Africa responds to the news of a Pope from the Third World

I’ll update as and when I find more  responses:


In Rwanda, Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege, the Bishop of Kabgayi Diocese, said the Catholic Church in Rwanda was surprised by Cardinal Bergoglio’s election as pope.

“But we trust the cardinals that voted for him because they know him better than we do,” Bishop Mbonyintege, who is also the spokesperson of the Catholic Church in Rwanda said.

He said the name chosen by the new pope reflects humility and love to the poor according to the gospel.

About the chances of having an African pope, Bishop Mbonyintege said the most important thing is to have a universal pope and hopes that Pope Francis maintains church unity.


From the Guardian:

The Guardian‘s Monica Mark speaks with Father John Paul Ale of Falomo Church, one of the oldest in Nigeria, about today’s pick:

He’s an advantageous choice for Africa. He’s a very pastorally inclined man. There’s more work to be done in Africa and since pastoral work is his specialty, we should have a good testimony from him. It’s not about race or colour, but the beginning of a new life of the church.

Nigeria is home to 18-million Roman Catholics.


The Guardian‘s Patrick Kingsley, based in Cairo, picks up on reaction from a Coptic bishop:

Coptic Bishop Angaelos – tweeting live from the Egyptian desert – has described his “heartfelt joy” at not just the new Roman Catholic pope, but the new Coptic Catholic patriarch, who was by a quirk of fate also enthroned this week.
Bishop Angaelos describes the evening as “surreal”, though it is unclear whether this surreality comes from today’s news, or from his sandy surroundings, which Angaelos claims to be the birthplace of monasticism.


Monica Mark gathers reaction from Ghana, whose cardinal, Peter Turkson, was seen as Africa’s best hope for the papacy.

Mark reached Emmanuel Abbey-Quaye, secretary-general of Ghana’s Catholic Bishop’s Conference, who was ordained by Turkson in 2005:



If a cardinal from Ghana had been chosen it would have been an great honour to us and the African continent, but we weren’t so concerned with all the media hype. The surprise was we were not anticipating someone from outside of Europe. But wherever they came from was not our concern. Truly the reaction in Ghana, even right now in my church, has been one of joy and happiness.

We know that no single cardinal has all the answers to all the problems of a particular continent or even one country, but they will all work together in concert. Argentina, Latin America – that is somewhere with similar challenges to Africa, and [Bergoglio] has a solid pastoral background that is crucial for places where the church as a whole is facing difficulties, whether it is Sudan or Israel. That is what was expected from a new leader.



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