Cardinal Ratzinger 'odious'

2005-04-17 22:09

Sao Paulo - German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, considered a high possibility to become the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church, was branded "odious" on Sunday by Brazilian leftist theologist Leonardo Boff, who predicted Ratzinger would never become pope.

At the same time, Brazilian Cardinal Aloisio Lorscheider accused European cardinals of dominating the church and said their "sense of superiority" would not allow them to elect a non-European pope.

"Ratzinger is one of the (Catholic) church's most odious cardinals because of his rigidity, and because he humiliated the bishops' conferences and fellow cardinals in an authoritarian manner on questions of faith," Boff wrote in the newspaper O Estado.

A former priest who was condemned to silence by Pope John Paul II in 1985 for supporting radical liberation theology, Boff said Ratzinger "will never be pope, because it would be excessive, something the intelligence of the cardinals would not permit".

Both John Paul II and Ratzinger strongly opposed liberation theology, which calls for the church to be more politically and socially active in fighting for human rights.

As Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger is one of the church's leading enforcers of theological discipline.

He is a widely considered a leading candidate to be named pope when the church's cardinals begin meeting on Monday to determine a successor to John Paul II, who died on April 2.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Lorscheider, the archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, said in a newspaper interview that it was unlikely that the College of Cardinals would select a non-European for pope.

"The Europeans, the majority in the conclave, have an undeniable sense of superiority, and I know it well," Lorscheider told the Sao Paulo newspaper Folha.

"There is a chance that Don Claudio (Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes) becomes pope, but he has the great disadvantage of being Latin American," said Lorscheider.

Lorscheider, according to rumours he does not deny, received one vote each to become pope in the last two conclaves, both in 1978. At 80, he can no longer vote in the papal election.