Next Pope Could Be African or Latino, Cardinal Who Deals With Jews Says

Vatican Insider Koch May Signal Benedict's Choice

Small World: Cardinal Kurt Koch says there’s no reason the next pope won’t be from the developing world.
getty images
Small World: Cardinal Kurt Koch says there’s no reason the next pope won’t be from the developing world.

By Reuters

Published February 17, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Cardinal Kurt Koch, a close aide of Pope Benedict who will cast his vote for the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church, says there is no reason why the new pontiff cannot be African or Latin American.

Koch, head of the Vatican department that deals with Christian unity and relations with Jews, also said he had had no doubt that Pope Benedict would resign rather than rule for life, and said that future popes would be free to do the same.

“The challenges of the Church in the world are very different on different continents: in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America. The question is ‘where will the challenges be greater, on which continent, should it be a pope for, above all, Latin America, for Africa … ,” Koch told Reuters in an interview.

“I can imagine taking a step towards a black pope, an African pope or a Latin American pope. I can imagine this.”

Koch, 62, a soft-spoken Swiss, will be one of the 117 cardinals under the age of 80 who are eligible to enter a secretive conclave to elect the next pope that is expected to start in mid-March.

There has been much speculation in the Church on whether the man to succeed Benedict should be a non-European, which would be a first in more than a millennium.

While the Church in Europe is polarised and has dwindling congregations, the Church in Africa is growing and in Latin America it remains large and vibrant despite inroads by Protestant evangelical groups.

THRIVING

There are several leading candidates from outside the Old Continent.

Latin Americans include Brazilian Odilo Scherer, archbishop of the huge diocese of Sao Paulo and Argentine Leonardo Sandri, who works in the Vatican and whose parents are of Italian origin.

Peter Turkson from Ghana, head of the Vatican’s justice and peace department, is often tipped as Africa’s front runner.

There is a thriving Church in the Philippines, the largest Catholic country in Asia, birthplace of one cardinal who is often mentioned as a candidate, Luis Antonio Tagle.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.