Cardinal Turkson: The “conscience of the Church”
The 64-year-old president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Peter Turkson, is considered sophisticated, still down to earth. He could become the first Pope of the African continent.
Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson Kodowo has a good chance to become the new spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He even commented in a press conference: “If God would wish to see a black man also as pope, thanks be to God.” Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since 2009, and the Vaticans “Minister of Social Affairs”, is also considered the “conscience of the Church.” Airs and graces are alien to the Cardinal. The people-friendly cleric acts always friendly and relaxed, even if his appointment schedule may suggest otherwise.
Turkson was born in Nsuta-Wassaw, Ghana, on October 11 1948, and grew up in a confessionally mixed family with nine brothers and sisters. His mother was a Evangelical-Methodist vegetable retailer, his father of Catholic Carpenter and his uncle a Muslim. He points this fact out against the criticism to have published an anti-Islamic video.
He first studied theology in his home country, later in New York and Rome, where he took his doctoral degree in biblical studies. In 1992, after years as a Professor of theology, he became Archbishop of Cape Coast. Since 1997, Turkson belongs to the Pontifical Commission for the dialogue between Methodists and Catholics. He speaks six languages.