Cardinal Deskur, former Vatican communications head, dies at 87

Vatican City, Sep 7, 2011 / 12:21 am (CNA).- Cardinal Andrzej Maria Deskur, former president of the Pontifical Council of Social Communications, died on Sept. 3 at the age of 87. Pope Benedict XVI remembered him as “one of the most illustrious sons” of the Archdiocese of Krakow.

Pope Benedict said the cardinal was linked by “profound ties of friendship” to Bl. Pope John Paul II and left the memory of a life spent in “coherent and generous dedication to his vocation as a pious and zealous priest.”

The Pope also praised Cardinal Deskur’s “valuable collaboration” with the Holy See, especially in communications media.

His comments came in a Sept. 5 telegram to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, presided at Cardinal Deskur’s funeral in St. Peter’s Basilica on the morning of Sept. 6.

The cardinal was born on Feb. 29, 1924 in Sancygniów, Poland to a family of French origin. He received a doctorate in law in 1945 from the Catholic University of Krakow and served as secretary general of Bratniak, an important Polish student organization, according to his official Vatican biography.

After he entered seminary in Krakow, he was ordained a priest on Aug. 20, 1950. He was called to Rome in 1952 to work in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. He served on several communications commissions and was a “peritus,” a theological expert, at the Second Vatican Council.

He was named president of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communications in 1973 and ordained a bishop in 1974.

Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1985. He was cardinal priest of St. Cesario in Platio.

“I pray that, through the intercession of Mary Immaculate whom he so greatly venerated, the Lord may welcome this faithful pastor of the Gospel and the Church into His Kingdom of eternal joy and peace,” Pope Benedict said.