Cardinal Peter Turkson gave a wide ranging interview to the UK Telegraph about his vision and what it would mean if he is elected Pope.
He told The Daily Telegraph Tuesday that his biggest challenge, should he be elected, would be to maintain an orthodox Catholic doctrine while “at the same time knowing how to apply it so that you do not become irrelevant in a world that has continuous changes”.
Cardinal Turkson, who holds one of the most important jobs in the Roman Curia and has been repeatedly promoted by Pope Benedict, was quick to take a conservative line on gay marriage and other “alternative lifestyles”.
“We need to find ways of dealing with the challenges coming up from society and culture,” he said, adding that the Church needed to “evangelise”, or convert, those who had embraced “alternative lifestyles, trends or gender issues”. He added: “We cannot fail in our task of providing guidance.”
The African prelate said he had reflected on the enormous personal burden of becoming the leader of the Catholic Church. “It would certainly mean a lot if I had to be a pope,” he said. “If I was elected pope it would signal a lot of [personal] change. Very big change in a lot of regards. I have been an archbishop, which involved a certain amount of leadership and now having to do this on a world level, the dimensions expand almost infinitely.
“It is going to be a life-changing experience and I think that is what it has been for Benedict and those who have gone before us. The challenge will also be with the individual to want to make his mark, not trying to fit into anybody’s shoes but finding his own shoes to wear.”
Cardinal Turkson also said the Vatican needs to “restore and repair” an image that has been “badly compromised by recent scandals”.
“It is a possibility [that there will be an African pope],” he said. “Already at the last conclave there was a move to have a candidate from the southern half of the globe,” he said. But he pointed out that there is constant speculation over the idea of an African pope.
“Before I got here there was a young African cardinal called Arinze from Nigeria. And at every conclave everybody was talking about him as an emerging candidate. Arinze is now 80 and actually there is no way he can participate in the conclave. So after Arinze another African shows up in the Vatican, now there are actually two of us, there is a cardinal from Guinea. So again there is speculation.”
My immediate reaction upon reading this interview, ‘he seems to want to be Pope, almost campaigning for it.’
I am not sure we want a Pope who wants to be Pope.
Don’t get me wrong, Cardinal Peter Turkson might make a great Pope, but his lack of circumspection in this interview is jarring to my mind.
Additionally, he spoke about what happened at the last conclave. That is a no no. What happens during the conclave stays in the conclave.
My advice to Cardinal Peter Turkson, if you want to be Pope. Shhhhhh.