The New Times (Kigali)

13 February 2013

Africa: The Pope Has Resigned, Long Live the African Pope

editorial

Pope Benedict XVI's surprise announcement of his impeding resignation at the end of this month has captured the world's attention and set a new precedent.

He is the first Catholic patriarch to willingly do so in 600 years, relinquishing the coveted all-powerful post that oversees over a billion faithful.

Close observers believe his action will help salvage the churches image, which has, in the last few years, been dented by a string of sexual abuse scandals and the church's attempts to cover them up.

The traditional proclamation: the King is dead, long live the King! used to announce the death of a king, but also assure the population that the monarchy was still intact, can also apply to the current situation at the Vatican.

The Catholic Church is truly alive and has its tentacles all over the world.

Religion has taken centre stage in global politics in recent years, with extremists using it as an excuse to propagate violence in the name of God.

It is time it used its goodwill to influence the creation of a more peaceful and fair world

The last few decades have seen the Catholic institution slowly wane in the West to plant it roots firmly in Africa and South American nations where it has the majority of followers.

As the world waits for the white smoke to billow from the chimneys of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, announcing the election of the new Pope, Africa hopes it will be their man.

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