KINSHASA, JULY 13, 2021 (CISA)-Archbishop Emeritus of Kinshasa, Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo is dead. The 81-year-old prelate died Sunday July 11 while undergoing treatment in Paris, France.
“I am deeply saddened to announce to the Catholic community and to all people of goodwill the death of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, this Sunday 11 July, in Versailles, France,” the Archbishop of Kinshasa, Fidolin Cardinal Ambongo announced on July 11.
The late cardinal was born on October7, 1939 in what was then Belgian Congo. He was ordained a priest in December 1963 and later became the first African to obtain a doctorate, in 1970, from Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute.
First appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Inongo Diocese in February 1980, Monsengwo was ordained Bishop on May 4, 1980 by Pope Saint John Paul II. The ordination took place during Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Voyage to Zaire.
On December 6, 2007 he was appointed the Archbishop of Kinshasa and later elevated Cardinal on October 20, 2010 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. In April 2013, Pope Francis co-opted Cardinal Monsengwo as one of his nine-member Council of Cardinal Advisors, dubbed the C9.
Cardinal Monsengwo will be remembered for frequently being outspoken in defense of Congolese who have been subjected to various injustices and misrule, over the years.
Cardinal Monsengwo also served as the head of the High Council of the Republic-Transitional Parliament (HCR-PT), a national body of eminent persons drafting a new republican constitution. He constituted the team that was charting a path away from the declining authoritarian rule of President Mobutu Sese Seko. Cardinal Monsengwo served as the interim Speaker of the national parliament.
He was succeeded by Cardinal Ambongo upon retirement in November 2018.