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Cardinal who allowed altar girls dies

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Spanish Cardinal Antonio Javierre Ortas, the former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, died on February 1 in his apartment near the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI, who presided at Cardinal Javierre’s funeral on February 2 in St Peter’s Basilica, said the cardinal’s life and actions always were motivated by “his love for Christ and his fidelity to the successor of Peter”.

The cardinal, who would have celebrated his 86th birthday on February 21, was a member of the Salesians and had served as rector of the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome, as secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education and as Vatican archivist before heading the worship congregation from 1992-96.

As head of the congregation, in 1994 Cardinal Javierre issued the rules officially stating that local bishops could allow women and girls to be altar servers.

Born in Sietamo, Spain, in 1921, he joined the Salesians in his late teens and was ordained to the priesthood in 1949.

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