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Vatican reshaping African nation’s hierarchy with episcopal ordinations

Catholic World News - July 19, 2012

The prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples arrived in the Central African Republic on July 18 to conduct a weeklong pastoral visit. In addition to meeting with the nation’s president, Cardinal Fernando Filoni will hold meetings with bishops, priests, religious, and lay delegates.

On July 22, Cardinal Filoni will ordain bishops for four of the nation’s nine dioceses, an important step in the Vatican’s efforts to reshape the nation’s hierarchy.

In May 2009, a Vatican investigation led to the resignations of two of the nation’s leading prelates. Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo of Bangui, the nation’s capital, 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 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.”

According to Vatican statistics, the nation of 4.3 million has 1.3 million Catholics. There are 317 priests, 354 women religious, 116 parishes, and 346 seminarians.

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