Soapbox Finbar Richards: Prophecy of the end of the world as we know it – but will we feel fine?
IN response to Saros Kavina's Soapbox article, "Will the next Pope modernise the Catholic Church?" my initial response is that all things are possible with God.
Rarely has there been, in the course of our history, a black pope. Since the North African Pope St Victor (circa 186-198), only two other black popes have been elected.
We must remember that, historically, the Romans did not discriminate on the basis of colour. They enslaved all they conquered.
In spite of that, I do appreciate the fact the slave trade may have introduced a new perspective on human relationship between races.
However, it appears Saros has lost sight of his past role as a race relations worker when he suggests "The chances are a black pope would be more conservative and traditional than a white one", on the basis of heresy and papal infallibility.
There are a number of things to bear in mind on this issue, no matter whether you are Catholic, Protestant, atheist, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, black, Asian, white or anything else.
We are all affected if a black Pope is elected but black Britons would be specifically affected in every possible way.
We must also remember that two thirds of black Catholics live in countries with some of the largest populations in the world, yet there has been a tradition only to select European popes.
Over the centuries, several people have paved the way for changes in society, such as John F Kennedy, who would have been 96 now.
He was responsible for the introduction of the Civil Rights Bill in America and the first of a new generation to break with tradition.
Kofi Annan broke the chain to become General Secretary of the UN, Barrack Obama was elected twice as US President and Mario Balotelli was the first black footballer to proudly represent the Italian national team.
One could argue that the politics of an order would always have the flavour of the soil from which it springs. A new generation cannot therefore disassociate itself completely from tradition.
If we are to overcome heresy and the prophesies of the first Irish Saint, St Malachy, whose vision in 1139 dictated the order of papacy and claimed the next pope, who will be the 112th, may bring about the end of the world as we know it, there is a way forward.
Furthermore, St Malachy predicted the 112th pope would be called "Peter the Roman", bearing in mind that no pope to date has been named Peter.
In these times of uncertainty, the appointment of a pope with African heritage as a natural fit would meet the Church's goal on leading the charge against disturbing global issues and introduce further examples of how far our world has progressed in 2,000 years.