Cardinal Turkson’s Press Statement at the World Economic Forum

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Cardinal Turkson calls for a greater sense of urgency in our response to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.

Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, has called for a ‘universal and intergenerational solidarity’ in response to the ‘cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’.

Speaking at a press conference of the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he recalled the wisdom of religious traditions that see the world as a cosmos. ‘The world is beautiful and attains its purpose in sustaining human life’ he said. ‘To see the world as a cosmos’, he continued ‘also suggests that this ordered system was created, was brought into being by some power… The creation of the world by God as a cosmos means that it is an ordered system meant to sustain human life… it also means that because it was brought into being it can also revert into chaos when we, from our conduct abuse it and disregard the conditions which make it a cosmos and make it fall into disarray.’

Cardinal Turkson noted that Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si’ draws attention to two cries – the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth. Cardinal Turkson continued ‘the poor and the earth, which is meant to be our home, are crying to us… All of us who have been born into a family have an experience of this. When a baby begins to cry, the parents go to it, they pay attention, they try to settle it down, to see what is the situation causing the cry.’ He called for a greater sense of urgency on the part of humanity ‘to help them stop crying’.

The Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities organized the press conference on 22 January to talk about how the safety and quality of life of communities are being eroded by the climate emergency and other growing risks, and the role of religions and faiths in helping vulnerable populations.

They stressed that religious leaders and communities of faith have an important role to play in order to create safer communities where all can thrive. The Alliance noted that although over 80% of the global population identifies with a religious group, multi-stakeholder approaches to solve these problems often exclude important voices of faith. Cardinal Turkson took part in this event along with other religious leaders including: the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomeos; Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi and President of the Conference of European Rabbis; Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, Chairman of the Nishkam Group of Charitable Organisations.