Edmund Szoka, an American cardinal who served as governor and financial administrator of the Vatican and was a confidant of Pope John Paul II, died on Wednesday in Novi, Mich. He was 86.
The Archdiocese of Detroit announced his death.
Appointed a cardinal in 1988 by John Paul, Cardinal Szoka became president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See two years later. The office audits Vatican accounts, approves budgets and handles major financial transactions, such as the buying and selling of property.
As governor of Vatican City, Cardinal Szoka held executive and legislative power. He managed annual budgets and oversaw Vatican buildings and artworks.
Cardinal Szoka grew close to the pope, prayed for him at his deathbed and led a rosary in St. Peter’s Square the night he died.
John Paul’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI, accepted Cardinal Szoka’s resignation a day after his 79th birthday, in 2006.
Edmund Casimir Szoka was born on Sept. 14, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Mich. His parents were Polish immigrants. His first assignment as a priest, in 1954, was as associate pastor of a parish in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
After his retirement from active ministry, Cardinal Szoka lived in Northville, Mich., a suburb of Detroit.