Pope mourns passing of Philadelphia's Cardinal Bevilacqua
By Benjamin Mann
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images News/Getty Images

.- Pope Benedict XVI has offered his condolences to Philadelphia Catholics following the loss of their former archbishop Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, who died on the evening of Jan. 31 at the age of 88.

In a telegram to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, the Pope said he joined the faithful of the archdiocese “in commending the late cardinal's soul to God, the Father of mercies, with gratitude for his years of episcopal ministry among Christ's flock in Philadelphia.”

Cardinal Bevilacqua, who led the archdiocese from 1988 to 2003, died in his sleep at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. He was suffering from cancer and dementia at the time of his death.

Pope Benedict conveyed his blessing to the faithful of Philadelphia, as he recalled the late cardinal's “longstanding commitment to social justice and the pastoral care of immigrants” as well as his “expert contribution” to the revision of canon law after the Second Vatican Council.

Archbishop Chaput said on Feb. 1 that he was “greatly saddened” by the death of his predecessor, “a servant of the Lord who loved Jesus Christ and his people.”

“Cardinal Bevilacqua has been called home by God,” he said. “I encourage all Catholics in the archdiocese to join me in praying for the repose of his soul, and that God will comfort his family as they mourn his loss.”

Archbishop Chaput acknowledged that Cardinal Bevilacqua's death came  a time of “extraordinary challenges” for the local Church.

On Jan. 30, Judge M. Teresa Sarmina had declared that the cardinal was competent to testify in the trial of his former assistant Monsignor William Lynn. The monsignor is accused of failing to prevent child abuse that took place while he served as secretary of the clergy.

The ruling came despite the cardinal's inability to recognize or identify Msgr. Lynn, whose lawyer said attorneys would have “no hope to be able to cross-examine Cardinal Bevilacqua” due to his memory loss.

Sarmina said the cardinal was competent, and could be reevaluated if called to testify. Cardinal Bevilacqua, however, died the following day.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on June 17, 1923, the future cardinal was one of Luigi and Maria Bevilacqua's 11 children. Ordained a priest in 1949, he earned degrees in canon law, political science, and civil law before becoming a bishop in 1980. He joined the College of Cardinals in 1991.

Under his leadership, the Philadelphia Archdiocese reached out to non-practicing Catholics with its “Catholic Faith and Life 2000” initiative. Cardinal Bevilacqua was known for his stands against racism, his frequent pastoral visits in Philadelphia, and his openness to the public through a radio call-in show.

In addition to his work in canon law and immigration, the cardinal served as head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Funeral arrangements for the cardinal are pending. He is survived by his sister Madeline Langan of Bayville, N.Y. and his brother Frank Bevilacqua of West Simsbury, Conn.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 15, 2014

Tuesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:21-33, 36-38


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Peter Gonzalez »


Homily of the Day

Jn 13:21-33, 36-38


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: