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Thu Oct 02 16:31:09 SAST 2014

African pope would 'be quite a miracle'

unknown | 14 February, 2013 00:20
Peter Turkson: THE head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the 64-year-old Ghanaian is leading the race to become the first African pope. He is considered progressive by supporters. But his decision to show a recent synod a video criticising Muslims has damaged his chances, according to some critics.

An African successor to Pope Benedict would be "quite some miracle", an archbishop from Ghana said, adding that a candidate from the developing world might have to overcome negative perceptions within the Catholic hierarchy.

"If the church chooses a Third World person or a black pope it will have to come to terms with itself," Matthias Kobena Nketsiah, Archbishop of Cape Coast, said.

"I am not saying the church is racist, but there are overtones and perceptions that maybe add up to that."

Nketsiah said on Tuesday that he supported Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, his predecessor in the Cape Coast archdiocese, for the job of leading the world's 1.2billion Catholics.

"I am all for it but I have to have my feet on the ground.

"It will be quite some miracle, given the perception of an African of the Third World," he said.

Two-thirds of today's Catholics live in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Turkson and Cardinal Odilo Scherer, of Brazil, are among those mentioned as candidates.

Nketsiah said he believed Turkson, who is 64 and head of the Vatican justice and peace bureau, would tend towards being conservative on moral issues if he were elected.

"We in Ghana, and I think in the Third World, are loyal children of the church, if I may say so, so he will stick to the teaching of the church," Nketsiah said.

"If the church says there is no way for same-sex [relationships], that is what he's going to pursue ... He would be somebody who would stick to it and teach how the church teaches," Nketsiah added, saying he had trained to be a priest with Turkson.

Another African cardinal, Laurent Mosengwo, archbishop of Kinshasa, in Democratic Republic of Congo, is another potential candidate. - Reuters

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