Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson, who is being touted as a possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI says he would rather people trust in God to choose the best leader for the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict announced on Monday that he will resign on February 28, two months before his 86th birthday, for health reasons, after serving for almost eight years.
This is the first such abdication of a leader of the Roman Catholic Church in more than 700 years.
The pontiff said “after having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry”.
Soon after the announcement Cardinal Turkson was touted as the possible replacement by credible betting companies and several pundits.
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze and Cardinal Marc Ouellet were also mentioned as the possible people to takeover the Catholic Church.
But Cardinal Turkson in an interview with the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme from the Vatican said “People are free to speculate and people are free to make their own judgments. I suppose if it comes to looking for leadership, then I think the thing we should be doing is rather pray to God, the leader and owner of this Church, to give a leader who is fit to lead this group at this point in time and in history.”
The successor to Pope Benedict XVI is expected to reform the Roman Catholic Church in rigorous and roots-to-branches manner, to ensure the very survival and relevance of the Church.
A conclave of the church’s cardinals will be called in Rome to select a new pope before the end of March.