By Fr. Paul Samasumo |

Pope Francis on Saturday 14 February created 20 new Cardinals in a ceremony at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica. The new Cardinals come from all the continents of the world. For the first time in the history of the Church, Cape Verde, Tonga Islands and Myanmar will also have Cardinals.

Three of the new cardinals come from Africa and these are: Ethiopian Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel who is 66 years old; Cape Verdean Bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde, Arlindo Gomes Furtado, 65 and the retired Mozambican Bishop Julio Duarte Langa, the emeritus Bishop of Xai-Xai. He is 87 years old.

Speaking just before the ceremony to Vatican Radio’s English Service for Africa, the new Cardinal of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Souraphiel described his nomination as a total surprise

“This nomination came as a total surprise to me… We did not know it. You see, in the former days these nominations were done through the Apostolic Nunciature. This time, this was done directly by Pope Francis himself. So it was a total surprise and a very humbling experience that the Holy Father has thought it fit to ask me to help him in his great responsibility of governing the universal Church,” Cardinal Berhaneyesus said.

The new Cardinal has described Africa as “a great continent with a great people and with great histories.” Cardinal Berhaneyesus says, “Africa may be poor in material things but is very rich in values especially traditional values; family values; the treasure of the extended family; the value for life; respect of elders; the value of receiving the pilgrim, the stranger, the guest as an angel of God,” the Cardinal elaborated.

Cardinal Berhaneyesus says even as Africa seeks to develop economically, it should not lose its values. “We should not be ashamed of our roots and our values and we she should not copy or exchange them for cheap ones coming from elsewhere. What we need is to strength them. We also need to know our histories,” said Cardinal Berhaneyesus said.

The Cardinal is particularly gratified that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI validated Africa’s values when he spoke to Africa in Cotonou, Benin as he presented the document,  ‘Africae Munus.’ Pope emeritus Benedict XVI described Africa is an enormous spiritual “lung” for the world. According to Cardinal Berhaneyesus, Pope Benedict XVI told Africa, “You have great values. You are rich. Try to preserve your values. Don’t change your African values of unity, of helping each other, of respect for elders, of respect for their wisdom. He said… don’t change these because of globalisation or the Internet,”  Cardinal Berhaneyesus recalled.

Apart from being the Archbishop of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, Cardinal Berhaneyesus is the current Chairman of the regional group of nine Eastern and Central African episcopal Conferences namely, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Zambia. These countries form the association known as AMECEA which stands for Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa.


Source: Vatican Radio


Related stories:

  1. The Roman Catholic Church – New Cardinal: Berhaneyesus D. Souraphiel
  2. Cardinals from Myanmar, Ethiopia among 20 Elevated by Pope Francis


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