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Profile of African Cardinals in Spotlight

March 12, 2013

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to an abundance of diamonds, gold, iron ore, and now possibly the first black pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Reports started swirling over who would replace Pope Benedict XVI when he announced he would be stepping down from his post on February 11, 2013. Rumors began flying as to why the 265th pope would resign after only eight years, yet no reports have been confirmed as to why he made the sudden departure from his post.

So who exactly is in the running to become the 266th pope? Meet Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana (or @TurksonCardinal if you’re looking for him on Twitter) and Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria. Turkson has been an ordained priest for 30 years, but at the age of 64 is among the youngest of those being considered for the position. According to The Guardian, Cardinal Francis Arinze, now 80, served as one of the world’s youngest bishops at the age of 32. ABC News is reporting that both Turkson and Arinze are on the short list of those in contention to assume the role of pope. In the article, Turkson is
reported as saying, “The new pope has to be very sensitive to the present condition of humanity and yet recognize the task of having to still keep the Gospel in its pure form. That’s a big challenge that we all pray for.” In an interview with TV News Agency Rome Reports, Cardinal Arinze described his shock in hearing the news that Pope Benedict shared with him and other cardinals from various countries. “So it was for us a surprise, like thunder that gives no notice that it’s coming. As he moved on from what he was saying as the introduction, I began to fear that that’s what it would come to.”

According to the Catholic Free Press, the assembled voting committee of cardinals will begin voting for the new pope on Tuesday, March 12th.

What do you think an African pope would mean for the Catholic Church and the world?

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