Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua addresses the congregation during the installation of his successor -- then Cardinal-designate Justin Rigali -- as archbishop of Philadelphia Oct. 7, 2003. Cardinal Bevilacqua died Jan. 31 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. He was 88. CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec

Cardinal Bevilacqua, retired Philadelphia archbishop, dies at age 88

By  Catholic News Service
  • February 2, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, retired archbishop of Philadelphia, died Jan. 31 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he resided.

According to the Philadelphia archdiocese, he died in his sleep at 9:15 p.m. He was 88. The archdiocese said he had been battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer.

Cardinal Bevilacqua headed the archdiocese from February 1988 to October 2003. Funeral arrangements were pending.

"I was greatly saddened to learn of the death of my predecessor Cardinal Bevilacqua," said Archbishop Charles Chaput. "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. Cardinal Bevilacqua has been called home by God; a servant of the Lord who loved Jesus Christ and His people."

Pope Benedict XVI mourned the death of the cardinal, expressing his "heartfelt condolences" in a telegram sent to Chaput. The Pope praised the late cardinal's "long-standing commitment to social justice and the pastoral care of immigrants, and his expert contribution to the revision of the Church's law in the years following the Second Vatican Council."

His death leaves the College of Cardinals with 191 members, 107 of whom are under the age of 80 and, therefore, eligible to vote in a conclave.

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