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Puerto Rican Cardinal Aponte Martinez dead at 89

April 10, 2012

Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez, the retired Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico, has died at the age of 89. He was the first Puerto Rican ever to be named a cardinal. Born in Lajas, Puerto Rico, Luis Aponte Martinez was ordained as a priest of the Ponce diocese in 1950 and became an auxiliary bishop there in 1960. He was appointed Bishop of Ponce in 1963, then Archbishop of San Juan in 1964. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI in 1973. He retired from active ministry in 1999 at the age of 76.

With the death of Cardinal Aponte Martinez, there are only 3 surviving members of the College of Cardinals who received their red hats from Pope Paul VI. They are Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales, the former Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro; Cardinal Paulo Arns, the former Archbishop of Sao Paulo; and Cardinal William Baum, the former Archbishop of Washington and later head of the Apostolic Penitentiary. Pope Benedict XVI also was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI in 1977.


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