Kenyans celebrate top slot in Vatican reshuffle

By Ecumenical News International
October 19, 2007

Kenyan Catholics are celebrating the announcement that 63-year-old John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, will become a cardinal after years of expectation that he would follow in the footsteps of Kenyan Cardinal Maurice Otunga, who died in 2003 - writes Fredrick Nzwilli.

In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI on 17 October appointed 23 new cardinals, 18 of whom will be among those who will eventually be able to elect his successor. Five of the new cardinals will not be eligible to enter the conclave that votes in the next Pope because each man is already more than 80 years of age.

"He's an experienced bishop who has served for many years," Archbishop Bonface Lele of Mombasa told Ecumenical News International. "We welcome it, said Lele speaking after the announcement of Njue's appointment.

Benedict became Pope in April 2005, and this is the second time since his election that he has named new cardinals. The first time was in March 2006, when he created 15.

The new nominations bring the total number of elector cardinals to 121, and the new appointees will be officially installed at a ceremony in the Vatican on 24 November.

The cardinal electors come from Argentine, Brazil, France, India, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Senegal, Spain and the USA, as well as Kenya,

On 6 October, Njue was appointed archbishop of Nairobi after the retirement of Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a' Nzeki. Njue had been serving as the coadjutor archbishop of Nyeri and the chairperson of the Kenya Episcopal Conference. He was also apostolic administrator of Murang'a diocese.

"The Pope has recognised the Kenyan Catholic Church in a very special way," said the Rev. Maloba Wesoga, secretary of the Catholic archdiocese of Nairobi. Wesoga said the appointment of Njue now meant the Kenyan church would be represented in papal elections

Njue, who was appointed a bishop 21 years ago, becomes Kenya’s second cardinal.

Cardinals elect a new Pope when the Holy See falls vacant, and they form an advisory body of the Pope.

The new cardinals are:

1.Archbishop Leonardo Sandri (Argentine), prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Oriental Churches.

2.Archbishop John Patrick Foley (United States), former Vatican official, pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

3.Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo (Italy), governor of Vatican City.

4.Archbishop Paul Joseph Cordes (Germany), president of Cor Unum, the Vatican's charity arm.

5.Archbishop Angelo Comastri (Italy), archpriest of St Peter's Basilica.

6.Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko (Poland), president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity.

7.Archbishop Raffaele Farina, (Italy), chief archivist and librarian at the Vatican.

8.Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente (Spain), archbishop of Valencia.

9.Archbishop Sean Baptist Brady (Ireland), archbishop of Armagh.

10.Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach (Spain), archbishop of Barcelona.

11.Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois (France), archbishop of Paris.

12.Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco (Italy), archbishop of Genoa.

13.Archbishop Theodore-Adrien Sarr (Senegal), archbishop of Dakar.

14.Archbishop Oswald Gracias (India), archbishop of Mumbai.

15.Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega (Mexico), archbishop of Monterrey.

16.Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo (US), archbishop of Galveston-Houston.

17.Archbishop Odilio Pedro Scherer (Brazil), archbishop of Sao Paulo.

18.Archbishop John Njue (Kenya), archbishop of Nairobi.

Those who cannot elect the Pope because they are more than 80 years old are:

1.Emmanuel III Delly (Iraq), Patriach of Babylon of Chaldeans.

2.Archbishop Giovanni Coppa (Italy), Vatican diplomat.

3.Archbishop Estanislao Esteban Karlic (Argentine), retired archbishop of Parana, Argentina.

4.The Rev. Urbano Navarrete (Italy), former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

5.The Rev. Umberto Betti (Italy), former rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches.]

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