Why did Francis I, the pope of Rome, travel to three African countries (Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic) in November 2015?
Every papal trip, it doesn’t matter where in the world it is, has a definite purpose, and usually more than one. Neither the pope, nor anyone else in the Vatican, wakes up one morning and says, “Let’s go to X, Y or Z – it’ll be fun.” Nothing is by coincidence, nor merely on a whim. Every single Papal destination is carefully and purposefully selected. There are reasons for every single trip. And it was no different with Francis’ three-nation trip to Africa in November 2015.
Reasons for the Trip
The first reason for his visit: the rapid spread of Islam in Africa, including in places where African Roman Catholicism is strong, and even growing. The Vatican’s interfaith movement, for all its talk about “the need for religions to live in harmony” and “mutual respect” and all the rest, has only one true long-term objective: the neutralising and eventual elimination of all other religions. Francis well knows that the world’s two largest and most powerful religions are clashing across the world – and as he fervently believes that Roman Catholicism must become the world’s dominant (and eventually the world’s only) religion, Islam must be curtailed. It was time to hype up his vast African flock to draw a line in the sand and resist the spread of Islam. Time to make them feel proud to be Roman Catholics, and to promote the message that Roman Catholicism must increase, while Islam must decrease.
The second reason for his visit: the rapid spread, in Africa, of western secularism and hedonism. As the Roman Catholic religion grows in Africa –which it is doing in leaps and bounds – it is important for the Vatican to curtail the increasing influence of western secular “values”, including the west’s promotion of homosexuality and anti-religion. But note carefully: the Vatican is a chamaeleon, as is Francis himself. The colours will change according to the audience. In America, Francis toned down his anti-homosexual stance, so as not to offend the millions in the west who are increasingly accepting homosexuality as a valid lifestyle. But in Africa, where culturally most Africans still strongly oppose homosexuality, Francis could proclaim a far stronger pro-family (and thus indirectly anti-homosexuality) message.
The third reason for his visit: to preach his favourite Socialist messages of Socialism and radical environmentalism, both of which are aimed at increasing Papal power. “Business Day focussed on how the papal visit is timely in a push for the sustainable use of resources, and how the Pope had criticised trickle-down economics in defence of the world’s poor. The paper said that Francis is ‘an advocate of radical change in the global economic order.’” He certainly is, as I have shown in various articles.
And the fourth reason for the visit: to strengthen African Roman Catholicism as it faces challenges from various other quarters. “These include the clash between traditional customs, like ancestor veneration and church teaching. Charismatic churches are springing up all over the continent and many Africans (and Catholics) are attracted to the healing power such congregations claim to have. Polygamy, which is directly at odds with Catholic teaching, is also practiced in parts of Africa…. A number of priests have also left the Church rather then follow the celibate life of the Catholic priesthood. In a society that places high value on marriage and childbearing, the church’s discipline of celibacy is often questioned in Africa.”