Head of Belgian Catholic Church talks

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At a press conference, Cardinal Godfried Danneels speaks candidly about his life and years in church.

29 May 2008

BRUSSELS - On the eve of his 75th birthday on 4 June and his subsequent resignation from office, Cardinal Godfried Danneels for the first time has spoken candidly about his life and years in church.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium called together the press on Wednesday to reflect upon his career.

I never planned anything,” he opened. “It just happened to me. It wasn’t a call I received, I was just born that way”, the Cardinal said.

The Archbishop explained that when he joined the seminary, he wasn’t sent to nearby Bruges as he’d hoped he would but instead ended up in Leuven, at the other end of Flanders.

In the same way, the Archbishop continued that he did not volunteer to become a bishop, let alone Archbishop. “The only they didn’t make was when they needed a new pope,” he added.

Godfried Danneels was inducted Archbishop of the region Leuven-Mechelen on 4 January 1980. 3 years later he was made cardinal. Before his ordination, Godfried Danneels lectured theology.

“The great thing about being a professor is that you’re in charge of your own diary. You can read and study at leisure.”

Whether the Archbishop will now have more time for his favourite pastime remains to be seen.

“The Pope can either accept my resignation or refuse it. If it is accepted, I will have to stay on until a successor is found, which may take a while."

"If not, I will just have to carry on a few more years. Quite frankly, I don’t see myself in office until the age of 80. I do treasure my health”, the Belgian Primate concluded, no doubt referring to the bypass operation he had a few years ago.

[flandersnews.be / Expatica]

3 Comments To This Article

  • Madhu Kopparam posted:

    on 30th May 2008, 06:36:52 - Reply

    Here, chastened, I stand
    vanquished by Lexi Conn's erudite hand.
  • Lexi Conn posted:

    on 29th May 2008, 11:30:02 - Reply

    When one refers to the dictionary one will find that the chief bishop or archbishop of an ecclesiastical area is indeed referred to as a primate - no apology needed. The word has several meanings similar to the word fool!
  • Madhu Kopparam posted:

    on 29th May 2008, 10:27:22 - Reply

    Belgian primate? As far as I know there are no monkeys native to Belgium or even northern Europe.

    If it was Prelate you were thinking of then you owe poor Cardinal Danneels an apology.

    And you also need to correct your, hopefully inadvertent, mistake.