|An African Prelate of Interest|
|Written by Michael Fones|
|Tuesday, 06 October 2009 09:40|
John Allen has a post on Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson titled, "Ghanaian Cardinal Destined to be an Ecclesiastical Star." Although I'm a bit uncomfortable with this kind of language ("star") with regard to anyone involved in Church ministry - since Jesus modeled the foot-washing service of a slave - the article is interesting.
One of the comments has to do with the Cardinal's ecumenical relations with two of the largest and fastest growing religious groups in the world. If he is a papabile, these encounters will be an important preparation for taking the see of Peter.
In recent years, Turkson has acquired a reputation as a leader in relations with two groups often seen as rivals to Catholicism on the African continent: Pentecostals and Muslims. In both cases, Turkson manages to blend a clear defense of the faith with an apparently sincere desire for dialogue, and a capacity to learn from what the others do well.
From the Pentecostals, Turkson has argued that Catholics can learn to put more emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit – healings, intercessory prayer, and so on, in addition to their strong emphasis on a personal relationship with Jesus.
With Muslims, Turkson has encouraged Catholics to study the Qur’an as a bridge to understanding. He’s also taken up Pope Benedict’s call for inter-cultural, rather than precisely inter-religious, dialogue, pursuing areas of common effort on charitable and social justice projects.
As the Catholic Church grows in Africa, and as Africans are raised to leadership in the universal Church, I suspect we will hear more about charisms and the importance of faith as relationship with the Father through the Son in the Spirit.