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Cardinal Jullien Ries, eminent religious historian, dead at 92

Catholic World News - February 25, 2013

Cardinal Julien Ries, who was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI in February 2012 in recognition of his work as a religious historian, died on February 23 at the age of 92.

A native of Belgium who was ordained in 1945 as a priest of the Namur diocese, Father Julien Ries taught for years at the Catholic University of Louvain. He was acknowledged as one of the world’s leading historians of religion. Upon hearing of his death, Pope Benedict XVI remarked that Cardinal Ries had been an “eminent man of faith” who “always had the desire to testify to his faith among his contemporaries in a spirit of dialogue.”

With the death of Cardinal Ries there are now 208 living members of the College of Cardinals. Of these 118 are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to participate in a papal conclave. However, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the retired Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, will celebrate his 80th birthday on February 26—prior to the Pope’s resignation—and thus cannot enter the conclave. Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja of Jakarta has announced that his poor health will prevent him from attending the conclave. And Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned today from his post as Archbishop of Edinburgh, has also announced that he will not participate. Thus the number of cardinal-electors expected to meet in March now stands at 115.

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