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(RNS) A non-European pope, drawn from the Global South that's shaping the future face of the church, would be a prophetic spiritual gift to the whole Christian community, and beyond.


  1. The pride African Americans feel for the election of Obama is because he is a competent African American President. I think that that is the main hurdle in choosing a Pope from the global south. Is there a guy there who they believe has the maturity and competence to handle the job AND is the Church there truly established as a mature functioning Christian entity. I would also separate North America from Europe and align it with the global south. Any move away from Europe would be seen as a positive step. I cannot speak for the US but in Canada, when you go to churches in a place like Toronto, they are packed out with immigrants from everywhere (except western Europe) so there is definitely a link to the global south in parts of NA driven by massive immigration.

  2. Wes, I embrace much of your pitch for a non-European pope. I offer one counter-factual and one supporting argument. The counter-factual: can the Italian church stop its losses in numbers and influence if it faces a third non-Italian pope? The pope is first of all Bishop of Rome. Does one not begin with the local to reach the universal; does the church grow out of the ground or fall from the sky? I’m raising the question, not suggesting any answer. The supporting argument is this: John Paul II was the Pope of Gospelling the world. Benedict XVI has been the Pope of Reason, trying to reclaim a Western tradition fallen into Enlightenment debauchery. The next one should be a Pope of Experience who has lived through how the Spirit moves beyond church walls in order to reach that humanity once debased by the doctrine of discovery. That would be the Global South, but not the Northern Hemisphere. He would be someone who has witnessed the church growing out of the ground, overcoming colonial domination. Perhaps I now answered my first question!

    • Having lived for 19 years in Asia and born into a staunch Catholic family, I went to live in Australia. I have been in Australia for 38 years. Whenever, I visit Asia, I notice that church numbers continue to increase dramatically. There is no doubt that the numbers of Catholics are predominantly in the global south. I don’t think it really matters which country the next Pope is going to come from. It should be whoever is deemed best for the role.