Saturday, 02 March 2013 19:58(JollofNews) – As the College of Cardinals gather in Rome to elect a new Pope, there are mixed reactions about Africa’s chances to see one of her sons picked to preside over the destiny of the Catholic Church.
While most people are with the view that time has come for the Vatican to have an African pope; others think there is nothing wrong if the status quo is maintained.
Pope Benedict XVI stepped down in early February after nearly eight years as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. His resignation took effect on Thursday February 28, 2013.
Speculations continue to grow in Gambia that Ghanaian cardinal Peter Turkson and Nigerian cardinal Francis Arinze are among potential successors to Pope Benedict.
"Among the candidates and members of the Secret College of Cardinals are few Africans who are eligible, they may be appointed," Thomas G.G Senghore, a founding father of the country's established Catholic Order known as the Knights of Peter and Paul, said.
"There is an age limit now, not all cardinals vote during papal election. They retain the title, but they do not participate," he added but stressed that "a man like cardinal Turkson from Ghana is very much below the age limit."
This year’s papal election illustrates the shifting of the center of gravity to Africa and Latin America as the majority of world’s Catholics live outside the European continent.
"An estimated 70% of all Catholics are within Latin America and Africa. So, the hierarchy of the Church should reflect the reality on the ground," said Senghore, who is also a member of Saint Anthony of Patte d'Oie Prayer of Kanifing Parish.
"We cannot have European popes when the majority of believers and adherents of the Catholic faith are no longer European. The old continent has held the position for a long time. It is now time for a change and the reality on the ground should be acknowledged and
Similar sentiments were expressed by the Administrator of St Therese's Parish in Knifing, John Peter Gomez, who made it clear that "the time has come for African Cardinals to stand as Pope in the Vatican."
Far from going all out for the African Cardinals, Johannes Bami John, a prominent member of Gambia Catholic Shrine, said everything should be left in "the hands of God."
"There is only one Catholic Church. Let the College of Cardinals select the best candidate...," he said.
Written by Abdoulie John
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