Monday, April 04, 2005

Will Next Pope Be More Gay Friendly?

by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief

Posted: April 3, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Vatican City) A devout Catholics mourn the death of Pope John Paul II, the princes of the Church are sizing up one another as they prepare to elect the next leader of the faith.

Within the next three weeks the almost 120 cardinals from around the world will gather in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel to choose a successor to John Paul.

In the past the process of selecting a new pope has been rife with political rivalries and that is not expected to change this time. But, often a cardinal considered at the beginning of the process to be a dark horse emerges as the winner. Certainly John Paul fit that category. He was the first non Italian to be named Pope in 455 years.

Whoever the cardinals elect it is unlikely he will be philosophically different from John Paul. After all, he appointed more than 95 percent of the cardinals who will elect his successor, thus stacking the odds that his conservative teachings will not be altered.

Among those believed to have a wide base of support is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a German.

The 77 year old Ratzinger was John Paul's deputy for theology as head of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Ratzinger was the author of the a 2003 Vatican directive to priests around the world calling for a proactive stand to stop governments from legalizing same-sex marriage and for a repeal of those those already on the books that give rights, including adoption, to gay couples. (story)

The 12 page document called on Catholic bishops and lawmakers to oppose the legalization of same-sex unions.

Ratzinger opposes contraception and the use of condoms to combat HIV/AIDS. He advocates a diminished role for women in the Church and has called for mandatory celibacy for priests.

Another name being mentioned as a possible successor to John Paul is Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras.

Rodriguez Maradiaga is considered the leading churchman in Latin America. At 62 he is considerably younger than Ratzinger. Also a conservative, Rodriguez Maradiaga has spoken out on numerous occasions opposing gay issues - especially same-sex marriage.

Other prominent names mentioned include Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Vatican-based Nigerian; Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina; Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium; Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico; Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Austria and Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Italy. All are conservatives and all would unlikely reduce the attacks on gays.

©365Gay.com 2005

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