March 09, 2016

The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace spoke recently at a New York college on “Catholics, capitalism, and climate.”

Drawing on the papal encyclical Laudato Si’, Cardinal Peter Turkson spoke about “Catholics and creation,” “Catholics and care,” and “climate and the USA” before addressing the topic of capitalism.

Recalling President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, Cardinal Turkson said that “150 years ago, slavery, and the political ‘interest’ that came from its profits, represented a profound ‘offense.’ Today, irresponsible financial and commercial practices are the offenses that we now tolerate, because of the interests in the profits and lifestyle of excessive consumerism that they promote. These Pope Francis sums up as the dominant technocratic paradigm.”

Cardinal Turkson added:

150 years ago, failure to provide a “fundamental and astounding” solution to slavery would lead inexorably, through the justice embedded by God in the nature of things, to the awful bloody cataclysm of the Civil War. Today, we must discover the “fundamental and astounding” steps we need to take to address global warming, environmental and social degradation, or else face cataclysms like the more frequent and higher coastal floods that are predicted here in New York.

Cardinal Turkson later traveled to Villanova University, where he spoke on the care of creation as a work of mercy and referred to care for our common home as both an eighth corporal work of mercy and an eighth spiritual work of mercy.