Vatican City A prominent African cardinal said Monday there was no reason why the next pope couldn’t be black, particularly following the election of President Barack Obama.
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana is playing an important role in guiding a three-week meeting at the Vatican on the challenges of the Catholic Church in Africa.
At a news conference Monday, Turkson was asked whether he thought the time was right for a black pope, especially in light of Obama’s election.
“Why not?” Turkson replied. He argued that every man who agrees to be ordained a priest has to be willing to be a pope, and is given training along the way as bishop and cardinal. “All of that is part of the package.”
He also noted that former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was from Ghana.
“He had problems, but he still did it,” Turkson said. “And now it is Obama of the United States. And if by divine providence — because the church belongs to God — if God would wish to see a black man also as pope, thanks be to God!”