Coroner: Cardinal Bevilacqua Died Of Natural Causes

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NORRISTOWN — A suburban Philadelphia coroner said Thursday that 88-year-old Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died of natural causes a day after he had been ruled competent to testify at the child-endangerment trial of a longtime aide.

Officials had said Bevilacqua, who served as archbishop from 1988 to 2003, was suffering from dementia and cancer. But last month, prosecutors asked the coroner to investigate because of the timing of his death.

Bevilacqua, spiritual leader of the archdiocese’s 1.5 million Roman Catholics from 1988 to 2003, died Jan. 31 at a seminary and was laid to rest without an autopsy. He was suffering from dementia and cancer, according to church officials and his lawyers, and his death was widely assumed to be from natural causes.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-cause-philadelphia-cardinal-death-20120308,0,7254939.story

Retired Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua Dies Amid Abuse Testimony Controversy

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the retired Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia whose competence to testify in an upcoming church sex abuse trial was hotly debated in court, died in his sleep on Tuesday, the church said.

The cardinal, 88, led the Philadelphia archdiocese, the nation’s sixth largest, from 1988 to 2003. Church spokeswoman Donna Farrell said Bevilacqua died at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, the traditional home for the leaders of the Philadelphia archdiocese, where he had lived since retirement.

Whether Bevilacqua was well enough to testify had become a pivotal issue in the sex abuse trial of three priests, one now defrocked, and a former archdiocese school teacher. Another church official, Monsignor William Lynn, faces charges of child endangerment but is not accused of abuse.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/sns-rt-us-catholics-philadelphia-cardinaltre8100mt-20120201,0,5208721.story