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Cardinal Turkson: I didn’t resign 

Cardinal Appiah Turkson says it beats his imagination why people misunderstood his notification to Pope Francis as a signal that he had resigned

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  • "... So that’s just what happened. Why this was seen and interpreted as resignation beats my imagination and as a result of that, I tweeted to explain all of this but people took things the way they wanted to take it. There was nothing to get upset or get worried about.”

Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson has cleared the air on his widely reported “resignation” from a key Vatican department last year.

Cardinal Turkson was reported in December to have offered his abrupt resignation from an important department of the Vatican.

But reacting to the news of his purported resignation on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Wednesday (12 January) with Kwaku Nhyira-Addo, Cardinal Turkson said: “If you wanted to put it more bluntly, we’ll probably say that within the Church, in our circles, the saying is that: nobody goes up the cross and then descends from the cross. Jesus didn’t go to the cross and then decided to come off the cross. So, when you engage in the service of the Church I think you go all the way … 

“What it is, is a very simple thing; I don’t know why it made such rounds around the world and generated all the discussion. Here in the Vatican, every position is given for five years and at the end of the five years, either the term is extended or renewed, or one is reassigned to some other position.

“I left Ghana in 2010. That means I have been here [for] 11 years, which means I’ve done two terms of five years …”

He added, “I’ve met this experience before. At the end of the set of five years, my mandate was slightly modified and extended. When I came here, I was to take charge of an office called Justice and Peace. At the end of five years it had a merger. Three other offices were joined with our office and that became the second set of five years.

“This happened in August 2016. So 2021 is the end of the second set of five years. So, at the end of all of these years, you notified the Pope that your five years is up to enable him to take a decision.”

I wasnt upset

“So this is what happened last year. The Pope decided to reassign and … have you move on, and that’s just what happened. You have to notify the Pope that your five years are up, and doing that is not resignation, it’s just a notification,” he said.

“Over here in the Italian language, we say that you put your mandate back to his hands for him to reassign, extend, modify or do what he wants to do with it. So that’s just what happened.

“Why this was seen and interpreted as resignation beats my imagination and as a result of that, I tweeted to explain all of this. But people took things the way they wanted to take it. There was nothing to get upset or get worried about.”

Watch the full interview:

Some observers see Cardinal Turkson as a candidate to become the first African pope in 1,500 years.

He is a Ghanaian cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 24 October 2009 to 1 January 2017.

Pope Francis named him to a five-year term as the first prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, which began operations on 1 January 2017, a post he held until the end of last year.

The dicastery was established to consolidate the administration of several areas, including care for the environment, ecology, ethics, the dignity of all people, migrants, poverty and economics, under one department.

He previously served as the Archbishop of Cape Coast. He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul) in 2003, and is widely regarded as papabile, that is, a candidate for election to the papacy.

The leading British Catholic weekly review, The Tablet, has described him as “one of Africa’s most energetic church leaders”.

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