Hope after Pope: Can an AfriCan Occupy the Vacant Vatican?
I have an important edict from my media source of holy news. Today, February 28, 2013, marks the official benediction of Pope Benedict XVI, who officially steps down. Another pope I am yet to predict from the Conclave 117’s verdict will step up, but from where? Let us do the Bet-ican for the next president of the Vatican. The answer is obvious. Not from Africa again! Don’t ask why. And if you do, I will give you a ‘stupid’ answer. And this is it.
African leaders, be it religious or political, have a leadership adaptability of sticking into the big seat forever. We have too many leaders with little leadership. And the timeless adverb ‘forever’ here points at their undying holy matrimony’s vow: Till Death Do Us Part. Aha’men!
So the Conclave today or after today at St. Peter’s Square will not think of electing or selecting a Papa with an African origin, lest he clings onto power for second, third and another term…till death does him part! Yea, I learned this from Obamaland, especially when some white pastor claimed in a prophecy (that lacks a proper see) that Barack Obama would amend the American ‘Bible of Governance’ (Constitution) and run, like Museveni, for third time if allowed to occupy the oval office secondly. Now that he is in, let’s wait and see if that AmeriKenyan boy will again seek.
And if not that stereotype, then this prototype. God anointed (maybe) a Pontiff seat with whitening oil called “Papal Gel”. So unless you are whitened first, you won’t sit on the Holy Seat with the title of a Holy See. If ‘bleaching’ were practiced by African men, I would recommend one, or at best, a Michael-Jacksoning Syndrome (let ne coin it ‘Papalastic surgery’). This should have been done simply by spiritual bleaching, but they say Africans are racially too annoyed to be annointed. But The Bible says, God is not cheated. If so, then why a white pope from Europe since Jesus founded Christianity on one message: Spread the Word of God to the whole world? You mean, Africa was not discovered by Christian explorers-cum-missionaries by AD 33? But it is only Africa, says The Holy Bible, that first welcomed and preserved Christianity by hosting Joseph’s refugee family with a Baby-saviour (See Egypt, not the one under the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi or any other Islamic hardliner to take over later).
So if Africa qualified to keep Jesus Christ until he was a boy mature enough to handle the salvation project and hand it over to Pope (Simon Peter being the first Pope in theological history), who is he at Vatican City to claim that Africa cannot qualify to head the world’s biggest religion? Jesus ran to Alexandria or Cairo, not Rome or Vatican, in 6 BC. Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, are you armed with such facts so that you vacate Khartoum and debate your way to the Vatican, but through Juba? If you fail, please retire, like your holy boss. Failure to secure for us the most sacred title of ‘Your Holiness’, please, just report yourself straight to Wau, unless you are not yet aware that you are independent, and your new nation is called ‘Republic of South Sudan’? But (PYI) the situation in Wau…is wow!
I hear the Africans wanted Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, to occupy the Canterbury last year but that was seen contrary, or another brother thereabout, like Cardinal Francis Arinze to to try Vatican. OK, he is as well welcome to the Papacy, a sacred but secret democracy conducted by the electoral commission known as the Conclave, comprising 117 or so cardinals (secret electorates, say ‘selectorates’), more than half of whom come from Europe and more than half of whom is appointed by the outgoing Pontiff. Alas, by my African bias, the s/election is pre-rigged by region’s imbalance under religion’s balance! See those figures below. But before you do that, mark my words: a ‘secret democracy’ on earth can only be trusted when it is transformed into a sacred democracy in Heaven!
However, let no voter at St. Peter’s Square turn down the African pope’s secondment with a blame game or lame excuse that his (pope’s) butler, who, by our African leadership style, must come from Nigeria should the next pope, either a cousin or nephew, is going to forge pope’s documents…we call them ‘Vatileaks’, and send them to Wikileaks, and then reblogged to Weakleaks! Or ‘manufacture’ fake Lira or dollar at the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR: or Istituto per le Opere di Religione).
In case it takes time for you to understand this mixture of English and Italian, its euphemism (nickname) is Vatican Bank. Since money is the root cause of evil according to St. Timothy, a holy bank must not carry names of money, bank or anything of that kind. I repeat, it is Institute for the Works of Religion, period! And if you ask why Vatileaks list this money house as one of the reasons leading to the resignation of the Holy Father, thank God, I am not a Vaticanologist, hence, have no answer ! Hope I am forgiven for all I have mis/given.
One of the apparent reasons that may perpetuate this African papal drought is a transparent religion accorded to a human being called Pope, His Holiness or The Holy Father (don’t know how they address the real Father, God, leave alone that a pope or a Rev. Father is not a bio-logical but just aa theo-logical father).
This religiousness is manifest in the symptoms by which we worship our systems instead of the real faith. In the world today, believers seem, me included or affected, to be driven by fate, not by faith; the former being diabolical and the latter being Biblical in effect. Therefore, I subscribe to the theology that some churches, especially these big traditional ones, are too organized to be spiritual whereas the others, like the small personal ones, are too spiritual to be organized; talk of the ‘Jon Pen’tecostal Ministries Internet’ional’ sort of. I have prayed in all these: Roman Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal churches and have lived and believed what that statement means, nowadays.
I realized the difference in 1993 when I was one of the 5-boy delegation to meet Pope John Paul II on behalf of the Red Army (Jesh Ahmr) and all thevwsr chikdren of South Sudan on February 5, 1993, in Gulu, Northern Uganda. During our preps for the trip to meet the pope and present him our complaints as bush-boy martyrs of the Sudan (religious) Civil War, we made two mistakes that made our letter and song somehow initially rejected, and then later subjected to series of serious editing and proofreading by our Catholic authorities in Palotaka, South Sudan. While I cannot remember the content of the letter to the ‘Holy Father’, I can still remember the final lyrics of the song that we had put together to worship His Holiness, and that was not allowed to be sung in the ceremony by Uganda holy authorities that deemed us too crude and too rude to greet His Holiness by shake of hands or singing at some distance of a few centi/metres to him. As far as I can recollect and recompose my boyhood reminiscences (now backed up in my upcoming bush book), the song goes in five stanzas:
O Your Holiness!
We are greeting you
O Your Holiness (X2)
We’re greeting you, greetings! (X5)
We here welcome you
O Your Holiness (X2)
We welcome you, welcome! (X5)
We are happy,
For your coming (X2),
Your coming gives us happiness! (X5)
We are the poorest ones,
Forgotten ones (X2)
We’re children of Sudan (X4)
We’re children of South Sudan!
We need your blessings
O Your Holiness (X2)
Your blessings be on us! (5)
Source: Condemned to Go to School (an autobiography of this author to be published after his last university graduation).
What are the interest and the relationship of the song to the title of this piece? Spiritual bureaucracy! We were forced to worship His Holiness rather than addressing our issues to him. For example, three stanzas we dedicated to explaining our problems in the song were abridged to a one four-line stanza, while the two stanzas of adoring (greeting, welcoming) the Holy Father were expanded to four stanzas in the repetitive order of greetings, welcoming, happiness and blessings. All these were not necessary and the changes went against my grains, being the architect of the lyrics and the tone.
When I fell sick on the whole journey, superstitious boys thought I did not receive the last blessings we went to request for because I had opposed our trainer and the editor-priest over the verbosity and pomposity of the verses. Those comrades who thought so were neither (committed) members of my Sunday school group in the camp nor did they understand that we went to beg the pope for the blessings meant for Southern/Sudan.
So who, in Africa, would be deemed such holy to be worshiped when we know our reverence for our reverends and their excellencies (sacred and secular leaders) is weakened by power struggle, even in the church? So if that Vatican handover is peaceful by means of free, fair and democratic s/election — secret or sacred, then I must assume no Africans were nominated. And if nobody African by origin is nominated, then the process is, as usual, dominated by the Europeans.
I heard one North American was proposed, who stands opposed on the ground of homo-something. But my heart goes for a South one. According to the data from the BBC, “Sixty-seven of the men who will vote for the new pope were appointed by Benedict XVI, and 49 by his predecessor John Paul II. About half (60) are European, and 21 are very Italian by nwtionality. There will also be 19 Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 11 Africans, 10 Asians and one cardinal from Oceania among the voters.” You see?
How about an African being dePoped (rejected) after elected? What else is ‘synonymously’ African if not heterosexuality? Whereas it is an African’s ancestral – if not biblical – right, to marry or be married, and since marriage, moreover marrying more wives, is a biblical taboo for the top leadership of the 1.2 billion flock of the Catholic bloc, count out for now an Afropope candidate. No, I am not being an ‘Afropobe’ here.
Just imagine an African Pope popping up in the Vatican and declaring, “Go ye, multiply, fill and subdue the world,” says the Lord. “And this is why a man and a woman will leave their parents (and not go to the convent or monastery)….blah, blah, bla, la, ah, a!” Just imagine how the thousands of brothers, nuns, or even none, will turn up at the aisle! Or how the conservatives will ask that the pope cease to reign or to resign, which is not very African (to resign!). We in Africa do not resign, we design and redesign how to cling on, like Robert Mugabe, a very staunch Catholic who ironically is a Vatican frequenter.
Well, to near the conclusion, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the second to resign like Pope Gregory VII in 1514, (wonder if the next one will be the 17th?) chose to throw in his towel abruptly and unilaterally on the conditions of health and, maybe, age (Robert Mugabe take note, your Catholic boss has made it!).
I am Christian enough not to speculate, but my journalism ethics tell me not to wholly believe in the news gospel the Vatican PR, Fr. Frederic Lombardi, on his ‘Hypocratic’ Vows, sows to the world. So I am just here to wait for our very dear ‘Vatileaks’. Who knows it might carry on its headlines in 2014: Pope Benedict XVI quit to give way to reformist on celibacy, Pope Benedict XVI resigned due to Paedophile by his lieutenants (on thousands of altar boys!), Pope Benedict XVI abdicated upon the IOR Corruption Allegation or at worse, abducted by the In-fighting in the Vat City, etc. I am just wishing such back-dated prophecy of mine (news) does/not come to pass. And should it come to pass, it should not come to be passed.
Maybe the last reason is the same reason why the current head of my church, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, Primate of the Episcopal Church of South/Sudan or why the Ugandan born John Sentamu, Archbishop of Birmingham (UK), did not become the Archbishop of Canterbury. Why do I think so? The Flag (still) follows the Cross. I mean political colonialism or religious cannibalism of the day. Period!
GRAPHICALLY, this is my conclusive summary of the general religious view from, not me but, an atheist, which I like.