Bevilacqua, ex-head of Philly archdiocese, dead

February 1, 2012 - 10:15 AM
Obit Beviacqua

FILE--Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, shown in this Dec. 2, 2000, file photo taken in Philadelphia.The retired Cardinal, who served as head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for more than 15 years, died in his sleep Tuesday night Jan. 31, 2012 in his apartment at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA. He was 88. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr., )

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.

Spokeswoman Donna Farrell says Bevilacqua died Tuesday night in his sleep at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, where he lived. He had been battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer.

Bevilacqua was criticized but never charged by two grand juries investigating child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic church.

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

Bevilacqua's death comes just days after lawyers battled in court over his competency as a witness in an upcoming church-abuse case involving his longtime aide.