You don’t have to be Catholic to care about who the next Pope will be.
The guessing game about who will replace Benedict XVI has begun, and near the top of many lists is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.
The Catholic Church is growing fastest in Africa and Asia, so many are wondering if the next Pope might come from outside Europe.
“It is certainly possible to have a Cardinal come from the Southern part of the globe,” Turkson told CNN’s Christaine Amanpour on Tuesday, citing the long history of the Church in Latin America and Cardinals from Africa and Asia now taking important leadership positions. “So the possibility that a candidate, or that any of the Cardinals, to be elected Pope can come from the southern part of the globe is very real.”
When Amanpour asked Turkson about the possibility of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal spreading to Africa, he said it would unlikely be in the same proportion as it has in Europe.
“African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency,” he said. “Because in several communities, in several cultures in Africa homosexuality or for that matter any affair between two sexes of the same kind are not countenanced in our society.”
According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.”
Turkson acknowledged that many Catholic nuns have been driven out of the church because they are prevented from joining the top levels of the Church and becoming priests, but he defended the practice as part of Catholic tradition.
“If one does not have access to ordination is not discrimination,” he said, but rather “it is just how the church has understood this order of ministry to be.”