New Pope for 2013
And so its bye bye Ben. One of the greatest Popes in recent years (less charismatic than JP II but with twice the brain power), Pope Benedict will retire in 7 days to the convent in the grounds of the Vatican, where his gardener formerly lived. What a clever move for him to leave all the pundits in the dark until he gave the news in Latin to the assembled Cardinals on his birthday, 11th February the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. If you want some Lenten reading, how about his writings on Jesus of Nazareth? As it happens, I will be in Rome with a big Catholic group between 7th and 14th March. We actually have a private visit to the Sistine Chapel confirmed for one of the evenings after normal hours. I am just wondering whether when we turn up, there will be a big notice on the door saying “Meeting in progress”! So who will the next Holy Father be? During my stay in Ghana, for two years I lived next door to the residence of the Archbishop of Cape Coast, John Kodwo Amissah, whom I got to know very well. I wonder if his successor, Cardinal Peter Turkson, could be the first African Pope for over 18 centuries. I shall report from Rome when I am there. These are unusual times, and the Holy Spirit will undoubtedly surprise us all just as he did in 1978.