Answering to Rio’s Eusébio Oscar Cardinal Scheid, who called him “chaotic not catholic,” Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said he was a man with lots of faith.
“To believe in God is a very personal relationship that you don’t need to make public. Everybody knows that I am man full of faith,” told Lula in an interview with Recife’s Radio Jornal, when the presidential plane made a stop in its way to Rome, where the president went for the pope’s funeral.
Lula recognized that there was a time when he used to go more often to church: “But now I also have less time. When I go to church, I have communion, there is no problem. I used to be an altar boy when I was a young man and I am not a man who needs to prove every day that I am Catholic or that I believe in God.”
And the President concluded his interview by saying: “We are going to Rome to see the funeral of this man who symbolized peace in the last 26 years so that the world might become a little better.”
Don Eusébio criticized Lula and the President’s comments on who should be the next pope (Lula said that he would love a Brazilian as the new chief of the Church), on April 5, upon arriving in Rome, where he went to participate in the conclave that will elect the new pope.
According to the cardinal “Lula and the Holy Spirit don’t understand each other.” Rio’s archbishop believes that Lula does not act like a real catholic when he is too cozy with gays or defends the use of birth control.
One day after the declarations, Scheid himself wrote a note to explain what he thought about the President and his authority to give an opinion about who the next pope should be:
“It didn’t seem to me that a subject involving the Holy Spirit would come within the scope of our President, since, in matters of faith, moral and ethics of our Church, he seemed more confused, ambiguous (‘chaotic’) than authentic and clear, that is, not sufficiently ‘catholic.’
São Paulo’s archbishop Don Cláudio Hummes, who is a “papabile,” came in defense of Lula: “I know him since he was a union leader and a political leader. He is a Christian his own way and he is a catholic his own way.”
Hummes revealed that he has been giving communion to the President: “For me Lula is catholic like all the other catholics in Brazil. Not like all, because catholics are diverse in their practice. I consider him a catholic.”