Catholic Archbishop Decries “distressing sights of misery” in DR Congo amid Insecurity

Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Credit: CENCO

Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has described as “distressing” the situation  of population that is lacking basic needs amid security challenges. 

In his February 29 homily at the Caritas Center in Kinshasa where members of the Standing Committee of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) were meeting for their Ordinary Session, Archbishop Utembi encouraged the listening “to God in our lives, to convert and put our trust in him.”

“The socio-pastoral landscape of our country presents us with some distressing sights: the misery and poverty experienced by some people,” the Congolese Catholic Archbishop said on the last day of the three-day session that focused on the socio-political situation in DRC.

He added, “All we have to do is look at what is happening in areas where there is insecurity and war; we see the multitude of families forced to move in search of hypothetical security; we see human beings without bread, without a roof, without a place to live.”

“This should be of particular concern to us today,” the Congolese Catholic Archbishop said, emphasizing the “distressing” situation of the victims of violence in parts of the Central African nation. 


The Local Ordinary of Kisangani Archdiocese who doubles as President of CENCO recognizing the role of Catholic Bishops in addressing the challenges he highlighted, saying, “As shepherds and followers of Christ, called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, we have a heavy responsibility.”

According to Archbishop Utembi, “blindness, indifference, and self-centeredness” are the root of all evil.

“Today, let us not close our hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord; for us, this would mean not remaining indifferent to the suffering of our people,” the 65-year-old Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 2002 as Bishop of DRC’s Mahagi-Nioka Diocese said. 

Listening to the voice of the Lord, he added, “means not being preoccupied only with ourselves, our comfort, our interests; it means sharing, putting at the service of the poor, in humility, all that we may have of material goods, talents, power, qualities.”

“Let us pray to the Lord to give us his grace of discernment, that no wealth may close our hearts to his Holy Spirit and to our neighbor. Amen,” the Congolese Catholic Archbishop implored.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.