The pope’s pricey visit to Brazil

May 24, 2013

Gabriel Elizondo – Al Jazeera, 05/24/2013

Local and federal security officials in Brazil – primarily in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia – are increasingly preoccupied over providing protection for Pope Francis’ seven day visit to Rio de Janeiro July 22-28.

Officials here at the highest levels in recent weeks have put into place what will be the largest, most intricate, and unprecedented protection operation ever mounted in the country for a visiting high-level dignitary, officials have told me.

The papal visit presents a unique set of highly complicated security concerns never before seen in Brazil.

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Brazil forgets rivalry in Argentine triumph

March 15, 2013

The Times of India/AP, 03/15/2013

Bitter rivals in soccer. The butt of one another’s biting jokes. The samba versus the tango.

Brazil and its neighbour Argentina are bitter rivals in just about everything. But now, in the realm of religion at least, Argentina has supremely passed the giant next door.

The Wednesday election of Pope Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, put the country a step ahead of Brazil when it comes to holy matters.

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Holy rivals? Brazil ponders Argentine Pope

March 14, 2013

Jenny Barchfield – ABC News/AP, 02/14/2013

Bitter rivals in soccer. The butt of one another’s biting jokes. The samba versus the tango.

Brazil and its neighbor Argentina are bitter rivals in just about everything.

But now, in the realm of religion at least, Argentina has supremely passed the giant next door.

Read more…


Brazil holds out hope for homegrown pope

March 13, 2013

ABC News/Associated Press, 03/13/2013

Roman Catholics across Brazil are cautiously holding out hope one of their own will be the next pope.

No nation has more Catholics than Brazil, where about 124 million people are of that faith.

Cardinal Odilo Scherer appears to be Brazil’s best hope of having a pope. He’s cited by many Vatican watchers as a front runner to replace Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned last month.

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Black smoke signals no pope elected at first conclave vote

March 12, 2013

Crispian Balmer and Philip Pullela – Reuters, 03/12/2012

Thick black smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney on Tuesday, signaling an inconclusive first vote in the conclave to elect a new pope at a time of strife and scandal for the Roman Catholic Church.

Thousands of faithful huddled in St. Peter’s Square to watch the smoke pour out of the narrow flue in the rain-laden gloom following a day rich in ritual and pageantry.

Earlier, after praying for divine guidance, the red-hatted cardinals took a solemn vow in Latin never to divulge any details of their deliberations. They then secluded themselves behind the chapel’s heavy wooden doors.

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The next pope could be a Brazilian banker

March 12, 2013

Anderson Antunes – Forbes, 03/11/2013

As a conclave gathers to elect a new pope, many in the Catholic world and well beyond speculate about who will replace the now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who abdicated the throne of St. Peter on February 11, the first papal resignation in almost 600 years. It is true that in the secretive world of the Vatican there is no way to know who is in the running, not to mention that history has yielded plenty of surprises, but there are a few names that have come up time and again as “papabile,” a term coined by Vaticanologists to describe the likely contenders to be elected pontiff. One of those names is that of Brazilian cardinal Odilo Scherer, Brazil‘s best hope to be the next pope.

At the relatively young age of 63, Scherer is known for enthusiastically embracing all new methods for reaching believers. He has appeared on Brazil’s most popular late-night talk-show. He is a prolific tweeter. He even prefers to squeeze into the busy and crowded subway of Sao Paulo, where he was appointed archbishop in 2007 and was named a cardinal later the same year, on his way to his morning commutes.

Scherer, who speaks Italian, German and Portuguese fluently and is proficient in English, French and Spanish, is also known as one of the “Vatican bankers,” a committee of cardinals who oversee the Istituto per la Opere di Religione (IOR), or the Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank, as well as being a member of The Prefecture for Economic Affairs, which coordinates the finances of the Holy See. Scherer was a constant presence in Rome during the “Vatileaks” scandal, the leaking of Vatican documents allegedly exposing corruption and money laundering charges that cost the church millions in higher contract prices and cost Ettore Gotti Tedesche, the then-CEO of the IOR, his job.

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Rebel Theologian Says Obama Paves Way for Black Pontiff

February 19, 2013

Joshua Goodman – Bloomberg, 02/19/2013

Catholic cardinals impressed by Barack Obama’s rise to power may be encouraged to elect the first black pope, according to a Brazilian theologian once silenced by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became pope.

Leonardo Boff said the chances of an African such as Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana becoming the next pontiff are slim after Pope Benedict XVI named most of the 117 cardinals who will choose his successor in a conclave next month. Still, Obama’s election as U.S. president may open up the Vatican’s old guard to change, easing opposition to contraception and women priests, he said.

“Without a doubt Obama’s presence is going to be felt among the cardinals,” Boff, a former Franciscan friar who studied with Ratzinger at the University of Munich in the 1960s, said in a phone interview. “We already have a black president, so why not a black religious president?”

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Brazil Papal Contender: Place of Birth Irrelevant

February 14, 2013

Bradley Brooks – ABC News, 02/14/2013

The archbishop of one of the world’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese and a man thought to be a leading Latin American contender to succeed Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that neither geographic origin nor age should matter much in determining the next pontiff.

Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, 63, shrugged off questions about whether this might be the moment for a Latin American pope, and whether he might be the man to take the role.

“It would be very pretentious for a cardinal to say, ‘I am prepared,'” Scherer said. “No one is going to say ‘I am a candidate.'”

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Could the next pope be from Africa or Latin America?

February 13, 2013

Eric Marrapodi and Catherine E. Shoicet – CNN, 02/13/2013

Hours after Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation announcement Monday, speculation was surging over who might be his successor and what part of the world the new pontiff could be from.

The 118 cardinals who will pick the next pope are also in the running for the job. Those cardinals are from around the globe, but more than half of them hail from European nations, according to Vatican statistics.

Worldwide, the demographic trends among the Roman Catholic Church’s nearly 1.2 billion members show a different breakdown, with the church seeing only a trickle of new members in Europe, while membership has grown significantly in Africa.

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Odilo Scherer next Pope? Brazilian cardinal could replace Benedict XVI

February 12, 2013

Roque Planas – Huffington Post, 02/12/2013

With Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, it may be Latin America’s turn to take control of the papacy, and some point to Brazilian Archbishop Odilo Scherer as the leading candidate. 

Though the Vatican has been led by an unbroken chain of Europeans, demographics make a compelling case to look to Latin America to fill the vacancy. Some 42 percent of the world’s Catholics now live in Latin America, making the region home to the largest group of Catholics on the planet, according to Reuters. Europe is home to just 25 percent of the world’s Catholics.

Darci Nicioli, Auxiliary Bishop of Aparecida, told Brazil`s G1 that Scherer is one of five Brazilian cardinals in the running for the Papacy.

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