May 31, 2017

A Conversation with Cardinal Peter Turkson

Vatican Perspectives on Care for Creation, Economic Injustice, the Refugee Crisis, and Peace

A group of people carrying a cross in a street.

Pope Francis has chosen Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana to lead the new Vatican Dicastery on Integral Human Development. As the Pope’s key ally, Cardinal Turkson leads the Vatican’s teaching and advocacy on issues of justice and peace, economic inequality, and global solidarity.

A Conversation with Cardinal Peter Turkson Video Player

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In conversation with John Carr, the director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown, Cardinal Turkson addressed the following questions:

  • After four years, what are Pope Francis’ priorities, successes, and disappointments?
  • How does the Pope’s leadership challenge the leaders and people of the United States, and particularly members of the Church in the United States?
  • What are the Vatican’s principles on environmental justice and climate change, refugees and immigration, and economic inequality and poverty?
  • Where is the greatest opportunity for progress and where is the greatest resistance?
  • How can schools, social ministries, and parishes better share Catholic Social Teaching? 
  • What are the opportunities for women and young people to offer leadership?

As a priest, bishop, and cardinal from Africa, Peter Turkson brings unique experience, knowledge, and urgency to promoting and applying Catholic teaching on human life and dignity, a priority for the poor, and the pursuit of peace.

This unique conversation provided an opportunity to ask questions of Pope Francis’ key collaborator in sharing his social mission and message throughout the world.



David Hollenbach, S.J., is the Pedro Arrupe Distinguished Research Professor in Georgetown's School of Foreign Service and a senior fellow at the Berkley Center. He is currently serving as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

Moderated Conversation

Cardinal Peter Turkson is the prefect of the newly established Vatican Dicastery on Integral Human Development. Turkson was elevated to College of Cardinals in 2003 by Saint Pope John Paul II while serving as archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 to lead the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace before it was merged into the new dicastery by Pope Francis. 

John Carr is the founder and director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.


Arturo Chavez, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of the Mexican-American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. He served on President Obama’s inaugural council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Amy Rauenhorst Goldman is the CEO and chair of GHR Foundation, where she oversees grant making focused on health, education and global development. She is an alumna and Board of Visitors member of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.