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YEAREND-DEATHS (CORRECTED) Dec-12-2006 (1,030 words) With logo posted Dec. 11. xxxn

Two leading church figures after Vatican II among 2006 deaths

By Jerry Filteau
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Two of the church's leading public figures during and after the Second Vatican Council, Dutch Cardinal Johannes Willebrands and American Loretto Sister Mary Luke Tobin, were among prominent Catholics who died in 2006.

Cardinal Willebrands, who died Aug. 2 at the age of 96, was a driving force behind improved Catholic relations with other Christians and with Jews. He was named the first secretary of newly created Vatican office for Christian unity in 1960, two years before Vatican II. As head of the office from 1969 to 1989, he was the central figure in the growth of Catholic ecumenism in some of its most formative years.

Sister Tobin, who died Aug. 24 at the age of 98, was one of only 15 women to attend Vatican II as an auditor and was on the commission that drafted the council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. An ardent and articulate advocate of ecumenism, church renewal, peace, social justice and women's rights, she was a pioneer in the postconciliar renewal of women's religious orders.

Among leading non-Catholic religious figures who died in 2006 were Jaroslav Pelikan, a scholar, and the Rev. William Sloan Coffin Jr., a social activist.

Pelikan, 82, one of the 20th century's most noted scholars of Christian history, died May 13 at his home in Hamden, Conn., after a battle with lung cancer. A Lutheran most of his life, in 1998 he was received into the Orthodox Church along with his wife, Sylvia.

Rev. Coffin, 81, died of congestive heart failure April 12 at his home in Strafford, Vt. A Presbyterian minister and chaplain at Yale University for 18 years, he was an outspoken activist in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s but gained national prominence in the late '60s and early '70s as a founder of Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam and one of the chief religious leaders in the anti-war movement.

Other noted Catholic figures who died in 2006 include:

-- Margaret Mealey, 94, executive director of the National Council of Catholic Women 1949-77, an official Vatican II observer and member of national commissions under five U.S. presidents; Jan. 5, in Oakland, Calif.

-- Samoan Cardinal Pio Taofinu'u, 82, who in 1968 became the first native Polynesian bishop and in 1973 the church's first Polynesian cardinal; Jan. 20, in Apia, Samoa.

-- Archbishop Paul C. Marcinkus, 84, president of the Vatican bank 1971-89 and often regarded as the most powerful American in the Vatican in those years; Feb. 20, at his home in Sun City, Ariz.

-- Msgr. Victor J. Pospishil, 91, Austrian-born U.S. Ukrainian-rite priest considered a top authority on canon law in the Eastern churches; Feb. 24, while hospitalized in Old Bridge, N.J.

-- John G. Deedy Jr., 82, nationally renowned Catholic journalist, editor of two diocesan newspapers and the national lay magazine Commonweal and author or editor of 23 books; March 28, at his home in Rockport, Mass.

-- Argentine Cardinal Raul Francisco Primatesta, 87, who during 33 years as archbishop of Cordoba served four times as president of the Argentine bishops' conference; May 1, of heart failure, at his home. The Argentine government proclaimed three days of official mourning.

-- Dominican Sister Rose Thering, 85, a scholar, educator and pioneer in Catholic-Jewish relations who dedicated most of her life to fighting anti-Semitism and whose research on anti-Jewish teachings in Catholic catechisms called attention to that issue before Vatican II; May 6, of kidney failure, at the Dominicans' Siena Center in Racine, Wis.

-- Charles J. Haughey, 80, a leading figure in Irish political life for 40 years, who three times served as the country's prime minister and has been credited by some economists with transforming Ireland's economy in the 1980s; June 13, of prostate cancer.

-- Bishop Edwin B. Broderick, 89, bishop of Albany, N.Y., 1969-76 and head of Catholic Relief Services 1976-83, who defended the agency against accusations that during the Vietnam War it was a tool of U.S. foreign policy; July 2, in Albany, N.Y.

-- Benedictine Father Aidan Kavanagh, 77, a theologian, liturgist, author and professor at Yale University's Divinity School, who was once described by the Anglican Theological Review as "perhaps the single most significant figure in American Catholic liturgiology in the last 50 years"; July 9, at his home in Hamden, Conn.

-- Bishop John J. Fitzpatrick, 87, head of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, 1971-91, who was noted for his pastoral ministry to migrants and advocacy on their behalf; July 15, of natural causes, at his home in Brownsville.

-- Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, 76, Colombia-born career Vatican diplomat who was papal nuncio to the United States 1999-2006; Aug. 2, of lung cancer, at a hospice in Rome.

-- Sacred Heart Sister Kathryn Sullivan, 101, a pioneer in Catholic biblical renewal, the first woman in the Catholic Biblical Association and one of the first women to teach Scripture in Catholic seminaries in New York, Philadelphia and Rome; Sept. 22, at Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany, N.Y.

-- Jane Wyatt, 96, Catholic actress on stage, screen and television who was best known for her Emmy-winning role as the mother in the 1950s TV series, "Father Knows Best"; Oct. 20, at her home in Bel Air, Calif.

-- U.S. Jesuit Father Angelo D'Agostino, 80, a surgeon and psychiatrist who after a teaching career in Washington found a new calling as a missionary in Kenya and in 1992 founded that nation's first orphanage for abandoned or orphaned children with HIV; Nov. 20, of a heart attack, in Nairobi.

-- Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, 91, dictator who overthrew a Marxist regime in a military coup and whose 1973-90 rule of Chile was marked by the execution of more than 3,000 people and torture of more than 30,000; Dec. 10, following a heart attack, in Santiago, Chile.

END


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