The Associated Press is reporting that Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died in his sleep on Tuesday night at the age of 88.
The retired head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was an uncharged central figure in a child sex-abuse case that involves the alleged shuffling of predator priests to unwitting parishes, the AP reports.
Bevilacqua died days after lawyers battled over his competence to testify at an upcoming trial at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary—in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood—after battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer, an archdiocese spokeswoman told the AP.
Bevilacqua had been the spiritual leader of the 1.5 million-member Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1988 until his retirement in 2003.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that, after Bevilacqua retired in 2003, he left the cardinal's residence on City Avenue in Philadelphia for an apartment at St. Charles and rarely appeared in public.
Bevilacqua, who was bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh—including Baldwin-Whitehall's , , and the —from 1983-87, was emblematic of the church to which he had devoted himself since age 14: progressive on some social-justice issues, traditional on matters of doctrine and sexuality, and unfailingly deferential to the will of Rome, according to the Post-Gazette.
He was a private man, the P-G story continues. Yet, he delighted in public appearances and was known for his personal touch.
Click here to read the full P-G obituary.
Click here for the full AP report.
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