Peter Turkson

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His Eminence 
Peter Turkson
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Peter Turkson
See Cape Coast (emeritus)
Enthroned 24 October 2009
Predecessor Renato Martino
Ordination 20 July 1975 (Priest)
by John Kodwo Amissah
Consecration 27 March 1993 (Archbishop)
by Dominic Kodwo Andoh
assisted by Peter Poreku Dery and Peter Kwasi Sarpong
Created Cardinal 21 October 2003
by Pope John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest of San Liborio
Personal details
Birth name Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
Born (1948-10-11) 11 October 1948 (age 64)
Wassaw Nsuta, Ghana
Nationality Ghanaian
Denomination Catholic Church
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
Coat of arms of Peter Turkson.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Cape Coast

Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson (born 11 October 1948) is a Ghanaian Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 24 October 2009. He had previously served as Archbishop of Cape Coast. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II in 2003,[1] and is widely regarded as papabile.[2][3][4][5]


[edit] Early life and priesthood

Turkson was born in Wassa Nsuta in Western Ghana to a Methodist mother and a Catholic father.[6] He is the fourth child among ten children. His mother sold vegetables in the open market while his father worked as a carpenter. He had a paternal uncle who was a Muslim.[7] He studied at St. Teresa's Seminary in the village of Amisano and Pedu before attending St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, New York, where he graduated as a Master of Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John Amissah on 20 July 1975.

Turkson was a professor at St Teresa's Minor Seminary from 1975 to 1976, whence he entered the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, earning a licentiate in Sacred Scripture in 1980. He returned to St Teresa's for a year, 1980–81, and became vice-rector at St Peter's Seminary in 1981. He also did pastoral work in a parish annexed to the seminary. In 1987, he returned to the Pontifical Biblical Institute to receive a doctorate in Sacred Scripture (1992).

[edit] Episcopal career

On 6 October 1992, Turkson was appointed Archbishop of Cape Coast by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on 27 March 1993 from Archbishop Dominic Kodwo Andoh, with Archbishops Peter Poreku Dery and Peter Kwasi Sarpong serving as co-consecrators. He served as President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference from 1997 to 2005, and as Chancellor of the Catholic University College of Ghana since 2003.

John Paul II created Turkson Cardinal-Priest of S. Liborio in his last consistory of 21 October 2003. Turkson is the first Ghanaian cardinal and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the papal conclave of 2005 which elected Pope Benedict XVI. He was described as "one of Africa's most energetic church leaders" by The Tablet, a Roman Catholic magazine published in London.[8]

[edit] Roman Curia

On 24 October 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Turkson President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.[9] Within the Roman Curia, Turkson is also a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and, since 4 March 2010, the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.[10] On 12 June 2012 Cardinal Turkson was appointed a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education[11]

On 16 October 2010 Pope Benedict appointed him as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith[12] These memberships are for five years and are renewable. Being resident in Rome, Turkson is invited to attend not only the plenary meetings of those departments, which in principle are held every year, but also the ordinary meetings.

Cardinal Turkson delivered the plenary address of the 2011 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. The gathering, in Washington D.C. on the theme of “Protecting Human Life and Dignity: Promoting a Just Economy,” is sponsored by 19 Catholic organizations, including the U.S. Catholic bishops. In a recent interview with CNA, Turkson said he has learned from past experience that the Church’s justice and peace terminology often needs clarification for an American Catholic audience. Key terms used by the Vatican — such as “social justice” and “gift” — are not always understood the way the Vatican intends, he said. "We found out that some of the vocabulary which is just taken for granted and used freely may not always have the same sense or may have had some nuances which sometimes are missed because of the way the terms are used in the American political context,” Cardinal Turkson said in an interview on 12 January at the council’s offices in Rome. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Turkson to his post in October 2009, just months after the Pope released his blueprint for the Church’s social teaching, Caritas in Veritate.[13]

On 10 March 2011, Cardinal Turkson gave a lecture in Durham, England, organised by the Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies and the Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in honour of the late Bishop Kevin Dunn who was instrumental in the creation of the Centre.

On 30 March 2011, Pope Benedict XVI announced at his weekly general audience that he was sending Cardinal Turkson as a Vatican mediator to contribute to a possible diplomatic, non-military solution to the potentially explosive civil conflict in Ivory Coast, which could turn into an even bloodier civil war if not contained. There Laurent Gbagbo had refused, in spite of international condemnation and local protests and resistance, to step aside and hand over power to Alassane Ouattara, the certified winner of the presidential election. Atrocities have been committed by both sides.[14]

In October 2011 Cardinal Turkson called for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises. The document, Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority was very specific, calling for taxation measures on financial transactions. It notes that “The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” it said. The document condemned what it called “the idolatry of the market” as well as a “neo-liberal thinking” that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems. “In fact, the crisis has revealed behaviours like selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale,” it said, adding that world economics needed an “ethic of solidarity” among rich and poor nations.[15][16]

In October 2012 Turkson created some controversy when he showed a YouTube video called "Muslim Demographics", which critics labelled as alarmistic at an international conference for bishops.[17]

An accomplished polyglot, Turkson is able to speak English, Fante, French, Italian, German, and Hebrew, in addition to understanding Latin and Greek.[18]

[edit] Papabile Coverage

Immediately following the announcement on 11 February 2013 of the impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, at least two bookmakers, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, made Turkson the favourite to be elected as the new pope,[19] with Paddy Power giving 2/1 odds.[20] Turkson has also been mentioned in regards to St. Malachy's apocalyptic list Prophecy of the Popes, given that its final Pope is named Peter. Odds of 4/1 are given. [21]

[edit] Views

[edit] Black Man as Pope

Cardinal Turkson has said that "if God would wish to see a black man also as pope, thanks be to God".[22] The Catholic Church chronicler Rocco Palmo called Turkson the lone Scripture scholar in the Pope's "Senate" and believes that his status as a potential "papabile" has been elevated due to his appointment as spokesman for Second Synod for Africa in 2009.[23] With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, Turkson is seen as a papabile (potential successor)[24] in the upcoming papal conclave.

[edit] HIV/AIDS and condoms

In 2009, he reaffirmed the Catholic social teaching on contraception, in regard to statements made by Pope Benedict XVI that condoms were not a solution to Africa’s AIDS crisis and were taken out of context by the media.[25] Turkson did not rule out condoms in all circumstances suggesting they could be useful in the situation of a married, faithful couple where one partner is infected; although he warns that, as the quality of condoms in Africa is poor, their use could engender false confidence. He said abstinence, fidelity, and refraining from sex if infected were the key to fighting the epidemic. He also believes that the money being spent on condoms would be better spent providing anti-retroviral drugs to those already infected.[22][26][27]

[edit] Reform of the international financial system

In response to the global economic crisis started in 2008, Cardinal Turkson, together with bishop Mario Toso, elaborated a proposal to reform the international financial system by creating a Global Public Authority and a Global Bank that consider the interest of all developing countries. The document of 40 pages was officially presented in October 2011 and criticizes the actual structure of International Monetary Fund and other institutions.[28]

[edit] Homosexuality

In 2012, in response to a speech by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging Church leaders to do more for human rights and in particular gay rights in Africa, Turkson, while recognising that some of the sanctions imposed on homosexuals in Africa are an “exaggeration,” stated that the “intensity of the reaction is probably commensurate with tradition.” “Just as there’s a sense of a call for rights, there’s also a call to respect culture, of all kinds of people,” he said. “So, if it’s being stigmatized, in fairness, it’s probably right to find out why it is being stigmatized.” He also called for distinction to be made between human rights and moral issues.[29]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Miranda, Salvador. "Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Who Will Replace Pope Benedict?". Business Insider. 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  3. ^ "Conclave contenders". The Tablet. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  4. ^ Gumbleton, Thomas (2012-05-10). "A poll average from Rome on the next pope | National Catholic Reporter". Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  5. ^ "Cardinal Peter Turkson: 5 Facts About the Potential First Black Pope". 1975-07-20. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  6. ^ 30 Days in the Church and the World: "Interview with Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson" October 2005
  7. ^ O'Connell, Gerard (21 October 2012). "Cardinal Turkson: "For me to attack Islam would be to attack my own family"". Vatican Insider. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  8. ^ The Tablet, 23 April 2005
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Press Office of the Holy See
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Di Membri Della Congregazione Per La Dottrina Della Fede Nomina Di Membri Della Congregazione Per La Dottrina Della Fede". 2010-10-16. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  13. ^ "Church’s justice teachings need new 'vocabulary' for some US audiences". 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  14. ^ "CNS STORY: Pope appeals for end to violence, start of peace talks for Ivory Coast". Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  15. ^ Pullella, Philip (2011-10-24). "Vatican calls for global authority on economy, raps “idolatry of the market”". Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  16. ^ Tom Kington in the Vatican. "Vatican joins calls for crackdown on financial markets". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  17. ^ Naomi O'Leary: Cardinal causes uproar with "Muslim scare" video at Vatican Reuters, October 15, 2012
  18. ^ Sam Jones and Afua Hirsch: Who will be the next pope? The contenders for Vatican's top job The Guardian, February 11, 2013
  19. ^ "Pope Benedict XVI says he will resign, ANSA reports". BBC News.
  20. ^ "One Of These Men Will Be The Next Pope". Business Insider. 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  21. ^ Dugdale, Addy (2013-02-11). "Pope Still Bigger On Twitter Than North Korea And State Of The Union Address". Fast Company. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  22. ^ a b Daily Mail (UK): "Yes, the next Pope could be black, says prominent African cardinal" 7 October 2009
  23. ^ Whispers in the Loggia: "The Grand Relator: For DC Cardinal, A Key Vatican Nod: 24 October 2011
  24. ^ By Svenja O’Donnell & Fergal O’Brien (2013-02-11). "Ghana’s Turkson Favorite to Succeed Benedict as Pope". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  25. ^ "Cardinal Turkson defends Pope’s condom comments". 2009-04-04. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  26. ^ ""Condoms are not reliable in fight against HIV, says African cardinal"". Catholic News. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  27. ^ "Cardinal Turkson on Condoms and HIV/AIDS". 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  28. ^ Vatican joins calls for crackdown on financial markets 25 October 2011
  29. ^ Pentin, Edward. "Cardinal Responds to U.N.'s Criticism of Africa's Social Policies". Retrieved 2013-02-15.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Kodwo Amissah
Archbishop of Cape Coast
6 October 1992 – 24 October 2009
Succeeded by
Matthias Kobena Nketsiah
Preceded by
Renato Raffaele Martino
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
24 October 2009 – present