Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace, addressed the University community on Pope Francis' recent Encyclical, “Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home.”
A recording of the Cardinal’s talk at Seton Hall may be found here »
"Several programs of Seton Hall University have integrated environmental studies into their curricula so Pope Francis' Encyclical “Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home” has sparked great interest on campus. Because the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace has been involved in preparation of this encyclical, it was a great privilege to host the visit of Cardinal Turkson to our campus," said Father Lawrence Frizzell.
Cardinal Turkson responded to a long-standing invitation to come to the University from Father Frizzell, Director of the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies. The College of Arts and Sciences, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and Stillman School of Business were among the event sponsors.
Born in Nsuta-Wassaw, Ghana, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson is Archbishop emeritus of Cape Coast, Ghana and was created Cardinal by Saint Pope John Paul II in 2003.
In 2009, Cardinal Turkson was nominated President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which was created to "promote justice and peace in the world, in the light of the Gospel and of the social teaching of the Church," and to "assemble and evaluate various types of information and the results of research on justice and peace, the development of peoples and the violations of human rights."
To that end, Cardinal Turkson's most recent work has been, according to the National Catholic Reporter, as "de facto point person for Pope Francis' environmental encyclical 'Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home.'" Cardinal Turkson was a prominent member of the consultors involved in writing Laudato Si'.
Although widely acclaimed by scientists, environmentalists and political leaders, the Encyclical goes beyond the reach of law and science, placing a moral imperative upon climate change and urging personal and societal change in response.
Regarding humanity and the earth, Cardinal Turkson has said that "We cannot profess love of God when we cannot love what God has made."
At a recent conference in Rome organized by the Council for Justice and Peace, "People and planet first: the imperative to change course," Cardinal Turkson spoke along with Naomi Klein, award-winning author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate and The Shock Doctrine; Ottmar Edenhofer, co-president of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change and Bernd Nilles, secretary general of International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity. At the conference, according to the Vatican Information Service, Cardinal Turkson noted that "in his recent Encyclical 'Laudato si',' the Pope proposes an integral ecology that respects its human and social dimensions, and shows that climate change is one of the main challenges facing humanity in our times, also highlighting that the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. 'Yet the costs of climate change are being borne by those least responsible for it and least able to adapt to it - the poor….'"
In addition to his position as President of the Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Turkson is one of twelve appointed to the XIII Ordinary Council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops, the body that will oversee synod operations until the next general assembly.
He is also a member of:
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Evangelization of Peoples; for Catholic Education;
- Pontifical Councils: for Promoting Christian Unity; Cor Unum ;
- Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses;
- The Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
At Seton Hall, the standing-room only crowd was greeted by Cardinal Turkson with a thank you for braving the weather and for “skipping the holiday” (Presidents’ Day). Cardinal Turkson also played a brief video from Pope Francis which stressed the importance of the environment and invited all to partake in “a new way of life” that recognizes the common relationship each of us shares with each other and the earth.
Cardinal Turkson’s talk may be found here »
A transcript of Cardinal Turkson’s talk a few days later, in which he discusses his comments at Seton Hall on President Abraham Lincoln, and how “a wise American professor of law helped me to draw out an illuminating analogy and make Lincoln’s terrible words contemporary,” may be found here via Vatican Radio.
Categories: Faith and Service