Pope mourns Pa. death of Cardinal Bevilacqua

The Associated Press

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI expressed “sadness” and sent condolences to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Wednesday over the death of retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who led the archdiocese for more than 15 years.

Bevilacqua, who was 88, died in his sleep at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood after battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer, according to archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell. He had been the spiritual leader of the 1.5 million-member Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1988 until his retirement in 2003.

“I offer my heartfelt condolences to you and to all the faithful of the archdiocese, the pope wrote in a telegram to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput. “I join you 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, his longstanding 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 Vatican Council II.”

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