Cardinal Vidal Dies After Receiving Sacraments of the Church
With great sadness Human Life International (HLI) mourns the loss of His Eminence, Ricardo Jamin Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, of the Philippines. A beloved HLI Episcopal Advisor since 1994, he was a remarkable witness for Life and Family and a great supporter of our Affiliate, HLI Philippines. HLI was most pleased to confer its Cardinal von Galen Award on Cardinal Vidal in 2008, for a lifetime of service to God and His Church, especially our preborn brothers and sisters.
HLI President Father Shenan J. Boquet said, “I am saddened to hear of the death of Cardinal Vidal, a great friend of HLI and Life. The Church has lost a loyal son and an ardent defender of Truth, especially concerning human life and its inherent dignity. I had the joy and privilege of working with Cardinal Vidal in the Philippines. He was always generous with his counsel, encouragement and gift of prayer. His personal witness to the Gospel of Life inspired me and countless others. He will not be forgotten.”
His Eminence was hospitalized a week ago and died after a short illness. He received the Anointing of the Sick shortly before lapsing into a coma. Cardinal Vidal died surrounded by Cebu’s Archbishop Jose Palma, Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo, his past secretaries and a brother. He was the fifth of six children. His body will be transferred to the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Pedro Calungsod at the Archbishop’s Residence compound over the weekend. There he will lie in state until funeral services.
Tireless Advocate for Family and the Unborn
Cardinal Vidal was born in 1931 and ordained priest in 1956 by Bishop Alfredo Maria Aranda Obviar, who is now a candidate for sainthood. He was consecrated Bishop in 1971, appointed Archbishop of Cebu in 1982, and named Cardinal by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1985.
His Eminence was a fearless defender of Life and Family. He served on the Pontifical Council for the Family and courageously fought against anti-life and anti-family bills in the Philippines, which attempted to legalize abortion, homosexuality, divorce, and euthanasia. Pro-lifers in the Philippines frequently turned to Cardinal Vidal in crucial battles, and he personally intervened with great success. In overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines, legislators listened to his voice. Even after his “retirement,” he maintained a strong and active presence in the pro-life movement.
His Eminence had a great devotion to Pedro Calungsod, whose cause for sainthood he actively supported. Prior to Calungsod’s canonization in 2012, Cardinal Vidal presented pro-life awards in the Saint’s honor to numerous pro-life congressmen in 2002 and 2007. In 2000 Cardinal Vidal created the Catholic Mass Media Award, given every two years to outstanding mass media programs and Catholics encouraging good journalism and heroic witness to Church teaching, regarding the dignity of human life.
Cardinal Vidal also issued a series of pastoral letters against the evils of population control, artificial contraception and anti-life bills. In 2004 he announced latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication for doctors, nurses or midwives who perform sterilizations despite warnings from the Church.
Dr. Rene Bullecer, head of HLI Philippines and one of the Cardinal’s doctors, stated: “Cardinal Vidal was a very good friend of the late Cardinal Joachim Meisner and Cardinal Carlo Caffarra. Upon hearing of their deaths, Cardinal Vidal exclaimed, ‘Oh, my dearest contemporaries, very good friends and brother cardinals, may they all rest in God’s peace.’” Dear Cardinal Vidal, please pray for us and intercede for us in the great battle ahead. Please join HLI in thanking God for the gift of Cardinal Vidal’s life and for the repose of his soul.