“This zealous pastor served the Church with dedication, not only in his diocese, but also at the national level as president of the Conference of Bishops of Belgium, while being a member of various Roman dicasteries”: Pope Francis wrote this in a telegram of condolence that the apostolic nuncio to Belgium, Mgr. Augustine Kasujja, read out at the funeral of Card. Godfried Danneels, which began at 11am this morning at Mechelen Cathedral. “Attentive to the challenges of the contemporary Church, Cardinal Danneels also took an active role in various Synods of Bishops, including those of 2014 and 2015 on the family”, the Pope recalled, highlighting that the cardinal “has been called to God at this time of purification and of walking toward the Resurrection of the Lord”. “I ask Christ, victor over evil and death, to welcome him in His peace and joy”, the Pope wrote, offering “a special apostolic blessing”, “as a pledge of comfort”, to the relatives of the deceased Cardinal, the pastors, the faithful” and all those who are taking part in the funeral. The mass, presided over by Card. Jozef De Kesel, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, is concelebrated by 25 bishops and about 150 priests. Also attending the funeral in the cathedral are King Philip and Queen Mathilde of Belgium; the presidents of the Chamber of Representatives, the Senate and the Flemish Parliament; Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters and some ministers; civil and political authorities; academics; and representatives of other religions.