New Vision (Kampala)

16 February 2013

Uganda: Finally Here's a Chance for an African Pope!

If the Holy Pope, supposedly anointed by God can resign his papacy, then surely this year 2013 we are likely to see more 'miracles' happening in our world. However, just as awkward as it sounds saying that to have an African Pope is a 'miracle'- let the miracle indeed befall the African side of the world if miracles indeed are for real.

I have written in this medium before, that the Church would need to do something extraordinarily special to convince the millions of believers about its dogmatic principles.

For a Pope to resign, whatever the circumstance, it may be is hot news as it were; for Pope Benedict the Sixteenth to be the 1st of his kind to resign in over 600 years is hotter news, and will sell for many months to come. However, we must learn a lesson out of all this.

As believers, I think this is the right time to attach a sense of reason to some of the principles surrounding our faith. At this, someone must justify why the Pope simply cannot be an African; And why not? We serve the same God, the same cause.

Imagine how frenzied Ugandans and the entire African would become if we woke up to the news that for example, Paul Bakyenga, the Archishop of Mbarara Arch-Diocese is the next Pope?

Forget the fact that he might end up being renamed something like "Pope Xavier VIX"-this history would live on the minds of this and the future generation for many years to come. Yet ideally for a Bishop to take on a higher role should never at all be such an issue of continental concern.

Truth be told, I am not one of the people that were shocked at Pope Benedict's resignation. The church has for ages tried to bring us up to believe that papacy and indeed all religious calling, is from a special voice of an unseen God.

Yet while there might be some element of truth, there's a lot that has happened within the church, depicting that honestly religious leaders, are as human as any of us. Human indeed because they practically share the same blood as any of the flocks they lead.

Yes, even the Pope gets sick despite his spiritual life and for heaven's sake, if Pope Benedict realised that he was too weak to perform his duties, why should anyone speculate about his decision? If it weren't for the pressures of putting food at table, how many of us would have long resigned our tormenting jobs?

Pope Benedict could hardly audibly deliver a homily anymore. Men of his age, elsewhere, are chilling somewhere and enjoying their old age-yet one can only imagine the load of work that the elderly Pope had to attend to.

When we were young, some of us used to speculate whether our white colleagues were made of the same anatomy as ourselves or not. Children in the villages would line up on the roads just to greet a white person (some still do in remote villages).

However, as we grew up and started exploring life 'outside there', we started interacting with whites and working closely with them, and some have even married them. Who can still justify the superiority of whites over blacks?

I am sure someone who grew up with then Joseph Ratzinger, will know that despite his later spiritual orientation (some could call it confusion), he was just as human as you and I.

It was during my journalism classes, that I came to appreciate that the fellows we revere so much were born of a woman like you and I; have a conscience like you and I; have feelings and emotions like you and I.

Possibly I think we should wait a moment before we can crucify priests accused of sexual offences! More so, we should let Pope Benedict VI retire in peace as we thank him for a job well done considering his advanced age. It may not even make sense anymore that the Pope must necessarily be someone of significantly advanced age!

When Barack Obama defied odds to become American President, we were shocked; when Mandela became South Africa's President, we marveled; when President Museveni bowed before the casket of his longtime nemesis Milton Obote at Parliament, we wondered; when Kiprotich made a record at the London Olympics, we ululated; when Cape Verde recently made it to the Africa Cup of Nations Quarterfinals, we shook our heads as some people were only hearing for the first time that this country comprises of a handful 500,00people only!

Others could not even imagine that former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader Kiiza Besigye could step down his position and life continues; So, why the fuss? We've been marveling, getting shocked, wondering, ululating, shaking our heads, and imagining. Ask some staunch Christians about Pope Benedict's resignation, and some will say they just-cannot-believe-it. How many things have happened lately and we just-could- not- believe them?

Even when the late Cerinah Nebanda passed on suddenly (RIP), some people were utterly dismayed-as if it was the first time such an incident was happening. It may be as far back as 1294 when Pope Celestine V resigned, but thankfully incident remains in living memory to date- it's merely a change of time on the clock for the clock must continue to tick, with or without Pope Benedict VI. Let others carry the mantle, after all, limitless terms of office have become abhorred in the modern world.

So really, the Pope's resignation is nothing superhuman, and if it hadn't been for the perpetuity of white supremacy, the election of a Black Pope would have been one of those nice moments to celebrate but not-out-of-this-world!!! Well, at this rate, it could happen that we wake up some day in March to an announcement from the Vatican that Archbishop Paul K.

Bakyenga is the new Pope. Personally I will simply say, "Thanks God"-just as I often do when God gives me the wisdom to scribble down my ideas from the intro, all the way to the full stop.

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