Cardinal Ambongo of DR Congo Facing Judicial Enquiry, Catholic Bishops “following this situation closely”, Call for Calm

Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are “following closely” a judicial enquiry into allegations of “seditious behavior” against the Catholic Archbishop of the country’s Kinshasa Archdiocese, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo.

On April 27, the Attorney General of the DRC’s Court of Cassation, Firmin Mvonde Manbu, issued a letter ordering the attorney general of Kinshasa’s Matete district court to open an investigation into Cardinal Ambongo’s  alleged “seditious behavior.”

In the letter, Mr. Manbu accuses the Congolese Cardinal of issuing “a constant stream of seditious remarks made during press briefings, interviews, and other sermons”, which, according to the Attorney General, serve to “discourage the soldiers of the republic’s armed forces” and encourage “the mistreatment of local populations by rebels and other invaders.”

He says that Cardinal Ambongo “deliberately violates people’s consciences and seems to find pleasure in these false rumors and other incitements of the population to revolt against established institutions and acts against human lives.” 

Mr. Manbu further claims that the Cardinal declined an April 25 invitation to his office.


He goes on to warn the Matete attorney that failure to investigate the Cardinal would be considered “an act of complicity with the reprehensible deeds mentioned.”

In a statement issued Tuesday, April 30, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) say they have “received numerous reactions from the Catholic faithful and other justice-loving men and women, and even from certain civil society organizations, with a view to clarifying the position of the Catholic Church, following the letter, shared on social media.”

“CENCO is following this situation closely and calls on all parties to remain calm, as the matter is being handled responsibly by the competent authorities, in compliance with the country's legal texts, including the Framework Agreement between the DR Congo and the Holy See, which guarantees a system of loyal and sincere collaboration between the Catholic Church and the State, in the service of the Congolese people,” Catholic Bishops in DRC say in the statement shared with ACI Africa.

They note that “on Monday April 29, the Chancellery of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa confirmed that it had received a letter from the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, with an invitation to the Cardinal, which however arrived during the latter's absence, given that the Archbishop of Kinshasa, in his capacity as President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), was abroad between April 23 and 26, as attested by the immigration services.”

“This does not therefore constitute a refusal to respond to the invitation in question, nor a lack of consideration for Justice,” CENCO members clarify.

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They implore, “May the Virgin Mary intercede with her Son for peace in DR Congo, and may the Lord bless our country, its leaders and its people.”

The judicial enquiry follows Cardinal Ambongo’s 2024 Easter Message in which he decried the persistent security challenge in DRC, and described the Central African nation as “seriously ill” and in coma.

He criticized the security agencies in DRC for not being proactive in defending the people and their properties. The Cardinal said, “Beyond the speech we are making here, completely useless speeches, the reality is that the others continue to advance and occupy the East of our country. This is obvious for the simple reason that Congo has no strength to defend the integrity of its country.”

The Catholic Church leader, who was elevated to Cardinal during the October 2019 Consistory and reappointed to Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals (C9) after the expiry of the initial October 2020 mandate said that it was unfortunate that politicians engage in petty quarrels over a “big cake”, ignoring the violent conflicts in the country.

“It's been three months that our country is practically paralyzed for the simple reason that the entire political class has invited itself around the big cake that we are fighting over, while the country is at war, while the enemy is advancing,” he lamented, and added, “This behavior is completely incoherent if we consider the delicate, dangerous situation of our country.”


“A country that is attacked, a country that knows it is at war, the first thing to do is to sit around a table to form what we call the common front. However, today, there is no common front,” he further lamented.

In his Easter Message, the Congolese member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) implored, “Let us pray for our leaders, the leaders of this country who are completely, I would say, out of touch with the suffering of their people.”

Lately, on April 14, security officials at Ndjili international airport reportedly denied Cardinal Ambongo access to the VIP lounge. The Congolese Cardinal, a member of the Council of Cardinals (C9), who advise Pope Francis on governing the Church and reforming the Curia, was en route to Rome.

In a statement issued April 14, the Chancellor of Kinshasa Archdiocese condemned “in the strongest terms the degrading treatment meted out by airport officials” to the Cardinal and linked the “unfortunate” incident to Cardinal Ambongo’s “prophetic pronouncements”, particularly his criticism of the Congolese government in his 2024 Easter Message.