Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - “His Excellency Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada departed from us physically at 5:30 this morning to enter into the Lord’s presence...after having suffered a long and painful Calvary in his many illnesses.” These were the words of dedication from Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City, in his Message addressed to all the faithful on the death of Cardinal Ahumada. The Cardinal died from a stroke at 89 years of age. His successor as Archbishop of Mexico City remembers him as, “a man of convictions, of wise and firm decisions, whose motto in his episcopal ministry was “My life is Christ”; a man who never hesitated in following the Lord’s call and from a young age, he was capable of making important decisions.”
Cardinal Rivera said that although his absence left a great emptiness that would be hard to fill, he remains “among us in his teachings and his example of faith and Christian life; his strength and courage in situations of adversity; his words of encouragement amidst the difficulties; his wisdom in the face of the uncertainty we all experience when we must make decisions.” He also mentioned the memory of “his countless works at the service of the Church and our country, in defense of the promotion of values, in his great affection for all the faithful, for his self-donation in the difficult moments of 1985, in his vision as a Pastor in organizing and overseeing the II Synod of Bishops in this Archdiocese of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.”
Cardinal Rivera concluded his statement manifesting his gratitude “for having left us his testimony of love for the Lord and for Our Lady of Guadalupe, his filial love for the Holy Father, his confidence in the Church’s future, and his example as a Mexican citizen committed to his country and as a universal Christian,” as he offers his prayers for the Cardinal’s eternal rest.
There has been an outpouring of condolences arriving at the Communications Office for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, with many from state and federal representatives. The Cardinal’s wake is taking place at the Archdiocesan Minor Seminary, guarded by the seminarians and several Bishops. At noon, today, the remains of Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada will be transferred to the Basilica of Guadalupe. On the 13th, there will be a funeral at the Mexico City Cathedral, presided by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera. His mortal remains will be permanently laid to rest in the Archbishops’ Chapel. In less than one month’s time, the Mexican Church has lost 2 of its emeritus Cardinals, as the Cardinal Emeritus Adolfo Suarez Rivera of Monterrey passed away during Easter Week.
Cardinal Corripio was born in Tampico, Tamaulipas on June 29, 1919. He was ordained a priest on October 25, 1942 in Rome. In 1945, he began his priestly ministry in his hometown. Pope Pius XII named him Titular Bishop of Zapara and Auxiliary of Tampico on December 27, 1952. He was ordained a bishop on March 19, 1953. He was named Titular Bishop of Tampico on February 25, 1956. Pope Paul VI named him Archbishop of Oaxaca, June 25, 1967 and on March 11, 1977 he transferred to the episcopate of Puebla de los Angeles. On June 19, 1977 he was named Archbishop of Mexico City (Primate of Mexico).
He served three non-consecutive terms as president of the CEM (Mexican Bishops’ Conference). He also served as consultant for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Roman Curia, Co-president of the III General Assembly of Latin American Bishops, member of the Congregations for Divine Worship, for the Clergy, for Catholic Education, and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; member of the Human Rights Commission of CELAM, as well as of the Economic Commission and Administrative Commission of the Holy See. As Archbishop of Mexico, he received John Paul II on his 2 apostolic visits to Mexico, in January 1979 and in May 1990. He was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II on June 30, 1979. On September 29, 1994, John Paul II accepted his renunciation of the pastoral government of the Archdiocese of Mexico. The Cardinal is remembered as a man of talent and sensibility in relations with the Mexican government. He was a man of the Church who worked for Her, and since the beginning of his pastoral ministry sought to respond, along with his clergy, to the challenges presented in the area of evangelization at the close of the millenium. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 11/4/2008; righe 57, parole 744)