SA cardinal submits letter of resignation

2016-03-14 10:52
Children from the signing choir from the Kwa Thintwa School for the Deaf perform for Cardinal Wilfrid Napier at his 75th birthday celebration, which was held on Friday at the Emmanuel Cathedral in Durban.

Children from the signing choir from the Kwa Thintwa School for the Deaf perform for Cardinal Wilfrid Napier at his 75th birthday celebration, which was held on Friday at the Emmanuel Cathedral in Durban. (Val Adamson)

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Pietermaritzburg - South Africa’s Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has submitted his letter of resignation to the Vatican, signalling what may be the end of his tenure as leader of the Catholic Church in the country.

The Archbishop of Durban, following canon law of every cardinal submitting a letter of resignation at the age of 75, will wait for his letter to be reviewed by Pope Francis.

Members of the Catholic Church in South Africa believe that the pope will request Napier to continue in his role for the next few years, as is customary when a cardinal is in good health and can continue his duties.

Appointed as a cardinal on February 12, 2001 by Pope John Paul II, Napier was one of 116 living cardinals who are part of the College of Cardinals — the advisory body of the Catholic Church to the pope on matters relating to the Christian denomination.

Napier served as part of the papal conclave that elected former pope Benedict XVI and also current pope Francis.

Pope Francis also appointed him to serve as a Cardinal Member of the Council for Economic Affairs in 2014.

Paddy Kearney, chair of the Denis Hurley Centre Trust, said that it was very likely that Napier would continue in his position, but may do so only for the next few years.

“Cardinal Napier is very youthful, very friendly and an out-going bishop. He worked to bring the Catholic Church closer. He supports a very strict moral and ethical teaching of the Church,” he said.

According to cannon law, if Napier is asked to remain in his position as cardinal, he will be elegible to be part of a papal conclave to elect the next pope, in the case of the death of a pope, until the age of 80.

Napier’s resignation was submitted after his 75th birthday on March 8.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pope  |  catholic church

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