Cardinal Turkson sees China as model for environmentalism. Seriously?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 30, 2017

Cardinal Peter Turkson has suggested—apparently with a straight face—that when it comes to protecting the environment, the US might look to China for leadership. This astonishing statement came during a meeting with reporters, at which the prefect of the Vatican’s new dicastery for Intergral Human Development expressed his concerns about White House policies.

In Beijing, where residents routinely wear masks to protect themselves from toxic smog, China’s leaders have finally decided to take action to ease the pollution that is literally choking the country’s industrial centers. Cardinal Turkson welcomed that development, saying:

While Trump is moving in the opposite direction, there is another great power in the world, China, which is showing different signs, as if America is creating a vacuum that China is filling.

Baiting Trump may be a popular pastime in Rome these days, but here Cardinal Turkson has become unintentionally comical. If China is a good model for environmental policy, then Saudi Arabia is a model for religious freedom. If the US creates a vacuum, and China fills it, it won’t be filled with clean air.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Apr. 01, 2017 6:58 PM ET USA

    How do these people become cardinals? So many holy priests, many of them young men, struggling and working in the trenches, teaching authentic doctrine, hearing confessions day and night, praying for the sick and dying, instructing and admonishing, trying to save souls, while their heads and spiritual fathers, who should be supporting, teaching and building them up, engage in such ridiculous PC garbage! Time to retire! As in 1 Timothy 4:12, I guess the young must be examples to their elders!

  • Posted by: space15796 - Apr. 01, 2017 1:01 PM ET USA

    I have a Chinese friend who is now a naturalized US Citizen after years of waiting. She was so excited about her family coming to visit her here so she could show them that indeed the sky IS blue, this is not a fiction. Really. The youngsters in the group were so surprised - had never seen a blue sky. So yeah, that's a goal to aim for ....let's be more like them.

  • Posted by: ALC - Mar. 31, 2017 6:30 PM ET USA

    It is amazing to me the amount of time, energy, and words given to the environment from the Vatican. If they only gave 1/10 of the amount of attention to the problems within the Church regarding lack of belief in the Real Presence, so called Catholics who support abortion and SSM, we might stand a chance of surviving this crisis of Faith in our Church. But, not as long as Francis is Pope. His agenda is secular and not ecclesiastical.

  • Posted by: a son of Mary - Mar. 31, 2017 5:50 PM ET USA

    God forgive me but where do we find such idiots? The Chinese Communist party doesn't eat food from China and neither should you. It's loaded with antibiotics, pesticides, hormones and so on. All highly damaging to the environment. And Cardinal, in case you forgot the thousands of Chinese martyrs, read Diaries of the Chinese Martyrs.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Mar. 31, 2017 2:31 PM ET USA

    China pollution is beyond understanding unless you look at the few images coming over showing the solid cloud of particulates from the spewing factories. A scientific study badly needing to be done is how much of LA's problem comes from China. And, dear Cardinal, it remains to be seen if China is willing to take the huge economic hit that "easing the pollution" will require. Sorry, you are indeed making very laughable statements designed, no doubt, to ingratiate.

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Mar. 31, 2017 1:40 PM ET USA

    The intellectual failures of our current leadership are mere symptoms of the underlying moral failure that is characteristic of our times. Cardinal Turkson's failure to see the obvious only reveals his subservience to the zeitgeist, and it would, indeed, be comical, if the stakes weren't so high.

  • Posted by: Retired01 - Mar. 31, 2017 11:43 AM ET USA

    So in addition to Bergoglio-babel, Kasper-babel etc., etc., now we also have Turkson-babel.

  • Posted by: feedback - Mar. 30, 2017 5:38 PM ET USA

    It is absolutely ridiculous. If the Cardinal only typed in Google images: "China pollution" he would've had better idea.

  • Posted by: jackbene3651 - Mar. 30, 2017 4:41 PM ET USA

    Turkson was listed by some as papabile when Benedict XVI resigned.