Cardinal says 'too early' to judge new Pope

20th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

20 April 2005, BRUSSELS - The head of Belgium's Catholic church said it was too early to tell whether the new Pope Benedict XVI would steer the church in a staunchly conservative direction, it was reported Wednesday.

20 April 2005

BRUSSELS - The head of Belgium's Catholic church said it was too early to tell whether the new Pope Benedict XVI would steer the church in a staunchly conservative direction, it was reported Wednesday.

"We have to wait," he told De Standaard newspaper. "All present interpretations are temporary and can change. Wait a few weeks or months," he added.

Still, it seems that Danneels' mixed opinion of German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has not changed now that he has become the 265th pope.

He refers to the new pontiff as an extremely intelligent man but does not share his view of Western culture.

But Danneels appeared to see some hope in Ratzinger's choice of name.

"Benedict is the patron of Europe. It was a short papacy but much was achieved . A Pope that stood for peace and reconciliation, the latter being very important," he said.

Sticking to his oath of secrecy, Danneels refused to give any insight into what happened behind the closed doors of the Sistine Chapel until white smoke emerged Tuesday evening indicating a successful vote.

"I cannot divulge any information about events within the conclave," he said. "It is the first time I have had to hold my tongue," he said.

Danneels had been considered by some as a moderate compromise candidate for Pope.

Belgian tabloid La Derniere Heure had announced earlier this month that Cardinal Danneels had a 20-to-1 chance of becoming the next Pontiff.

The paper had argued that the Mechelen-Brussels cardinal could have won if modernisers and traditionalists in the Catholic hierarchy couldn't agree to any of the favourites.

Yet Danneels said he was relieved that he is not the new Pope. "I have never wished to be chosen."

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was quick to offer his congratulations to the new head of the Catholic Church.

Verhofstadt sent a telegramme to the new pope already Tuesday night wishing him success in what he said would be a difficult mission confronting the important questions of the 21st century.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject : Belgian news

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