“I thank you for all the love and all the prayers on my behalf. A thousand pardons and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your concern,” the cardinal concluded.

The case of the missing cardinal

Lacunza, originally from Pamplona, Spain, disappeared on Jan. 30 and was found safe and sound on Feb. 1. The Diocese of David reported his disappearance to the police and an investigation was launched by the prosecutor’s office.

A diocesan statement published the day he was found expressed gratitude for the efforts of the authorities and reported that the cardinal was going to undergo a medical examination.

Father Josué Pilides, a member of the ecclesiastical tribunal of the Diocese of David, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, that the cardinal left the afternoon of Jan. 30 in a pickup truck in a “totally unusual” way because the cardinal is a man with certain habits and has “a pretty regular routine.”

A member of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, Lacunza made his solemn vows in 1967 in Pamplona and was ordained a priest two years later. After serving as a professor in Madrid, he was assigned to Panama, where he was named auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Panama City in 1985 by St. John Paul II.