Msgr. Ivo Fürer, Bishop Emeritus of St. Gallen, died on Tuesday 12 July; he was 93 years old and had been ill with Parkinson’s disease for some time. From 1977 to 1995 he served as General Secretary of the CCEE, and from 1995 to 2006 as Bishop of St. Gallen. The funeral service will take place next Monday, 18 July at 10 am in St. Gallen Cathedral.
“Bishop Ivo Fürer’s open spirit also spilled over into the Church – This is how the Swiss bishops recalled it in a press release – It was a matter close to his heart, that of shaping the Church with the people. “Serving God’s people” was his episcopal motto. And he lived this. Ivo Fürer always approached people with great care; he brought his respect to everyone, within the Church, on an interdenominational and interreligious level. He was a visionary, a diplomat, a forward thinker, and a courageous man of the Church. In 2002, after a case of abuse in the diocese of St. Gallen, he founded the Expert Committee against Sexual Violence in Pastoral Care, which would be seen as a pioneering act at a time when this subject was still kept too hidden.
Bishop Ivo not only lived, but also helped to shape half a century of ecclesial developments, first as episcopal vicar of his diocese, then as General Secretary of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (the CCEE, based in St. Gallen). In 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Faculty of Theology in Freiburg for his tireless commitment to the practical implementation of the concerns of the Second Vatican Council at diocesan, Swiss and European level; he was also an honorary Senator of the University of St. Gallen.
Within the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Ivo was responsible, among other things, for diaconia and canonical matters. He was often active in working groups where delicate canonical definitions were at stake in the drafting of documents”.