Interview With Cardinal Peter Turkson

Cross Catholic Outreach: As the prefect for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, how do you see the collaborative work of Cross Catholic Outreach with the dicastery playing a positive role in the Universal Church?

Cardinal Turkson: As the name of the dicastery suggests, the most significant task entrusted to us is the merger of this dicastery to be capable of addressing our development concerns globally. We recognize that we are still part of the Church, located here in the Vatican. However, the people of God in need of such assistance and support do not reside here in the Vatican; they live in various dioceses and parishes. Therefore, we understand that we must play an intermediary role to facilitate the promotion of development for local churches. So, it’s important for this development to have two essential components: well-trained actors with the necessary qualifications and expertise and the resources to make it happen.

In terms of training or the competence of the personnel, we try to work together with other organizations like Caritas, which typically has competent staff. In local churches, there are also other bodies. As for resources, we sometimes receive funding from here, under the castle. But we also receive support from other entities with philanthropic objectives that are ready to commit funds and resources to this development. Cross Catholic Outreach falls into that category; they can raise funds and support various development initiatives. So far, they have done an excellent job. I have recently come to know them, although some have known them better from their past relationship with the dicastery. We have found them to be dependable, beneficial and supportive benefactors of some of these projects aimed at promoting the development of people. They help support those in need, whether by assisting with facilities, providing food or promoting agricultural development.

Cross Catholic Outreach: Where is the greatest opportunity for Cross Catholic Outreach to assist with “Populorum Progressio” and their charitable work?

Cardinal Turkson: As I mentioned earlier, we need two crucial elements: skilled personnel and the necessary resources. Everything within the Holy See has a rich tradition and history. In Latin America, there is a foundation known as Progressio, established by Pope John Paul II during his visit to that part of the world in the 1980s. Progressio was set up to promote development among two disadvantaged groups in Latin America: the indigenous population and people of African descent. Essentially, it focuses on promoting the development of these marginalized groups, recognizing that traditional development methods often overlook their unique needs.

This foundation is managed by local churches, with its board composed of representatives from the Bishops’ Conference of the local churches. The board’s responsibilities include selecting and identifying projects and assisting communities in formulating their projects. They are also responsible for financing these projects. Sometimes, the financial support for the projects comes from Progressio itself, but they also seek funding from other donor groups worldwide. This is where Cross Catholic Outreach plays a crucial role. They commit a certain sum of money annually to support Progressio in its development projects, making a significant impact. This support from Cross Catholic Outreach is invaluable, and we are always grateful to them for their generosity.

Cross Catholic Outreach: Can you explain, in layman’s terms, the significance of the special status conferred on Cross Catholic Outreach in 2015?

Cardinal Turkson: The special status conferred on Cross Catholic Outreach in 2015 is essentially a recognition from the Catholic Church. It means that the Church officially acknowledges Cross Catholic Outreach as a legitimate and reputable organization that aligns with the Church’s values and mission. This recognition is significant because it signifies that Cross Catholic Outreach is a faithful and reliable partner of the Church. The status also ensures that their actions and support are in line with the Church’s teachings and beliefs, making their contributions a meaningful part of the Church’s work in the world.

Cross Catholic Outreach: In today’s world, there are numerous distractions. What words of advice and encouragement would you like to share concerning peace, justice and global unity?

Cardinal Turkson: In today’s world, it’s easy to get distracted by various issues and concerns. One piece of advice I would like to offer is that, as a Christian, it’s crucial to remember that faith and charitable actions go hand in hand. As Christians, we cannot truly love others without being concerned about their social conditions and well-being. The Bible teaches us that faith without works is dead, and this means that our faith should be demonstrated through acts of charity and kindness.

There are countless ways for ordinary individuals to make a positive difference in the world, and volunteerism is one of them. Many people choose to volunteer their time, skills and resources to help those in need. This can take various forms, from participating in humanitarian missions to supporting local community initiatives. Additionally, organizations like Cross Catholic Outreach provide a means for individuals to support projects aimed at promoting the well-being and development of marginalized communities.

Living out our faith means actively engaging with the world and supporting those in need. By doing so, we can help address issues of peace, justice and global unity. This charitable work not only benefits those in need but also allows us to embody the values and teachings of the Christian faith in a tangible way.

In summary, as Christians, it is our responsibility to combine our faith with works of charity, just as the early Christian Church did. By living out our faith through acts of kindness and support, we can make a positive impact on the world and contribute to peace, justice and global unity.