The Pontifical Council was saddened to hear of the death of Bishop John Basil Meeking (1929–2020) who died in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 11 June 2020, aged 90, after a short illness. Basil Meeking was ordained in 1953. From 1963 to 1966, he studied at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and later was appointed to the Secretariat for Christian Unity (1970–1987), eventually becoming its Under-Secretary. He was named Bishop of Christchurch by Pope John Paul II on 30 March 1987 and resigned the see on 15 December 1995. Throughout his ministry Basil Meeking took a keen interest in ecumenical relations, being active in particular in relations with the World Council of Churches, and for many years a member of the Catholic-Disciples of Christ international dialogue.
When leaving the Pontifical Council to become bishop of Christchurch, in a memorable speech to friends and staff, he had this to say of his experience:
"To leave the quite unique company of the Secretariat, to part from friends and colleagues, to leave Rome will rank as one of the more difficult things I have had to do in my life. One can accept it and rejoice in it in faith, realizing that in life it is necessary to make new beginnings. In the words of Meister Eckhart: 'There is no stopping place in this life. No, nor was there ever one for any man, no matter how far along his way he has gone'.”