Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

African cardinals line up for election

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, February 22 - Is the Roman Catholic
Church ready for a black pope? This is a question that is being
asked by many pending the opening of the conclave to elect a
successor to Pope Benedict XVI following his shock resignation
with effect from the end of February due to diminishing physical
and mental strength.
The outgoing pope has long considered Africa a ''spiritual
lung'' for the world and during a visit to Benin in 2011 he
lauded the absence on the continent of ''the faith fatigue that
is so prevalent here ... of the fatigue with Christianity such
as we are experiencing in Europe today''.
Those doubtful of Africa's readiness to deliver the next
pope point to its representatives' lack of experience in the
religious governance of the church and unfamiliarity with a
western mentality.
However supporters argue that Africans have long been
involved in the day-to-day running of the Church both at Vatican
level and in their own dioceses, and that the young churches on
the continent - whose religious frequently fill the void created
by the crisis of vocations in the West - have something
important to contribute at this difficult time.
The 11 African cardinals eligible to vote in the upcoming
conclave would seem to support this claim.
They include the Ghanaian Peter Turkson, 65, President of
the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; the Guinean Robert
Sarah, 68, President of Cor Unum, the Vatican's main oversight
agency for charitable activities; Tanzanian Polycarp Pengo, 69,
Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam; Nigeria's John Olorunfemi
Onaiyekan, 68, Archbishop of Abuja; Wilfrid Napier, 72,
Archbishop of Durban in South Africa; and the Sudanese Gabriel
Zubeir Wako, 71, Archbishop of Khartoum.
These and other African cardinals represent not just the
cry of the poor and the martyrdom of numerous Christians in
inter-religious conflict, but also the vitality of a young faith
and a ''religious sense of life'' that Pope Benedict XVI says
the world so sorely needs.

photo: Turkson

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