Pope appoints second African archbishop to key post

Pope Benedict

has appointed Archbishop Robert Sarah from Guinea, to lead 'Cor Unum' the Vatican's office for world relief and charity work.

Ordained in 1969,  in Conakry, Guinea, Archbishop Sarah served as the rector of a minor seminary and a parish priest, before he was made bishop in 1979. At that time he was the youngest bishop in the world.

Archbishop Sarah was born in 1945 in Guinea. He was ordained to the priesthood on 20 July 1969 at the age of 24 in the diocese of Conakry. He was appointed as the archbishop of Conakry on 13 August 1979 by Pope John Paul II at the age of 34. He received his episcopal consecration on 8 December 1979 by Giovanni Cardinal Benelli. He served as the ordinary of the diocese until his appointment as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on 1 Ocotber 2001.

On 1 September 2010 Archbishop Sarah criticised Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi’s call for Islam to become the religion of all of Europe, labelling it disrespectful to the Pope and Catholic Italy. Archbishop Sarah said that: “To speak of the European continent converting to Islam makes no sense because it is the people alone who decide consciously to be Christian, Muslim or to follow other religions.”

Archbishop Sarah is replacing Paul Josef Cardinal Cordes who has reached retirement age. In his new post Archbishop Sarah will be charged with organising Catholic relief around the world. He becomes the second African appointed by Pope Benedict to lead a Vatican dicastary. Cardinal Cardinal Turkson from Ghana was appointed as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 2009.

Source: Vatican Radio/LC

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