"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,” he said.
“I think what we should be looking for, probably what we should be doing rather is recognizing the nature of the church… pray God will provide us with the leadership that can confidently lead the humanity in the church in the year ahead. The challenges are not going to cease. They’re going to be increasing and we need somebody with God’s guidance to get us through all this,” Turkson said.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, 80, of Nigeria is again being mentioned as a possible pope, as he was in 2005 when Benedict was elected.
Arinze served as a priest for 27 years and became one of the world’s youngest bishops before Pope John Paul II elevated him to cardinal in 1985. He was appointed to lead the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and colleagues compliment his ability to cooperate with people of other faiths. Arinze is also considered a conservative.
If the conclave of the College of Cardinals were to choose either Turkson or Arinze, it would be the first selection of an African pope in more than 1,500 years. Scholars say in the first five centuries of the church there were three popes from North Africa. But the selection of Turkson or Arinze would be the first pope from sub-Saharan Africa and the first-ever black pope.
Vatican watchers also believe it is possible a Latin American pope could be selected. The cardinals considered as leading candidates from Latin America are said to be Leonardo Sandri from Argentina, Oscar Maradiaga from Honduras, Odilo Scherer from Brazil, and Joao Braz de Aviz from Brazil.
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