By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tBarack Obama’s election as the first African-American President of the United States could be interpreted as a “divine sign,” according to a senior African prelate, suggesting that in God’s plan for salvation history, 500 years of slavery and racial oppression may be giving way to a new era of reconciliation.
tThe comments came yesterday afternoon from Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as part of the Synod of Bishops for Africa meeting in the Vatican Oct. 4-25.
tMonsengwo called on the synod and the universal church not to “ignore” the significance of Obama’s election, which he said was the result of much more than “a banal game of political alliances.”
tMonsengwo has long been seen as the more impressive Catholic bishops in Africa, and yesterday delivered a formal report on trends in the church since the last Synod for Africa in 1994.