POPE FRANCIS, champion for the poor and evangelistic dedication.
By Chido Nwangwu
Sistine Chapel and the ringing of the bell in the Vatican City on Wednesday evening.
The new POPE Francis 1 (Jorge Mario Bergoglio), from Argentina, is champion for the poor and a progressive advocate for empowering the needy. The humble Jesuit was elected following 5 votes by the 115 cardinals who formed the “conclave” eligible to vote. A new Pope is designated as elected with getting two-thirds majority of the voting cardinals. The new Pope was born on December 17, 1936, in Argentina, by migrant Italian parents.
Four quick points that I wish to make.
First, the 76-years old choice, Pope Francis 1, is a welcome reformer who can tackle the recent crises facing the church, especially the predatory sexual abuse of children and teenage boys by Catholic priests in the past 35 years. We note that most of those came to light during the papacy of 85-years old Pope Benedict XVI who is the second Pope to resign (on February 11, 2013). Pope Gregory XII was the first to resign in 1415.
Second, the establishment of the Catholic church seems responsive to the reality that Latinos form almost 38% of the church. Argentina and Latin American are among the largest and fastest growing population of Catholics in the world. The new Pope was ArchBishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s main city.
Three, his style is outreach and simplicity. Even as the challenges of the sins of many of its priests cast a long, negative shadow, the new, conservative Pope appeared at the Vatican balcony, wearing a white robe, spoke about his charge and blessed the thousands at the Vatican whom he called “my brothers and sisters.” One of his first words, today, was the humility to ask the crowd and all who watched to “bless” him — as he undertakes this papal responsibility.
Fourth, after all the deft moves, canonical considerations and high-wire politics inside the hallowed rooms of the 15th century Sistine Chapel, after 2,000 years, the Catholic church picked a new leader to hold some level of balance in a changing world.
I believe it’s a new day for Catholics and the christian community following the emergence of a man with a pious, evangelistic dedication. Long Live Pope Francis The First! •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, former adviser on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360, IgboEvents, UNNalumni, and the pictorials site PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn
AFRICAN CATHOLICS AND THE ELECTION OF POPE.
For African Catholics and christians, the hope for the election of one of their own as pontiff was raised, again. In the 2013 voting for a new Pope, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson (64 years old man who speaks 8 languages) was highlighted as a major contender.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Nigerian-born Francis Cardinal Arinze was the most visible in the past 25 years. Arinze who was appointed Cardinal on the 25th of May 1985, has served as Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and as Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni since April 2005. Also, see April 25, 2002 USAfrica special report WILL ARINZE BE THE FIRST AFRICAN ELECTED POPE IN RECENT HISTORY? To our Brother Cardinal Arinze: May your pastoral lineage endure! By Chido Nwangwu. http://usafricaonline.com/arinzechido.html
Age is not on Arinze’s side; younger African Cardinals may be in better contention. There are several other Africans including Alexandre do Nascimento of Angola who served as Archbishop Emeritus of Luanda. In 2012, a younger Nigerian John Onaiyekan was appointed Cardinal.
Pope Benedict XVI brought and shared with Africans his global message of christian progress, protection of life, opposition to terrorism, strong opposition and action against Catholic priest who abused children and pushed ecumenical harmony for believers and followers of Jesus Christ. By Chido Nwangwu.