Addio, Bevy — Amid a Storm, Philadelphia Cardinal Dies at 88

Whispers in the Loggia

He was the ultimate man of the law. How bitter the irony, then, that his days would end under a cloud of court scrutiny.

At 9.15 tonight, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua — Seventh Archbishop of Philadelphia, founder of the Catholic world’s first diocesan ministry dedicated to the pastoral care of migrants, arguably the father of modern canon law in the United States — died in his sleep at his apartment at the city’s St Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was 88, and had been suffering from cancer and dementia over recent years.

Born in Brooklyn to Italian immigrants who would raise ten children, the future cardinal’s grit, smarts and relentless work-ethic singled him out from an early age. Known as “Tough Tony” to his seminary students and “Bevy” among friends, his sense of discipline and prominent hatred of cheese often concealed a softer side, one that led him to night school in his 50s to study for a civil law degree in order to serve the needs of a new generation of migrants.

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