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Cardinal says Latin American or African pope possible

Published on Feb 17, 2013 11:41 PM

VATICAN CITY (REUTERS) - Cardinal Kurt Koch, a close aide of Pope Benedict XVI who will cast his vote for the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has said there is no reason why the new pontiff cannot be African or Latin American.

Cardinal Koch, head of the Vatican department that deals with Christian unity and relations with Jews, also said he had had no doubt that 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?" Cardinal 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."

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