News - February 28, 2013

Meanwhile in.... Ghana


News headline: Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana is among the favourites to become the next pope. He would be the first black pope, and the first African pope since 496.
Commenting on the news: students Joshua Aboah (management and economics) and Kwame Kusi Asumadu (environmental sciences).

Joshua: 'I am cautiously enthusiastic about the prospect, but I have big reservations. I don't dare to hope too much, because it would be disappointing if he wasn't chosen. Back home they will be more enthused than we are here at a distance. I remember when Cardinal Turkson was named Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, it was big news in Ghana. Especially in church.'
Kwame: 'It is by no means a sure thing that he will be chosen. In fact it would surprise me. But it would show that the church can move away from Eurocentrism. It would help in bridging the North-South divide.
Religion is everything in Ghana. The main religions are Catholicism, Islam and traditional beliefs. But in essence we are all stress free and peaceful. We can influence some things, but the rest is in the hands of God. They say rich people rely on technology and poor people rely on God.'
Kwame: 'I am not a Catholic, so in a religious sense the news is not that important to me. I don't see the Pope as the representative of God on earth. But it would be very good for our country. It shows that we have aspirations, it can put Ghana on the map once more as a rich human capital source. The same happened when Kofi Annan became head of the UN.'
Joshua: 'Turkson has a remarkable stand on condoms: he says they can be used within a marriage where one partner is infected with HIV. In Ghana fornication (sex outside the marriage) and homosexuality are frowned upon. But condoms are widely used by my generation, even among Catholics. Ghanaians are free people. We know the church has its rules, but the people do what they want.'