Retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua served as head of the Philadelphia archdiocese for more than 15 years, retiring in 2003.
He was an active and visible leader of the regions 1.5 million Catholics, taking on the tough task of closing dozens of shrinking parishes and parochial schools.
Bevilacqua also campaigned hard for the canonization of Mother Katherine Drexel. Those efforts were rewarded when Pope John Paul the Second recognized her in 2000.
He was known as a social conservative who took traditional views on contraception, abortion and gay rights, and he took on the thankless task of closing parishes and schools that were under-used in the diocese. Though he was active in visiting parishes and spoke out on the need to help the poor, National Catholic reporter Michael Winters says he’ll be remembered mostly for the child sex abuse scandal that engulfed the church.
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