Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal died on Wednesday days after falling into a coma at the Perpetual Succor Hospital in Cebu City. He was 86.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said Vidal was in stable condition, but his heart could have given up because of old age.

Tests done on Vidal last week revealed that he suffered from blood infection and a bleeding kidney.

Vidal fell into a coma on Oct. 11 following fever and shortness of breath. His condition improved two days later.

Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, the cardinal’s physician, said the prelate did not suffer from any cardiovascular diseases.

A native of Mogpog, Marinduque, Vidal was born in 1931 and was ordained to priesthood on March 17, 1956.

In 1985, UST gave him a doctor of sacred theology degree, honoris causa.

Vidal was installed as archbishop of Cebu in 1982 where he served for 29 years until his retirement in 2011. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals at the Vatican in 1985.

The late cardinal was president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in 1986 when he led the the call for a “non-violent struggle for justice” after the fraudulent 1986 snap elections.

“According to moral principles, a government that assumes or retains power through fraudulent means has no moral basis,” Vidal said in statement after the 1986 snap elections.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and outgoing CBCP President Socrates Villegas mourned the death of Vidal.

“Cardinal Vidal cannot die. He who has always shared in the dying and rising of the Lord daily in his priestly life cannot die. He now joins the immortal ones who served the Lord faithfully here on earth. His wisdom and his humility, his love for priests and his devotion to the Virgin Mary must live on in us whom he has left behind,” he said.

Columnist Fr. Roy Cimagala said the cardinal was “a silent worker astute in his judgements.”

“He knew how to be both very spiritual and supernatural on the one hand, and very human and earthy on the other. He exuded simplicity and humility all the time. His legacy is his holiness, simplicity and generous self-giving,” Cimagala told the Varsitarian in an online interview.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s permanent Committee on Public Affairs, said Vidal’s demise meant the “loss of a rational and calming voice in the midst of a politically chaotic nation.”

“He was a steady force in the local church of the Philippines, an anchor that stirred clear of political division and provided a clear direction to the Church’s mission,” Secillano said told the Varsitarian.

Vidal was the most senior of the country’s four cardinals, which include Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, and Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

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