Pope Francis paid tribute to his 'constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines'

Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of Cebu, Philippines, has died at the age of 86 after a series of health complications.

In a telegram to Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and “profound gratitude for the late cardinal’s untiring and devoted service to the church.”

The pope also praised “his constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines” and commended the cardinal’s soul “to the infinite love and mercy of our heavenly father.”

Born February 6, 1931, in Mogpog, Philippines, Ricardo Vidal was ordained a priest in 1956. He served as a spiritual director of a local seminary and then as its superior, attending to the formation of candidates to the priesthood until 1971.

He was ordained a bishop in 1971 and served as coadjutor of the Diocese of Malolos. Just two years later, he became archbishop of Lipa at the age of 42.

Named coadjutor archbishop of Cebu in 1981, he became head of the archdiocese just over a year later. St. John Paul II named him to the College of Cardinals in 1985. Cardinal Vidal retired in 2010 at the age of 79.

Cardinal Vidal’s death leaves the College of Cardinals with 219 members, 120 of whom are younger than the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.