Pope Francis on Thursday, December 23 accepted African Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson’s resignation as Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promoting Integral Human Development.
“While he [Pope Francis] sincerely thanked Cardinal Peter K Appiah Turkson and his collaborators for the service they have carried out and while awaiting the appointment of the new board, the Holy Father has entrusted ad interim the ordinary management of the same dicastery starting from 1 January 2022 to Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ as Prefect and to Sister Alessandra Smerilli FMA as Secretary,” a statement from the Vatican noted.
Cardinal Turkson’s resignation leaves the Vatican with no African leading a major department.
Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea resigned earlier this year.
It also follows two high level resignations from the same department.
The 73-year-old Ghanaian’s department, on the request of the Pope, had to undergo external review under Cardinal Blase Cupich from Chicago early this year.
However, the Ghanaian remains eligible to enter a conclave of cardinals to elect the next pope after the retirement or death of the current one till he turns 80 under the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.
Until his resignation, he was a key advisor to the Pope on issues of social justice and climate change.
He is the only African to lead a Vatican department.