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Belgian bishop “in running” for promotion from Pope

Published on 21/04/2005

21 April 2005

BRUSSELS – A Belgian bishop could be in line for a powerful promotion from the new Pope, it emerged on Thursday.

Belgium4s francophone media reported that Namur bishop Andre-Mutier Leonard was an ally with similar theological views to Pope Benedict XVI, who became the Catholic church’s new leader Tuesday.

La Libre Belgique and La Derniere Heure predicted he would either be made a cardinal by the Pope or he would get the new Pope’s previous role as the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Reporters pointed out that the Pope, former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had picked the Belgian in 1987 for the international theological commission, a body made up of around 30 theologians, which meets for a week every year.

Priest Tommy Scholtes, an ecclesiastical adviser for the Belgian Embassy at the Vatican and head of the agency Cathobel, told Le Soir the bishop and the pope have known each other for a long time and come from the same ideological background.

Leonard told the press he could not comment on his own suitability for promotion, but added: “if the new pope asks me to do something, I will reply”.

Leonard has lost no time in praising Pope Benedict XVI since his appointment. He described him as possessing qualities such as “listening, modesty, simplicity”. “I was hoping he would be elected,” he said.

“Some believe he is too strict, but he’s a man capable of ensuring the continuity of John Paul II in a sobre, more reserved style. He’s not a narrow conservative as he’s often described.”

Leonard’s effusive reaction contrasts with the measured language of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the head of Belgium’s Catholic Church, who said earlier this week it was too soon to tell what kind of Pope Ratzinger would make.

Danneels is believed to disagree with many of Pope Benedict’s conservative views.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news