Pope visit to Durham on the cards

Linda Jones Haed of Theology & Spirituality CAFOD, His Eminence cardinal Peter Turkson, Father Michael Czernysj and Professor Paul Murray Director of the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University, outside The Institute for Advanced Study, Cosin Hall, Palace Green, Durham

Linda Jones Haed of Theology & Spirituality CAFOD, His Eminence cardinal Peter Turkson, Father Michael Czernysj and Professor Paul Murray Director of the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University, outside The Institute for Advanced Study, Cosin Hall, Palace Green, Durham

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A PROMINENT figure from the Catholic Church paid a visit to Durham.

A PROMINENT figure from the Catholic Church paid a visit to Durham – and said the Pope could follow in his footsteps.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, who accompanied Pope Benedict XVI on his recent visit to the UK, presented the 2011 Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture at Durham University. He was a guest of the university’s Centre for Catholic Studies.

The Vatican-based Ghanaian cardinal gave his lecture on the impact of the world economic crisis and its effect on the poorest people on the planet. He was pushing for a move away from aid and towards investment.

He said: “The aid model has been used for many years. I think it is time to look at it and see what other means there are of helping countries to manage.

“Instead of giving aid, what about investment to create job opportunities? Once you have production centres, you have a source of employment, you have income.”

Cardinal Turkson said he had been made to feel most welcome in Durham and that if Pope Benedict should ever return to the UK, then the possibility of a visit to the city “would not be far fetched at all”.

The cardinal expressed solidarity with the people of Libya and called upon Colonel Gaddafi to reconsider his use of weapons.

He also spoke enthusiastically about Durham’s Anglican cathedral. He said: “We had a quick tour. We were invited to come again.

“You have two great saints there, Cuthbert and Bede. Two great men of God. You can come here and be lost. The architecture is greatly to be admired.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Cardinal Turkson has not given up anything for Lent.

He added: “There’s not much for me to give up. Lent for me is not purely 40 days – fixed and determined and taking care once a year – for me, Lent is a total process of life.

“I’m pretty much on one meal a day and I’ve been on that for years. This is normal for me.”