Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz dead at 85

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The Catholic Church in the Philippines lost another distinguished prelate in the person of Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz.

Known as a vocal critic of government for the past several administrations, Cruz died at the age of 85 at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City due to a “lingering illness,” in a tweet posted by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

A Facebook post by Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas noted that Cruz died of “multiple organ failure caused by critical Covid-19 infection.”

Cruz, who was also President of the CBCP from 1995-1999, is recognized as a staunch enemy of gambling in the country, including the illegal numbers game “jueteng.”

He was born on November 17, 1934 in Balanga, Bataan and officially ordained as a priest in 1962, appointed auxiliary bishop of Manila 14 years later in 1976 then named Archbishop of San Fernando in 1978. He became Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan in Pangasinan in 1991, a post he held for 18 years.

He retired at 75 years old but continued to serve as the judicial vicar of the CBCP National Appellate Tribunal of Appeals and CBCP Legal Office director.

According to the CBCPNews, the church-based news agency operated by the Media Office of the CBCP, Archbishop Cruz wrote a total of 54 books that included the CBCP Guidelines on Sexual Abuse and Misconduct: A Critique, and Call of the Laity.

Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, August 28 at 9am at the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City.

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