Pope Francis accepts Cardinal Turkson’s resignation

Cardinal Michael Czerny has been named as the interim head of the dicastery pending the appointment of “new leadership”

Pope Francis on Thursday (23 December) accepted the resignation of the prominent African cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson as prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

A statement from the Vatican said, “While he [Pope Francis] sincerely thanked Cardinal Peter K Appiah Turkson and his collaborators for the service they have carried out and while awaiting the appointment of the new board, the Holy Father has entrusted ad interim the ordinary management of the same dicastery starting from 1 January 2022 to Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ as Prefect and to Sister Alessandra Smerilli FMA as Secretary.”


Cardinal Turkson resignation

Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson, 73, seen by some as a candidate to become the first African pope in 1,500 years, abruptly offered his resignation from the key Vatican department.

Turkson, from Ghana, has been a key advisor to Pope Francis on matters such as climate change and social justice, and is the only African to lead a Vatican department.

The large Vatican department he led, known as the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, was formed in 2016. It merged four offices that dealt with areas such as peace, justice, migration and charities.

Third in a row

His departure leaves the Vatican with no African leading a major department, following the retirement of Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea earlier this year.

Turkson’s department underwent an external review under Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago at the Pope’s request earlier this year.

His resignatio follows two high-level departures from the department over the summer, one through retirement and the other sudden and unexplained.

The Catholic Church had several popes of North African origin early in its history, the last in the 5th century.

Under the rules of the Roman Catholic Church, despite his resignation from the post at the head of the dicastery, Turkson remains eligible until he turns 80 to enter a conclave of cardinals to elect the next pope after Francis dies or retires.

Turkson’s decision resign was first reported by the conservative Italian blog

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