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First cardinal from the Central African Republic: “We don't even have a word for 'cardinal'”

2016-11-26

This is Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the first cardinal from the Central African Republic. The Archbishop of Bangui is also the youngest addition to the College of Cardinals, at age 49.
 
A smiling, lively man, Cardinal Nzapalainga is set to follow in the steps of Pope Francis, whom he met in during the pontiff's trip to the Central African Republic, especially in regards to inter-religious dialogue.
 
CARD. DIEUDONNÉ NZAPALAINGA
Archbishop of Bangui (Central African Republic)

"Pope Francis came to my country in this Year of Mercy as a unique gesture: to approach Muslims and Protestants. He wants to unite everyone. Peace is essential to the development of the world. I want to go in the same direction, working with Muslims and Protestants, proving that religion does not divide people; it unites them.”

His appointment as cardinal is an unprecedented event for his country, so much so, that the main language in the Central African Republic, Sango, does not have a word for it, and they have had to come up with one.

CARD. DIEUDONNÉ NZAPALAINGA
Archbishop of Bangui (Central African Republic)

"We do not even have a word for "cardinal" in our language. People in my country are wondering what it means to be a cardinal.
'Kotobua'... It means someone who is close to the pope and who collaborates with him.”

Nzapalainga's appointment is proof yet again that Pope Francis wants a truly global College of Cardinals, which includes bishops from every corner of the world. With this young new cardinal, Pope Francis has given Africa another bulwark in the College, who will give more weight to African issues and interests.
 

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