Name at birth: Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
Ghana's Cardinal Peter Turkson made the news in 2013 as one of the possible replacements for Pope Benedict XVI. From humble origins -- a mining town in western Ghana -- Peter Turkson advanced through African seminaries to a two-year stint at New York's St. Anthony-on-Hudson, where he earned his Masters in Theology in 1975. He was ordained in the Catholic church in July of 1975, and the next year he was off to Rome to study scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. That's where he earned his doctorate (1992), and that's where he found his way to being up-and-comer in the Vatican. Pope John Paul II made Turkson the Archbishop of Ghana's Cape Coast in 1992, he was elevated to Cardinal in 2003, the next year he was Cardinal-Priest of San Liborio. With the elevation of Benedict XVI to the papacy in 2005, Turkson's star became even brighter. He was appointed by Pope Benedict in 2009 to be the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, a post he held until Febuary of 2013. Like Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Turkson is considered a church conservative; his speeches and writings over the years make it clear Turkson has no plans to reverse long-held rules just because they are deemed unpopular. Known as a Vatican insider, Turkson's position as a church leader from Africa propelled him to front-runner status when it came to replacing Pope Benedict.