Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop emeritus of Kinshasa, died Sunday, July 11, in the Paris region at the age of 81. The churchman, close to Pope Francis, fought tirelessly for peace in his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Priest, Doctor of Sacred Scripture, Professor of Theology, he was also Archbishop and then Cardinal.
Born on October 7, 1939 in Mongobelé village located in the province of Bandundu in the DRC, Laurent Monsengwo began his career first as a priest in 1963. He continued his studies in Rome and in 1970 was the first African to obtain a doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.
Back in his country, he held various positions as a professor of theology. Archbishop of Kisangani in 1988, it was in this position that he established himself as one of the major political actors of the period of return to democracy that followed the Mobutu regime.
In 1991, he became president of the Bureau of the Sovereign National Conference and then, from 1992 to 1996, of the High Council of the Republic, which became a transitional parliament in 1994.
Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo was later elected president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar in 1997 and vice-president of Pax Christi International in 2002. In 2004, he was elected president of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo.
Hostile to the regime of Joseph Kabila, which is considered authoritarian, the cardinal has constantly tried to convince him to leave power.