Top Africa cardinal: next pope could well be black

A prominent African cardinal says there’s no reason why the next pope can’t be black.

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana is playing an important part in a three-week meeting at the Vatican on the role of the Catholic Church in Africa.

At a news conference Monday, Turkson was asked whether he thought the time was right for a black pope, particularly following the election of President Barack Obama.

Turkson replied: “Why not?” He argued that every man who agrees to be ordained a priest has to be willing to be a pope.

He noted that, with Obama and the previous U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, there have been several blacks in positions of global leadership.

He said “If God would wish to see a black man also as pope, thanks be to God.”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.