Friday, March 08, 2013

The German's German candidate for the Papacy....from Brazil

In the Theley municipality in Saarland, people are following closely the upcoming election of the new Pope.
Because after the resignation of Benedict XVI. a man might become  the new leader of the Catholic Church, whose ancestors are from the 3300-inhabitant town.

The Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer is currently among the top candidates for the Chair of Peter - and he feels connected to Theley. The 63-year-old from São Paolo speaks an ancient dialect of Saarland, has friends in town and was there several times to visit.

"He's a very humble, pious and happy person," says Mathilde Ludwig, who has often housed Scherer in their guest house "Casa do Brasil" (Brazil-house) in Theley.

Like  many descendants of emigrants from the city,  Scherer had the desire "to visit the land of his fathers, and to search for his roots," says the 83-year-old. Scherer's  last visit was in 2003, when he was  already Bishop of São Paolo.

"He celebrated  Mass on that occasion in our village church," says Ludwig. At Christmas last year,  a card was received  from him.

Scherer's great-great grandfather moved to Brazil
It was Scherer's great-great grandfather, who emigrated in 1880 as a "farmer and wheelwright" in the south of Brazil, the present state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Because hunger and poverty around 140 families left Theley in the 19th century because of hunger and poverty, going mainly to Brazil. The former king of Portugal and Emperor of Brazil, Pedro II had donated 23 acres of land to every German family in order to populate the land.

"It would be a great honor if Cardinal Scherer would be the new Pope," says the mayor of Theley, Hermann Josef Schmidt, a member of the Theley Parish. "Above all, because the connection between our place andn him still exists."

Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer speaks High German
Scherer speak only pure high German or a dialect, which like him, the emigrants had then spoken. "The descendants call him a Hunsrucker, because at that time the Saarland did not exist," says Mathilde Louis's son Herbert. Scherer had in letters used the old German word, ebbes for  "something"  instead of etwas.

Mathilde Ludwig has already filled six guestbooks. How many descendants of former Theley inhabitants have been in their hostel, she cannot say. "There are too many to count."

Scherer also entries can be found in her books - in the years 1982, 1984, 1987 and 2003.
"Thank you for the happy hours I have lived with you," he wrote, among other things. "He was always a regular guest," she says. He read a lot, went for a walk and made short trips.

In Theley there are still some Scherers - but they are not direct relatives of the Cardinal.

He is regarded as straightforward and conservative
Cardinal Scherer as archbishop in the city of São Paulo, leads the largest diocese in the numerically largest Catholic country in the world. He is one of Latin America's most promising candidates in  the Papal election.
He is regarded as straightforward, conservative and highly educated. He was appointed Cardinal in November 2007. The new Pope will soon be determined by the conclave of 115 voting cardinals in Rome.
The Ludwigs see a possible choice to succeed Benedict XVI in Scherer. They have "mixed feelings" about it. "On one hand it would obviously be an honor for Odilo" says Mathilde Ludwig, who hangs a photo of her "friend" in the living room.

On the other hand,  major challenges are linked, the only times you have to deal with. And daughter Gabriele Ludwig said: "As Pope, he will probably won't come to see us any more. But he already has as cardinal.

Cardinal Scherer is not as conservative as the article makes out. Cardinal Kasper appears to be plotting an anti-Pope Benedict Papacy to underdo the good work that the Pope has done in the last seven years, but which remains incomplete.

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