The influential former Archbishop of Kinshasa, Laurent Monsengo, died Sunday in Paris at the age of 81. He was evacuated from Kinshasa in critical condition six days ago. That reports his successor Fridolin Ambongo.
As Archbishop, Monsengo was for a long time head of the only Congolese institution that still enjoys the confidence of the Congolese people. Under the influence of Monsengwo, the Bishops’ Conference played a major role in the democratic opening in the last years of the Mobutu regime.
Even after Laurent-Désiré Kabila seized power, Monsengwo was not left unpunished and remained a critical voice. In the last years of Joseph Kabila’s regime, he said that the Congo would become an open-air prison under his rule.
Monsengo was no stranger to our country. In the sixties he studied in Belgium for a while, and during his stay he was under the patronage of the industrialist and former head of the employers’ organization VEV Vaast Leysen and his family.
From 2007 to 2010, he was also the international president of Pax Christi. Monsengwo retired at the end of 2018, the equivalent of a clergy pension.
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