Manila: Philippines’ influential Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal died of complications from pneumonia in a hospital in Cebu City, central Philippines on October 18 (Wednesday), a week after he partially survived from coma following cardiac arrest on October 11. He was 86.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and his former secretaries were with Cardinal Vidal when he died peacefully at the intensive care unit of the Perpetual Succor Hospital at 7:30 Wednesday morning, said Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Cebu archdiocese.
He was archbishop of Cebu for three decades until his retirement in 2011. He was a priest for 61 years. As president, he led the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines from 1985 to 1987.
At the time, he enhanced in central Philippines the participation of former Manila Archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Sin in a political upheaval — the people-backed military mutiny ousted former President Ferdinand Marcos and propped to power former President Corazon Aquino in 1986.
Manila observes separation of church and state.
Praising Vidal, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement, “President Rodrigo Duterte and Cardinal Vidal had a friendly, cordial relationship. The good cardinal paid a courtesy call to Malacañang shortly after the president assumed office (in July 2016), and assured the chief executive of his fervent prayers for him and his administration.”
Emerging from the meeting at the time, Vidal called on Catholic leaders not to criticise Duterte. He said illegal drug trade was society’s menace. But he remained silent as Duterte’s drug-war campaign turned bloody.
Vidal was the country’s first cardinal. He is survived by Manila Archbishop Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle; and Cotabato Archbishop Cardinal Orlando Quevedo.
Vidal was one of the conclaves that elected Pope Benedict XVI as the successor of Pope John Paul II in 2005.
He will be buried in a family-owned mausoleum in Cebu.