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Oldest Roman Catholic Cardinal Dies

The oldest cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church has died at age 96.

Cardinal Johannes Willebrands was one of the Catholic Church's chief architects of ecumenical dialogue. He chaired the papal Secretariat for the Union of Christians for twenty years and prepared the documents on ecumenism, religious liberty and relations with non-Christian religions for the famed second Vatican Council in the early 1960s.

The cardinal was born in the Netherlands in 1909. He was ordained a priest in 1934. He was elevated to the status of cardinal in 1969 and made Archbishop of Utrecht in 1975. He resigned that role in 1983 but continued to serve as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity until 1989.

The Vatican did not disclose a cause of death.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.