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Cardinalâs health still unstable: Prayers for Vidal

Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal's wish during his 61st anniversary as a priest is for government officials to serve with the "common good" in mind. May Miasco, File

Cardinal’s health still unstable: Prayers for Vidal

May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - October 14, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines — Calls for prayers for the speedy recovery of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal are mounting following the prelate’s confinement at the hospital dawn of Wednesday, his third time this year.

Vidal’s condition is still being closely monitored at the Perpetual Succour Hospital in Cebu City three days after he was rushed there for fever and breathing difficulty, according to Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, one the prelate’s physicians.

“Based on his current medical update, Cardinal’s health is relatively unstable,” Bullecer wrote in a text message to The FREEMAN yesterday afternoon.

Vidal, considered the most senior cardinal in the Philippines at 86 years old, is still in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

He was brought to the same hospital earlier this year and was found to have pneumonia. When the illness resurged in August, Vidal was rushed to the Chinese General Hospital in Manila.

Unlike previous reports, though, Bullecer clarified that Vidal did not suffer cardiac arrest nor fall to a coma on Wednesday, explaining that it was a case of blood infection caused by bacteria.

Bullecer, who is also a close friend of Vidal, has urged the Catholic faithful to unite in prayers for the restoration of the cardinal’s health.

“As while his doctors are doing their best to provide him the most needed and appropriate medical management, but in his current condition, we are in dire need of divine intervention. So it’s our prayers and a miracle from God that Cardinal Vidal needs now. We must not forget that all healings come from the Lord, the Great Physician,” Bullecer said.

Since 2000, Vidal has regarded Bullecer as one of his personal physicians.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said Vidal would react to voices familiar to him. He has visited his predecessor at the hospital twice since Wednesday – a privilege considering that only a few are allowed to pay the ailing cardinal a visit.

Bullecer said that Palma administered to Vidal on Wednesday the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, or the final anointing, due to the urgency of his health condition.

Aside from Palma, selected priests have also visited Vidal.

Palma said Vidal's wish is for him to reach the beatification of the late Cebuano prelate Teofilo Camomot, who is being considered a candidate for sainthood.

To recall, Vidal resigned as the Archbishop of Cebu on October 15, 2010, his resignation given a nod by then Pope Benedict XVI. He was eventually succeeded by Palma.

In an interview back in 2008, when Vidal marked his 37th year in episcopacy, he shared that he ever imagined he would come this far in the Catholic hierarchy.

“Never,” he said. “I was just a simple seminarian. I did not even reach university. I did not even have a [religious] degree except for an AB and BSE. In church studies, I don’t have any title like licentiate in theology, scriptures, etcetera.”

“I was also sickly that I didn’t even think I would be ordained. I remember the bishop who ordained me said, ‘You’re so thin, you might be carried away by the wind.’”

But the “sickly” seminarian from Mogpog, Marinduque who would become priest in 1959 went on to become the Archbishop of Lipa in 1973.

In 1981, he was appointed by the late Pope John Paul II as Coadjutor Archbishop of Cebu before becoming the province’s archbishop in less than a year.

Asked about his political views, Vidal responded: “I do not take sides. I never condemn anybody, especially in public. I always try to help. When people come approach me and ask for my help, I cannot refuse. So, all sides can approach me because they know I’m not partisan.” — /JMD (FREEMAN)

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