Cardinal Bernard Agré, the archbishop emeritus of Abidjan, passed away on Monday in Paris, at the age of 88. With his death, the overall number of the College of Cardinals decreased to 213.
Card. Agré was born on March 2, 1926 in the Ivory Coast. He was ordained a priest in 1953, and became the archbishop of Abidjan, the nation's capital, in 1994. As bishop, Agré took leadership roles not just in Ivory Coast, but across the continent, as the Church in Africa began its meteoric rise. He used a higher profile to push for greater knowledge of Africa.
CARD. BERNARD AGRÉ
Archbishop emeritus of Abidjan (Ivory Coast)
October 30, 2004
"The international community should learn more about the true Africa. And then we can talk about human rights. But, I think the first thing is the knowledge of the person, and the love for each person. You can only understand someone if you love them.”
John Paul II recognized his work for the African Church, naming him as the first cardinal from the Ivory Coast in 2001. He took part in the 2005 conclave that elected Benedict XVI, at the age of 79, his last year eligible to vote.
Card. Agré served as the president of the 2001 Synod of Bishops. He stepped down as archbishop in 2006. Suffering from deteriorating health, the prelate traveled to Paris for treatment at the start of the year.