Odilo Scherer

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Odilo Pedro Scherer
Cardinal, Archbishop of São Paulo
Scherer on 16 September 2018.
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
ArchdioceseSão Paulo
SeeSão Paulo
Appointed21 March 2007
Installed29 April 2007
PredecessorCláudio Cardinal Hummes O.F.M.
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale (2007-)
Ordination7 December 1976
by Armando Círio
Consecration2 February 2002
by Cláudio Hummes O.F.M.
Created cardinal24 November 2007
by Pope Benedict XVI
Personal details
Odilo Pedro Scherer

(1949-09-21) 21 September 1949 (age 74)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)
MottoIn meam commemorationem ("In the memory of me")
Coat of armsOdilo Pedro Scherer's coat of arms

Odilo Pedro Scherer (Portuguese pronunciation: [oˈdʒilu ˈpedɾu ˈʃɛɾeʁ]; born 21 September 1949) is a Brazilian cardinal of the Catholic Church. Since 2007 he has been the Archbishop of São Paulo, where he was auxiliary bishop from 2001 to 2007. From 1994 to 2001 he worked in Rome at the Congregation for Bishops.

He was made a cardinal in November 2007. In the international media, he was mentioned as a possible contender to succeed Benedict XVI in 2013.[1] He has been Grand-Chancellor of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) since 2003.


Early life and ordination[edit]

Scherer is German Brazilian and was born on 21 September 1949 in Cerro Largo, Rio Grande do Sul, to Edwino and Francisca (née Steffens) Scherer. He is a nephew of Alfredo Scherer (1903–96), who was Cardinal Archbishop of Porto Alegre. His father's family emigrated from Tholey, Saarland.[2] His mother was also descended from immigrants from Saarland.

After attending the minor and major seminaries in Curitiba, Scherer studied at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná and the Pontifical Gregorian University (from where he obtained his Doctorate of Sacred Theology in 1991) in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Armando Círio, OSI, on 7 December 1976.

Professor and curialist[edit]

He served as director and professor at the diocesan seminary of Cascavel (1977–1978), the diocesan seminary of Toledo (1979–1982, 1993), and the Centro Interdiocesano de Teologia de Cascavel (1991–1993).

Before doing pastoral work in Toledo from 1985 to 1988, Scherer taught philosophy at the Ciências Humanas Arnaldo Busatto (1980–1985), and theology at the Instituto Teológico Paulo VI (1985). He then taught at the Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná until 1994.

From 1994 to 2001, he was an official of the Congregation for Bishops in the Roman Curia, while serving as a Roman pastor and chaplain during his spare time.[3] During those years in Europe Scherer also on various occasions studied the German language at the Goethe-Institut in Staufen im Breisgau.

Bishop and Archbishop[edit]

On 28 November 2001, Scherer was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of São Paulo and Titular Bishop of Novi. He received his episcopal consecration on 2 February 2002, from Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, OFM, with Archbishops Armando Círio and Anuar Battisti serving as co-consecrators. He was made Secretary General of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference in 2003. In this way, he also became the Grand-Chancellor of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP).[4]


Pope Benedict XVI named Scherer as the seventh Archbishop of São Paulo on 21 March 2007. He replaced Cardinal Hummes, who was made Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. His appointment brought an end to almost four decades of Franciscan leadership of the archdiocese; before Hummes, Paulo Evaristo Arns led the diocese for 28 years. Scherer accompanied Pope Benedict for a great part of his visit to Brazil in May 2007, which was largely held in the former's see of São Paulo, and he delivered a speech during a ceremony to celebrate the Pope's arrival.

Styles of
Odilo Scherer
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeSão Paulo

On 17 October 2007, the Pope announced that he would make Scherer a Cardinal. Scherer was elevated to the College of Cardinals in the consistory at St. Peter's Basilica on 24 November 2007, becoming Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale.[5][6]

On 12 June 2008, he was appointed by Benedict as a member of the Congregation for the Clergy.[7] On 5 January 2011, he was appointed among the first members of the newly created Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.[8]

On 30 November 2013, he was named a Member of the Congregation for Catholic Education by Pope Francis.[9]

Coronavirus pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cardinal Scherer as Archbishop of São Paulo defended that churches remain open, but with a greater number of liturgical celebrations per day, in an attempt to prevent large gatherings.[10] Later, he declared the suspension of celebrations with the people.[11][12]


General outlook[edit]

Scherer is considered to be theologically moderate.[13] He is one of just a handful of cardinals that use modern social media routinely.[citation needed]


Arms of Cardinal Scherer

According to a 23 July 2010, article by the website of the Catholic Zenit News Agency, Cardinal Scherer thinks there is an "evangelization deficit" around the globe today, which is why Pope Benedict established a new division of the Roman Curia to deal with that issue. Cardinal Scherer was quoted in the article as saying that the Pope "brings all to understand that this [new evangelization] is an objective of his, and that it must be the attitude of the Church worldwide, to respond to the challenges launched by the present 'change of age in the history of humanity.'"


Cardinal Scherer asked Brazilians that if the country's Supreme Court legalizes abortion for fetus' with anencephaly, what will be the next group ‘incompatible with life’ to be eliminated?[14]

Liberation theology[edit]

He once criticized liberation theology's use of "Marxism as a tool of analysis," but supported its focus on social injustice and poverty (as fully in keeping with established, orthodox Catholic doctrine on these issues).[15][16]

Secularism in Brazil[edit]

Cardinal Scherer has argued that removing crucifixes in public places would not be in the best interests of Brazilian secularism.[17]

Priests and the liturgy[edit]

In reference to the popular Brazilian priest Marcelo Rossi, Scherer stated that, "Priests aren't showmen. ...The Mass is not to be transformed into a show".[18]


  1. ^ Craggs, Ryan (11 February 2013). "Latin American Pope? Benedict XVI Resignation Opens Door For Odilo Scherer, Leonardo Sandri And Others". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Cardinal Scherer stays in contact with his relatives in Germany" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  3. ^ Whispers in the Loggia. Benedictine Rule: You Pick Your Successor 21 March 2007
  4. ^ Paulo, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São. "Administração". PUC-SP. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Pope Names 23 New Cardinals". Zenit. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  6. ^ Allen Jr., John L. (17 October 2007). "Complete List of New Cardinals". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 12.06.2008" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Di Membri Del Pontificio Consiglio Per La Promozione Della Nuova Evangelizzazione". Press.catholica.va. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 30.11.2013" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  10. ^ Pires, Breiller (19 March 2020). "Igrejas desafiam recomendação de suspender missas e cultos diante da pandemia do coronavírus". El País. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Comunicado sobre a suspensão temporária de Celebrações Religiosas". 21 March 2020. Archived from the original on 26 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Comunicado n°2 da Arquidiocese de São Paulo sobre Celebrações e outras Ações Pastorais nas igrejas durante a pandemia do Coronavírus". 26 March 2020. Archived from the original on 31 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  13. ^ BBC Brazil. Papa nomeia Dom Odilo Scherer para Arquidiocese de SP 21 March 2007
  14. ^ "Brazilian cardinal says after abortion for anencephaly babies others could be next". Cardinalrating.com. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Library : What is Catholic Social Teaching?". Catholic Culture. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  16. ^ Rohter, Larry (7 May 2007). "As Pope Heads to Brazil, Rival Theology Persists". New York Times.
  17. ^ "Le retrait des crucifix rendrait-il le Brésil meilleur?" (in French). Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  18. ^ Rohter, Larry; Fisher, Ian (9 May 2007). "Brazil Greets Pope But Questions His Perspective". New York Times.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Ernesto Maria Fiore
Titular Bishop of Novi
28 November 2001 – 21 March 2007
Succeeded by
Carmelo Cuttitta
Preceded by General Secretary of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference
2003 – 2007
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of São Paulo
21 March 2007 – present
Preceded by Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale
24 November 2007 – present
Preceded by First Vice-President of the Latin American Episcopal Council
15 May 2019 – present
Order of precedence
Preceded byas Vice President of Brazil Brazilian order of precedence
3rd in line
as Brazilian cardinal
Followed by
Foreign ambassadors