VATICAN CITY, APRIL 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent his condolences to the archbishop of Mexico City upon the death of his predecessor, Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, who died Thursday at age 88.
The telegram sent to Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera expressed the Pope’s esteem for the late cardinal, a “zealous pastor” with “great dedication to the cause of the Gospel.”
He said: “Deeply saddened by the death of the beloved Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, archbishop emeritus of Mexico, following a lengthy illness borne with great serenity, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to you, to the relatives of the late cardinal and to all the beloved Mexican people. I join you in commending this zealous pastor who served his people with such charity to the mercy of the heavenly Father.
“His generous and intense episcopal ministry in Tampico and later as archbishop of Antequera, Puebla de los Angeles and Mexico, as well as his service as president of his country’s episcopal conference for a number of years, all testify to his immense love for God and for the Church, and his great dedication to the cause of the Gospel.”
For his part, Cardinal Rivera said of his predecessor, “As happens with all great men, his absence leaves a space that is impossible to fill, but among us, his teachings and his example of faith and Christian life will remain.”
Cardinal Corripio Ahumada was known for his appreciation and pastoral concern of Mexico’s indigenous populations and began the canonization process of St. Juan Diego.
He was born in 1919 in Tampico and served Mass during the most difficult years of the religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in 1942 and served as the archbishop of Mexico City from 1977 to 1994.