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Vatican City, Mar 14, 2019 / 09:16 am (CNA).- Cardinal Godfried Danneels died Thursday at the age of 85 in his native Belgium. Danneels served as Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and leader of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference for more than thirty years.
In later life, Danneels was widely recognized as an influential member of the college of cardinals and an at times controversial figure.
Pastor - Church - Dedication - Diocese - Level
“This zealous pastor served the Church with dedication not only in his diocese but also at the national level as President of the Conference of Bishops of Belgium, while being a member of various Roman Dicasteries,” Pope Francis wrote March 14 in a telegram to the bishops of Belgium expressing his condolences.
“Attentive to the challenges of the contemporary Church, Cardinal Danneels took an active part in various Synods of Bishops, including those of 2014 and 2015 on the family. He has just been reminded of God at this time of purification and of walking toward the Resurrection of the Lord,” Francis said.
Churchmen - Generation - Danneels - Supporter - Reforms
Considered among the more progressive churchmen of his generation, Danneels was an enthusiastic supporter of the liturgical reforms which followed Vatican Council II. He was also a prominent advocate for decentralized Church governance and interreligious dialogue.
As leader of the Church in Belgium, the cardinal was an established figure in national life, keeping close company with politicians and members of the royal family. He was sometimes criticized for his apparent willingness to embrace secular-liberal politics, once controversially describing same-sex marriage as a “positive development” in Belgium.
Years - Accusations - Mismanagement - Cover-up - Abuse
In recent years, accusations of mismanagement and cover-up of clerical sexual abuse cast a shadow over his past leadership of the church in Belgium.
Danneels was at the center of a national scandal when the Belgian newspapers De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad published transcripts of a recording in which he appeared to pressure a victim...
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