Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Justice-peace head says what he thinks

John L. Allen Jr. of National Catholic Reporter writes about the new president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in an article titled Vatican's justice-peace head says what he thinks:
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana was named the new president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in late October, just as his debut on the global Catholic stage as the relator, or general secretary, of the Synod for Africa ended. It was in some ways a baptism by fire for the 61-year-old Ghanian prelate, introducing him among other things to the press climate in Rome. A few fairly innocent comments from Turkson about condoms, and about the prospect of a black pope, briefly became a cause célèbre in the Italian papers and prompted the Vatican to issue a swift "clarification."

As Turkson now puts it, he was forced to realize that in conversation he may say things with a smile, but in print "the smile never comes across."

Still, Turkson said he doesn't want "circumspection" to get in the way of saying what he thinks. He'd rather speak the truth, he said, and run the risk of being misunderstood.

In a Feb. 12 interview with NCR at his Vatican office (delayed by a couple of hours because of a rare Roman snowstorm that morning), Turkson displayed precisely such a willingness to take risks. On the environment, he rejected complaints that the Vatican, and Pope Benedict XVI, have been naïve in buying into global warming and climate change, saying that for a guy whose island is now under water or a farmer who doesn't know when to plant crops, "this isn't hysteria." On immigration, he bluntly said that Europeans "can't have their cake and eat it too," complaining about new arrivals but refusing to have children of their own.

The rest of the article is available here.