Pope mourns death of Brazilian cardinal

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Pope Benedict grieved with Brazil's Catholics over the death of Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales, who died on July 9 of a heart attack at age 91.

Cardinal Sales, a former archbishop of Rio de Janeiro who was beloved by fellow Brazilians, died at the episcopal residence of Our Lady of the Assumption in Sumare. Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janiero will preside at the cardinal's funeral Mass at the city's cathedral on July 11.

In a message sent to Archbishop Tempesta on July 10, Pope Benedict highlighted the role of Cardinal Sales in the development of the Church in Brazil and offered his condolences to the country’s faithful, bishops and religious communities.

The Pope noted that the Archdiocese of Rio was blessed for three decades by the work of this great pastor, whom the Pope called “an authentic revelation of the witness of the Gospel amidst his people.”

“I thank the Lord for giving us this generous pastor who in his almost seventy years of priesthood and fifty-eight as bishop, strived to lead us all on the path of truth, charity in service to the community, and constant care for those most in need, in fidelity to his Episcopal motto – taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians – 'I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your sakes,'” the Pope said.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Rio underscored that the late cardinal’s work was crucial for the life of the city, including his help for the poor in the slums of Vidigal, with soup kitchens, clinics and care for AIDS victims.

His motto as cardinal “perhaps was not understood by all, especially by those who see things superficially, but it will not be forgotten in this archdiocese or by the many who will always call him 'father,'” the archdiocese said.

Cardinal Sales was a bishop for 57 years. In 1969 he was made a cardinal, and in 1971 was sent to Rio de Janeiro. He participated in the conclaves that elected John Paul I and Blessed John Paul II. In 2001 he retired upon the reaching the age of 75.

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