Vatican official Cardinal Peter Turkson said he hopes President Trump will reconsider some of the decisions he is making in office, particularly his recent executive order curtailing environmental protections – but that he is glad U.S. bishops are offering a “different voice.”
Diverse members of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference have already voiced opposition to some of President Trump’s actions, including on immigration, Cardinal Turkson told journalists Thursday morning.
“This, for us, is a sign that little by little, other positions and political voices will emerge. We hope that Trump himself will rethink some of his decisions,” he said.
Head of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, Turkson spoke to journalists at a breakfast meeting March 30 on a conference the department will hold at the Vatican April 3 and 4.
Cardinal Turkson expressed his gratefulness for the U.S. bishops who are addressing President Trump’s policies, saying things are “a bit worrying,” although Trump is, in fact, just fulfilling the “promises made during the campaign.”
But “we are hopeful that things will change,” he said, especially when Trump begins to see “the dissonance between the reality of things” and promises made during his election campaign.Otherwise, other world powers, like China, are ready to step in and fill the “space,” he said, noting that China is already making some efforts on climate control, especially given the large amount of smog and air pollution the country faces.
Pope Francis has been very vocal on the importance of protecting the environment throughout his papacy, publishing the first papal encyclical dedicated to the topic, Laudato Si, in 2015.
Shortly after its release he instituted the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to take place every year on Sept. 1.
In his message for the 2016 day of prayer, Francis said that care of creation should also contribute “to shaping the culture and society in which we live,” adding that economics, politics, society and culture “cannot be dominated by thinking only of the short-term and immediate financial or electoral gains.”
“Instead, they urgently need to be redirected to the common good, which includes sustainability and care for creation.”
The dicastery’s upcoming conference, being held in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio (On the Development of People), aims to discuss the question: “who is man?” the cardinal said.
The two-day conference includes sessions with presentations on the themes of the body and soul, man and woman, the individual and society, as well as testimonies on serving vulnerable populations.
The first day will include a presentation by Cardinal Turkson on the origins and perspective of the dicastery and another by Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on “the Christian anthropological vision, the foundational concept of integral human development.”
The conference will also include time for dialogue and an audience with Pope Francis on April 4.
In other comments to journalists, Cardinal Turkson said that “immigration is like water flowing from the tap,” you can’t just try to dry up the water, you have to turn off the faucet.
This can only be done through long-term plans that promote projects in the countries migrants are fleeing and “prevent the need of people to emigrate,” he said.