When Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels died March 14 at the age of 85, it began a quintessentially Catholic moment that has its roots in the New Testament.

First of all, Cardinal Danneels was a man who championed what is often called “the spirit of Vatican II.” There’s no doubting the reports of his prodigious intellect, but he never used that intellect to remedy the theological, liturgical and social confusion in which the Church currently finds itself.

He was among those who put so much energy into dialoguing with non-Catholics that millions of the uncatechized faithful were left behind. His native country of Belgium, once a predominantly Catholic country, has succumbed to post-Christianity, like the rest of Europe. Cardinal Danneels expressed his openness to same-sex relationships, allowed questionable sexual-education material to be used in Catholic schools, and, by his own admission, he belonged to a clandestine group of cardinals who sought to influence papal elections so as to “reform” the Church from within.

And then there is the event that stands out in our era marred by the sexual-abuse crisis in the Church: In 2010 the cardinal was recorded urging a young man who was sexually abused by his uncle, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, to cover it up. The accused bishop did resign eventually, but critics note that the cardinal delayed in taking action.

All that being said, here is where the distinctly Catholic moment enters in: The millions of faithful Catholics who were discouraged, disheartened and scandalized by his efforts to change or cloud definitive Church teaching are also praying for his eternal soul. And I am one of those.
God bless you!

And now there is an interesting photo and the homily for Danneels I just found. First the photo and then an excerpt of the homily with a link to the full homily and article:

 Is that a secular king blessing the body of the dead Cardinal with Holy Water??????????????" WHAT THE...."

“Counting on God’s forgiveness” – Cardinal De Kesel’s homily at the funeral of Cardinal Danneels


In his homily, the current archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel referred to Cardinal Danneels’ motto and spoke about the humanity of God. He characterised Cardinal Danneels as a good shepherd who desired and tried to renew and reform the Church as he felt Vatican II called for.
Renewal and reform. He really desired these. But not without resourcement, not without spirituality, not without a thorough liturgy, not without prayer. That concern for the interior always took priority amidst all structural reforms. He also knew that there was no future for our Church without the other Christian churches. Ecumenical dialogue was important to him, just as he was convinced of the importance of interreligious dialogue and of other religious traditions in our country.

At a funeral one does not honour the deceased by praising him to high heaven. At a funeral one prays for mercy and consolation. That is no less true for Cardinal Danneels. When he reached the age of 75 and he was asked in an interview about what he would ask for when he would ultimately stand before God, he answered, “For mercy for what I did wrong.” When his biography was presented a few years ago, he spoke publicly for the last time. At that time the Church was much confronted with sin and weakness because of abuse in her own circles. And then, too, he said: “where I fell short, I count on God’s forgiveness.”

That is our prayer today. With a heart filled with gratitude and a deep love. Have mercy, Lord, for him who served You with so much love, and receive him with love in Your house.”