By Emmanuel Akli
When Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson was sprout from the womb of his mother in the remote village of Wassa Nsuta in the Western Region into this world on October 11, 1948, it neither occurred to him nor his family that he would one day be on the reckon of becoming the first Black Pope to head the 1.2 billion members of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.
But after his mother, a vegetable seller and dad, a carpenter, had managed to push him through the mill, from childhood through to adulthood in the study of the Roman Catholic principles and rules, the former Archbishop of Cape Coast, who was born from Roman and Methodist backgrounds, has been declared as one of the front runners for the highest position of Pope, following the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, last week Thursday.
International media reports monitored by The Chronicle indicate that posters promoting the candidature of Peter Turkson as the first black Pope had already appeared on some billboards in Rome. Knowing the implication of such promotion, the first Ghanaian Cardinal may not have sanctioned the printing and circulation of such posters, but it has aroused the interest of the Black race, that the time has come for them to also head the Roman Catholic Church, which has been dominated by the Europeans, for well over thousand years.
Not even informal campaign to become the Pope is allowed, let alone put out posters embossed with the effigies of a contestant, but last Friday the apparent saboteurs of Peter Turkson pasted posters in some of the principal streets in Rome, with the simple inscription “Vote Peter Kwadwo Appiah Turkson.”
Attached to the posters were the pictures of the President of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice (Cardinal Appiah Turkson), a position given to him by Pope Benedict XVI on October 24, 2009.
Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson has so far not made any public comment on the promotion of his candidature by unknown hands in Rome, but the posters have become a subject of debate across the world, as the 115 Cardinals worldwide prepare to meet in Rome next week for “general congregations,” preparatory work to elect the new Pope.
Observers, however, think the posters were a deliberate attempt by opponents of the Ghanaian Cardinal to scuttle his chances, knowing very that it is against Catholic teachings to campaign for the position of a Pope.
Should Appiah Turkson succeed in being elected as Pope, he would not only have made history as the first Black Pope, but also the second Ghanaian to occupy such an enviable international position after Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General.
Cardinal Turkson studied at St. Theresa’s Seminary in the village of Amisano and Pedu, before attending St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, New York, where he graduated with a Master of Theology. He was ordained to priesthood by Archbishop John Amissah on 20 July 1975.
Turkson was a professor at St Theresa’s Minor Seminary from 1975 to 1976, when he entered the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, earning a licentiate in Sacred Scripture in 1980. He returned to St Theresa’s for a year, 1980–81, and became Vice-rector at St Peter’s Seminary in 1981.
He also did pastoral work in a parish annexed to the seminary. From 1987 to 1992, he did doctoral studies in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.
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