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Dissenting voices heard as cardinals meet

Cardinals have come to Rome united to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Pope John Paul II's pontificate, but reports indicate that some issues may divide them when it comes time to choose his successor, such as celibacy for priests and age limits for the pope.

In an interview yesterday with The Associated Press, Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony said it's only natural extreme views are being voiced "at a time when people feel there is some kind of change."

Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, mentioned as a possible candidate for pope, said he was coming to celebrate, "but at a party people can also discuss other things."

Yesterday Daneels publicly rebuked fellow cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo for saying the use of condoms does not prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Cardinal Trujillo, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, told a BBC television program last week that if condoms cannot be guaranteed to block sperm, they stand even less chance with the much smaller virus.

"It does not befit a cardinal to deal with the virtue of a product ... I don't know if what he said is reliable," Danneels said, adding that a cardinal should instead raise the ethical, religious and spiritual dimensions of the AIDS issue.

Danneels and other bishops made clear they didn't expect meetings in Rome would be turned into lobbying sessions to prepare a new papacy, but they also acknowledged some simmering issues.

Even before the princes of the church began arriving this week, Scotland's newly appointed cardinal, Archbishop Keith O'Brien, caused a stir with remarks on celibacy, contraception and homosexuality.

O'Brien was quoted as saying, shortly after being named a cardinal on 29 September that the celibacy rule and ban on contraception should be debated, and that he was not opposed to homosexual priests. He later rolled back, reportedly under Vatican pressure, saying his remarks had been misinterpreted. But just yesterday he again said - this time in an interview with the London Daily Telegraph - that he has "no problems" in looking at the issue of celibacy.

The Guardian/AP
London Daily Telegraph

Scottish cardinal-elect questions celibacy again (Catholic World News)
New Cardinal 'welcomes' debate on celibacy (London Daily Telegraph)

16 Oct 2003