Cardinal Roger Etchegaray was born on September 25, 1922, in Espelette, France. He was ordained a priest on July 13, 1947. From 1961 until 1966 he served in the French Episcopal Conference as deputy director, and, from 1966 until 1970, as the Conference's secretary general. On May 27, 1969, he was ordained titular bishop of Gemelle di Numidia and auxiliary bishop of Paris. He served as archbishop of Marseilles from 1970 until 1984. From 1975 until 1982, he was prelate of Mission de France, and from 1979 until 1981, he was president of the French Episcopal Conference. He was created a cardinal on June 30, 1979. His titular church is St. Leo I. From 1984 until 1995, he was president of the council Cor Unum. He was President of the Council for Justice and Peace from 1984 until 1998 and President of the Central Commitee for the Jubilee of the Holy Year 2000 from 1994 until 1998. On June 24, 1998, he was transferred to the order of cardinal bishops, for the suburbicarian see of Porto-Santa Rufina. On 30 April 2005, his election as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI.
In the Roman Curia, he is a member of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Council for the Laity, the Council for Christian Unity, and the Council for Interrelgious Dialogue.