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The first misstep among the papabili

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 13, 2013

The possibility that Cardinal Peter Turkson will be elected Pope—never terribly likely—has become more remote with the publication of the Ghanian cardinal’s statement that he would be prepared to accept election. Cardinal-electors generally frown on anything that could be construed as campaigning for the papacy, and Cardinal Turkson already has a reputation for speaking without sufficient forethought.

Back in October, Cardinal Turkson arranged for a screening of a YouTube video entitled Muslim Demographics by all the participants at the Synod of Bishops. Vatican Radio—surely not inclined toward criticism of the Synod’s proceedings—described the video as “fear-mongering.” Cardinal Turkson was forced to issue an apology. That didn’t help his standing among the papabile, either. 

Today's news coverage has included a spate of news reports including quotes from Cardinal Turkson. That's a sign of the media's keen interest in the African cardinal. But it's also a sign of the cardinal's interest in the media, which may not advance his standing among his fellow prelates. In a conclave cardinals are likely to turn to a candidate they consider reliable, dependable, predictable--someone with whom they are comfortable. Right now Cardinal Turkson is making reporters comfortable. That's a very different thing.


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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: jimr451 - Feb. 14, 2013 6:57 AM ET USA

    What's the old saying? "He who goes into the conclave as Pope, comes out a cardinal." Sounds like it might apply here.

  • Posted by: dqualk - Feb. 14, 2013 4:07 AM ET USA

    I could not agree more. There are other things which make Cardinal Turkson questionable as well. And really it is a sign of distress that the media likes him so much.

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Feb. 13, 2013 8:05 PM ET USA

    I had the same sentiment when I read the interview. It was not a flattering moment for the Cardinal.

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