the pastoral approach
Tablet Rome correspondent Robert Mickens has a gushing interview with Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel in Belgium. Danneels is one of the lions of the Euro-progressivists, with fashionably avant garde views on contraception and the democratization of doctrine. You have to love this curtsey by Mickens:
Critics say that Cardinal Danneels has not attracted new priesthood candidates (only two were ordained in 2007) because he is, in a word, too progressive in a Church that is drawing more traditional men to service.
Mechelen-Brussel has 1,600,000 Catholics. The pair of those Catholics that responded last year to the model of priesthood exemplified by the Cardinal are to be viewed as a confirmation of his accomplishments:
When Cardinal Danneels became Bishop of Antwerp in 1977 he wrote the first of what are now more than 50 pastoral letters, which are issued at Christmas and Easter. He speaks proudly of these pamphlets, which he says are widely read "outside the Church". He has covered a huge range; one of the latest focused on stress. But it is the first letter that seems to sum up the ideal he has tried to live. It was about the "ministry of encouragement".
Cardinal Danneels has always shunned talk about his legacy, saying it is "better to remain humble".
Should you wish an introduction to the corridors of humility, your Eminence, a full and frank discussion of your "legacy" would be the very best place to start.
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