VATICAN CITY (CNS) – After a dozen years as Grand Cardinal of the Vatican and five years as head of the Multifaceted Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson has offered his resignation to Pope Francis , according to several press articles.

The Vatican made no comment on the information, and as of midday on December 18, the Pope had refused to accept the resignation of the 73-year-old cardinal, the only African currently leading a major Vatican office.

Pope Francis announced the creation of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development in 2016, merging the former Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Migrants and Travelers and the Ministry of Health. Cardinal Turkson had headed the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since 2009.

Particularly focusing on ecology, migration and economic justice, the dicastery works on many issues closest to the heart of Pope Francis.

Finding ways to effectively and efficiently merge the four papal councils and their staff was seen as a major management challenge. In June, Pope Francis asked Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago to visit the dicastery “as part of a normal review of the activity of the dicasteries, aimed at obtaining an up-to-date understanding of the conditions under which they are held. operate ”.

Similar visits had been made to congregations for the clergy and for divine worship and the sacraments before new prefects were appointed for each.

In August, Pope Francis appointed Salesian Sister Alessandra Smerilli Acting Secretary of the Human Development Dicastery after the resignation of Mgr. Bruno-Marie Duffé, who served as secretary for four years; Argentine father Augusto Zampini, who was deputy secretary of the office and coordinator of the Vatican’s COVID-19 Commission, has also left.

Sister Smerilli was also appointed to the leadership team of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission along with Cardinal Turkson and Scalabrinian Father Fabio Baggio, Undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery.

Pope Francis created the commission in April 2020 to coordinate the Vatican’s response to the pandemic, assist local churches around the world, and advocate internationally to ensure that responses to the health and financial challenges of COVID-19 foster greater justice, equality and concern for the poor and respect for the environment. The commission was exempted from the Vatican’s hiring freeze during the pandemic.

It was during the Second Special Synod of Bishops for Africa in October 2009 that Pope Benedict XVI, now retired, announced that he was appointing Cardinal Turkson to head the office of justice and justice. peace. At the time, the cardinal served as the synod’s recording secretary – a key role many had already seen as a clear sign of papal favor.

In 2003, he was in his 10th year as Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, when Saint John Paul II inducted him into the College of Cardinals – the first Ghanaian to receive a red hat.

Born October 11, 1948, he studied at the Minor Seminary of Saint Teresa of Amisano and was ordained a priest in 1975. From 1976 to 1980, he studied in Rome, obtaining a degree in Sacred Scriptures at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. From 1987 to 1992 he studied for his doctorate at the same institute.