By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An African-American congregation in Philadelphia’s East Mount Airy neighborhood has heard the rumors that the Cardinals heading into the conclave might be open to a candidate from the African continent, and they’re praying the holy spirit will make it so.
Parishioners at St. Raymond of Penafort Church say a black Pope is the right choice for these times.
“It would be great for the African people to affirm that we are part of the church, just like everybody else.”
“Faith in the foreign countries, African countries, is far greater than here.”
“The church is growing by leaps and bounds and quite frankly it makes sense that for a new church, in a new day.”
Father Chris Walsh, who leads the parish, says it would be an uplifting moment for the whole church.
“We’ve had popes from Africa in the past and so it would be a continuum. We are a universal church, we’re a church of every continent. And certainly the church in Africa is growing.”
Walsh says it’s not so much that a candidate would be from Africa; rather that he’s a good man and can be a good shepherd.