Hooray! My first article for The Atlantic: "An African Pope Won't Change the Vatican's Views on Condoms and AIDS."
Much of the successor buzz—and the bookie's odds, if you place any value on handicapping the cardinals at the papal conclave—has focused on Africa. Two men in particular: Ghana's Cardinal Peter Turkson and Nigeria's Cardinal Francis Arinze. Turkson, who was appointed by Benedict in 2009 to lead the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has reportedly emerged as one of the leading choices. The National Catholic Reporter does a fairly good job explaining the frenetic media narrative when it profiled Turkson last week: "Nothing's sexier from a media point of view than the idea of a 'black pope.' The notion of what's traditionally seen as the planet's ultimate First World institution being led by a black man from the southern hemisphere has an undeniable magic." ...
Even if the next pontiff were chosen from Ghana or Nigeria it's extremely unlikely that he would be a progressive, of course. The arch-conservative German-born Benedict has appointed a majority of the cardinals who will elect his successor sometime in March at the papal conclave. It is also highly likely that even an African pope would continue Benedict XVI's and the Vatican City's refusal to encourage condom use in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This policy has had serious, long-lasting consequences across the global south—especially Africa.
Read the article HERE.
So excited to have become a contributor to this iconic publication. Look for more from me on politics, religion and sexuality at The Atlantic and TheAtlantic.com in the months ahead.