Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why Cardinal Turkson of Ghana won't be the next pope | Andrew Brown | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Why Cardinal Turkson of Ghana won't be the next pope | Andrew Brown | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk:


Cardinal Turkson
Cardinal Peter Turkson, centre, was the early favourite to be the next pope. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
After a week of more or less discreet jockeying for position in the conclave, it's possible to discern some developments in the struggle for the papacy. For starters, I will stick my neck out and say that anyone who put money on Cardinal Turkson of Ghana can write it off now. There are three reasons for this. The first is that he was the early bookies' favourite and talked up his own chances in the most indiscreet and ill-advised way.
The second is that he has managed to offend both factions of the American church: the right suspect him of sympathy with the victims of capitalism and the left has been scandalised by his remark that the African church has been spared sex abuse scandals in part because of the very strong cultural taboos against homosexuality. Quite apart from any question of homophobia, his theory is nonsense empirically. If strong cultural taboos against gay people protect the church from scandal, how to explain Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s? No, if Americans want a candidate from the developing world, they are much more likely to put weight behind a Spanish-speaking one from Latin America or thePhilippines.
Finally, and tastelessly, I don't think that there is any enthusiasm in Italy for a black African pope. Nearly a third of the electors (39 of the 118) this time around work in the Curia – among them Turkson himself – and most will be Italians with an Italian attitude. None of the other candidates have attracted the same kind of media interest, though Cardinal Ouellet of Quebec, another early favourite, had his record subject to a rather devastating scrutiny in the Toronto Globe and Mail. The problem is not that he is a bad man or even a bad archbishop – but the church he grew up in and was formed by has simply vanished. Even in his home village, the church at its centre was shut two years ago and taken over as a community centre instead.
If fighting back against secularisation is a priority for the conclave, the church in Quebec has a record of almost unremitting failure. It may not appear like that to the cardinals of the electorate, though. For me the most revealing news item since Benedict's resignation was his farewell speech to the clergy of Rome in which he distinguished between the Vatican council as God saw and intended it, and the "council of the media" which the rest of the world and most of the Catholic intelligentsia saw.
It is the "council of the media" which has politics and pressure groups, and the "council of the media" which "created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, liturgy trivialised". I'm not a huge fan of my own trade. I know we're often horrible and amoral. But, really, what did for the Catholic church in the west was not the media, it was a combination of the triumph of consumerism and a Catholic church steeped in its own pride and self-absorption.
Before that passage came an anecdote which, with the laughter, reveals that the Vatican has no idea how the outside world sees it. This is from Vatican Radio's transcript. Benedict is talking about a cardinal he had advised as a young theologian in 1961:
"Shortly after – he continued – Pope John invited [Cardinal Frings] to Rome and he was afraid he had perhaps said maybe something incorrect, false and that he had been asked to come for a reprimand, perhaps even to deprive him of his red hat … [priests laughing] Yes … when his secretary dressed him for the audience, he said: 'Perhaps now I will be wearing this stuff for the last time' … [the priests laugh]. Then he went in. Pope John came towards him and hugged him, saying, 'Thank you, Your Eminence, you said things I have wanted to say, but I had not found the words to say' … [the priests laugh, applaud]."
This is funny only because the pope can sack anyone he feels like in the church. So naturally, he doesn't hear very much that he does not want to hear. It seems to me that the profoundest task before the conclave is to find a pope who does not believe his own propaganda. I don't mean one who isn't a Roman Catholic – I mean one who does not see the world from behind the fortifications of the Vatican but who is at the same time a strong and experienced enough administrator to reform its dysfunctional bureaucracy. No, I don't know who that might be.
'via Blog this'

***

GJ - There will be another push for a Third World cardinal, but the last effort in that direction ended with a German.


---

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/13/catholic-church-pope-ghanaian-cardinal


Peter Turkson, second left
Ghanaian cardinal Peter Turkson, second left, is among the bookmakers' favourites to replace Benedict XVI as pope. Photograph: Handout/Getty Images
One of the developing world's leading candidates for the pope's successor has declared the Catholic church ready to have its first non-European Pope - and said that he will gladly take on the role "if it's the will of God". [GJ - That is not how popes get elected.]
Ghanaian cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Vatican's pontifical council for justice and peace, said he believed the the churches of Africa and Asia had grown in strength to the extent they had produced "mature clergymen and prelates that are capable of exercising leadership also of this world institution."
"I think in a way the church is always and has forever been ready for a non-European pope," the 64-year-old, a favourite of Benedict XVI, told the Associated Press on Tuesday. He did not think the prospect was "too far away", he added.
Asked about speculation that he could himself emerge from next month's conclave as Benedict's successor, he said: "I've always answered 'if it's the will of God.'"
However, although Turkson is an early favourite of the bookmakers in a very open field of candidates, there are question marks over his credentials, which some Vatican observers say could hold him back. He was forced to apologise last year after screening a YouTube video at a meeting of bishops which made alarmist predictions about the rise of Islam in Europe. It claimed, among other things, that France would be an Islamic republic within 39 years.
Post a Comment