African pope would be 'great honour'

2013-03-12 12:33
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier (File)

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier (File)

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2013-03-12 09:22

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Durban - What name would Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban choose if he were to be elected the next pope to lead the Catholic Church?

The cardinal laughed off The Witness’s question on Monday, saying he would not get into it.

“People have been saying, ‘Well you trained in Ireland, so you should take the name of Saint Patrick’, while others have been saying, ‘You’re a Franciscan and should take the name of Saint Francis’. But, I’m not getting into that now,” he said.

Pope John Paul II appointed Napier cardinal for the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Acilia in Rome in 2001.

On Sunday, he spent the day with the parish at the Italian church.

“We had a lovely celebration. After Mass, we had lunch with the parish. It was lovely.”

Pope from Africa

Speculation in the media has been rife that Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana would emerge from the papal conclave as the new pope.

Napier believes it would be a “great honour” if the next pope were to be from Africa.

“The status of the church in Africa would certainly go up by one or two notches,” he said.

“Right now we have no indication on who the next pope will be.

“What a lot of people are doing is going with what they hear in the newspapers on who the frontrunners are.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the cardinals will proceed to the Sistine Chapel where the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI will begin.

“At that moment, we will still have no idea of telling how long the conclave will last, but I can tell you that it will certainly be longer than the last one,” said Cardinal Napier.

The last conclave, in which Pope Benedict XVI 0- then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - was elected, took two days to reach conclusion after just four ballots.

If Cardinal Napier is elected as Benedict’s successor, he will be lost to South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal.

“Once a pope is elected, they go into the Vatican the next day.

“There is no returning home,” Napier said.

 

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  wilfrid napier  |  pope benedict xvi  |  durban  |  vatican city  |  religion
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