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Cardinal Turkson confirms offer to resign

December 20, 2021

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CWN Editor's Note: Cardinal Peter Turkson, the prefect of the dicastery for Integral Human Development, has confirmed that he has offered to step down upon completion of his five-year term.

On his Twitter account, the cardinal disclosed that he has left it to to Pope Francis to decide whether or not to accept his resignation. The cardinal met with the Pontiff in a private audience on December 20.

Cardinal Turkson, a native of Ghana, has served at the Vatican since 2009, when he was named by Pope Benedict XVI to become president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In 2013 that office was merged into the newly created dicastery for Integral Human Development, and the cardinal was named by Pope Francis as its first prefect.

At the age of 73, Cardinal Turkson is two years short of retirement age, and the Pope has frequently asked prelates to remain in office beyond that age. Pope Francis has said that Vatican officials should not routinely be re-appointed at the conclusion of their terms in office, but again, in practice re-appointments are frequent. Four current prefects of Vatican dicasteries are over 75, and four have been in office for longer than five years.

When rumors of Cardinal Turkson’s resignation began circulating in Rome last week, they came as a surprise, because there has been no indication of dissatisfaction with his leadership. However, an appraisal of the dicastery this summer was followed by the abrupt resignations of two subordinate officials, leading to some speculation that there were difficulties with the management of the office.

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