Story By: Amanda Morales, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
The Spanish priest who became a close friend and later the confessor of the Pope after donating blood that saved him when he was a younger man has died at the age of 89.
Monsignor Jose Bonet Alcon died after undergoing a lung operation, and it was ironically a lung operation that Pope Francis, known then as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, had undergone at the age of 21 when he was given a life-saving blood transfusion from the Spanish priest.
According to information from the national newspaper, El Mundo, Pope Francis had undergone an operation to remove part of his right lung and medics had needed extra blood, which Monsignor Jose Bonet Alcon had provided.
He died in the autonomous district of Buenos Aires, located in the northeast of Argentina last Monday 24th August.
The Spanish priest and Pope Francis, now aged 83, met at the Seminary of Buenos Aires some months before the entrance of the today Pontiff into the Society of Jesus, and they quickly became strong friends.
In statements collected by the national newspaper Vida Nueva Digital, Monsignor Bonet was quoted as having said he and another seminarian, Jose Barbich, had cared for the man that was to become Pope.
He said: “We visited him in our spare time and spent part of the day with him. Sometimes we even stayed to sleep in the hospital. We took care of him and we suffered a lot for him.”
In addition to being a close friend, Monsignor Bonet was Pope Francis’s confessor when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Cardinal.
Monsignor Jose Bonet Alcon was born in Valencia on 19th November 1930.
At the age of 23, he obtained a law degree after graduating from the University of Valencia and moved to Argentina, with a scholarship from the Institute of Hispanic Culture.
After a year, he felt “God’s call to be a priest in Argentina” and was ordained on 5th December 1964.
Monsignor Jose Bonet was one of the founders and professor of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, president of the National Argentinian Ecclesiastical Court and honorary president of the Argentine Society of Culture.
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