(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.