General

Could Uganda Get Second Cardinal? [analysis]

On February 14, 2015 Pope Francis elevated 20 senior clergymen to the level of cardinals.
Three of the new cardinals were from Africa (Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Mozambique), bringing the continent’s total number to 21. Of these, 15 are below 80 and thus eligible to vote if the papacy were to fall vacant today.
In what is seen as a new trend, the Vatican this time round gave an African country a second living cardinal. Mozambique’s Julio Duarte Langa, 87, the archbishop emeritus of Xai-Xai, joins 90-year-old Alexandre Cardinal Jose Maria Do Santos, the archbishop emeritus of Maputo.
Previously, Nigeria was the only African country with more than one living cardinal. It now has three: Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okagie,-the archbishop emeritus of Lagos, John Cardinal Onaiyeka (Abuja) and Francis Cardinal Arinze, based at the Vatican.
This demonstrates Vatican’s new attitude towards Africa and gives hope to countries like Uganda that had never dreamed of having more than one cardinal at a time.
And thus the question: Should Uganda be considered next, who could become our next cardinal?
In theory, every Catholic deacon, priest, bishop or archbishop is eligible for elevation to the level of a cardinal, although in reality, this most-coveted honour below the papacy has mostly gone to archbishops.
Uganda is currently divided into four metropolitan archdioceses under four archbishops: Kampala – Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga (62); Gulu – John Baptist Odama (68); Mbarara – Paul Bakyenga (71), and Tororo – Emmanuel Obbo (63).
Because the Vatican requires diocesan bishops to retire at 75, it means that of the four, archbishop Kizito Lwanga of Kampala has longer years to serve, with retirement in 2028.
He is followed by archbishop Obbo of Tororo in 2027; John Baptist Odama of Gulu in 2022, while Paul Bakyenga of Mbarara retires in four years’ time. While anyone of these could become Uganda’s next cardinal, Pope Francis is such a mysterious pontiff that could surprise us with someone outside the big four. Just last week, the pontiff surprised the world by elevating a mere diocesan bishop to a cardinal. Arlindo Cardinal
Gomes Furtado of Cape Verde was picked from a remote diocese of Santiago, with archbishops in that country being overlooked. But assuming, the pope chose from among the archbishops, Kampala slightly stands a better chance of being considered for a new cardinal – for three major reasons.
First of all, it’s here that Catholicism had its roots before spreading to the rest of the country; so, it is considered the mother archdiocese where someone in charge must “look” presentable as a real chief.
Besides, it’s in Kampala archdiocese that the Namugongo martyrs shrine is found – which is arguably one of Africa’s most attractive Catholic landmarks. Thirdly, Kampala archdiocese, like the name suggests, is where the country’s capital city is found. Of the 21 current African cardinals, most hail from archdioceses found within the countries’ capital cities.
The exceptions are Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi of Lagos archdiocese , Alexadre Cardinal Joge Maria Do Santos of Xai-Xai in Mozambique, Christian Cardinal Tumi, the archbishop emeritus of Douala in Cameroon, Wilfrid Cardinal Napier of Durban in South Africa and Antonios Cardinal Naguib, the patriarch emeritus of Alexandria (Egypt).
To throw more light on this, in 1989, the then Bishop Emmanuel Wamala was moved from Kiyinda-Mityana diocese to Kampala in order to prepare him to take over (archbishop coadjutor) from Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga who was about to retire. A few years after Nsubuga’s death, Wamala was appointed Uganda’s second cardinal.
In Kenya, after the death of Maurice Cardinal Otunga and later the retirement of archbishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana Nzeki, archbishop John Njue was transferred from Embu to Nairobi archdiocese before being appointed a cardinal.
In Tanzania, the country’s second cardinal after the death of Laurent Rugambwa is Polycarp Pengo who was appointed in 1988 after being shifted from Tunduru-Masasi and Nachingwea to Dar es Salaam.
Meantime, with the latest kids on block from Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Mozambique, Africa now boasts of 21 cardinals, the others being Jean Pierre Kutwa (Abdijan, Ivory Coast), Laurent Monsengwa Pisinya (Kinshasa, DR Congo), Alexandre Do Nasciemento (Luanda, Angola), Philippe Cardinal Nakellentuba (Ougadougou, Burkina Fasso), Theodore Adrien Sarr (Dakar, Senegal), Berhaneyesus Souraphiel (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Gabriel Zubeir Wako (Khartoum, Sudan), Peter Turkson (From Ghana but based at the Vatican), Robert Sarah (From Guinea, based at the Vatican) and Arlindo Gomes Furtado (Santiago De Cape Verde).
At 88, our own Emmanuel Wamala is the second-oldest cardinals on the continent. At the other end, the youngest is Arlindo Gomes Furtado, Cape Verde (65.
Of the living African cardinals, the longest-serving are Alexandre Jose Maria De Santos, 90, of Angola who was appointed cardinal in 1983, Francis Arinze of Nigeria (1985), Christian Tumi, Cameroon (1988) and Polycarp Pengo, Tanzania (1988).
Globally, the oldest and longest-serving cardinal is Giovanni Canestri, the archbishop emeritus of Genoa in Italy (elevated in 1973). And the youngest cardinals in the world, at 61, are Wim Eijk of Utrecht (Netherlands) and Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising (Germany).