Belgian cardinal may emergeas 'compromise choice' Pope
6 April 2005 BRUSSELS – The head of the Belgian Catholic church was on Wednesday being described as a potential candidate to become the next Pope.
6 April 2005
BRUSSELS – The head of the Belgian Catholic church was on Wednesday being described as a potential candidate to become the next Pope.
Belgian tabloid La Derniere Heure announced in its headline that Cardinal Godfried Danneels had a 20 to 1 chance of becoming the next Pontiff.
Although it didn’t say where it got its odds from, the paper argued that the Mechelen-Brussels cardinal could win if modernisers and traditionalists in the Catholic hierarchy couldn’t agree to any of the favourites.
"Two major currents of thought need to be confronted," said Jean-Pierre Delville, a professor of religious history at the Catholic University of Leuven.
"On the one hand, there are the cardinals who want yet more opening up towards the rest of the world; on the other hand, those who would like the new Pope to be a bit more focused on the workings of the Vatican itself."
La Derniere Heure stated neither of those two camps had a majority, meaning they would need to seek alliances.
If the modernisers can't win backing for a South American candidate and the traditionalists can't win backing for an Italian cardinal, Danneels could be "a compromise candidate – Belgian style".
The cardinals might have to pick "an outsider who, even if he doesn’t totally satisfy anyone, could globally suit everyone", said the paper.
Rik Torfs, a professor of church law at the same university, told Associated Press since Danneels is the compromise "the longer the conclave lasts, the greater the chances of Danneels become".
Danneels himself, who will be one of the 117 cardinals who will start choosing the future Pope at a conclave starting on 18 April, has decided not to comment on his own chances.
"That is up to heaven, what God is thinking about, and up to the cardinals," he said.
He did, though, say he expected the next Pope to be someone who would "continue, in a certain sense, all the good things that this Pope has begun", as well as being open to change.
"The Church is in complete revolution and evolution, so he has to adapt," he insisted.
Danneels, who was a friend of John Paul II, differed with the former Pope on issues such as contraception, once stating those with HIV should use condoms.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news