The 14 cardinals (and two others) who died in 2021

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Fourteen cardinals died in 2021.

The first to die was Swiss cardinal, Henri Schwery, who died on Jan. 7.

This mathematics and physics expert had to face the schism of the Lefebvrians in his own diocese at the end of the 1980s.

Less than a week later, on Jan. 13, Covid claimed the life of Brazilian cardinal, Eusébio Oscar Scheid. The 88-year-old had been the Bishop of Rio de Janeiro.

On April 2, Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, the first cardinal from Cameroon, died. He was one of the most dedicated figures in his country's search for peace.

A few months earlier, he had been kidnapped and held hostage for several hours for having encouraged children to return to school after an attack that had left some of them dead.

Also in April, on the 10th, Australian cardinal, Edward Cassidy, died. He was 96 years old.

John Paul II named him the Vatican's third highest-ranking official in 1988, and a year later, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. The cardinal was involved in the drafting of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification with the Lutheran World Federation.

Cardinal Sebastian Koto Khoarai died on April 17, at 91 years old. He was the bishop of Mohale's Hoek, in Lesotho. Pope Francis had created him cardinal in 2016.

Ten days later, on April 27, South Korean cardinal, Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, died at 89 years old. The former archbishop of Seoul was created cardinal by Benedict XVI.

On May 29, illness claimed the life of Brunei's first cardinal, Cornelius Sim.

This engineer was also the first bishop born in Brunei, a Muslim-majority country in southeast Asia.

Cardinal Laurent Monsenwo Pasinya, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, died on July 11 when he was 81 years old. He was a staunch defender of human rights in his country during Mobutu Sese Seko's dictatorship. For five years, he was part of the Council of Cardinals created by Pope Francis to reform the Vatican Curia.

Also in July, on the 29th, French cardinal, Albert Vanhoye, died. At 98 years old, this expert on Scripture was the oldest member of the College of Cardinals.

On Aug. 10, Spanish cardinal, Eduardo Martinez Somalo died. He was 94 years old. He was one of John Paul II's closest advisers. The Polish Pope even named him Camarlengo, who is in charge of Vatican affairs during a Sede Vacante period, when there is no pope.

On Sept. 23, Covid-19 claimed the life of Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, Archbishop Emeritus of Caracas. The cardinal was the face of the Catholic Church at the height of Chavismo. Tensions with the government continued into Maduro's mandate.

Three days later, Brazilian cardinal José Freire Falcão, also died of Covid-19. He was 95 years old and had been archbishop of Brasilia.

On Sept. 29, Cardinal Alexandre José María dos Santos, the first priest, bishop and cardinal from Mozambique, died. He was 97 years old.

On Oct. 3, Chilean cardinal, Jorge Medina Estévez, died. As cardinal protodeacon, he announced the new Pope to the world at the conclave in 2005.

The death of two other clergymen also made waves at the Vatican.

The first was Jesuit priest, Stan Swamy, who died on July 5, in a hospital in Mumbai, India. He was 84 years old and had been in prison since October 2020.

The government arrested him for defending the fights of the indigenous Adivasis in Jharkhand.

Then in December, Nuncio Aldo Giordano died. His final diplomatic mission was to the European union. But this year, he had also served as nuncio in Caracas, where, on the Pope's behalf, he celebrated Dr. José Gregorio Hernández's beatification.



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