One of the 118 cardinals called upon to elect Benedict’s successor says following in the footsteps of a man he calls a “giant” won’t be easy.
As part of the Conclave, the Archbishop of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin, is eligible to become pope himself. At 63, the staunch opponent of same-sex marriage is one of the youngest candidates.
Euronews reporter Fabien Farge asked him first how he had reacted to Pope Benedict’s resignation.
Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon: “Firstly with astonishment, then admiration, for I think it’s an act of great freedom. He’s always acted freely in carrying out his mission and he’s acted freely in leaving it. It’s also an act of humility, and very meaningful, because people often cling on to power, while he did nothing to become pope. And as he thinks he’s no longer able to carry on, he’s saying “it’s better if I go”, which is beautiful and very helpful.
“I think Benedict’s legacy will be what he really is: a great theologian, an excellent teacher, he’s taught the faith very well, he’s brought a lot via his papal letters, his teachings, his homilies and at the same time, I believe, a great flexibility because his temperament is nothing like that of John Paul II. And John Paul II’s great ideas, like for example the World Youth Days, that wasn’t in Benedict’s psychology. Yet he espoused them very well.”
*euronews: “What profile do you think the next pope should have?”
Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon: “I hope firstly that his successor is a Saint, secondly that he is intelligent. And then, a very important quality is that he should be solid because the pope is the successor of Peter (the apostle), on whom the whole edifice is built. It’s better if the edifice stands, therefore it’s better to have a rock that’s solid enough.”
euronews: “Could you be Benedict’s successor?”
Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon: “Yes, it could be lots of people because we are relatively few voting but there are many who are eligible. So we can elect someone who is not one of the cardinals. It’s a very bizarre election: it happens at irregular intervals, with no campaign or candidates as such, with very few voters and an enormous number who are eligible. That said, personally, for me, it’s totally improbable, so I see 10 among us to whom I’d be happy to give my vote.“