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Vatican reshapes African nation’s hierarchy

May 15, 2012

Three years after a Vatican investigation led to the early resignation of two of the Central African Republic’s leading prelates, Pope Benedict named new bishops for four of the nation’s nine dioceses on May 14.

In May 2009, Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo of Bangui resigned at the age of 54 and Bishop François-Xavier Yombandje of Bossangoa, once president of the nation’s episcopal conference, resigned at the age of 52. The Vatican investigation, conducted by Guinea-born Archbishop (now Cardinal) Robert Sarah, found that Archbishop Pomodimo adopted “a moral attitude which is not always in conformity with his commitments to follow Christ in chastity, poverty, and obedience.”

The investigation also found that many local priests had children.

On May 14, Pope Benedict appointed

  • Father Dieudonné Nzapalainga, 45, as Archbishop of Bangui (the nation’s capital) and thus the nation’s leading prelate; the priest has served as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese since 2009
  • Ghana-born Father Dennis Kofi Agbenyadzi, 47, regional superior of the Society of African Missions, as Bishop of Berbérati; he succeeds an Italian Capuchin missionary bishop who retired at the age of 75 in 2010
  • Father Nestor-Désiré Nongo-Aziagbia, 42, superior of the Society of African Missions in Strasbourg, France, as Bishop of Bossangoa
  • Father Cyr-Nestor Yapaupa, 42, as Coadjutor Bishop of Alindao; the priest is currently the diocese’s vicar general


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