|Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by the Cardinal Vicar for Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini during his meeting with the priests of Rome, Thursday 14 February|
There is a rumour that the Pope originally intended to abdicate suddenly in Latin on a cold Monday morning with immediate effect, but was persuaded by the Curia to stay till the end of the month. Somehow this theatrical gesture seems in keeping with the man, despite his shyness. Now we are discussing favourites to succeed him and, for lack of anything concrete to discuss, the possibility of a black pope.
A conservative African pope might be great though race and colour do not seem relevant. We are talking about a pope not an American president. However, the most stupid comment about the papal election (what great fun conclaves are) is the statement that there have already been three black popes. (By black pope, I do not mean the Superior General of the Jesuits. I am talking skin pigmentation.)
Sigh. Pope St. Victor I, Pope St. Militiades and Pope St. Galasius I were - not - black - even though they came from Africa. Any more than the Emperors Septimius Severus or Caracalla, who were also born in North Africa, were black. Septimius Severus, who died at York, nevertheless figures on a list of 100 Great Black Britons. As Richard Littlejohn would say, you couldn't make it up.
I recall seeing someone insisting Tutankhamen was black.
Pushkin was asserted by some shrill librarian in the USA to have been a black writer, with more justification. He was an octoroon. You can always tell Russian statues of Pushkin by his lips, even if you do not have much Cyrillic. No doubt this post could be continued for a long time were I better informed.