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Cameroonian Archbishop Appointed to Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development

Archbishop Samuel Kleda appointed to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development as a member by Pope Francis on 11 January 2021.

A Cameroonian Archbishop has been appointed to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development as a member.

The Apostolic Nuncio in Cameroon announced the appointment of Archbishop Samuel Kleda to the Vatican Dicastery on January 15 during the 44th annual seminar of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC).

The Nuncio, Archbishop Julio Murat, said the Holy Father had made the appointment on 11 January 2021.

Members appointed to the Rome-based Dicastery examine issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned, and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture.

In the final communique of the January 9-16 meeting, members of NECC express appreciation to the Holy Father for the appointment saying, “We rejoice at the news of the appointment by Pope Francis, of Archbishop Samuel Kleda as member of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.”

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A Clergy of Garoua Archdiocese in Cameroon’s Northern region, Archbishop Kleda was ordained a Priest in March 1986.

The 62-year-old Prelate served as a Priest for 14 years before his appointment as Bishop of Batouri Diocese. In November 2007, he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Douala Archdiocese where he was installed as the Archbishop on 17 November 2009.

The Cameroonian Archbishop chairs the Episcopal Commission for Health of NECC. 

Archbishop Kleda has been vocal in condemning violence and bloodshed in the Anglophone regions of the Central African nation that has been plunged in crisis since 2016.

In September 2019, the Prelate underscored the need to have a neutral body to moderate the national dialogue in Cameroon.

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“The government should have chosen a neutral person or group to lead the dialogue so that the decisions taken will be applied to resolve this crisis and other problems destroying our country,” said Archbishop Kleda in an interview with Douala based Catholic Radio.

“We hope children will now go back to school in these regions,” he said and added, “This forum (National Dialogue) should also be an opportunity to resolve other problems affecting the nation especially youth unemployment and improving living conditions for the people.”

“The dialogue should give birth to a truth and reconciliation commission,” he said and justified, “This commission should ensure the rights of all the inhabitants are respected.”

Last year, the Local Ordinary of Douala Archdiocese received extensive media visibility in the country with regard to his administering of herbal medicine to COVID-19 patients, including interviews with State-owned media outlets that have largely ignored him in the past following his stance on good governance, transparent elections and the defense of the poor and downtrodden.

He was received by Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute who congratulated and encouraged him on behalf of President Paul Biya for his efforts in fighting COVID-19.

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Pope Francis established the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development with the Apostolic Letter of August 17, 2016,  in a new Motu Proprio, Humanam Progressionem.

It is currently headed by Peter Cardinal Turkson, a native of Ghana.

In his Motu Proprio, Pope Francis said that the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel, which “takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation.”