Death in Paris of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, Archbishop Emeritus of Kinshasa

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Kinshasa, July 11th, 2021 (CPA).- Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pansiya, Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Kinshasa died on Sunday July 11th, 2021 in Versailles, France, the Chancellery of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa announced in a statement.

In this press release, signed by the chancellor secretary of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa, Abbot Georges Njila J, Cardinal Fridolin invited all Congolese in general, and Catholic Christians in particular, to intensify prayers for the eternal rest of the Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo with God whom He loved and served.

The Cardinal-Archbishop, who offered his Christian condolences to the biological family of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo and to all those affected and assured them all of his prayers, indicated that the practical arrangements for the funeral will be communicated shortly.

Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pansiya died at the age of 81 in Paris, where he went there on the night of Monday to Tuesday July 6th in a medical plane for appropriate care at CHP-Europe Port Marly.

He was ordained bishop of the diocese of Inongo in 1980 by Pope John Paul II.

From 1997 to 2003, Bishop Monsengwo directed the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa in Madagascar (Sceam). He was also president of Pax Christi international in 2002, then of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco) in 2004. He was transferred to Kinshasa as archbishop in 2007 and created cardinal by Benedict XVI in 2010. He became the third Congolese cardinal afterwards Cardinal Joseph Malula and Cardinal Frederic Etsou Nzabi Bamungwabi.

As such, he participated in the conclave which led to the election of Pope Francis in 2013. In April of the same year, he was part of the Council of Nine Cardinals responsible for helping the Pope in the government of the Universal Church notably in the reform of the Roman Curia and the revision of the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus.

He was also in September 2014 appointed by Pope Francis “Synod Father” for the third extraordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family taking place as a member of the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops.

In 2018, he was 79 when Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the episcopal see of Kinshasa. He was replaced by Bishop Fridolin Ambongo himself created cardinal in October 2019

He is one of the few voices to denounce human rights violations under the dictatorial regime of Mobutu Sese Seko.

Several times, the patriarch’s involvement under the regimes of former Presidents Mobutu Sese Seko, Laurent Desire Kabila and then Joseph Kabila, brought him to the forefront of the political scene.

In 1991, he headed the National Sovereign Conference (CNS), the aim of which was to organize broad popular consultations in the face of the crisis in Zaire at the time. In 1992, this body that he continues to lead became the High Council of the Republic (HCR), then the High Council of the Republic-Transitional Parliament (HCR-PT). But he was forced to resign in 1996, threatened with death.

From 2007 to 2018, he was known for his socio-political commitment.

In 2018, he was elected among the most influential figures on the African continent.

First African doctor in sacred scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome

Known for his political weight, Cardinal Monsengwo is primarily a biblical theologian. He is even the first African to have obtained a doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

Professor of theology at the current Catholic University of Congo and in the seminaries, he was also general secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Zaire (current DR-Congo) between 1976 and 1980 before being appointed by Pope John Paul II Auxiliary Bishop of Inongo (West) then of Kisangani (North-East) in 1981, where he became Archbishop in 1988.ACP/