VATICAN CITY — The world’s oldest Catholic bishop, Vietnamese Bishop Antoine Nguyen Van Thien, died May 13 in France two months after his 106th birthday, the Vatican newspaper reported.
The former bishop of Vinh Long, Vietnam, celebrated the 80th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in February. He was ordained a bishop in 1961 and he attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council in 1962-65.
The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said that after seven years as bishop of Vinh Long, in 1968 at the age of 62, he was allowed to resign after “a serious illness.”
He lived in Nice, France, since 1985.
The website catholic-hierarchy.org lists the next oldest bishop as Francis Hong Yong-ho of Pyongyang, North Korea. The Vatican yearbook still lists him as the diocese’s bishop, but says he has “disappeared.” He had been arrested by the communists in 1949. If he is alive, he would be 105.
Retired Bishop Gery Leuliet of Amiens, France, is next at 102.
The oldest living U.S. bishop is sixth on the list: retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark, N.J., will be 100 in July.