Americans got their first Black President in 2008 after over three centuries. Now, some pundits are predicting that Ghanian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson (born 1948) could be the first Black Pope of the Catholic Church in 2000 years. Both Obama and Turkson have one thing in common – both fear Muslims for demographic threat and political Islam.
Archbishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah, who replaced Turkson as Archbishop of Cape Coast feels it will take a miracle for the 117 Cardinal-electors (Curia) to vote for a Black Pope. Turkson is known for being against contraception and same sex marrige which the retiring Pope Benedict XVI had blessed in the past. Last year, Turkson defended Uganda’a “Kill the Gays” bill. He also told the National Catholic Register that the desire to imprison or execute gays and lesbians was understandable because hatred of gays is so ingrained in Africa. Turkson even slammed UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon for calling on African nations to end the persecution of LGBT people.
Last year, during a meeting of world’s bishops, Turkson screened an alarmist video, titled, Muslim Demographics, showing how Islam is taking-over Europe and the Christian world. Vatican in an official statement distanced itself from Turkson’s fearmongering theory, which it claimed had been debunked by the statistics. Later, Turkson apologized for his gaffe which proved his Islamophobic nature. However, the video made Turkson “a darling” of pro-Israel European racist groups like English Defence League, Nowegian Defence League, European Freedom Initiative and other anti-Muslim racist groups which have been propagating the myth of “Islamization of Europe”. Interestingly, Israeli daily YNet, on November 11, 2012, quoted Rabbi Baruch Efrati, saying that “Islamization of Europe is a good thing because it will bring modesty and respect for G-d“.
In fact, Turkson’s anti-Islam stunt, earned him affection from Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict named him a member of one of the Vatican’s most important boards, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict once headed himself.
The announced resignation of Benedict XVI on February 28, opens the door to a host of possible successors, from the Cardinal of Milan, Cardinal Turkson, Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Cardinal Mark Ouellet of Canada and several Cardinals from Latin countries. Turkson is the highest ranking Black candidate at the Vatican, currently heading Vatican’s office for Justice and Peace.
It’s too early to say, Turkson, if elected, will be able to keep Vatican’s love for Jewish people and state of Israel as his predessors Ratzinger and Wojtyla had. Lisa Palmieri Billig wrote in the Jewish Vatican Insider (February 14, 2013) that both John Paul II (born to a Polish Jewish mother) and Benedict XVI have shown their special love for the Jewish people and believed that “the Jewish people have a right to live in the land of Israel” – resulting in the displacement of nine million non-Jewish native people.