Transition of Catholic Leadership in the Democratic Republic of Congo

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the Vatican announced the appointment of Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu as the new coadjutor bishop for the Archdiocese of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Besungu’s appointment by Pope Francis appears to be in anticipation that the current Archbishop, 78-year old Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, will soon step down.  As coadjutor Besungu has the automatic right of succession when this occurs.

For decades Cardinal Monsengwo has been a powerful voice against the violence that has plagued the DRC, including civil wars that killed millions of people. He is also one of the nine advisers on the Pope’s Council of Cardinals, created by Pope Francis shortly after his election in 2013.

Archbishop Besungu was appointed bishop of Bokungu-Ikela in 2005, and became Archbishop of Mbandka-Bikoro in 2016. Academically, he is a former university professor with a strong background in moral theology.

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