News / Africa

    Election of New Pope Not Political, Says Ghana Cardinal

    Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana arrives to attend a mass led by bishop Leonardo Sandri of Argentina in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, April 13, 2005.
    Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana arrives to attend a mass led by bishop Leonardo Sandri of Argentina in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, April 13, 2005.
    Peter Clottey
    At the Vatican, one of the cardinals being talked about as a possible leader of the Roman Catholic Church says the election of a new pope is a spiritual, not a political, process. 

    In an interview with VOA, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana says the selection of a pope is a sacred process that requires prayers and God’s guidance.

    But Cardinal Turkson, who is currently president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, says it is natural for Africans to want one of their own to be elected as the next pope.

    “It’s very normal for people in any part of the world to gang behind somebody that they can associate with and they can feel part of. So, this for me is a natural phenomenon just as guys in Latin America are doing the same thing for cardinals from Latin America,” said Turkson.

    “This is essentially an exercise of the Catholic Church,” he adds. “Therefore before we start going continental, we need first to go church, and think about what the Catholic Church in Africa can do or should do with such an event. When that is the case, then what we [are] heading for is the Catholic Church in Africa in communion with the Catholic Church around the world choosing a chief pastor, somebody to exercise leadership over the whole church,” he said.

    Cardinal Turkson has been mentioned as one of the leading candidates ahead of the upcoming conclave of cardinals to elect a new pope to lead the over one billion Catholics worldwide. If chosen, he would be the first non-European to head the church in 1,800 years.

    The Ghanaian cardinal’s comments came after Pope Benedict announced that he would step down from the papacy at the end of the month.

    Turkson says he respects the rights of the media to talk about the church activities, but cautioned that speculations about him and Cardinal Francis Arinze, of Nigeria as leading candidates to become the next pope might not be accurate.

    “This is speculation that the press gets into sometimes, a little bit unrealistic, because everybody knows that Cardinal Arinze has reached the age of 80 and so he does not qualify by age even to go into a conclave to elect a pope, and he cannot be chosen or elected,” said Turkson.

    “So since Arinze is above the age the natural thing is to turn the attention to the one who is younger and that comes to me and several of the African cardinals. You can’t stop people from speculating and the only thing we try to do is probably to guide it a little bit,” he said.

    Turkson says the Catholic Church continues to play a significant role in the lives of people in Africa. He called for support from Africans ahead of the election of the new pope.

    “We ask the rest of Africa to pray with us that God will bestow on us a leader that can provide the type of leadership that will continue to make the Catholic Church responsive to the needs of the various citizens on the continent,” said Turkson.

    Turkson is the first Ghanaian to become a cardinal, when he was made archbishop of Cape Coast by Pope John Paul the second in 2003. He was named head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace by Pope Benedict in October of 2009.

    Clottey exclusive interview with Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
    Clottey exclusive interview with Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson i
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Arw Koppen
    February 28, 2013 9:32 PM
    Turkson? Why not? I've read abt the enormous group of catholics he represents, but I've got one wish for him: 'To abolish celebacy, cos it puts so much stress on priests, and pope', I think it'd be better if he'd have family with a devoted nun. It'd also give him more insight in family-life. k?

    by: Hotep_x from: USA
    February 14, 2013 3:56 PM
    The Ghanaian people, who are blacker than ten-thousand mid-nights and bless by (Ra) the Sun, needs right-knowledge. Surely a proud Ghanaian people need not one of their sons to be caste into the leadership of a decaying theocracy. Render unto Eurocentric Rome that which is theirs and render unto Mother Afrika (Kemet) that which is born unto-Ra. Hotep!
    In Response

    by: Ebenezer Forson from: Ghana
    February 17, 2013 11:23 AM
    what the world have forgotten is that the country GHANA is a blessed country. As peaceful the country is, geographically, the country is located at the center of the world. Cardinal Turkson is a blessed so of the country and what we all should keep in mind is that what God have chosen, no man on earth can stop it. History are said to be broken in this era that we are in. Who ever thought that a black man will ever lead the United State of America. Let us not forget that black people (Africans) are also part of mankind. Let us analyze the position he is currently holding. Perfect job done by him; so let us not judge or relate positions held with peoples trace. All that we should aspire is that GOD in his own way should give us the right person to lead the holy church.

    by: solomon from: south africa
    February 14, 2013 6:51 AM
    You know why black bishops cannot be elected as pope? because we are not white but they decieve us as if they know God when they dont know beside why do they worship the mother of JESUS instead of Jesus? isnt not antichrist? wake you Christians, REVELATION 14 know the truth and worship true God all of them are ELUMINATE.... I DNT hv time to be fooled
    In Response

    by: Oscar from: United States of America
    February 15, 2013 6:55 PM
    We do not worship Mary the mother of Jesus we just praise
    In Response

    by: Trigo from: Australia
    February 15, 2013 11:22 AM
    Point of correction Catholics do not worship Mary but Jesus and the God head.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora