'Belgian Ratzinger' named to head country's Catholics

19th January 2010, Comments 3 comments

The Vatican has named a bishop seen as conservative as the new primate of Belgium's Roman Catholic Church, signalling a change from his more liberal predecessor.

BRUSSELS - "The pope has named Andre-Mutien Leonard, until now bishop of Namur, archbishop of Malines-Brussels," the Vatican said in a statement.

He replaces Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who has been criticised for doing too little to promote the Church's views on issues such as abortion. The 76-year-old was forced to resign because of age limits.

Leonard, 69, has been called the "Belgian Ratzinger," in reference to Joseph Ratzinger -- now Pope Benedict XVI -- due to his traditionalist approach.

His views on homosexuality and other issues have come under fire in the past.

Danneels however dismissed suggestions that the appointment amounted to a more conservative shift for the Belgian Church.

"We have the same love for the Church. Our DNA is different," he told reporters. "Just because the menu is being served by another person does not mean that the menu has changed."

Leonard said on Monday that his positions were "more nuanced" than the "conservative or homophobe" labels attributed to him.

"The cliches will tumble," he said.


3 Comments To This Article

  • Steve posted:

    on 19th January 2010, 22:38:10 - Reply

    Good grief! A bishop who is Catholic! What next?
  • taad posted:

    on 19th January 2010, 15:03:24 - Reply

    It was predicted that people like A. Cmaeron would come along who call good evil and evil good. Praise be to God for our Holy Father Benedict. Maybe if you would try to read and understand what the Church really teaches you wouldn't be so angry. Anyone who truly loves someone trys to protect them from harm. Would you fly a plane that only makes it safely to it's destination 90% of the time? 10 out of 100 people would still get AIDS using a condom. These are very dangerous odds of living. Or another way of looking at it, 9 out 10 times you use it, it fails. Wow, thats pretty bad. The church is saying that is too dangerous to use. The Church loves us. The devil says go ahead and use them even though you may die.
  • A. Cameron posted:

    on 19th January 2010, 11:03:14 - Reply

    For "nuanced", read "bigoted". Ratzinger was an evil bigot before he became pope and nothing has changed since.