Pope John Paul II on his 10th African tour in 2/93, told about 75 "colorfully garbed voodoo worshippers [in Benin] that they would NOT have to forsake all of their culture [nor their voodoo faith] in order to convert" to Catholicism (2/13/93, World). The conciliatory pope noted that even as Africans look to their ancestors as objects of worship, Catholics also revere "ancestors in the faith, from the Apostles to the missionaries." "I have never seen God, but today when I have seen the pope, I recognize that I have seen the good God, who prays for all the voduns," said Sossa Guedehoungue, head of Benin's vodun community. Voodoo leader Senou Zannou gave a formal speech in which he announced his son was becoming a Roman Catholic priest. But he also offered a defense of his faith: "God knows that the vodun has nothing to do with the devil or Satan.
the Calcutta and New Delhi Universities during his visit of India in 1986 the
Pope told to the huge Hindu audience, that he arrived there not to teach them,
but to learn “the rich spiritual heritage” from them, and the world does
well, when it willingly keeps an eye on this ancient wisdom to enrich the
spiritual life of the mankind (“Spiritual Vision of Man”, L’Observatore Romano,
Feb. 10, 1986, 5).
In the photo: the pope receives a mark from a pagan Shiva priestess.