Expatica news

Verhofstadt lauds Pope who ‘left his mark’ on centrury

4 April 2005

BRUSSELS – Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has paid tribute to the late Pope John Paul II saying the pontiff leaft his mark on the 20th century.

“Even if not everyone agreed with some of his views, no-one will deny that Pope John Paul II left his mark on the second half of the 20th century,” Verhofstadt said in statement released shortly after the pope died on Saturday evening.

The Belgian Royal Palace said that King Albert II and Queen Paola would attend the Pope’s funeral.

The Primate of the Catholic Church in Belgium, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, also paid tribute to John Paul II.

“We are mourning and we are sad. But for me, it’s also a day of immense recognition and gratitude for somebody who led the church for 26 years”, he said at press conference ahead of a mass in Brussels’ main cathedral in honour of the late Pope.

But Daneels would not be drawn on whether he may be chosen as John Paul II’s successor, as some religious pundits have suggested.

“We must hope for a new balance but the next Pope will be the person chosen during the conclave, and he will be the right one,” he said.

Daneels added that whovever the next Pope may be he should not try to copy the “inimitable” John Paul II.

“If I can give some advice to the next (Pope), it’s not to try to imitate him, to be himself,” the Cardinal said.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news