Camille Mukoso SJ; Jean-Baptiste Malenge, OMI - Vatican City
Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu was, this week, presented to Congolese media at a special press briefing held in Kinshasa, DRC. At the event, the Cardinal told journalists that as a Cardinal, one of his roles is that of advisor to the Pope.
The cardinalate -its meaning
Cardinals who do not work in the Vatican usually function as normal archbishops or chief shepherds of an Archdiocese.
Cardinal Ambongo clarified that he was not the Cardinal of the whole Congo. In other words, his authority did not necessarily extend to other dioceses of the country. These have their respective Bishops.
The Pope may choose cardinals, but they in their turn, are the men who will elect a new Pope on the death of an incumbent.
The mission of the Cardinal in Kinshasa
According to Cardinal Ambongo, Cardinals also belong to the Vatican City and are incardinated in the Diocese of Rome. Cardinal Ambongo, who is a member of the Franciscan Capuchins, said he had at the same time been assigned as a member of the clergy of Kinshasa Archdiocese because of his apostolate as Metropolitan Archbishop. This did not, however, take away his calling as a Capuchin.
As an advisor to the Pope, Cardinal Ambongo pointed out that his role in that regard is to help the Holy Father fulfil his mission of governing the Universal Church. Referring to the colour red worn by Cardinals, the Kinshasa prelate said the vestments of Cardinals were red because they are considered the closest advisors to the Pope and therefore should be ready to shed their blood for the Church and for Christ.
The challenge of the mission: To be a reconciler and unifier
The new Cardinal of Kinshasa said he hoped his Cardinalate would be that of a reconciler who brings all Congolese people together.
Responding to questions from the press, the Archbishop of Kinshasa pointed out that his appointment did not change the nature of the prophetic dimension related to his mission. He had a duty to continue speaking for the voiceless when need arose.