“We are delighted to reintroduce the Kelly Lecture with such a truly important speaker,” said USMC President David Mulroney. “Cardinal Turkson’s presence helps to reinforce the idea that the University of St. Michael’s College provides an important stage for the issues of our day.”
Born on October 11, 1948 in Nsuta-Wassaw, Ghana, Cardinal Turkson holds degrees from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, New York. With an extensive background in education, the Cardinal has held the position of Chancellor of the Catholic University College of Ghana since 2003. Over the years, Vatican watchers have suggested he is papabile, one of the men considered a possible candidate for the papacy one day.
As President of the Pontifical Council, Cardinal Turkson had a role in the drafting of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis’ encyclical published last spring on the need to safeguard our world. In a recent speech to a gathering of bishops, the Cardinal expounded on the contents of the encyclical, noting that “the way we interact with the natural world is deeply related to how we interact with our fellow human beings. …Therefore, all decisions about the natural environment are ethical decisions, just as social options have environmental consequences.” We look forward to the insights he’ll share with us during his lecture.
Cardinal Turkson joins an illustrious group of people who have delivered the Kelly Lecture in past years. The most recent speaker, in 2011, was Fr. Robert Barron, now Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, who delivered a speech entitled To Evangelize the Culture. The diverse group of past Kelly lecturers also includes writer and humanitarian Jean Vanier, journalist John Allen, biblical scholar Fr. Raymond Brown, and theologians Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez. O.P., and Sr. Elizabeth Johnston, C.S.J. .
The Kelly Lecture was created by St. Mike’s Alumni Association, in cooperation with the University, as a way to honour Rev. John Kelly, C.S.B., who taught philosophy at St. Mike’s before he became the second President of the University, holding the office from 1958 to 1978. The inaugural Kelly Lecture was delivered in 1980, when Fr. Roderick MacKenzie, S.J., delivered a speech entitled “Relevance of the Old Testament in the ‘80s.”