August 26, 2020-updated 10:31am

Nagluluksa ang Simbahang Katolika sa Pilipinas sa pagpanaw ni Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Valero Cruz sa edad na 85-taong gulang.

Ito ang kinumpirma ni Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David-acting president ng Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

“The Most Rev. Oscar V. Cruz, DD, JCD, who served as CBCP President from 1995-1999, passed on at 6:45am today, the 26th of August 2020, at the age of 85, at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital,” ayon sa ipinadalang mensahe ni Bishop David.

As one of the leading canon lawyers of the Church in the Philippines, +OVC continued to serve as Judicial Vicar of the CBCP’s National Tribunal after he retired in 2009.

+OVC had his seminary formation at the UST Central Seminary, obtained his Doctorate in Canon Law at the Lateran University in Rome, and was ordained bishop in 1976. He was first assigned as Auxiliary Bishop of Manila until 1978, then as Archbishop of San Fernando, Pampanga from 1978-1988, and later as Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan from 1991-2009. In between the two assignments, he took an active part in the convening of the historic Second Plenary Council of the Philippines in 1991.”

Ang dating arsobispo ay pumanaw dulot na rin ng matagal nang karamdaman.

Ang namayapang arsobispo ay kilalang kritiko ng ilang mga naging pinuno ng bansa, pinamunuan ang krusada ng simbahan laban sa iligal na sugal at masidhing tagapagtanggol ng mga turo ng simbahan lalu na sa usapin ng kasagraduhan ng buhay at kasal.

Itinatag ng Arsobispo ang Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng kung saan ibinunyag nito sa Senado ang listahan ng mga jueteng lords sa bansa.

“He has been one of the leading voices in the advocacy against illegal gambling in the country,” ayon pa sa mensahe ni Bishop David.

Nakikiisa rin ang pamunuan ng Radio Veritas sa pagpanaw ni Archbishop Cruz na huling nakapanayam sa himpilan taong 2016 sa programang Veritasan ni Fr. Jerome Secillano-executive secretary ng CBCP-Permanent Committee on Public affairs bago maratay sa karamdaman.

Ayon kay Fr. Secillano, hindi matatawaran ang karunungan, pagmamahal sa bayan at simbahan ng namayapang arsobispo na nanatili ang integridad hanggang sa kanyang pagpanaw.

“We lost a brilliant man and a dedicated pastor in Archbishop Oscar Cruz. His love for the church and our country was unflinching. His candor and wise counsel far surpass his flaws. He died with his integrity intact. Rest in peace, Abp. Cruz.”

Isinalarawan naman ni Atty. Jo Imbong ng CBCP legal office ang kaniyang kaibigang si Archbishop Cruz bilang matapang at banayad na pastol ng simbahan.

“Brave Pastor, gentle Shepherd, wise mentor of the Legal Office in challenging times, friend. Rest in peace in your heavenly reward.”

Ang yumaong si Archbishop Cruz ay kabilang din sa mga blogger ng Radio Veritas ph at naging director ng CBCP-Legal Office.