Variants of the black Pope

Dissection of Notre Dame

Dissectin of Notre DameJPG copy

 The ERA of the Black Pope

The jaw-dropping news of 2012 will no doubt be the de facto leader of global Christendom's doing the unthinkable.  It seems that the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger had overlooked the fine prints of what might yet be the most ecumenical of canon law

which is that, unlike a CEO, a President, a head chef, a member of congress, a chief surgeon, a school principal, a member of a board, a Bishop, or a Cardinal, the role of Pope is implicitly a lifetime job.  THE POPE DOES NOT RESIGN.  THE POPE DIES IN OFFICE!! 


Red Hope Blue Coke White Rope Black Pope

Red Hope Blue Coke White Rope Black Pope copy

 And so it was that after spending some months secretly preparing his habitat for a life post the Papacy, the great man of faith himself, Pope Benedict XVI announced his noble and faithful decision to resign and to peacefully live out his waning years as a pensioner with good health benefits, rather than to suffer the grueling tasks of thousands of miles of travel each year (as is required of modern Popes) and to die a working stiff in office like his predecessors of the last six hundred years.  The headlines went screaming:  (a) Will the next pope come from the 'global south’?  (b) Is it time for the first African Pope? (c) Don’t Get Too Excited About the First black Pope Just Yet! (d) New Pope? I’ve Given Up Hope! (e) Papal conclave still largely a European club etc., etc. 


 Golden Eye

Black Pope I and Eye

 Art imitates Life or Life Imitating Art

The artist Ealy Mays has painted the black Pope for the last 20 years. In 2008, on the ascendency of a black man to the Presidency of the United States, Mays launched his black Pope narrative series with the first black Pope preaching from Notre Dame as well as from the Vatican.  His variants of the black Pope includes Popes of different ethnic and cultural influences and regional backgrounds, including Coptic Popes and Popes of Semitic influences such as the Rastafarian Pope and even the Catholic Haitian Pope who stood tall at the humbling of a diminutive Napoleon. Ealy Mays’ then declared that the only way that Europe could effectively respond to the history being made in the United States was to finally elect a Black Pope to the Papacy. 


The Red Door

The Red Door 

 It is not exactly a strange concept.  Though there has not been a non-European pope in modern times and no black Popes in some 2,000 years, known African Popes included Pope Miltiades who reigned from 311 to 314AD, though the argument might be made that he was not a black African Pope.  The fact is that we have had black Popes and supremely high level officials in the Church's long history. The Vatican has had relationships with many Kingdoms in Africa before the first slave ship ever set sail for the new world.  In fact, one of the earliest African Ambassadors in Europe was Antonio Manuel, who was appointed to Rome in 1604 by the King of Kongo (today’s Angola).  Many such ambassadors and dignitaries would follow.


  Napoleon and the Haitian Pope

Napoleon and The Black Pope


 With a declining church in the West, an in particular in Europe where only a quarter of Europeans now considering themselves Catholic, Africa is the last bastion for growth through conversion.  Those who tout South American countries such as Brazil, fail to accept the inverse correlation of the faithful, with affluence.  Brazil is today the largest Catholic country, but now with a bigger economy than Great Britain.  Nonetheless, in a country where more than half the populous proudly touts their African roots and ancestry a black Pope from Brazil would be just a welcomed, especially given that the Church's relationship with Portuguese blacks has been long and deep.



Coptic Pope

One eye open one eye closed


 Some experts believe that choosing a Pope from Africa would be the best thing for the faithful in the developing world and the best thing for the Church. "At a time when the pews and churches of Europe and North America are empty and many dioceses are declaring bankruptcy," says Stan Chu Ilo at CNN, "the churches in Africa are filled beyond capacity every Sunday."






Rise of the Voodoo Pope

Orgin of Vodoo and the Rise of thr Black Pope copy


 But doubt exists even among the African potentials.  According to Matthias Kobena Nketsiah, archbishop of Cape Coast in Ghana.  “It would be quite some miracle.  If the Church chooses a Third World person or a black pope it will have to come to terms with itself," he said.  Would anyone disagree? The archbishop continues, "I am not saying the Church is racist, but there are overtones and perceptions that maybe add up to that."  




Black Pope: Jesuit General

General of the Jesuit copy


His doubts would seem to be credible since it is also being sowed by none other than the brother of resigning Pope Benedict XVI, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, who doesn't think a black Pope will happen just yet, as the College of Cardinals (or he, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger himself) isn't changing as fast as the Catholic population in the pews. "I'm certain a pope will come from the new continents but whether it will be now, I have my doubts," he says. "In Europe, we have many very able people, and the Africans are still not so well known and maybe do not have the experience yet." 




Pope Obama

Pope Obama 2008


But our suggestion to the Vatican is a shift in paradigm, if they truly believe that an African or Southern Hemisphere Pope is 'not yet ready.'  With the secularization of the Northern world and the increasing affluence of the Southern and Asiatic world, the church will be a mausoleum in another 50 years.  So why not convene an extraordinary ecumenical council, a la The Council of Nicaea and draft a Pope sure to guarantee the reversal in the Church's fortunes.  The most well known man of peace will be available in four years.  He has already ended one war and is in the process of ending another.  He has already been recognized with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.   He would certainly allow some elements of liberation theology and would certainly correct the anachronistic church by recognizing women priest and a woman's right to decision of her own body.  The obvious solution?  Appoint an interim Pope for the next four years, during which time, the church will draft POPE OBAMA!!


By, Op Editor Paul Sinclair 

Welcome to Ealy Mays Artworks

Celebration of over 150 years of Black Literary and Artistic development in Paris

Here you will find the works of one of the most prolific African American artists. Based in Paris, France, this selection includes current masterpieces as well retrospectives from a body of over 30 years as an ethnic artist painting in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Your choice of paintings, prints, posters, postcards, puzzles, memorabilia, T-shirts, collectibles, accessories,and more, is only a click away. Read more

It is the spectator and not life, that really mirrors art”  The Picture of Dorian Gray …Oscar Wilde

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