Malaysia’s first Catholic cardinal dies at 88

29-Oct-2020 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Malaysia’s first Roman Catholic cardinal, Anthony Soter Fernandez, has died aged 88 after a bout with tongue cancer.

He died at 12.35pm today at the Little Sisters of the Poor home for the elderly in Cheras, where he had been under palliative care.

Fernandez was diagnosed with tongue cancer in November last year and had undergone immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

Funeral and wake arrangements will be announced later and they are expected to be quiet affairs.

Lockdown restrictions allow only 20 people to attend the service and burial.

Ordinarily, the church would have a significant send-off for a leader of Fernandez’s standing.

Everyone who knew him described him as an extraordinary leader of the Catholic church and a just, courageous and sincere man with great pastoral heart.

They said he was also an amiable and lovable person, always with a smile.

Fernandez played a major role in inter-religious dialogue, serving as chair of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism from 2001 until 2003.

He professed the need to have a consensus in every decision and was a pivot in maintaining the unity of the council.

Born in Sungai Petani, Kedah, he began his 50-year career when he was ordained as a priest in Penang in 1966. Twelve years later, he became a bishop of the diocese.

Fernandez retired as the archbishop here in 2013 after a 20-year service and was made a cardinal by Pope Francis three years later.

His death leaves the College of Cardinals with 218 members, 122 of whom are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave.


Category: Malaysia

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