For months, speculation has been rife as to whether the head of the Catholic Church would resign due to his deteriorating health. According to a prominent Catholic portal, Pope Francis could well name Cardinal Péter Erdő as his successor. Continue reading below for more information.
The Archbishop of Esztergom and Budapest celebrated his 70th birthday last month, reports Blikk. He could be one of the top contenders for the papacy, according to the Christian Herald. However, another candidate for the ailing Pope Francis, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, could be a better fit for the current Pope’s liberal views than the Christian conservative Péter Erdő.
Hungarian Cardinal Erdő
Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Primate of Hungary, was born on 25 June 1952. His ordination took place in Budapest on 18 June 1975. Between 1975 and 1977 he served as chaplain in Dorog, and in 1976 he received a doctorate in theology with summa cum laude at the Academy of Theology. From 1977 to 1980, he studied canon law at the Institute of Canon Law of the Pontificia Universitá Lateranense Utriusque Iuris in Rome, on a scholarship from the Pontifical Hungarian Institute, and completed his doctorate in canon law in 1980.
Cardinal Erdő is considered a traditionalist who respects the celebration of the Latin Mass. But Cardinal Erdő is also respected by liberals like the Pope, suggesting he could be a unifying force within the Church. Pope Francis has already appointed Cardinal Erdő as the “relator general” of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The Hungarian cardinal has also been vocal in his support for outreach to Orthodox Christians which may be significant given the huge numbers of Ukrainians currently in Hungary.
It is important to see what Cardinal Erdő would represent as Pope. Pope St. John Paul II was considered instrumental in the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe. The Polish Pope’s election helped spark the peaceful end of communism in his native country. Cardinal Erdő has shown some sympathy towards Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Effects of a Hungarian Pope
It is clear that the election of Cardinal Erdő as Pope would help Orbán further his political agenda. During the height of the migrant crisis in the EU, Cardinal Erdő was strongly siding with Hungarian conservative officials. Later in 2019, however, Cardinal Erdő shared some of his thoughts with Válasz Online. During this interview, he was showing a change of heart, directly challenging the views of Viktor Orbán. The Hungarian Cardinal said, “can a country, a continent, be called Christian?”
Seeing the above mentioned, the relationship between the Hungarian Cardinal and the Prime Minister is difficult to define. What is probable is that Erdő’s appointment as Pope would likely lead to further religious divide within Europe.
Source: blikk.hu, valaszonline.hu, catholicherald.co.uk
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