African Cardinal, Pope Candidate Talks of ‘Alternative Lifestyles’

Thursday, 14 Feb 2013 10:13 AM

By Cyrus Afzali

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A Ghanaian cardinal currently among the favorites to succeed Pope Benedict XVI is warning of the dangers facing the church as societies more commonly embrace “alternative lifestyles.”

In an interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph, Cardinal Peter Turkson said the biggest challenge facing the next Pope is maintaining a traditional Catholic doctrine while applying it in a way that it doesn’t become irrelevant in a “world that has continuous changes.”

Like Pope Benedict, Cardinal Turkson has a conservative philosophy on gay marriage and other “alternative lifestyles.”

“We need to find ways of dealing with the challenges coming up from society and culture,” he told the Telegraph. He said the main path the church should follow is to convert those who had embraced “alternative lifestyles, trends, or gender issues.”

“We cannot fail in our task of providing guidance,” he said.

Turkson, 64, who is seen among the leading Third World challengers for the papacy, said being elected Pope would be an enormous challenge that would require an expansion of his leadership abilities.

“If I was elected Pope, it would signal a lot of [personal] change in a lot of regards,” he said.

“I have been an archbishop, which involved a certain amount of leadership, and now having to do this on a world level, the dimensions expand almost indefinitely,” he said.

Turkson also called on the Vatican to “restore and repair” an image that has been “badly compromised by recent scandals.” Turkson himself has caused controversy in the past after suggesting that condoms were not the solution to preventing the spread of HIV. He also screened a video that claimed Europe was in danger of being overrun by Muslims.

Comparing the Roman Catholic Church to a boat, he said it’s going through “quite a bit of a storm” that doesn’t appear to be over. He said the church needs to “relevantly address issues and the credibility of our own ministry and leadership.”

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