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The inspiring heritage of Africa's three popes

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  • Greg Cannon
    There s been a lot of talk about it being time for the first non-European pope, but we ve been forgetting to check the history books. More on these guys can be
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2005
      There's been a lot of talk about it being time for the
      first non-European pope, but we've been forgetting to
      check the history books. More on these guys can be
      found at


      [ TUESDAY, APRIL 05, 2005 01:12:10 AM ]

      MUMBAI/DUBLIN: Is the world ready for an African Pope?
      It was 1,500 years ago. The first African pope, Victor
      I, came from North Africa and was the 15th pope.
      According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, the most
      comprehensive guide to church history and
      personalities, it was Victor who decided that Easter
      would always be celebrated on a Sunday as opposed to
      the 14th day of the moon. He was also the first to
      make Latin the liturgical language of the Church and
      is buried in St Peter's basilica in Vatican City.

      The next African pope, Militiades, decreed that none
      of the faithful should fast on Sunday or on the fifth
      day of the week because this was a custom of the

      It was in his time that Constantine became Emperor and
      presented the Roman Church with the Lateran Palace
      which became the papal residence and administrative

      The third pope from Africa, Pope Gelasius I, is
      credited with showing the temporal power its place in
      Rome.''There are two powers by which chiefly this
      world is ruled: the sacred authority of the priesthood
      and the authority of kings. And of these, the
      authority of the priests is much the weightier, as
      they must render before the tribunal of God, and
      account even for the kings of men,'' he once wrote
      according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

      It's a heritage that must surely inspire Cardinal
      Arinze of Nigeria, specially now that bookies have
      made him a frontrunner to be the next Pope.

      More than 5,000 people have placed bets on who will be
      the next pope with Paddy Power PLC, Ireland's largest
      bookmaking chain.

      Betting resumed on Monday in shops and on the Internet
      on the question, ''Who will be the next pope?'' The
      firm had suspended betting for one day (Sunday) out of
      respect to John Paul, who died on Saturday.

      The biggest bet so far, $1,300, has been on Dionigi
      Tettamanzi. Arinze is also a hot favourite, with Oscar
      Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Joseph Ratzinger and
      Claudio Hummes following.

      Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino of Cuba, Ennio Antonelli
      of Italy and Christoph Schoenborn of Austria come in
      after the top five, all at 14-1. Giovanni Battista Re
      of Italy stood alone at 16-1, while three others �
      Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Colombia, and Crescenzio
      Sepe and Giacomo Biffi, both of Italy � merited 18-1.
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