Msgr Stefan Stocker of the Secretariat of State dead at 55 of a heart attack

mons stefan stocker

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Wednesday presided at the funeral Mass for Msgr. Stefan Stocker, a Vatican diplomat at the Second Section of the Secretariat of State. The 55-year-old Swiss priest died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack during a mountain hike near Subiaco, a town in the Province of Rome. […] The funeral took place in the chapel of the Governorate Palace of Vatican City State.

There is a great deal to be told about the diocese in Switzerland where he is from, and how it came to be that I got to know him in Rome along with so many others from the same diocese. He started off with the Fraternité sacerdotale Saint-Pie-X. Another young priest friend who is still very much alive should, I think, write a book about it. It is a great irony that he should be a diplomat. But perhaps it should not at all be an irony for the Church whose Divine Founder knew how to reprimand hypocrites (what Pope Francis calls the corrupted), cleanse the Temple with a whip of cords, and give His life for the redemption of all and the salvation of the many. As you can see, I think very highly of Msgr Stefan Stocker.

Msgr Stocker taught me a great deal about the theology of preaching, a theology which, he explained, had everything to do with the role of the preacher in the Sacrifice of the Mass, so that the one who is preaching about the Word of God from the Word of God (with the words inspired by God) should be the same one who, in the Mass, acts in the very Person of the Word of God in pronouncing the words of consecration in the first person singular, who is at one, therefore, with the Sacrifice of the Word of God Incarnate: This is my body given for you in sacrifice… my blood poured out for you in Sacrifice. This was a passion, intensely so, for this, my priest friend. His fidelity and uprightness will no longer grace the corridors of the Secretariat of State in the Holy See. His death is a great loss for the entire Catholic Church. I am so sorry to hear of this. Please, pray for the eternal repose of his soul. I pray for him, and then I ask for his intercession in finding a replacement for himself in the Secretariat of State.

He will be most difficult to replace. There are only two replacements possible, in my view, in the entire German speaking world. If any friend on the Terzo Piano wants to ask, you know how to get in touch with me. One is perhaps the most extraordinary canon lawyer in the world, known by the entire German episcopate and everyone in Rome, a good friend of Pope Benedict. The other is perhaps the most extraordinary biblical scholar this side of heaven, also know by the entire German episcopate and everyone in Rome. I would go with the first while making a Cardinal of the second.

Back to Stefan. He was a priest of priests, a priest of bishops. He was loved and hated, as was Jesus by the way. The world is a darker place because he has passed. And yet, that is not true, for, as was surely recited at the Funeral Mass in the Governatorato, “life is changed, not ended.” God speed, my friend. God speed. Je suis en deuil.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Msgr Stefan Stocker of the Secretariat of State dead at 55 of a heart attack

  1. Liz

    I’m sorry, Father, for the loss of him for you and for the Church. We will pray for his soul while hoping that he is in a place (or will be soon) where he can do more the Church than he could have on earth. God bless and keep you, Liz

  2. Father George David Byers

    Thanks, Liz.

  3. Mary Fran

    What you have said about this good priest’s words on the theology of preaching are so well worth pondering at length that I have copied them into my journal. I do not envy any priest for the role he is given as Christ Himself in the Mass. It is awesome, terribly burdensome and humbling. If more priests and the laity would ponder upon this before every Mass, what a different Mass we would have. The Mass would be the same, for sure, but the priest’s own personality would be sacrificed and hidden so that Christ’s could shine forth, that He could do His work unimpeded by any priest’s agenda or ego. And the sermons would be quite different too. Powerful, piercing, life-changing.

  4. SognPlaci

    Requiescat in pace. He is already the second Swiss priest of the recent Convitto San Tommaso in Rome who passed. The first was Fr Paolo Peri who died in his late twenties after an epileptic seizure. Both belonged to the same diocese and had escaped the diocesan seminary.

  5. Sandy

    From Msgr. Stephan’s uncle Willy and his dear friend

    Sandy –

    your words are heartfelt and carry a profound message. We are deeply saddened by Stephan’s passing and were blessed, as many were, to enjoy and share Stephan’s love of God and life. God has graced our lives with the presence of Stephan and we strive to live in His image so that God may grant us a reunion in heaven.

  6. Msgr. Michael Palud, C.O.

    I studied theology and canon law with him. We sat side by side in Rome in the same classroom. I knew him, his parents and younger brother well. We studied together many a time ! He was a very bright man. May the Lord give him an eternal reward !

  7. Russell Sweet

    Stefan was my dear friend who I first met in 1992 and who took time out to show my son wife and I around the Vatican and for a lovely trip to the hills outside Rome. We were all shocked to hear of his passing but thank the Lord it was quick. May the Lord God reveal his mysteries to him. He had a girlfriend and was still happy to answer the call to join the Church and serve as a diplomat which he loved.

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