Opinion: Why the next pope should be African
Nigerian Cardinal John Onaiyekan has said he would not be surprised to see an African pope in his lifetime.
February 14th, 2013
04:58 AM ET

Opinion: Why the next pope should be African

Editor's note: Stan Chu Ilo is professor of religion and education, director of field education, at St Michael's College, University of Toronto, Canada. He is also author of: "The Face of Africa: Looking Beyond the Shadows" and "The Church and Development in Africa: Aid and Development from the Perspective of Catholic Social Ethics."

By Stan Chu Ilo, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, was asked last week at the celebration of Black History Month in Toronto if he thought that the time was ripe for an African pope. His answer attracted much cheering from the crowd of over 500 Catholics of African descent.

He said: "The time for an African pope was ripe even in the time of the Apostolic Fathers in the first century of the church."

"I am not saying that I wish to be considered for the papacy, but the fact that the Gospel is to be preached to all peoples, languages, and races means that the highest leadership of the church should be open to anyone from any race, language and nation. I will not be surprised to see an African pope in my lifetime."

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Africa • Catholic Church • Pope

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Golden calf

    Hell yeah! I hope we get an African Pope! That way, if somebody attacks the Church, I can call them racist!

    March 5, 2013 at 12:14 am |
  2. Adam

    What a nice, pointless gesture to distract from the fact that the Catholic Church is directly responsible for the deaths of millions of men and women and especially children on the continent of Africa. After that, perhaps they can pick a victim of clerical abuse, and then we can just call the whole last millennium a wash!

    February 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  3. michelle bachmann

    dat ass!!!!!!

    February 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  4. derp

    An African pope is a great idea. What better way to expand the church's r a p e program, than to let an African lead the faith. Seeing as how Africa is the r a p e capital of the world the RCC could expand the program from little boys, to women, infants, the elderly etc etc etc.

    February 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Shirlitza

      I feel blacks are more spiritually gifted than whites. A black pope is a good idea his upbringing as a child is important, education, must be able to handle global problems + other religions as the whole world is in such a mess now.

      February 16, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  5. Mohammad A Dar


    February 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  6. Opinion: Why not the next pope should be Micky Mouse


    February 14, 2013 at 10:35 am |
  7. Universe

    God in Quran says, (Islamic scripture)

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    ‘They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper." [2:135]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! [5:75]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.[22:74]

    If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [Quran 6:116]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside God can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued. [22:73]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    February 14, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Shirlitza

      Is there anything in the Quaran about true love of God/Allah why do they kill their own/maim/abuse their families especially.If there is no love, your words + advice are like sounding brass.

      February 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 14, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • nope


      February 14, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • yup

      YUUUUP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 14, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • Shirlitza

      Everyone has a spiritual part of their brain, study parts of the brain. All pray or commune with God whether they are aware of it or not.

      February 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  9. Saraswati

    A huge amount of recent growth is in Asia which is not in the "South" and does not consider itsealf so. An African pope would not help recruiting in that area or retention in other areas. A pope with some African ties might work, but the big picture of all regions needs to be considered marketing-wise,

    February 14, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      First governments, and now religions, all want to be politically correct.

      February 14, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      LOL I doubt anyone considers the Vatican politically correct

      February 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Akira

      And they should not be a presence in the political arena, either.

      February 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • nessy

      So only a white man can be considered for pope? I thought it was a spiritual calling. And as for as violence goes isnt that how Christianity was brought to the new world?

      February 17, 2013 at 11:30 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.