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Catholic World News News Feature

Canadian Cardinal Gagnon dead at 89 August 27, 2007

Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, the former president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, died in Montreal on August 25 at the age of 89.

The Canadian prelate, who was ordained as a Sulpician priest in 1940, became Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta, in 1969. In 1973, he was named by Pope Paul VI to be vice-president of the newly created Committee for the Family. He became president of that body the following year, and in 1981, when Pope John Paul II elevated the committee to the status of a Pontifical Council, he remained head of the office-- now with the title of Archbishop. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul in 1985. Cardinal Gagnon resigned his Vatican assignment in 1990, to be replaced by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo.

Upon hearing of the Canadian cardinal's death, Pope Benedict XVI wrote separate messages of condolence to Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal and Father P. Lawrence Terrien, the superior general of the Suplician order. The Holy Father praised Cardinal Gagnon as a "faithful pastor who, with an evangelical spirit, consecrated his life in service to Christ and his Church."

With the death of Cardinal Gagnon there are now 181 living members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 105 are below the age of 80 and thus eligible to participate in a papal conclave.

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