Many people have been talking about the "Prophecies of St. Malachi" and other such apocryphal mysticism that suggest that we are in the end times. Some of these prophecies predict that a "black pope" will follow the footsteps of the "spark from the east" (interpreted as John Paul II) who followd the pope of the "half-moon" (or something to indicate the short reign of John Paul I). The black pope will be a truly "Petrine" pope who may even take the name of Peter, which has never been done since the apostle.
Well, seeing as how I'm all for advancing useless speculation, here are three possible interpretations of the future "black pope."
First, it could actually be a pope whose skin is black, or at least dark. Two names come quickly to mind, since they are in all of the papabile lists: Francis Cardinal Arinze and Ivan Cardinal Dias These are, of course the most commonly thought of names, since they are dark skinned, and particularly to Americans, this is always on their minds.
However, I would like to offer two other interpretations that I find interesting.
First, it was always said that the Jesuits would never have a pope because it would give them too much power. The Superior General of the Jesuits was always called the "black pope" because of the black Jesuit cassock, and his complete authority over the entire Jesuit order, which at one point in history was actually something impressive. Well, since the Superior General of the Jesuits is out, maybe it would be another Jesuit, a man in "black" who would ascend to the chair of Peter . . . how about Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, S.J. A Jesuit from Latin America who isn't running around with a gun and the collected works of Karl Marx under his arms! Will wonders never cease!
Finally, there is a much more likely "black pope" who could emerge. You see, Europe is as white as it comes. From the Fair Skinned Norwegians to the olive skinned Southern Italians, this is not really the land of the "black." However, there are some regions in Europe whose inhabitants have been graced with the moniker "black" to describe them. Not the least among these are the "black Germans" of Bavaria. Well, there is a certain Cardinal who might just fit the bill . . . that's right: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Any of these Cardinals would make my day, and they would fulfill the apocryphal prophecies of St. Malachi (et al). So let's hear it for the "Black Pope!"