French cardinal calls for a Pope open to change

7th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

ROME, April 6 (AFP) - The successor to Pope John Paul II should be open to a changing world and refrain from setting "doctrine in reinforced concrete", French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin said Wednesday.

ROME, April 6 (AFP) - The successor to Pope John Paul II should be open to a changing world and refrain from setting "doctrine in reinforced concrete", French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin said Wednesday.

"He must be a man who knows and understands today's world and its culture, so the people understand and listen when he speaks up, as long he does not speak in stereotypes," said Barbarin, who at 54 is one of the youngest cardinals who will begin electing the next pope on April 18.

He told AFP as he arrived in Rome that the next pope should touch the hearts of the people and not "repeat a doctrine (set) in reinforced concrete."

Barbarin also said there was no reason why the next pontiff should not come from outside Europe as the Roman Catholic Church was at a turning point.

"The Church is ready for yet more astonishing innovations because John Paul II acted in a way that meant all doors have been flung open," said Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon in eastern France.

"If we elect a Pope from Africa or Latin America in two weeks' time, nobody will be surprised; he (John Paul II) opened so many doors that anything is possible."

Asked if cardinals electing the next pope would choose a Pope based on his personality rather than his conservatism or zest for reform, Barbarin said that "personality and convictions cannot be separated from each other".

In France, the chairman of the French Bishops' Conference, Jean-Pierre Ricard, has made heightened dialogue with other religions a top priority for the pope's successor.

Some French priests also want a reconciliation with society at large along the lines first propagated by the 1965 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, or Vatican II, which encouraged the Church to address modern issues such as the role of women, divorce, celibacy for priests, contraception and homosexuality at the forefront of debate.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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