On November 1, 2018, the Vatican’s press office announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya Archbishop of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Succeeding the 79-year old Monsengwo is Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, 58, who was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Kinshasa earlier this year.
This change in Catholic leadership occurred shortly before the DRC’s scheduled general elections on December 23, 2018, to select a successor to President Joseph Kabila. Although his term expired in 2016, Kabila has refused to relinquish the office. The Catholic Church in the DRC brokered an agreement to resolve the government leadership crisis, which Kabila has violated several times. For decades Cardinal Monsengwo has also been a powerful voice against the violence that has plagued the country, including civil wars that have claimed millions of lives.
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