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Pope mourns Vidal’s death

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis is “deeply saddened” by the passing of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

“Joining with you in expressing profound gratitude for the late cardinal’s untiring and devoted service to the church and for his constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines,” the pontiff said in a message sent to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday.

“I extend my sincere condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the archdiocese of Cebu,” the pope’s message read.

Vidal died from infection leading to septic shock at the Perpetual Succour Hospital in Cebu on Wednesday. He was 86.

“I commend his soul to the infinite love and mercy of our heavenly Father. As a pledge of consolation and hope in the Lord, to all who mourn his passing in the certain hope of the Resurrection, I willingly impart my apostolic blessing,” the pope said. 

Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the archdiocese of Manila shares the grief of the archdiocese of Cebu.

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“We will always be thankful to God for sending us a teacher of peace and humility. We trust that the merciful Lord would grant him eternal rewards in His presence,” Tagle said.

‘No one hated him’ 

 Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said Vidal was  among the ”kindest and holiest men” he had met. 

“I will tell what I feel and this is based on what I believe in...I had been with the old man for a long time so I think I know what I am talking about,” Cruz, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said over Bombo Radyo Dagupan yesterday.

He said Vidal had no enemies nor had been at odds with anyone.

Cruz cited Vidal’s visit to Malacañang at the height of President Duterte’s criticisms of the Catholic church and the bishops.

“No one refused to talk to him and everyone respected him…It looked like no one hated him and I envy him for that,” Cruz said. ”May he serve as an example to us.”

Rare and precious icon

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said the country lost a “rare and precious Filipino icon” with Vidal’s death.

“He always sided with peace and was a respected figure by the country’s leaders throughout the decades. One can say that the good cardinal served as our conscience during tough times as a nation,” Nograles said.  

“Cardinal Vidal’s wisdom, humility and simplicity have left an indelible mark in our hearts. His passing will be mourned for a long time. But we are comforted with the fact that his good work here on Earth has merited him a place of eternal peace and happiness in heaven,” he said. – With Delon Porcalla, Eva Visperas

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