doctoral thesis on The atheism of the young Marx and its Hegelian origins. In 1962 he became lecturer in the faculty of Arts of Geneva. In 1973 he was put in charge of courses of modern and contemporary Philosophy also at the University of Freiburg, a post he held up to 1990.
He took part in Vatican Council II, first as private expert of the Archbishop of Aix- en-Provence, Charles de Provenchères, and then as expert of the Council together with Cardinal Journet.
After the Council he was appointed Consultor of the Council for dialogue with Non-believers, participating as such in the discussions at Lubiana, Budapest, Strasbourg and Moscow.
In 1986 he was made member of the International Theological Commission, an organization of which he was secretary from 1989 to 2003. In 1990 John Paul II appointed him Theologian of the Pontifical Household.
He was president of the Historico-theological Commission set up by the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000.
Appointed titular archbishop of Tullia on 7 October 2003, consecrated on 20 October, he was made cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 October.

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