Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) died on Sunday, July 11 in Paris, France. He was 81 years old. Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, known to be close proche du Pope François, was a tireless fighter for peace in his country.
Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya was ordained a priest in 1963 and made cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 201o. The Catholic Church in the DRC represents around 40% and spans over the entire country. After giving up his chair as the Archbishop of Kinshasa, he was replaced by Bishop Ambongo in November 2018.
"It is with deep sorrow that His Eminence Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa, has to announce to the Catholic Christian community and to all the people of good will the death of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, this Sunday July 11, 2021 in France (Versailles)", Father Georges Njila, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa wrote in a statement.
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Bishop and then Cardinal Monsengwo went beyond the usual silence of the Church leaders to be one of prominent critical voices against the tyrany, dictatorship, corruption and other power abuses by the various regimes in the Congo, from when it was Zaire under the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, to when it was Democratic Republic of the Congo under Laurent-Désiré Kabila (1997-2001), his son Joseph Kabila (2001- 2019), then Félix Tshisekedi (2020 - now).
He was the Bishop in Kisangani when the first Congo war broke out in 1996, led by Rwandan funded, supported and reinforced Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation (AFDL) troops under Laurent-Désiré Kabila's, which ended up overthrowing the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, abandoned by the West.
Since then, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo has consistently blamed the endless violence, war crimes and humanitarian crisis in Eastern DRC on the governments and military from the neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, “with the complicity of multinational corporations and the great powers.”
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