Philadelphia, Pa., Feb 1, 2012 / 11:31 am
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.