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October 26, 2009

Some Will Ask: "Will Cardinal Peter Turkson Someday Become 'Peter the Roman'?"

Most everyone has heard of the controversial
Prophecies of Saint Malachy, which, it is said, were given by the 12th century Irish bishop. The prophecies are a series of brief and enigmatic statements in Latin pertaining to each of the future popes after Malachy's day, concluding with the final entry:

"In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and thedreadful Judge will judge the people. The End."
It's not my intention here to enter into the debate over whether these prophecies are authentic or not — there are arguments for and against their authenticity — but rather, I mention this issue in conjunction with the recent announcement that Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana (who is clearly not a Roman by birth) has been called to Rome to join the Vatican Curia. I am sure that this move will fuel discussion and speculation among those who will see in Cardinal Turkson's appointment something which may be connected with the Prophecies of Saint Malachy.

[Catholic journalist Robert Moynihan reports that] Cardinal Peter Turkson, 61, the Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, the eloquent “relator” or general secretary of this month’s Synod for Africa, will succeed Cardinal Renato Martino, 77, as the head of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, it was announced today.

This will make Turkson the highest-ranking African cardinal in the Church, and give him important experience in a curial position, at the heart of the Church.

(Here is a good article from Ghana Business News on the appointment and its significance: [1] http://ghanabusinessnews.com/2009/10/24/ghana’s-cardinal-turkson-gets-closer-to-becoming-first-black-pope)

The appointment was announced at 1 pm in the Vatican Press Office, in Turkson’s presence, at a Vatican Press Conference held to “wrap up” the Synod on Africa, by FatherFederico Lombardi, S.J., the Pope’s press spokesman… and Turkson looked surprised.

As I wrote the day before yesterday, in an article entitled “The Next Pope?”, I sat next to Turkson at a special dinner for journalists Thursday evening.

Turkson knew that this appointment might be in the offing, as all the journalists asked him about it. It had been rumored for many months.

But when the decision was finally taken and communicated to Turkson, it was evidently communicated without any prior warning.

Turkson, when Lombardi announced the appointment, seemed almost overcome with emotion: a legitimate pride, but also a bit of shock.

For a moment, he was speechless. Then he smiled, expressed his gratitude to the Pope for the appointment, and fell silent again, at a loss for words. (continue reading)

Following the death of Pope John Paul II (of blessed memory) in 2005, many voices were raised in support for an African Pope, with Cardinal Francis Arinze's name being the most frequently mentioned. That obviously didn't happen in that conclave, but it's not a stretch to theorize that, given Africa's increasing importance in the Church and her growing prominence within the Roman Curia, the clamor for an African pope in the next conclave might well produce that desired result. Time will tell.

If nothing else, given that Cardinal Peter Turkson increasing prominence in the Catholic Church, coupled with his name being raised with increasing frequency by those who prognosticate about who will succeed Pope Benedict on the Chair of Peter, this announcement is at the very least an interesting development. Given the increasingly prevalent apocalyptic anxiety among many Catholics and Protestants, The fact that Cardinal Turkson's first name is Peter and he is being called to minister in Rome will very likely become a subject of intense interest in some quarters of the Church.


  1. Peter the Roman is the resurrected Prophet of the Most High, John, whom Jesus Christ called "the Elias who was to come." He who writes this is he.

  2. Whether or not a prophecy is true, there is this promise: "I am with you always, to the end of the age."

    This promise, far from being mere words of consolation, are a fulfillment of a messanic prophesy rooted in Jewish oral tradition and a echo of God's words to Moses. The prophesy goes something like this: "The Messiah shall reign for eternity, until all of his enemies are conquered and he has established peace and justice." His reign will be one of peace and justice, in the new hearts which God will give, and it will be manifested on Judgment Day when He conquers all of evil and purifies the world by fire. The echo of God's words to Moses are meant to strengthen the faith of the Apostles, first in God, second in His Love and Mercy, and third in His Providence. The echo of God's words to Moses are also meant to show the Trinity: for the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, and the Father shall send the Holy Spirit through the Son, who, in Jesus, promised the coming of the Advocate, who would guide His brothers into all truths, the truths which they could not bear during Jesus' first coming. For He did not come to hide the truth but to show the truth, being the Truth Itself. And would not the Truth know human weakness? So He would work slowly, lest man be overwhelmed. The echo of God's words to Moses, lastly, show the eternity of the Church; the New Israel will last forever, because Israel cannot die; it is meant to go on forever, according to another Jewish prophesy. All in all, every word of Jesus holds in itself all of His words, just as every word of the Decalogue holds in itself all of the Commandments, because He is the Law and the Word Incarnate.