The Case for an African Pontiff

With Karol Wotyla’s election the Italian control of the papacy was blown wide open. John Paul II became the global pope. Traveling across the world, he was literally an international evangelist–an apostle of Christ for the whole world. The German Joseph Ratzinger consolidated the non-Italian papacy, and did his best to follow in JP2′s footsteps.

He served as a fine Pope and helped us make the transition from the ancien regime to another radical decision for the Catholic Church.

Now it is time for a Pope from Africa. Here’s why:

The Catholic Church in the developing world is young, vital and growing. Philip Jenkins in The Next Christendom and John Allen in The Future Church have chronicled the growth and dynamism of the church in the developing world, but especially in Africa. In Africa the seminaries are full. The churches are overflowing. Religious houses can’t be built fast enough, the slowly building missionary work of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is finally bearing rich and abundant fruit.

The right African pope will not only represent these millions of African Catholics, but more importantly, he will shift the center of Catholic awareness away from Europe and North America in a stunning and game changing global strategy. John Paul II’s election suddenly changed the game plan of the cold war. Catholicism was a force to be reckoned with, and as George Weigel shows in his biography of Bl John Paul II, his papacy not only helped undermine the Soviet regime, but brought attention the inequalities and injustice in the Philippines, Central America and South America. Wherever he went John Paul brought to light the political and economic problems and peaceful change took place.

We have a humorous comic on our fridge which portrays how Americans look at the world. In childish writing over Europe is scrawled, “Old Stuff Here”. Over China it says, “They make our stuff”. Over Mexico it says, “Yard Workers” over Canada it says, “Spineless Fake Europeans”. Over the North Pole is scrawled, “Santa”. The map also shows the other countries and continents sized according to their importance. On second glance, the continent of Africa is missing completely.

The right African pope will help Europeans and North Americans stop and realize that the elephant in the room is the looming continent of Africa with its rich culture, its young population and its burgeoning economies. It’s a continent that has been abused by first European, and now Chinese, Russian and American colonialism and which is threatened by the advance of aggressive strains of Islamic hegemony. Furthermore, the continent is troubled by ancient ethnic divisions, huge problems of corruption, poverty and the wounds of war, genocide and violent tribal feuds.

The right pope will understand all these tensions and help bring unity and pride to the people of Africa–with Catholicism as the unifying force.

But the Roman Pontiff is more than a social, economic or political leader. He is first and foremost, the religious leader of a billion Catholics worldwide. The most important contribution an African pope will bring is to shift the world’s awareness away from the Western obsessions about sexuality and gender roles to the real issues facing the world and facing the church. Most African Catholics (and most in the developing world) don’t give two hoots about women’s ordination. Some of them may still have social issues about polygamy, but they’re horrified at sodomy and cannot even conceive of something as bizarre as “gay marriage.” Without preaching endlessly on these subjects, but simply turning our attention away from them, the right African pope will spotlight what matters: life, family, justice, joy, youth and opportunity.

Africans have more important things to think about than women’s ordination or gay marriage. Their issues are things like getting a job, saving some money, improving their lives for their children, building a school or a hospital or a parish church. They’re concerned with the invasion of their countries by colonialist powers. They’re interested in peace and justice not in some academic Marxist textbook sort of way–but in real things like their own hungry children, their old people living in slums and their sons and daughters selling themselves on the streets.

The right African pope will shift our wealthy, decadent minds away from the petty problems of our dying culture of death and make us pay attention to a continent that is teeming with life.

Most of all, the right African pope will shift our attention back to the vital core of our faith. In Africa the Catholic faith is vibrant and strong, and most of all it is supernatural in its understanding. God is real. Angels and demons are real.Read More.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • Will

    And just think when “The ‘Black Pope’ meets the black Pope.”

    • Brother Rolf

      The holy Spirit seems to favor Italians.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    A truly excellent case made here for choosing an African pope. It is amazing how the Episcopal Church bends over backwards to please its Gay and Western Culture constituency, but addresses devout African Episcopalians snottily and snootingly to the point of raw racism.

    • John

      As a former Episcopalian, to this I say “Amen.”

  • Chris Lauer

    The problem with this case is that it reveals an modernist American democratic-representative view of the Papacy which is pretty disordered. The only constituency that the Papacy represents is the Holy Trinity … One God in three divine persons. A Pope who was born in Italy represents Italians no more or less than he represents Africans or Japanese. This sort of Papal Affirmative Action talk is not helpful to the Church. It ends up dividing Catholics into groups and setting them up for disappointment when they perceive their group is underrepresented.

    • Tim Kluge

      This post has nothing to do with a “representative view of the Papacy.” The good Father L. simply argues (very convincingly, I might add) that a candidate from Africa will bring certain gifts and traits to the table that would be of benefit to the Holy Church. He doesn’t say anywhere in this article that the people of Africa need to be represented. I think what has happened here is that you read it that way because of your own preconceived notions (influenced, mayhap, by American politics over the last, oh, 5 years?)

    • Andrew

      Spot on. And let’s not forget that the Italian “control” of the papacy was an era of unswerving orthodoxy in both doctrine AND liturgy. Three cheers for Italian “control!”

    • Izzy

      excellent comment Chris. here we see americanist error coloring all views of what the papacy is. let’s have a “black”, let’s have “german,” etc etc. it’s silly

  • Brian English

    “The right African pope will be a splendid, radical and relevant choice which will challenge the dull, aging liberal establishment of Europe and North America.”

    I agree in theory, but which of the African cardinals is the “right” one?

  • Nathan

    I take your points, especially about moving the conversation away from ‘sexuality and gender roles’ but I tend to disagree. It seems the world, especially the MSM, wants a non-European pope, almost as if they’re saying “we can’t have a woman pope or a gay pope, so how about an African one?” Also, with the election of the first Black President here in the USA, it seems more like the spirit of the age than the Holy Spirit that is clamoring for this move. I certainly would be fine with a non-European pope, Cardinal Arinze in particular (if not for his age) would probably make a strong pontiff, but sticking with one of those terrible “old white men”is a sign of contradiction. I understand the humor of your map, but it might have been more accurate a decade ago. In these days it seems the mood has changed to embracing anything as long as it is not a part of Western Civ. Just look at your local college or HS lit class. If it is anything like around here World Cultures (read anything not Western) has trumped Western Literature. God Bless.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Interesting points. Thanks for the comments. What would really upset the MSM though is if we got an African pope and he presumed to criticize their viewpoints. What they really want is an African pope like Desmond Tutu who is also a liberal pro-homosexual.

    • http://suscipesanctepater.blogspot.com Matthew_Roth

      I also think they are focusing on Cardinal Turkson because of the false prophecy of St Malachy of Armagh.

      • Izzy

        ha! false? have you received some special insight to declare it false?

        • http://quotablejesus.blogspot.com Dave Montrose

          The fact that it appeared long after his death is a start.

      • Ha

        Well from comments on this site and others it does seem obvious that a black or brown pope would break the church. The vicar of Christ better look a lot like them, or else, I mean the holy spirit could not possibly authentically pick a nonwhite non European pope.

  • Matthew Ogden

    Three words: Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. He’s orthodox, traditional, outspoken, and tough. Regardless of where he is from, I would be thrilled if he was elected.

    In any case, I think it’s best to let the Holy Spirit decide. We can all have our favorites, but let’s not forget that it’s almighty God Who actually makes the selection.

  • James Graham

    I would suggest a pope from South America. Brazil alone has more catholics than any other nation.

    • http://suscipesanctepater.blogspot.com Matthew_Roth

      Except the South American hierarchy has been dominated by progressives, Modernists, and allies of Freemasons for decades, save for the bishop of Campos, Brazil, and a few courageous bishops in smaller dioceses.

  • Michael Roger

    VANITY!!!! useless vanity. Strategizing this way is decidedly contrary to faith.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Nonsense.Nothing wrong with thinking things through as long as we remain open and hopeful to the working of the Holy spirit!

      • Nick

        Interesting thesis, but yes, it does leave one needlessly disappointed when the inspired electors choose a representative from the “spineless, fake European” part of our world, doesn’t it? Or a representative from the static old local churches in the New World southern hemisphere?

      • Michael Roger

        You are neither a Cardinal nor the Holy Spirit, your input is unwarranted. Have you been personally asked to “think things through”?

        Please focus on what the Holy Spirit has asked of YOU. Stay in your lane.
        John 22 : Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

        Was it not the same with Peter, when he began “thinking things through” regarding similar matters that were above his pay grade? And Jesus spoke similarly, did he not? Stay in your lane, a la, “what is it to you?”

        Just as Jesus demonstrated how useless it was for Peter to speculate, so you should recognize this same fault. Be a priest, not a pundit. Stay in your lane.

      • Michael Roger

        Wow. See, this is exactly the kind of posturing and pandering that isn’t supposed to happen. That’s the whole reason for Conclave in the first place!! And you’re as guilty as those other MSM nimrods for propping this kind of talk. It’s POISONOUS!

        Hebrews 5:4 : “No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.”

        This Cardinal has just broken the Cardinal rule by already attempting to set an agenda.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/9866227/Pope-resigns-Peter-Turkson-reveals-vision-for-the-Church-and-alternative-lifestyles.html

        Do you not see how the public discourse is already framed by your thoughtless comments? Drudge Report has actually stolen your headline even for this article. I urge you to please delete this entire blog entry. You have no idea the damage you are causing. Far too many people will put their hope in your words and in the words of that Cardinal, rather than in the Holy Spirit. And what if this man is not elected? Which is highly likely he will not be Pope after his comments, that is surely the fastest way to get de-elected, that is, to express the interest in becoming Pope, especially for some vain reason like “I’ll be the first African! Or I’ll be the first American!” Surely this is man’s pride speaking and not the Holy Spirit speaking within them. Thanks a lot – bud…

      • Michael

        and here’s another one tooting his own horn. VAIN GLORY. I’d like to thank the National Catholic Reporter for making certain this man NEVER becomes our Pope. With all of his titles and degrees and honorifics and notable worldly achievements, all I can think of was today’s Gospel and the temptation to have all of these things and be recognized for them all! Does anyone really think Jesus evaluated Peter’s CV before making him the first Pope? No. Not likely. The requisite is faith, and as we read today, faith comes from the heart, not the head. Let’s not put the cart before the horse.

        http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/spotlight-most-interesting-man-church

  • Emanuel.

    The next pope are hoped to represent target groups. The pope was percieved as retiring, rather than abdicating (That’s why everyone says ‘retire’ and not ‘abdicate’. Presidents and CEOs retire. (I’m still not sure if it was a good idea or not)). This is so utterly.. republican. That’s a horrible, horrible word, by the way. To the extent democracy induces these sentiments, this is a good argument against it.

    • http://nathaniel-campbell.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel M. Campbell

      Actually, the technical term the Pope himself used is “renounce” (renuntiare). But I think you’re missing a more fundamental point: this final act of his papacy sets a seal on Benedict’s vision of it as ministry rather than monarchy. His goal is, I think, to rehabilitate for the Chair of St. Peter an ancient definition that placed itself in service to the Church rather than ruling over it.

  • Woody

    I myself would like to see as the next pope a married priest from the Greenville, SC area. A long shot, sure, but why not?!

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Mrs Longenecker would get those curial officials into line!

      • Woody

        Oh, if only I had a vote!

  • Hart

    Now it’s time to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in selecting a Pope.

    • Dan Krischke

      Amen to that. We should all pray with utmost sincerity and intensity.

  • Donaxtus

    I would be happy to see an African Pope, or South American or Syrian Coptic. Our Church is long past being Italian and is majority coloured. You must remember though that third world Cardinals and Bishops are more conservative than Euro-Westerners who do think, liberally, with their groins to the exclusion of the primacy of Christ. A third world Pope would be anything but hand-wringing liberal. It is also bad to vote for affirmative action only rather than merit. Our future is in the third world at least until Europe and North America are re-evangilized, if ever. Finally, I respect and admire Benedict for his courageous action in putting the Church first. I eargerly await the action of the Holy Spirit in the coming conclave.

  • http://jenniferfitz.wordpress.com Jennifer Fitz

    Amusing not-such-a-coincidence: This morning we went to Mass said by one of our several wonderful fantabulous African priests-on-loan here in town. Then I had a meeting with an evangelical Anglican who wanted suggestions on how to make his non-profit more friendly to Catholics . . . his congregation of southern-evangelical-mostly-white-guys has chosen to organize under the authority of an African (Anglican) bishop. From that perspective, an African pope would be a natural progression — seems to be the hotbed of evangelism and ecumenical progress, so, er, what’s not to like? More where that came from, please.

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  • Bill

    Interesting post. However, if we take the teachings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI seriously, issues of sex and gender theory cannot be brushed aside as mere “obsessions.”

    At the heart of the culture of death, is a faulty understanding of the human person. Namely, a dualism between body and soul, which reduces the body to non-personal, merely biological matter that has no objective, personal meaning that can, thus, be manipulated as an object. Behind this anthropology is the rejection of creatureliness and the Creator.

    In other words, God is a Communio Personarum, a communio, the heart of which is self-donating, fruitful love. We are created in God’s image: thus, we image God fully not as solitary beings, but in communion with others. The primary communion of persons is the communion between husband and wife, and it is from this communion that all other communions flow. The communion between husband and wife is meant to image both: a) Christ’s relationship to his spouse, the Church (God-world); and b) the communion that has existed for all eternity in God (Father-Son-Holy Spirit).

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I have edited your comment down. This is a combox, not a place for long posts.

  • David

    I like your ideas, but I think they are a little on the romantic side. African Catholics are not as orthodox or morally upright as you might like to think. Sexual promiscuity is rife here. In my part of Africa, pregnant teenagers are abusing alcohol so that their unborn children are born disabled – so they can apply for a disability grant for their child. So you are right, Africa has problems lots of them. I am not sure we have an African cardinal who will have the global mindset to tackle the biggest problem in developed countries, namely: the loss of faith. Faith comes easier to the poor – their hearts are not hard like the people of the west who are obsessed with the material. But, who knows, our God is a God of surprises.

    • yan

      Best post.

  • John Fisher

    I don’t agree. The whole way of thinking you espouse is odd and a bit cheesy. It isn’t a horse race or one of those American shows set in back in history but with black actors for the sake of inclusiveness even is historically wrong.
    It isnt and should NEVER be a Catholic epiosde “Entertainment Tonight”.
    I don’t think we need an African because it equals syncretism.
    What we need is a holy pope who grasps Catholic Western culture ( Roman, Greek, Judaic culture).
    A pope who can attack the contemporary West = so sadly the cultural puppet of the USA. A Pope who can oppose Islam.
    I think the racial issue is odd and in the Church not to be included in conscious thought. The problem is a cultural one.

    • Tim Kluge

      My goodness. Fr. Longenecker does not make his argument based on race, so stop refuting it in terms of race. The only time he mentions race are in an anecdote about Anglicans that DEFIES racial arguments and a tongue-in-cheek comment as the last sentence. Fr. Longenecker makes his case based on CULTURAL characteristics to address the CULTURAL problems facing the Church.

  • Jacob Morgan

    I think there is merit to the idea because it shifts the focus. Race is not the issue, being from a continent that faces real problems (starvation, war, exploitation, etc) and finds the solution in Christ is the issue.

    An expert is someone from 100 miles away, goes the saying. People in the West who would not listen to a Benedict or to a John Paul just might listen to a third world Pope.

    Some people mentioned Islam, well the real front lines in that fight are in Africa. What are the Mohamedians going to do to a third world Pope, call him a Crusader, or give a weak mumbling excuse why they burned down of his parish churches last year.

    The real fight is really against post modernism, and a Pope that fought for Christianity, despite race and class, would upset that apple cart.

  • http://Www.petchiv.com Chinedu Onyebuchi

    It’s a pity that the european and American missionaries evangelized The Great Continent of AFRIKA,in exchange of slavery,looting our rich cultures,wealth, and forced on us some of its culture both good and bad but thank God for the faith of the mother Church catholicism we embraced that brought radical change. Now in this Era of the HOLY SPIRIT THE CHURCH IN AFRIKA IS NO MORE A BABY CHURCH ,BUT A Great tree of MUSTERED SEED CHRIST TALKED ABOUT, AND IS BLOSSOMING LIKE THE LILIES AND BEARING MUCH FRUITS GREATER THAN THE ALMOND TREE. IT IS PAINFUL THAT SECULARISM,EXTREMISM,SEXUALITY,LIBERALITY,SCIENCE,INTRINSIC EVILS, ARE SWEEPING WESTERN WORLD AND NOW CHURCHES ARE EMPTY,CRIME AND GRAVE SINS INCREASING DAILY,FEAR OF GOD DIMINISHED,CONSCIENCE DEAD, AND SEELING THEIR SOULS TO SATAN EVEN IN THE CHURCH.THANK S BE TO THE MOST BLESSED TRINITY THAT MISSIONARIES ARE BEING SENT FROM GREAT LAND OF AFRIKA “THE STONE REJECTED BY THE BUILDERS THAT HAS BECOME THE CONER STONE TO EVANGELIZE THE WORLD.HOLY GHOST WE DEPEND ON YOU FOR WE KNOW THAT THE GATES OF HEDES CAN NOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE CHURCH JESUS CHRIST PURCHESED BY HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD A COSTLY PRICE.SPIRIT DIVINE WE PRAY FOR A PETER THIS CRITICAL MOMENT OF THE CHURCH AND WORLD AT LARGE TO SHEPHERD THE CHURCH AND THE REST OF HUMANITY AND MAY YAHWEH GOD BLESS US AMEN.

    • Just Sayin’

      AMEN! And lots more capital letters that make posts nearly unreadable!

  • Amanda

    Father, could they potentially pick Cardinal Arinze? I assume he can’t vote as he turned 80 in November. But, could they pick him? I know they will likely want someone slightly younger but he seems to still be quite active.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Arinze is probably too old

  • http://otritt.wordpress.com/ The Egyptian

    all I hope for is less Gabriel and a lot more Micheal, Papa Bene tried to lead by example, which works for those willing to be led, but even the shepherd has to use the staff once in a while to correct the errant sheep. (from a dairy farmer who daily deals with the unwilling to lead)

  • Peg

    “The right” African would be great… but, as far as I can see there is no one like that currently available. Arinze is too old and Turkson is kind of a flake.

    I think the position makes more sense if it is restated as advocating for a third world candidate rather than an African candidate. There are a number of interesting Latin Americans and from Asia, my favorite, Luis Tagle of the Philippines.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      This is spot on. Turkson does not seem like an especially strong candidate to me. There are better candidates elsewhere, although I do not share the optimism about the Latin American candidates.

      I think the best candidates who I’ve heard mentioned as ‘papabile’ are Erdo, Ouellet, Ravasi, Bagnasco, Nagle, Sandri, Ranjith, Barbarin. I also love me some Cardinal Burke, but that would be a major surprise. Let’s all pray for the right man to be elected.

  • Teomatteo

    Hey, quit dumping on the italians….what the heck is wrong with an italian pope…. I mean … cant wait to have you say this to bl.john XXIII

    • joseph

      Teo – Nothing wrong with italian popes. But they ruled for several centuries. I think that a south american could get elected, if he is qualified. Italy’s best is Scola, although he is 78.

  • IB Bill

    With all due respect, mon pere, I dissent. I think anyone who suggests a member of a demographic group as primary qualifications for a job should first have to give up their job to a member of said demographic group.

  • http://www.ephesians4-15.blogspot.ca Randy

    This does make the opposite point quite well. Geography is exactly the opposite of what they should be thinking. Holiness is number one. Gifts of wisdom and leadership are huge as well. A gift for teaching is going to be important. Discerning spirits is a good gift for a pope as well. Courage will be needed.

    I just think eliminating much of the field based on geography is going to mean sacrificing some of these other things. I think it is a bad idea.

    Besides, everyone knows if they follow God’s will they will choose a Canadian pope!

    • American

      Right on!!!

  • A.N. African

    This is a remarkable misunderstanding of what the challenges for the Faith in Africa are.

    I wonder if Fr. Longenecker has actually spent any significant time in Africa.

    The African church I know from personal experience is a lot different from the fantasy portrayed here. There are many good and faithful priests and many heroic souls but there are also some harsh realities.

    Priestly celibacy is a major problem. Sometimes one will struggle to find a single celibate priest in a whole diocese. Celibacy is a very foreign concept in African culture.

    Of course the seminaries are full – being a priest is a very respectable job for the average African.

    “May still have a social issue about polygamy” – irregular marriage situations abound in the African Church.

    The biggest problem is the widespread cultural custom (amongst almost all Bantu speaking peoples)of the payment of a “bride price”. A couple cannot get married until the family of the bride is paid a very large amount of money.

    Witchcraft – up to 80% of Africans consult traditional healers (PC-speak for Witchdoctor). This is not “herbal remedies”, irrespective of the medicinal remedy, contacting the ancestors through a trance state to find out the real cause for the illness is a part of all African traditional medicine. A sermon I very often hear from one of the strict priests is “you can’t go to the witchdoctor on Saturday and then come to communion on Sunday”.

    Where abortion is available it is used with gusto as the cheapest form of birth control. Girls as young as fifteen or sixteen will be coming for their third or fourth abortion. Breast cancer among young African women in the wealthiest cities is a growing epidemic.

    A priest friend told me that in a parish of about 1500 there were about 200 practicing witchdoctors who were quite happy to come to communion.

    Traditional African religion is very syncretistic. Think – the ease with which Ancient Romans adopted Eastern cults. Christianity is easily grafted on as another layer of religion. But underlying beliefs and patterns of cultural practices remain pagan or animist.

    Yes, Africans are more aware of the supernatural. But that is more often than not also just plain superstition.

    Africa has the lowest number of priests per thousand faithful in the world. This means that most Africans suffer from spiritual neglect. Many Africans have no regular access to the sacraments and confession especially is chronically neglected. I know of parishes of 5000 where perhaps one or two people will come to confession a week. Not sure how vibrant a church like that can be.

    Statistics about Africa need to be taken with a pinch of salt. My personal suspicion is that many people are confirmed in and attend several churches this leads to a lot of over counting.

    Alarmingly, detailed studies of church attendance and my personal experience is that many African’s once they become urbanized very quickly move to modern Western style agnosticism or a mix of modern Western style agnosticism and traditional cultural beliefs.

    Also as in Latin America (and many Latin American Churches are targeting Africa) the newly emerging middle class are very open to the “Health and Wealth” gospel. Nigeria and South Africa are prime examples where traditional Churches are losing members (especially middle-class members) to these churches.

    It seems the ultimate irony that Africa that faces so many challenges and where the faith is so challenged is looked up to as a model for the faith. Africa is in need of help and trying to make Africa a poster boy for Christianity and the hope of Catholicism does not help.

    Africa is in as grave a crisis as the Western Church, just a different one.

    What is needed is a close, careful and brave analysis of what is wrong with the Church in the whole world. Not an analysis of the outside secular culture but of how we have let that culture penetrate the Church.

    We need a Pope from whatever nation or continent who has the courage to do that and then to take the steps to change that.

    • cken

      “Yes, Africans are more aware of the supernatural. But that is more often than not also just plain superstition.”
      How do you distinguish between the two? Both are a belief in the power of something unseen. If a witch doctor believes the spirit of whatever can heal a sick tribesman, how is that different from believing that if you pray to God, He can heal your sick relative? The only difference I can see is the name of the unseen spirit.

    • IB Bill

      I lived in Africa for two years. Yes, this sounds about right. I thought Father here was really demonstrating extreme naivete.

  • Jim

    If you are really looking for a game-changer… How about electing Isaac Cardinal Thottunkal? He is only 53 years old.

    http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bthoi.html

  • Ryan

    I hear your arguments but disagree. I think at this time a pope that can continue to creatively and faithful support and engage from the heart of European tradition will help guide and integrate the African, South American and Chinese influx into the large tradition and global vision of Church. No doubt an African Pope can and definitely should happen soon, but I am leary of it right now….that said I trust in the Holy Spirit and think a blog on teh call to faithfulness and pray to the Holy Spirit during this time for the Church is most fruitful not thinking about possible popes

  • anniem

    On secular radio this morning the commentator talked about Cardinal Turkson being an excellent choice to be the next Pope because he approves condoms for married couples in which one spouse has AIDS. I hope this is not true. Some Popes in the past approved of actions that were clearly against our Faith but when they were elected into the papal office they never advocated for them. The Holy Spirit was doing its job. Could this be the case if indeed Turkson has taken this stance?

  • cken

    It’s my understanding that Catholicism is practiced quite differently on different continents. If that is true isn’t Africa too new to appreciate the traditions? It would make more sense in my relatively uninformed opinion to have a Pope from South America, which could change some perspectives while still honoring tradition.

  • Nicholas Michael

    Almost everyone desires a particular continent or race to be the new Roman Pontiff. This is due to individual’s mind set on how reformation can come to the catholic church. That’s our view, but there is someone who sees more than we can see or imagine. He’s plan has no racial sentiments or segregational protocol. He is ROYAL PONTIFF, he is our LORD and GOD.
    How I wish the church will whole heartedly pray that GOD’s will should be done and not human ideologies or wishes.
    I make this remark because; HE is the solution to our individual expectation for the Roman Catholic Church for this generation.

  • araceli

    I think it’s time for a Filipino Pope. Cardinal Tagle is young, brilliant, eloquent, and a true pastor to his flock. I don’t know if he speaks Italian, though.

  • taad

    I don’t think we should be suggesting any race or person for pope. Let’s just let the Holy Spirit work.

  • sailor1031

    The only case you have made here is for “syncretism” – the conflation of even more superstition with catholic doctrine. And when was the last ‘colonial invasion’ of an african country? I wasn’t aware that it was a current problem.

  • Jack

    As the old saying goes, he who enters the Conclave a pope, leaves a cardinal. Cardinal Turkson did not help himself with that interview. He sounded very green. You never campaign for the papacy. Brutta figura.

  • Shawnbm

    I personally could care less from whence the new Roman pontiff comes, as this is a decision guided by the Holy Spirit. What is meant to happen will happen, but if we all can speculate on this, then I would love to someday see that a pontiff from one of the ancient Eastern Rite sui juris Churches. I think so many Latin Rite Catholics have little or no appreciation for the Church’s eastern brethren, their customs and liturgies. If anything, the exposure to the Eastern Rites (which would necessarily come with the election of such a man to the Chair of Saint Peter) would help the world recognize how varied and rich the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church is. It might also foster continued closeness with our Orthodox brothers and sisters, which we are called to strive for.

  • Justin

    Now is not the time for an African Pope precisely because of those reasons mentioned in the blog post.

    The real crisis in the Church is the persecution of all religions (apart from atheism which though adherents claim not to be, is a religion) but most especially Catholicism. This persecution is most obvious and salient, not in African countries, but in the so-called “liberal” (in reality – illiberal) Western regimes populated by demagogues who are slaves to an aggressive militant secularism that has promoted a dictatorship of relativism.

    What we need is a Pope who will recapture Europe for God, for Christendom, and for civilisation, defeating the foes and enemies of the atheistic Reich who seeks only the destruction of all that is true, pure and beautiful . Benedict XVI started this project with the New Evangelisation movement and new liturgical movement, and we need a Pope who has the vision and strategy to propel this crusade against the infidels even further winning the victory and seeing the Church reigning triumphant and glorious, her foes beneath her feet.

    That HAS to be the overwhelming priority number one for the next Pontificate.

  • Mary

    The focus should be on orthodoxy not race. Also if any man say he desires the office of pope, he probably should eliminated from the get go….all the best popes have not wanted the office ;-)

    I heard Cardinal Peter Turkson in an interview asked if he wanted to be pope and he answered “…why not…” with a big cheesy smile on his face and I immediately thought “… that should eliminate him, I wonder if he knows that and if it was his way of bowing out!”

    I think a latin pope (latin as in hispanic) would make a good area to look. One old enough, but not tooooo old… who fits that bill? One that is orthodox I mean, not modernistic… The main thing is not the color of the skin but the orthodoxy of their beliefs. And courage and strength…they will need that.

  • Old man

    My daughter has a friend from Africa. He says the liturgy there is more energetic (for lack of a better word).

  • Elizabeth

    This post by a Priest, and others I’ve seen (including interviews ~ eek) is so distasteful. Good grief. I pray all Priests, Bishops, Cardinals would please stop writing and speaking publicly about what kind of Pope we need, what native country would be best, what ethnicity would be best. Yes, we’re all human and can’t help but have opinions. That doesn’t mean that we should indulge it. To me, that is a temptation that should be avoided.

  • daisy

    I pray the cardinals don’t pick a man because of race. That would be as stupid. I keep hearing about how great the African church is but then again, we’ve all been told ad nauseum how great the church in Latin America is and we know that’s not true.

  • Just Sayin’

    You’re all wrong. It’s going to be the Canadian.

  • http://quotablejesus.blogspot.com Dave Montrose

    This post confused me. Do you want an African pope because he’s anti-gay or because he’s not going to make an issue out of it?

  • mrpkguy

    I’m with “Just say’in”……..it’s going to be Cardinal Oulette from Canada. Speaks 6 languages and is from this side of the pond, but not from a really large country like the USA, which will not happen in any of our life times!

  • axemole

    An AFRICAN Pope???

    Please, don’t make me laugh… if your intention is to bring down the Catholic Church, please continue… ANYONE with ‘some’ experience knows that the African Catholic Church’s problem are not homosexual priests nor pedophiles, but preventing the priests/bishops from having more than ONE woman and children on the side…

    The NEXT POPE, irregardless of their skin color, MUST have a SQUEAKY CLEAN record… i.e must be above all HOLY… all this P.C. talk about equality, race, culture, etc… means jack! With all the scandals around the World, with all the secular-progressives attacks, infiltrating the Church from within and destroying diocese after diocese… we need a HOLY Pope that, guided by the Holy Spirit, that can PUSH BACK against the principalities, the powers, the world rulers of this present dark era full of sexual perversions (even within the Church), full of ignorance, full of sophism and against a secular-media machine that appears to be emboldened with Obama’s re-election.

  • Mary

    Cardinal Bertone kinda has the deck stacked… maybe he will become Pius XIII as some have predicted the next pope will be named..

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  • notso.spineless

    Fr Dwight! generally love your stuff, but as a canuck, I have to take issue. Spineless euro-metro-whiner lovers? We only sound that way if you listen to the CBC, whose viewership hovers in the 300k range in a nation of 33 million. Probably more of you down south watch it than us. up north.
    The most morally ‘flexible’ IMHO belong to a certain ‘ communion’. Afghan vet (kandahar). 22 yrs Infantry. 6 kids/great wife/ great life! The queen we like…the rest of the Brits we simply tolerate.
    Oh, and you folks are missing out on Marc Cardinal Ouellet. Half the hierarchy in this country would be in apoplexy if he came out of the Conclave!

  • Alma

    I still have to hear from anyone say “We want a Pope that is a humble, faithful servant, a prayerful servant, a holy servant of the Church and Christ!” It doesn’t matter if he is from Africa, Asia,South America, North America,Europe, Australia, Antartica.

  • http://lexanteinternet.blogspot.com/ Pat H

    To throw in a little bit of a curve ball, after reading the endless American press commentary on how the next pope should adopt the latest fads in Western social thought, as we’ve all taken a vote on what we like and what we like is what the Pontiff should like because, well, we’re fair people and we like what we like, and that ought to be the moral standard (if you like it, it’s okay); and after considering the possibilities of an African Pontiff, I’m really wondering if future generations in the not very distant future will look back on this episode as the point at which the end of the Europeans civilization, of which we Americans are part, became obvious.

    With declining demographics, highly flexible morals, and no desire to stand for anything much really, it would seem that European civilization is pretty much closing up shop. European civilization was informed by Christianity, and became what it became because of Christian ideals, but Christianity is not European civilization. Having exchanged the values of its civilization post World War Two for an “I’m okay, you’re okay. . . I’m too lazy to think” set of standards, it would seem to be on the way out as important. In contrast, the East and now Africa, are really rising.

    It’s interesting that the Church is strong in these distressed, but rising, areas. We’d tell people in those areas that they should adopt our lack of standards as standards, and they aren’t buying it. We’re declining, and they’re rising. There’s a lesson in that.


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