Brazil hopes for younger, more open-minded pope


RIO DE JANEIRO – The Catholic Church needs a younger, more modern and open-minded pope who can halt the exodus of the faithful in Latin America, home to half of the world’s Catholics, Brazilians say.

Brazil has the world’s largest Roman Catholic population — at 125 million faithful — but the country’s leftist tilt has left many feeling alienated from a church seen as overly wealthy and detached from modern life.

Catholics’ numerical dominance in Brazil has been steadily eroding as Evangelicals have made major inroads, jumping from 26.2 million in 2000 to 42.3 million in 2010, out of a population of nearly 200 million.

Brazil’s Catholics now fear that their country, and Latin America in general, will face the same dearth of clergy as Europe, where seminaries training future priests are half empty.

They wonder who will be tasked with leading the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics, many of whom were appalled by recent pedophile and corruption scandals and shocked by the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

“It does not matter whether the next pope is Brazilian (or) Filipino, although it will be difficult to get a non-European,” said Franciscan friar and writer Frei Betto, a friend of Cuba’s famed communist revolutionary Fidel Castro and Brazil’s leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“I want a man open to dialogue with the modern world, to inter-religious dialogue,” he said.

“The Catholic Church maintains medieval practices. It did not enter modernity and is not comfortable with the digital world,” he added.

Betto says the next pope must lift the taboos on issues such as priestly celibacy, the ordination of female priests, gay marriage, the use of condoms and abortion in specific cases.

French Dominican friar Henri Burin des Roziers, who lives in a remote part of the Brazilian Amazon and is facing death threats over his defense of landless peasants, meanwhile called for “an end to the great theater of luxury, of the scandals linked to the (pope’s) external wealth.”

He wants the new pontiff “to stop living like a prince, to opt for a simple life.”

“The important thing is that he must be a man of dialogue with the outside world and within the church,” he told AFP.

“We hope that the new pope will create a more open atmosphere, that Christians will be able to have a dialogue with modern culture without the many suspicions and criticisms facing the current pope,” said Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff.

Boff is a leading figure in the progressive Liberation Theology. He quit the priesthood in 1992, eight years after being effectively gagged by none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became pope Benedict XVI.

Paulo Fernando Carneiro de Andrade, a theology professor at the Rio de Janeiro Catholic University, wants a pope who promotes “decentralization and greater openness to cultural pluralism — less eurocentric.”

Sao Paulo archbishop Odilo Scherer, one of the world’s 118 cardinals who could succeed Benedict XVI, said the next pope’s geographical origin is not as important as his approach to “the challenge of postmodernity.”

Raymundo Damasceno Assis, who is president of the Brazilian Bishops Conference and also touted as a possible next pope, told AFP “the challenge for the future pontiff will be to make the gospel relevant for today’s world.”

And Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the emeritus archbishop of Sao Paulo, stressed the need for a pope younger than the 85-year-old Benedict XVI. Around 65 “would be a good age,” he said.

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  • Mark

    “to stop living like a prince, to opt for a simple life.” ; “The important thing is that he must be a man of dialogue with the outside world and within the church,”

    Hopeful for the rise of the modern pope?

  • Diepor

    It would be nice to get a pope that understand somethings about life, its time to change the medieval practices. Then the church would become a place for normal people. There is a lot of good stories in the bible that can teach people how to live their lifes, but its stories. Modern people understand that we are not from Adam and Eve, so use the bible as it is, good stories and guidance but dont take it to seriously.

  • AlexanderAmproz

    For Europe its too late,
    The Vatican credibility was destroyed by a self Medieval arrogance.
    Bishop’s and Cardinal’s don’t notice the majority of the masses
    getting more educated than themselves.

    The Churches are empty, none bulabula will change anything.

    For European the Vatican had already joined the old Egyptian’s, 
    Greek’s and Roman Gods Pantheon.
    Jesus, Maria and Santos aren’t alone, The Bulul’s, Zeus, Jupiter, Juno, Atlas, Venus, Mars
    and hundreds others Yahweh will old them company in the God’s Paradise Cemetery.

    The Vatican City destiny is to be turned into a successful Museum,
    alike the Egyptian, Maya Pyramids or the magic Parthenon and other rituals places belonging to the past civilizations.

    European Middle-Age Cathedral’s are Great Architectures Pieces of Art !

    The Vatican administration should be moved to a Gullible place
    in deep Africa, Philippines or Brazil or any other remote country
    with a delayed education access. 
    Hollywood will also do the trick thanks of the fantasy of the movie ceremonials style and clothes. Look at their faces and style, all of them with grey hairs, strange bakla inquisitional expressions with dark age habit, perfect for horror or perverse scenari
    a straight remembrance of the early civilizations times.

  • krizzibarra

    it will be oh so difficult to change a church that considers itself “perfect”..  oh vey,  perfected during the dark ages and have remained there ever since for nothing “perfect” will ever evolve.

  • kilabot

    it’s slowly creeping inside. 
    the world agenda is to make the abnormal the new normal; 
    1) dangerous drugs; 
    2) same-sex marriage; 
    3) man-beast union; 
    4) prostitution; 
    5) pedophilia; 
    6) abortion; 

    the agenda is being pushed around the world; 
    some countries have already legalized one or more of the agenda items; 
    the push is intensifying; targeting world leaders and people of influence; 
    uk, france, netherlands, spain, sweden, southafrica, argentina and canada have fallen; 
    obama, clinton and carter have fallen; the whole usa may fall soon; 
    noykapon has fallen; so do many ph politicians and academics; ph on the verge of falling; 

    everything will be redefined; 
    freedom means free condom; 
    $sodomy becomes love; bestialisex is affection; a toilet bowl becomes a sex object; 
    a junkie is chic; a prostitute is enterprising; 
    adopting the agenda is equated to progress, prosperity and advancement; 

    the idea is to make the world one big orgy; all people thinking, behaving and acting alike; 
    one world order; the reign of the great pervert; 
    there will be no more right nor wrong; there is only normal perversion; 

    time to choose which side you are on; fence-sitting not recommended. 
    do something against perversion. help rehabilitate a pervert; 

    No to perversion! 

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