Thursday, April 07, 2005

Sorry Cardinal Arinze, you'll have to move to the back of the Popemobile.

I'm almost done with pope stories, but yesterday an Associated Press item ran that had me do a double take. The headline read: "Islam may help shape debate over next pope." This particular story advances the notion that one possible successor to John Paul II is the black African Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria. According to the AP, Arinze would be good in dealing with Islam because his was raised in a country with a large number Muslims and, goodness knows, those childhood memories are powerful. This is what caught my eye;
"The Vatican is also alarmed about inter-religious clashes in Nigeria that have claimed thousands of lives since the late 1990s. But Arinze would require a history-shaping act by the generally conservative College of Cardinals: naming the first African pope in modern times."--AP
There you have it; being religiously conservative either means being predisposed against a black person or looking at Vatican history books is like ordering off a menu. Forget Arinze's decades of service at the Vatican..."If we knew the guy was black we'd have had him shine our shoes or recommend he convert to Anglican."

This is the kind of non-story that circulate around US presidential elections. "Sources have told this reporter that the Vice Presidential candidate will be coming from a large cheese producing state." Reporters are paid to write--even if they have to make it up.


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