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AP Interview: Top African papal contender says time is right for Third World pope

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    FILE - This Oct. 24, 2009 file photo shows Ghanian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson talking to journalists during a press conference at the Vatican. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28, 2013 opens the door to a host of possible successors, from the cardinal of Milan to a contender from Ghana and several Latin Americans. Cardinal Turkson is one of the highest-ranking African cardinals at the Vatican, currently heading the Vatican's office for justice and peace. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)The Associated Press

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    Ghanian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson talks during an interview with the Associated Press, in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 2013. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI opens the door to a host of possible successors, from the cardinal of Milan to a contender from Ghana and several Latin Americans. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)The Associated Press

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    Ghanian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson talks to the Associated Press during an interview, in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 2013. One of Africa's brightest hopes to be the next pope, Ghanian Cardinal Turkson, says the time is right for a pontiff from the developing world. In the background is a painting of late Pope John Paul II. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)The Associated Press

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    Ghanian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson poses for a photograph following an interview with the Associated Press, in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 2013. One of Africa's brightest hopes to be the next pope, Ghanian Cardinal Turkson, says the time is right for a pontiff from the developing world. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)The Associated Press

One of Africa's brightest hopes to be the next pope, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, says the time is right for a pontiff from the developing world.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Turkson said the "young churches" of Africa and Asia have now become solid enough that they have produced "mature clergymen and prelates that are capable of exercising leadership also of this world institution."

Turkson said the Third World doesn't need a pope of its own to thrive. It's done just fine growing exponentially with European pontiffs. But, he said, a pope from the global south, where half of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics live, would "go a long way to strengthen them in their resolve."