VATICAN (CWN) -- Cardinal Antonio Quarracino of Buenos Aires died in Argentina on Saturday, February 28, after a long illness.

      Born in Argentina in 1923, Cardinal Quarracino was ordained to the priesthood in 1945, and became Bishop of Nueve de Julio in 1962. He was then assigned to the Archdiocese of La Plata in 1985, and to Buenos Aires in 1990. In 1992, he was elevated by Pope John Paul II to the College of Cardinals.

      In a telegram of condolence to the Argentine Church, Pope John Paul- - who had conveyed his best wishes to the ailing prelate just last week-- saluted Cardinal Quarracino for his service of the Church, mentioning his contributions to the Latin American bishops' conference CELAM.

      Cardinal Jean Balland of Lyons, the primate of the Gauls, died at night on Saturday, February 28-- just one week after having received the cardinal's red hat.

      Cardinal Balland's declining health had been obvious at the consistory, when he had difficulty climbing the steps to receive the red hat from Pope John Paul II. But he had been energetic enough to greet well-wishers at a reception hosted by the French ambassador to the Holy See that evening.

      Born in the town of Bue, near Bourges, in 1934, Cardinal Balland was ordained as a priest in 1961, and became Bishop of Dijon in 1982. He moved to the Diocese of Reims in 1988, and from there to Lyons in 1995. He was hospitalized last year with a pulmonary infection, which forced him to curtail his working schedule. But his death came as something of a shock to the Vatican.

      Pope John Paul II expressed his "profound sorrow" at the news of the news of the cardinal's death. The Pope spoke of the deceased prelate's "zeal and generosity" in leading his archdiocese, and his fatherly attention for the priests and seminarians under his care.

      The death of Cardinal Balland leaves the total number of cardinals eligible to vote in a papal conclave at 120-- the maximum number prescribed under rules promulgated by Pope Paul VI.

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March 3, 1998 volume 9, no. 44         DAILY CATHOLIC