The pope is old, maybe even pretty sick, and he can not perform his duties the way he would have liked to do, and in a move that should serve as a fine example to politicians all over the world he decided to step down and retire from the papacy.
This is not the kind of idea we have of the pope, or the Catholic church, where we expect to see the pope hanging on to his role as the living version of Christ until he simply dies, much like the original Jesus did in his time. But this is no ordinary pope, and these are no ordinary times, for the Church at least it is a moment of great change.
Did Obama pave the way for an African Pope?
Obama had nothing to do with it, the regression in the Church’s ratings in Europe in the last 50 years has been so serious that the church needs to turn its attention to the places it still carries some authority in, and these are Latin America and Africa, where the bloody history of the church with the natives is so rich it could easily beat the number of words in the Bible. So there will be no surprise as the church will flatter its support base across the sea from Rome and the Vatican, in a move that will signal to those few, still loyal, Europeans that the church is not only not theirs any more, it does not even want to invest efforts in making it look like its theirs.
To us atheists this is all good news, the position of pope is humanized by becoming just another job, like any politician out there, by turning to a non European pope the old believers in the old country might start understanding that the organized religion is nothing more than a suppressive administration, built on lies and fear mongering.
In any event seeing a black toned skin pope on the balcony in Rome will be a small victory to many sides, atheists included, as freedom of religion makes another small step forward and away from the Catholic church.