Vatican: Cardinal Turkson takes over Justice and Peace

Cardinal Peter Turkson

Cardinal Peter Turkson

The most senior African cleric in the Roman Curia, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson has officially taken over from Cardinal Renato Martino as the president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace.

Cardinal Turkson took over last week from Cardinal Martino, who retired on grounds of age.

The 61 year old Cardinal hopes to bring Africa's "great appreciation for solidarity" to the work of the council. He hopes his second major contribution will be an acute sense of justice, honed through his life experience in Africa where countries have long fallen victim to unjust governments or foreign exploitation.

If we could look at that, if that could be improved, that would go a long way to establishing peace because that's what a lot of people in Africa are looking for," he said.

But he was unwilling to disclose any further plans. One of the first tasks will be a private audience with the Holy Father to ask him about his vision for the council.

"I recognize that he is the head, and all the Dicasteries are here to help him carry out the mission and ministry of the Church. So I would not wish to have any agenda that was at variance with what he has."

Cardinal Turkson then plans to visit all the heads of Dicasteries with his deputy, Bishop Mario Toso, who is also relatively new to the Dicastery.

He hopes to build on what Cardinal Martino has already achieved: "If Africans would excuse my expression, I do not wish to become like an African head of state!" he joked. "When a new government comes in, it sweeps away all that has been going on before, accusing it of corruption. Instead I want to maintain a sense of continuity, to find out what has been going on, how far it's got."

Born to a Methodist mother and a Catholic father in Wassaw Nsuta in Western Ghana, Cardinal Turkson studied at St. Anthony-on-Hudson seminary in New York before being ordained a priest of Cape Coast in 1975.

He went on to study for a doctorate at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome before being made archbishop of Cape Coast in 1992.

Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2003 at the age of just 55, making him one of the youngest members of the College of Cardinals at the time.

His appointment as Relator-general of the African synod last year singled him out as someone on the rise.

Source: CISA

Share this story