|THE LAST THREE POPES
By Patrick Bullworth. Exploits Magazine
An 11th-century Irish Bishop Máel Máedoc Morgair who introduced
Roman Catholic Liturgy to Ireland presumably had gifts of healing, prophecy
and miracles. After his death he was canonised as Saint Mallachy (1094?-1148)
"In the final persecution of the church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock through many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful judge will judge the people."
Does it seem pretty clear that what this seems to imply is that, …we are running out of time?
BLACK CLERIC IS IN THE RUNNING TO SUCCEED POPE JOHN PAUL II
The Wall Street Journal
John Paul II, 78 years old and one of history's longest-reigning popes, is in fragile health, and succession talk is growing louder. Near the top of the list: Cardinal Francis Arinze, 66, who converted from a traditional African religion when he was nine. Theologically conservative, with a charismatic personality, Cardinal Arinze was a bishop in Nigeria before being called to Rome in 1984. The next year, he was made a cardinal, and now, in addition to his post as head of the pope's commission on world religions, he is one of five people helping to plan the pontiff's pet project: the millennium jubilee. The next pope could well be black.
While there have been highly placed Africans in the Vatican before, none has been so widely acknowledged as suitable to be pope. In 2,000 years of Roman Catholicism, Cardinal Arinze's ascendance is "rather exceptional," says the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest and author of "Inside the Vatican," a book about contemporary Vatican politics. "He's got a personality that will capture the imagination of the world."
Beyond his considerable personal appeal, Cardinal Arinze represents the Catholic Church's new stronghold: Africa. While the Catholic population in the U.S. has grown just 23% over the past 20 years, the number of Catholics in Africa has doubled to more than 100 million, "the fastest growth ever in the history of the church," says the Rev. Peter Schineller, former head of the Jesuit organization in Nigeria and Ghana.
Of the more than 400 bishops in Africa today, the vast majority are African. There now are 18,000 men on the continent studying to be priests, up from 4,000 in 1978--so many, in fact, that African priests are coming to the U.S. and to Europe to alleviate shortages.
But as Catholicism has transformed the lives of many Africans, the new practitioners have also changed the face of the church. While the missionaries of the last century built European-style edifices, the new churches in Kenya are hexagonal, and the congregation sits in a circle to remind themselves that Christ has no beginning or end. Congo's bishops recently got Vatican approval for something they call the Zairian rite: a Mass in which the priest, carrying a carved stick adorned with horse hair, enters the church dancing, along with the other servers, who carry spears. Together with the congregation, they dance the whole Mass. In Cameroon, Catholic congregations sometimes dance around the church with gifts of fruit, squash, bread and wine.
© 1999 PARADISE PRODUCTIONS.