DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     June 26-28, 1998     vol. 9, no. 124

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves of Sao Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, has been named by Pope John Paul II to be the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. Cardinal Neves will replace Cardinal Bernardin Gantin. He will also be the president of the Vatican Commission for Latin America.

          Cardinal Neves, who is now the primate of Brazil as well as the president of the country's episcopal conference, served in the Roman Curia under Pope Paul VI. He was, in fact, the secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.

          Cardinal Gantin, who now steps down as both prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Vatican Commission for Latin America, reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 over a year ago; the Holy Father had delayed his acceptance of his resignation. He is the dean of the College of Cardinals.

          Cardinal Neves may share some common ancestry with the man he is replacing. The Brazilian cardinal is a descendant of African slaves brought to the New World from the land now known as Benin-- Cardinal Gantin's homeland.

          Cardinal Neves was born into a large family in Sao Jao del Rei, Brazil, in 1925. He entered the Dominican order in 1948, and was ordained a priest in 1950. He became auxiliary bishop of Sao Paolo in 1967, and his work within the bishops' conference caught the notice of the papal nuncio, who recommended him to Pope Paul VI. Brought to Rome in 1974, he served first on the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and later with the Congregation for Bishops. He was named archbishop of Sao Salvador de Bahia, and primate of Brazil, by Pope John Paul II in 1987, and elevated to the College of Cardinals that same year.

          The Brazilian cardinal is known as warm and approachable, with modest tastes and a highly informal style. (He does not employ a secretary, preferring to write letters by himself.) His prominence at the head of the bishops' conference in the world's most populous country, his reputation as a skilled consensus-builder, and his combination of Vatican experience with pastoral work among the poor, all have led many observers to consider him a potential candidate for the papacy. His important new post-- as the head of the Vatican body which supervises the nomination of new bishops-- will do nothing to stop such speculation.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

June 26-28, 1998       volume 9, no. 124


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