No hope for African pope, says African Cardinal

Cardinal Anthony Okogie of Lagos, one of the cardinals who elected the current Pontiff last year, has said that the hope of an African Pope for the Church are very slim because the number of African cardinals in the church today is negligible.

The Vanguard reports that addressing the media in Lagos, Cardinal Okogie also gave reasons why Cardinal Francis Arinze - whose pre-Conclave rating was very high - did not emerge as the first African Pope, stating that because one holds a very powerful position in the Church does not necessarily improve one's chances of being a Pope.

"It can even militate against you," he said, "because people will put so much attention on whatever you do. Recently, I read in one of the British papers, condemning the language they said he [Cardinal Arinze] used in Westminster."

"To some, it is good, to others it is rubbish. This is the kind of problems we Africans have," he said adding that the media may have played a significant role in his non-selection.

Reminiscing on his first Conclave experience, the Cardinal said that if he was elected Pope he would have collapsed, explaining that to be elected Pope one must be able to speak more than four international languages.

"That place they call Conclave is a top secret place and I was going there for the first time, like many of the cardinals. I was filled with big awe. I felt as if I wasn't really in the world especially when they said 'everybody out of the room.'

"You will swear and after that they will read the rules and regulations and thereafter the ballot papers are distributed. There is no nomination," he explained.

Cardinal Okogie said that they were free to interact with anybody until the order is given for all that non-eligible electors to go out as the papers are distributed to the electors.

"I believe really that there is something supernatural about the Conclave," he said, wondering how everybody could be backing one particular individual but after the first ballot, that person's name would suddenly disappear.

No hope for African Pope yet - Cardinal Okogie (Vanguard, 136/2006)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria
Cardinal Okogie (Wikipedia)
Interview with Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie (BNW Magazine)

Nigerian archbishop offers to take place of woman condemned to death by stoning (CathNews 27/2/02)


15 Jun 2006