Cardinal Vanhoye had just turned 98.
Pope Francis has expressed his condolences at the death of a fellow Jesuit, who was the world’s oldest cardinal, French Cardinal Albert Vanhoye.
Cardinal Vanhoye died July 29 at the age of 98, just five days after his birthday. He was made a cardinal in 2006.
There are now 123 Cardinal Electors of 220 living Cardinals. (Cardinals over the age of 80 are no longer eligible to vote for the next pope in a conclave.)
There are two 97-year-old cardinals: Jozef Cardinal Tomko, a retired prelate of the Roman Curia; and Alexandre Cardinal dos Santos, the retired archbishop of Maputo, Mozambique.
The youngest cardinal, meanwhile, is Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga, the archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic.
A cardinal who loved preaching
In a telegram published by the Vatican press office July 30, Pope Francis offers his condolences to the Society of Jesus and to all the relatives of Cardinal Vanhoye. The pontiff’s letter is addressed to Father Manuel Morujao, superior of the residence of San-Pietro-Canisio (Rome) where the prelate lived.
The pontiff says he remembers “with affection and admiration this brother who served the Lord and the Church with great dedication.”
Referring to his qualities as a biblical scholar, the Holy Father expressed his admiration for Vanhoye’s “intense work as a zealous religious.”
He was “a spiritual son of Saint Ignatius, expert professor, (…) esteemed rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute [and] diligent and wise collaborator of certain dicasteries of the Roman curia,” the Pope continued.
The Pope also underlined “his love” for preaching “animated by a passionate desire to communicate the Gospel.”
He concluded his letter by giving his apostolic blessing to all those who mourn the death of Cardinal Vanhoye and asks the Virgin Mary to welcome this “faithful servant.”
Cardinal Vanhoye’s funeral will be held on July 31 at 11 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and will be celebrated by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.