Cardinal Vidal remembered as a peacemaker, pastor

Cardinals biretta Credit Bohumil Petrik CNA Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the late emeritus Archbishop of Cebu, Philippines, will be buried Oct. 26 in the mausoleum at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, alongside the remains of his fellow deceased bishops of Cebu.

Vidal, who died Oct. 18, served as Archbishop of Cebu from 1982-2011, and was named a cardinal in 1985. Alongside Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila, Vidal support the Philippine People Power Revolution of 1986, a series of demonstrations and protests leading to democratic elections in the Philippines. Vidal frequently intervened for peace during the difficult early years of democracy in the Philippines.

Father Francis Lucas, executive director of the Catholic Media Network in the Philippines, recalled that the 1986 democracy movement "was an expression of the Church leadership's care for the masses of poor and oppressed sector. Cardinal Vidal's participation as leader showed in his humble quiet manner revealed a staunch heart, a strong faith, and a deep care as a pastor protecting the lives of the Filipinos."

"His move passed on the strong will to believe that a revolution can be done in a peaceful manner, that God hovers over the faithful, that hope will always result good for the hopeful; a united community of faith can prevail," Lucas told CNA.

Edwin Lopez, director of EWTN's Asia-Pacific Region, and a personal friend of Vidal, agreed. Lopez told CNA that Cardinal Vidal was both a national leader, and a personally generous pastor.

"His humility and self effacing humor allowed one to reflect on lessons without being told directly. However, when necessary, he could be very direct and assertive as a loving father and caring teacher. He had a very reassuring presence," Lopez recalled.

Lopez recalled a time in which he was experiencing a spiritual crisis, and feeling alone. "Then suddenly the phone rang. It was Cardinal Vidal on the other line. It was probably the shortest phone call I had ever received in my lifetime from a prince of the Church, but the most assuring. His words were, 'Do not lose heart. Have courage. I am praying for you.'"

Once, Lopez recalled, "he met with me in his kitchen while having a hair cut! He always made sure no one was left out."

Lucas also recalled the cardinal's pastoral charity. He recalled Vidal's kindness to him as a young priest. "He loved the priesthood and his priests as a gentle pastor," Lucas said.

Lucas said that Cardinal Vidal had a personal impact on his life, but also left a lasting mark on the Philippines. He taught that "conflicts can be resolved through peaceful means recall memories of friendship, sacrifice, mettle and good of the many," Lucas said. He reminded Filipinos to "be strong in your loyalty to God the Church and values in a firm but peaceful stance."

Lucas encouraged Filipinos to remember Cardinal Vidal's "humility, gentleness, and firmness in the faith at all costs." He encouraged Filipinos to honor the cardinal's memory by "becoming peacemakers and purveyors of hope in this conflict-ridden and seemingly hopeless society."

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