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Cardinal Vidal mourned

CEBU (SE): Ricardo Tito Cardinal Jamin Vidal, the longtime archbishop of the biggest archdiocese in The Philippines, died at the age of 86 in Perpetual Succour Hospital in Cebu due to infection leading to septic shock at 7.26am on October 18.
 
In a tribute to the late cardinal, the president of the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said, “Cardinal Vidal cannot die. He who has always shared in the dying and rising of the Lord daily in his priestly life cannot die.”
 
Archbishop Villegas continued, “He now joins the immortal ones who served the Lord faithfully here on earth. His wisdom and his humility, his love for priests and his devotion to the Virgin Mary must live on in us whom he has left behind.”
 
Born on 6 February 1931 in Mogpoc, Marinduque province, he was ordained a priest in 1956 and became a bishop in 1971, just before the declaration of martial law by the president of the time, Ferdinand Marcos.
 
In 1981, Cardinal Vidal moved to Cebu as the coadjutor and the following year succeeded his predecessor, Julio Cardinal Rosales, as the archbishop.
 
With a background as a spiritual director at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Seminary in Quezon, the late cardinal is remembered in the Philippine history books for his opposition to Marcos, when in 1986 he strongly condemned his 20-year reign during the build up to the People Power Revolution that saw the dictator on a United States of America Air Force helicopter headed for Hawaii.
 
He was responsible for galvanising the bishops in opposition to Marcos, which was no easy task, and encouraging them to support the election process that saw Cory Aquino become president.
 
Although he was accused of pandering to a later president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in 2004, when he celebrated an inaugural Mass at the commencement of her first full six-year term, he remained strong throughout the occasion insisting that the ceremony remain simple and be carried out without pomposity.
 
His strong public stances against the powers-that-be defied somewhat his low profile style, simplicity and best known quality as a listener, especially to opposing views.
 
On the Asian Church scene, he held important positions in the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and was the convener of the standing committee for nine years up to 1994.
 
In the international Church, he figured prominently in bishops’ synods in Rome and at the 1989 Synod on the Laity, he was a president-delegate and a member of the Permanent Council on the Synod from 1989 to 1994.
 
He also sat on the committee for the Congregation of the Evangelisation of Peoples, the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Workers.
 
Cardinal Vidal was a man in whom the whole nation of his native Philippines can rightly express its pride.
 
In a message of condolence to Archbishop José Palma, Pope Francis praised Cardinal Vidal for his constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people of The Philippines.

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