Monday, November 10, 2008

Should the next Pope be black?

Black Pope could follow Barack Obama's election, says US archbishop -Times Online

Dear Archbishop Wilton Gregory,

I don't know whether Your comments quoted in the above article were misrepresented, but You were quoted as saying that the election of Barack Obama was "a great step forward for humanity and a sign that in the United States the problem of racial discrimination has been overcome".

Given Mr. Obama's radical and energetic promotion of abortion and complete disregard for the lives of the defenseless unborn, the suggestion that his election nonetheless is "a great step forward for humanity" frankly is disgusting and unworthy of any Catholic, much less a bishop. I am deeply troubled that You could obscure the situation with such unfortunate remarks.

On a secondary point, You are quoted as stating, "My own election as head of the US Bishops Conference was an important signal. In 2001 the American bishops elected someone they respected regardless of his race, and the same thing could happen with the election of a Pope." Eminence, either You were elected head of the bishops' conference because You were respected regardless of Your race, or You were elected in part because of Your race. Were there equally qualified white or asian bishops who were passed over because their skin color was not preferred? If skin color counts so much that bishops are guided by it, is this really the sort of "message" You think the Church should endorse and society should embrace?

There's a name for that message and philosophy: it's called "racism". It should have no place in society, and certainly not in the Church.

In a truly just society, skin color is not considered a job qualification, and it neither disqualifies nor favors candidates for office. In a society which rejects racism leaders are selected because of their accomplishments, capabilities, vision, and character: not the color of their skin. When our Church and nation finally become "color blind", then we will be sending a message truly worth celebrating.

If Your remarks have been misrepresented by the TimesOnline article, You may wish to consider publishing a clarification. If however they reflect Your mind on the matter, then I respectfully but firmly voice my disapproval.

Best regards,

John Robin

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