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Scandinavia: Card. Arborelius proclaimed “Swede of the year”. “He went the extra mile to improve the country”

The “Swede of the year” is Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm according to Fokus Magazine. “The award was as unexpected as my appointment as cardinal”, Card. Arborelius commented. “As a Catholic and a cardinal, you can be a true Swede and not just someone a bit strange, a kind of outsider”. In a comprehensive interview also published online (, Johan Hakelius traces his life, touching on many topical themes and telling the story of the Catholic Church in Sweden, where the anti-Catholic attitude has lasted until the late seventies. “I think that Sweden has become more open in the years when I was a bishop. Now it is easier to talk about religion”, the Cardinal said, even if “what was once the ‘Catholic threat’ is now ‘the Muslim threat’”. Born a Lutheran in 1949, Card. Arborelius joined the Carmel in 1971, where he remained for 27 years until his Episcopal appointment in 1998; he was the first Swedish Catholic Bishop since the Reformation, and the first Cardinal in Swedish history. He deserved the recognition as “representing the Catholic Church in a country whose identity is primarily secular or Lutheran requires a brave attitude” and also because he “plays a central role in the encounter between Swedes and immigrants”. The recognition goes to a person who “did something to change Sweden for the better” while “showing independence and creativity”. The award was presented to the Cardinal yesterday, Thursday 14 December, during a public ceremony.

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