Following Pope Benedict's shocking decision to resign due to "advanced age", Catholics around the world may be in store for another historic change - the Vatican's first black pope.
According to the gambling Web site Paddy Power, the early favorite to replace Benedict is Cardinal Peter Turkson. Turkson, a native of Ghana and the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II in 2003.
Since then, Turkson has been called the lone Scripture scholar in Pope Benedict's "Senate. " His chances of becoming the next pope have been elevated since his appointment as spokesman for Second Synod for Africa in 2009.
In October 2011, Turkson called for the establishment of a "global public authority" and a "central world bank" and has come out in favour of a Robin Hood-style tax on large financial transactions. When he visited Britain with Pope Benedict in 2010 he was singled out as a possible successor.
At a news conference in October 2009, Turkson was asked if the time is right for a black pope.
"Why not?" Turkson replied, noting that former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was also from Ghana.
"He had problems, but he still did it," Turkson said. "And now it is Obama of the United States. And if by divine providence - because the church belongs to God - if God would wish to see a black man also as Pope, thanks be to God!"
Tuckson would bring his own baggage as pope. He has said over the years that theological dialogue with Muslims is impossible, and got into hot water after showing bishops a video claming Muslim immigration and higher birth rates means France will become "an Islamic republic" within 39 years.