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Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos: Profile of a Candidate for Pope

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Who is Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos?:

Dario Castrillon Hoyos was born on July 4, 1929, in Colombia. He has a broad range of experience and a leading figure among papal candidates from the third world.

Background and Early Life of Dario Castrillon Hoyos:

Dario Castrillon Hoyos ran several dioceses in Colombia. During the 1980s and 1990s he held several important positions in CELAM, the Latin American bishops’ conference, eventually rising to lead it. This has provided him with close contacts throughout Latin America. He took risks by openly opposing drug barons in Honduras, but in 1997 a French magazine accused him of taking money from drug traffickers — a charge Hoyos denied.

Current Status of Dario Castrillon Hoyos:

In 1996, Dario Castrillon Hoyos was named head of the Congregation for the Clergy, a powerful department that oversees priests all over the world.

Theology of Dario Castrillon Hoyos:

Dario Castrillon Hoyos is very conservative when it comes to doctrine and theology. He has opposed liberation theology and the direct involvement of clergy in political matters.

Assessment of Dario Castrillon Hoyos:

Dario Castrillon Hoyos, like so much of the clergy in Latin America, has focused a great deal on defending the poor despite his opposition to liberation theology. If the cardinals pick a third world pope, one from Latin America may make the most sense. Latin America has the longest and strongest Catholic traditions of any place outside of Europe. The general theological conservatism of Catholics from this region would also ensure that no great changes would occur under such a pontificate.

Many cardinals would like to elect a pope from the third world, if possible, because the largest and fastest growing populations of Catholics are located in third world countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. A pope from a nation in one of these regions would make it easier for the Catholic church to reach out to the large, poor, and theologically conservative Catholic populations.

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