CARDINAL TURKSON ON RESIGNATION: I AWAIT THE HOLY FATHER’S DECISION
As you are about to read, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, presented Pope Francis’ Message for the 55th World Day of Peace at a press conference today in the Vatican. That conference was carried on the Vaticannews website and Youtube page.
Starting December 17, rumors circulated that Cardinal Turkson had offered his resignation to Pope Francis. No confirmation was forthcoming from either the Vatican or the dicastery.
It was the Ghanaian cardinal himself who cleared things up in a December 19 tweet: In Vatican mandates of Office-Heads expire at death/resignation of Pope or expiry of 5yr term of office. One surrenders mandate for Pope/new Pope to renew/extend mandate or reassign. Turkson surrendered in 2013 Francis renewed 5yr mandate in 2016. Now must await new action of Pope!
According to the press office’s daily list of audiences, Cardinal Turkson was received by Pope Francis yesterday, December 20.
In the Q&A segment that followed the presentation of the papal Peace Day message this morning, it was expected that the first question asked of the cardinal would be about his rumoured resignation.
And it was.
Asked if he would be around in 2022 to present the papal peace message, he basically reiterated what he tweeted: that his term was about to end and it was up to the Pope to accept – or not – his resignation.
Cardinal Turkson did specify that other mandates of his had been renewed: “During the year, I received letters renewing my mandate from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Catholic education, for Christian unity, and for Propaganda Fide (the congregation for evangelization).”
The cardinal did not comment on nor was he asked about his audience yesterday with Pope Francis.
He said today he was simply awaiting Pope Francis’ decision. He is known to be one of the Holy Father’s most trusted advisors, in particular because of the role he and his staff play in the section of his dicastery dedicated to migrants and refugees.
POPE’S PEACE DAY MESSAGE: “EVERYONE HAS A CREATIVE ROLE TO PLAY IN BUILDING PEACE”
Several Vatican officials presented Pope Francis’ message for the upcoming World Day of Peace, and recalled that peace is the work of every person and that it must be rooted in human dignity and justice.
By Devin Watkins
The Holy See Press Office hosted a press conference on Tuesday to coincide with the release of Pope Francis’ message for the 55th World Day of Peace, marked annually on January 1.
The Pope’s message is title: “Dialogue Between Generations, Education and Work: Tools for Building Lasting Peace.” (Intergenerational dialogue, education and work at heart of Pope’s Peace Day message – Vatican News)
Three Vatican officials presented the message at the Press Office, along with an activist for migrant worker’s rights in Italy.
Yearning for peace in creativity
Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, was the first to present his thoughts on Pope Francis’ message. He offered a reflection on the Biblical roots of the message that begins with the prophet Isaiah: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace” (Is 52:7).
The cardinal said humanity – in the footsteps of ancient Israel – yearns for peace, especially in moments of societal upheaval and political disaster, adding that our world today mirrors several aspects of life for Israel during the exile. These include the lack of moral or ethical fiber and the political will to commit to life-saving measures in the face of the pandemic and climate change, as well as a short-term focus on profits at the expense of long-term stability.
Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Peace, said Cardinal Turkson, highlights the need for every person to play a creative role in the project for peace, building the “architecture” of peace.
Peace, he added, is both a gift of God and the fruit of a culture of dialogue and encounter.
Young people engaged in climate crisis
Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, interim secretary of the Dicastery for Human Development, also offered her reflections on how the Church speaks with the prophet Isaiah in favor of peace.
She gave voice to the “cry of the earth and of the poor” that laments the war which the current economic system has declared on the environment.
Young people, she added, are the intended recipients of the Pope’s message, since they – more than other generations – long to carry through on promises to tackle the issue of climate change.
An intergenerational alliance is needed so that young people and adults can team up to push back against environmental destruction, said Sr. Smerilli.
Work also plays an important role in promoting peace through human dignity and justice. “Work is much more than a means for earning a living: it is an expression of our identity and dignity, of our social and relational vocation, and of our caring and tilling the earth, with God and with others,” she said.
Earth crying out for peace
Fr. Fabio Baggio, under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section, focused his remarks on the ecological aspect of Pope Francis’ Peace Day message.
He said the world is more interconnected than ever before, a fact that has both positive and negative consequences as seen in climate change and the pandemic.
The survival of our common home, he added, rests on peace among the human family, so that we can face our challenges together.
Fr. Baggio highlighted the three tools that the Pope offered to achieve the goal of dialogue and peace: sincere communication, education, and work.
These three, he said, “are not the only tools to build a lasting peace, but they undoubtedly represent an excellent toolkit for the journey which awaits us.”
Discovering the spiritual roots of peace
Dr. Aboubakar Soumahoro, an Ivorian-born labor activist, president of the Farmworkers League, and spokesman for Invisibles in Motion, joined the three Vatican officials to offer a unique perspective on Pope Francis’ message.
Peace, he told reporters, is a crucial value in our world that “languishes in evil” and has pulled a blanket of blindness over the minds of our contemporaries.
The world needs a “spiritual revolution” in order to rebuild the sense of belonging which humanity has lost.
“The peace that we need,” said Dr. Soumahoro, “is not that which the world gives, but the perfect peace that can give repose to our souls and spirits, as well as courage and strength to overcome every challenge.”
CYPRUS ANSWERS A PAPAL APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY
As a result of the recent visit of Pope Francis to Cyprus, the government of Cyprus is donating vaccines for the Covid-19 pandemic in two African countries, Mozambique and the Central African Republic, in collaboration with the DREAM program of the Sant’Egidio Community, which has been active for years for the treatment and prevention of AIDS in Africa.
News sites reporting the decision of both Cyprus and Sant’Egidio, said the decision was taken following the historic visit of Pope Francis, his expressions of solidarity with refugees and migrants and his strong appeal in favor of refugees on the island, who come largely from the African continent, all of which caused a favorable response by the Cypriot people.