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Malaysia's first cardinal dies after prolonged illness

Death of Cardinal Fernandez comes three days after Pope Francis named Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei a new cardinal

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: October 28, 2020 07:22 AM GMT

Updated: October 28, 2020 08:30 AM GMT

Malaysia's first cardinal dies after prolonged illness

Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez, who died at the age of 88 on Oct. 28. (Photo: Kuala Lumpur archdiocese)

Malaysia's Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez, a former official of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, has died after a prolonged illness, church officials confirmed. He was 88.

Cardinal Fernandez, who was the country's first cardinal, had been ill for some time and died on Oct. 28 at noon local time at a convent where he received palliative care, said Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim of Kuala Lumpur.

The funeral details are being worked out, said Archbishop Kim, who succeeded Cardinal Fernandez to head the Church in the Malaysian capital.

Cardinal Fernandez was diagnosed with cancer in November last year and received medical treatment. He had been receiving palliative care at the Little Sisters of the Poor home in the city.

The aged cardinal had been suffering from tongue cancer and his health began to deteriorate in the past two months, local church people said.

Cardinal Fernandez, who led the archdiocese for two decades, spearheaded the Second Vatican Council's idea of aggiornamneto (updating) of the Church, said an archdiocesan note on him on its website.

He worked for the Church's renewal and adopted the Renewal Parish Project in 1983, establishing multi-level parish councils throughout his tenure.

He was chairman of the Human Development Office of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences and national bishops' conference Commission for Inter-Religious Affairs.

Pope Francis named him a cardinal in November 2016.

His death comes three days after Pope Francis announced Bishop Cornelius Sim, apostolic vicar of Brunei, among 13 new cardinals.

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