By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tWhile almost 300 people are physically part of the current Synod for Africa, there’s at least one figure who’s managed to achieve a high profile without even showing up: U.S. President Barack Obama.
tSo far, various African bishops have hailed the election of the first African-American President in U.S. history as:
•tA potentially powerful new force for justice and good government across Africa;
•tA “divine sign” of racial healing, in some ways a recapitulation of the Biblical story of Joseph;
•tA potential herald of further breakthroughs down the line, such as the election of a black pope.
tWhatever one makes of all this, it’s at least a different perspective than one often gets in Catholic circles in the United States, where attention is usually focused on Obama’s controversial stands on abortion and other life issues.