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Current Society News: Obituaries

Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua

Wednesday, February 01, 2012  
Posted by: Katie Richards
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Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, retired archbishop of Philadelphia, died Jan. 31 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he resided, at the age of 88.

The Cardinal received his doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in civil law from St. John’s University in Jamaica, NY. He was admitted to the New York and Pennsylvania bars and to the bar of the US Supreme Court in 1988. According to the Catholic New Service, Cardinal Bevilacqua "may have been the only cardinal in US history accredited to argue cases before [the US Supreme Court].”

Cardinal Bevilacqua was an Active member of the Society for some time and was elected a Consultor on the Board of Governors in 1965. He was also the uncle of Msgr. John Alesandro, a past-President of the Society and current Chair of the Publications Advisory Board.

The Cardinal was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn in 1980, named bishop of Pittsburgh in 1983 and headed the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh from 1988 until his retirement in 2003.

He served in the 1980s as chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs, leading the US bishops through the first phases of implementing the 1983 Code of Canon Law. He again served as chair of the Committee on Canonical Affairs in the 1990s.

Among many other appointments, Cardinal Bevilacqua served as head of the bishops’ Committee on Migration and Committee on Pro-Life Activities. He was a former member of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the Congregation for Clergy, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers and the commission of cardinals that oversees the Vatican bank. He also was a former chairman of the Papal Foundation, a U.S. foundation dedicated to providing financial assistance to the Holy See.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Please remember Cardinal Bevilacqua and his family in your prayers and during your Masses.

For a full story on the Cardinal, visit the Catholic New Service website:

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