Catholic Cardinals set to vote in new Pope; Africans hope it’s one of them
Roman Catholic Church cardinals (filed) into the 15th-century Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to begin their secret election of a successor to retired P
Hailing from six continents, the red-hated “princes of the church” will choose a new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics amid a waning church presence in Europe and North America and expansion in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The elections of John Paul II in 1978 and his successor Benedict in 2005 took three days and two days, respectively.
The German-born Benedict, 85, who on Feb. 11 said he no longer had the strength to lead the church, was the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
The process of electing his successor will offer few signs about the winner until white smoke wafts over St. Peter’s Square.
“We won’t be sending any text messages” to announce the new pope’s election, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at a press briefing on March 9. “A little bit of suspense is one of the nice things about this event.”
On entering the conclave, cardinals and supporting staff must take a vow of secrecy. Under rules updated by Benedict, violating the vow brings automatic excommunication. During the conclave cardinals must remain in the Sistine Chapel, adorned with Michelangelo’s frescoes, or their lodgings in the Vatican.
Only one ballot is held on the first day of the conclave, after which as many as four votes a day can be conducted.
When no candidate wins the required two-thirds of the votes, ballots are burned with a chemical to emit black smoke over St. Peter’s Square. White smoke signals a new pope, who is later accompanied to a balcony over St. Peter’s Square with the proclamation “Habemus Papam,” Latin for “We have a pope.”
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, was elected after two days and four ballots on April 19, 2005, 17 days after John Paul’s death. Conclave press passes that expire March 23 suggest the Vatican expects his successor will be installed by the March 24th start of Holy Week on Palm Sunday that runs through Easter.
Of the 115 cardinal electors, sixty-seven were created by Benedict and 48 by John Paul II.
They spent the last week with cardinals above the voting age discussing challenges facing the church and sizing up papal candidates, including possibly electing the first non-European pope in more than a millennium.
Some of the debates focused on how to improve the work of the Vatican bureaucracy known as the Curia in light of the so- called “Vatileaks” case involving leaked papal documents, which depicted a web of Vatican intrigue undermining Benedict’s governance of the global church.
The cardinals also pondered how to reconnect with a Western culture that now largely rejects Catholic teachings on contraception and homosexuality, fails to understand why women can’t be priests and lacks interest in topics of a more theological nature.
“The church is bleeding in the West,” said Jack Valero, a founder of U.K.-based Catholic Voices, an international group that trains lay people to speak publicly about church issues. Valero predicts the new pope will be one of the cardinals working on the Vatican’s “New Evangelization” council, which Benedict created in 2010 to develop ways to better communicate the faith to contemporary culture.
Members of the council include Angelo Scola, the 71- year-old archbishop of Milan; Vienna Archbishop Christoph Schonborn, 68; New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, 63; Canada’s Ouellet, the 68-year-old archbishop of Montreal; and Sao Paulo Archbishop Odilo Scherer of Brazil, 63.
Other non-European “papabili” include Argentina’s Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 69; Francis Arinze of Nigeria, 80; and Peter Turkson of Ghana, 64, dubbed “one of Africa’s most energetic church leaders” by The Tablet, a British Catholic magazine.
Naming a South American or African would break from a tradition of European popes dating to the death of Syrian Gregory III in 741. Africa, where baptized Catholics more than tripled between 1980 and 2010 to 185.6 million, is the church’s fastest-growing region. ref: South Atlantic News Agency.
AFRICAN CATHOLICS AND THE ELECTION OF POPE: For African Catholics and christians, the hope for the election of one of their own as pontiff will be 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. https://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, 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
Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-group. https://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com https://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/
• Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu. https://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=USAfrica+Chido+Nwangwu+al-qaeda+terrrorism+nigeria&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 https://usafricaonline.com/tag/al-qaeda/ 310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com on July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584
Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal
USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin. By Chido Nwangwu. https://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/
Tunisia, Egypt . . . Is Nigeria next? By Prof. Rosaire Ifedi https://usafricaonline.com/2011/02/13/tunisia-egypt-is-nigeria-next-by-prof-rosaire-ifedi/
How and Why Romney beat Obama in first presidential debate. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica. https://usafricaonline.com/2012/10/03/how-and-why-romney-beat-obama-in-first-presidential-debate-by-chido-nwangwu/
Related insight: USAfrica’s October 17, 2001 special report/alert: Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu. https://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html
• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido, Facebook.com/USAfrica247 n Twitter.com/Chido247
Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: https://usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/
News archives related to Jos, here https://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos
Trump looks foolish and crazy screaming about Obama’s birth certificates, college records and Muslim connection. By Raynard Jackson
• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including Nigeria360 at yahoogroups and USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247