Reduce papacy’s power, says Daneels.
A senior cardinal widely tipped as a possible successor to Pope John Paul has suggested the power of the papacy should be reduced and that there should be less focus on the person of the Pope.
Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, told the Rome paper 30 Giorni that a “moment of calm” was needed in the Church, and that in the third millennium a different style was called for after the Vatican’s “centralised control” of recent centuries.
Cardinal Danneels, who is widely seen as the leader of the “reform party” at the next conclave, described the Pope as “a real charismatic personality who attracts attention”. But the identification between the Pope’s role and personality was not “a good thing”, he said. He said a retirement for an “ailing and ageing pope” – an option the Pope has firmly rejected – could help to break the link. But he made it clear that it was not his wish or intention to weaken the papacy.
Cardinal Danneels also suggested that bishops’ synods should be less formal and more open, and that the “endless stream of paper” from the Curia should be cut back. “We are deluged with documents, instructions and manuals”, he lamented.