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Philadelphia Cardinal Krol Resigning Post Due to Age

December 08, 1987|Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Cardinal John Krol, 77, archbishop of Philadelphia for more than a quarter century, announced today he is stepping down for reasons of age.

Pope John Paul II named Bishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua of Pittsburgh to succeed Krol as the head of the nation's fourth-largest archdiocese.

"Philadelphia deserves much better service than I am able to give at this stage of my life," Krol said at a news conference with Bevilacqua. "I am very pleased that the Holy Spirit, through our Holy Father, chose Bishop Bevilacqua to succeed me."

Church law requires that bishops submit their resignations upon reaching the age of 75. The resignations are not always accepted immediately.

Krol said he will remain in Philadelphia during retirement.

"They'd have to drive me out of Philadelphia to get me out," Krol said.

As leader of 1.3 million Catholics, Krol exerted his influence as a conservative priest to fight communism, abortion and what he saw as an erosion of morality in America.

Born in Cleveland, the son of a Polish-born machinist, the 6-foot-1 Krol was regarded as instrumental in behind-the-scenes church politics. At a time when he was, himself, being mentioned as a leading candidate for Pope, he backed the election of a Polish cardinal who eventually became Pope John Paul II.

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