Retired Cardinal Bevilacqua Dies In Pa. At 88

Published February 1, 2012 9:00AM (EST)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua (beh-vih-LAH'-kwah), who served as head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for more than 15 years, has died. He was 88.

An archdiocese spokeswoman says Bevilacqua died Tuesday night in his sleep at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. He had been battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer.

Bevilacqua was the spiritual leader of the 1.5 million-member Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1988 until his retirement in 2003.

He was criticized but never charged by two grand juries investigating child sex abuse allegation in the Roman Catholic church. His death comes just days after lawyers battled in court over his competency as a potential witness in the upcoming trial of a longtime aide.

A victims group, SNAP, says Bevilacqua's death means "we will never learn the full truth about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups."

By Salon Staff

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