.- During his first meeting with reporters after being named the new head of the Archdiocese of Sao Paulo, Bishop Odilo Pedro Scherer said Pope Benedict XVI will visit Brazil in May with a message for all of Latin America.
Bishop Scherer, who will be installed as the new archbishop of the largest archdiocese in South America on April 29th, said the Pope’s visit will underscore “the importance of Latin America, [a region] the Pope follows with much attention and much affection because half of the world’s Catholics live here.”
Bishop Scherer, up to now auxiliary bishop of Sao Paulo, will replace Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who has been tapped by the Pope to head up the Congregation for the Clergy.
The new archbishop-elect said the Pope is well-aware of the realities of the Church in Latin America and in Brazil in particular, the country with the greatest number of Catholics in the world. “We expect that which is proper to the mission of the Pope: that he shows the way…We expect from him encouraging words for the youth, who are looking for direction, courage, relief, consolation and well-being.”
He also emphasized the Church’s dedication to defending life and the family. “I understand the difficulties in understanding the position of the Pope in a controversial world of plurality and diverse thinking and opinions,” Bishop Scherer said, “but it is outside the Church’s competence to change the Gospel.”
Pope Benedict XVI will visit Brazil May 9-14 to inaugurate the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council. It will be his first visit to Latin America as Pope.
Bishop Scherer said there are no plans for the Pope to meet with representatives of liberation theology, as some media reports in Brazil speculated.