Washington, 5 (NE) "Speaking for the Bishops of the United States, and for so many others, I offer my condolences and prayers to the Cardinal's family and the people of New York. I give thanks to God for the light that shined through Cardinal O'Connor and I pray for the happy repose of his soul," said Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, in a statement issued after the death of Cardinal O'Connor. 

Several US Bishops praised yesterday the Cardinal, who since 1984 headed the Archdiocese of New York. "Cardinal O'Connor was an outstanding priest, an exemplary Bishop, and a true friend," said Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, upon learning of Cardinal O'Connor's death. "In the midst of sickness and physical weakness, he demonstrated the strength which comes from trust in God. With his suffering united to the sufferings of Christ, Cardinal O'Connor taught us complete and joyful acceptance of God's Will."

Meanwhile, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver recalled the Cardinal as "a skilled leader who never lost the courage to speak the truth; a man of great heart and intellect; and above all, a disciple of Jesus Christ." Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, stated that "Cardinal O'Connor challenged the people of New York and the people of the nation to respect the lives of the unborn, the infirm and the unwanted." For him, Chicago's Archbishop further stressed, "this was not empty rhetoric. He supported his profound oratory with the actions of a true shepherd."