Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Why an African may not be the next pope!

Let us be clear on this; Africa is not producing the next pope! I know you won’t like to hear this but then I do not owe you a duty to write only what you like to read. I am not under any duty of care under Tort to write what will make you happy just as you do not owe me a duty to read everything I am writing, however I bet someone somewhere would eventually appreciate the logic of my argument. That is if you actually agree it is logical at all.

My argument here is that Africa will never produce the next pope not that an African will never be a pope sometime in the future. That dream is still possible but then Africans must have to dream less, pray less and work harder like mafias. Being a pope has nothing to do with prayer and dream (Africans dream and pray too much, even more than the pope), it has more to do with machinations, politicking and Darwinian and Machiavellian principles.  To refresh your knowledge the Darwin principle is all about the survival of the fittest while that of Machiavelli is simple: the end justifies the means! For an African to be the next pope he must learn to live with these two principles!

The reason behind my argument is obvious. It is not because Euro-Americans have anything against Africa but because a lot of things are involved in being elected as a pope. The above mentioned points are some of them but then one must also appreciate the fact that half of the 120 cardinals that will elect the next pope are Europeans and I so much doubt these cardinals will be willing to give a go at an African pope. And if you follow this logic very dearly, it has an implication. The implication is that any pope who does not want an African succeeding him could easily do that. All he has to do is to appoint less number of young African cardinals or large number of old African cardinals. The reason behind this is that less number of young African cardinals will never have enough vote to support each other or to ensure an election of an African pope while a majority of old African cardinals are always likely to get old and go beyond the age of entering a conclave that elects a new pope.

But there are also other arguments too. The first is the thinking pattern of Africans in general. It is a fact that the environment plays a huge part in the way people think. For this reason, the thinking pattern of two six year olds would be different if they come from different parts of the world and if they don’t travel out of their various places of birth it will still be the same. Travelling will make a huge difference in their thinking pattern. This is in line with the theory that travel is part of an experience and of course the level of development in a given place plays a part in the thinking pattern of the inhabitants. For this reason while most Africans would like to settle scores with war, ethnic cleansing, fighting, smacking etc. most Euro-Americans would prefer dialogue and resort to war and fighting as a last resort. This differences lies with their environment.

In line with the above view, the thinking pattern of an African is quite different from the way Euro-Americans think. Often, Africans are very aggressive and violent in the way they think but Euro-Americans even though they exhibit same trait often moderate it along the line of public opinion, learning and discoveries. Ever wondered why Ugandans would want to kill all homosexuals in their country while Euro-Americans talk of their human rights? It lies with the fact that Euro-Americans have a space to accommodate changing environments and views, Africans often cannot because that will go contrary to what their fathers and forefathers told them. The meaning is quite obvious; their forefathers and traditions are better learned than they are. For this reason Euro-Americans cardinals are less likely to vote for an African cardinal. They would not like to be led by a cardinal from dark ages. Yes Pope Benedict XVI is a conservative but he never had it good with his Euro-American followers and the major reason he resigned is still far from the truth! Do not believe everything the Vatican tells you love!

Akin to the above point is that Euro-Americans would not like to be led by a person who is more holy than the pope. African cardinals come across as more holy than the pope. While Euro-Americans believe that they are sinners in need of God's grace, most Africans would not agree; they are holy indeed and it is of people like them that the kingdom of God was made. They are ever ready to point to the west as the reason for decline in faith noticed in the world today especially in the west. Euro-Americans so much hate this holier-than-thou attitude and little wonder two English Anglican bishops vehemently opposed John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York being the next Archbishop of Canterbury because 'he has a temperament of an African chief'.

And by the way, a friend told me that another reason Euro-Americans may not entertain an African pope is because most of the African cardinals had not played a vital role in opposing injustice, poverty, discrimination, corruption and mismanagement in their own countries and therefore may not be useful to the global church especially this time the church needs reform like yesterday. Same friend asked me to name one Oscar Romero in Africa and I named Anthony Cardinal Okogie of Lagos, Nigeria and he said he may not be enough to convince Euro-Americans that Africans can do it.

But on a very progressive note, this is not a time for a conservative pope. What the Church of Rome needs now is a progressive who can bring all the factions, side-lined, ostracised and forgotten under one roof. I am not quite sure an African pope can do that at the moment. The African church and culture is deeply immersed in discrimination, hatred, unhealthy competition and support for regimes infamous for human rights abuses. For instance, in Nigeria it would be hard for a Roman Catholic Church to take it lightly that one of them is going to marry an Anglican. This type of conservatism is very unhealthy for the region that wants to produce the next pope. I am very sure that Euro-Americans have seen loads of hatred to have more time for hatred and discrimination made in Africa.

I therefore do not see the possibility of an African pope now and stands to be proved wrong anyway!

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