02/07/2006, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Cardinal Vidal celebrates his 75th birthday and announces his resignation

by Santosh Digal
Pope Benedict XVI must still accept the resignation. Vidal is one of two Philipino cardinals. From 1985 to 1994, he chaired the standing committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Card Ricardo Vidal, archbishop of Cebu, has tendered his resignation as a member of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as he turns 75. Although mandatory, to be effective his resignation must be accepted by Pope Benedict XVI; till that decision is made, he remains in office.

Born on February 6, 1931, in Mogpog on Marinduque Island, the cardinal is the oldest member of the Church hierarchy in the Philippines.

Like the late archbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin, Cardinal Vidal often spoke out on important issues not only relating to Church and religion but also on social and national questions. He has especially been opposed to protest actions and the use of force which he considers dangerous and useless in promoting change and progress in the country.

He is one of two Filipino cardinals; the other is Archbishop Emeritus Jose Cardinal Sanchez.

Cardinal Vidal earned his degree in Theology from the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City and was ordained priest on March 17, 1956, and appointed bishop 15 years. Since September 1982 he has led the archdiocese of Cebu.

He served as president of the CBCP from 1986 to 1987, and then headed the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Clergy in 1989. From 1985 to 1994, he chaired the standing committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences.

He has been honoured many times for his dedication to the Filipino people, including by the secular world. In 1998, the Cultural Center of the Philippines presented him with the Outstanding Filipino Award. In 2002, the University of Southern Philippines Vidal awarded him the Rizal Peace Prize.

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