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terça-feira, abril 12, 2005

The Dark Horse: Stephen Bates, Guardian, April 11

Portuguese patriarch is dark horse papal candidate Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondentMonday April 11, 2005The Guardian A dark-horse candidate for pope, capable of bridging the divide between the Europeans and the Latin American Roman Catholic cardinals, appears to be emerging in the shape of the Patriarch of Portugal, Jose da Cruz Policarpo.
A week before the cardinals start voting to elect a pope, the 115 men will pause in their devotions to canvass each others' opinions on the next pontiff.
On Saturday they decided to give no more formal interviews to the media, but that will not preclude their own lobbying and discussions. Alongside Policarpo, Claudio Hummes, of Brazil, is emerging as a potential favourite.
With the debate expected to focus on whether the pope should be European or whether the cardinals should open the papacy to a candidate from the church's growing Latin American congregations, the men are regarded as bridges between the continents.
Both speak the languages of Latin America but have European roots: Policarpo's career has been spent as a theologian in Portugal; Hummes's parents were German. Both men, while orthodox, have been concerned with human rights and world poverty.
Whoever is elected pope will need the support of the bulk of cardinals from both regions to secure the required two-thirds majority of 77: Europe has 58 cardinals, and central and southern America only 20. By comparison, North America has 14 cardinals, Africa 11, Asia 10, and Australasia and the Pacific two each.
Even so, the South Americans will say they are severely under-represented in the conclave: the church in Latin America has 500 million followers, but only 18% of those electing the pope come from the region.
While Hummes, 70, who is cardinal archbishop of Sao Paulo, the largest diocese in the church, features on most lists of the papabile (worthy to be pope), Policarpo, 69, has been much less touted and is something of a dark horse - but judged by some to be the best to tackle the problem of re-engaging Europe's disaffected Catholics with the mother church.
"He's a formidable thinker, a real intellectual, very good on the questions affecting European culture, which are going to absorb the cardinals," said one Vatican observer. "He could also be the first cigarette-smoking pope."
Policarpo, ordained in 1961 and a bishop since 1978, was not made a cardinal until 2001. He has spent most of his career at the Portuguese Catholic University and spoken out against human rights abuses in East Timor and Mozambique.
Hummes, a Franciscan, is seen as doctrinally and morally strict but has been a strong advocate for the poor and dispossessed and a powerful evangelist among his 6-million-strong diocese.
It is now thought unlikely the next pope will be from Asia or Africa. Nigeria's Cardinal Francis Arinze is not thought to be a strong enough contender.

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