Kampala – On November 28th, 2020, Pope Francis named 13 new cardinals including Antoine Kambanda of Kigali. Since he became pope in 2013, Francis has created 101 cardinals from all over the world at seven consistories held at roughly annual intervals.
Since his visit to Uganda in 2015 he has created cardinals on five occasions (Nov 19, 2016, June 28th 2017, June 28th 2018, October 5, 2019, and November 28th 2020).
Cardinals, a.k.a princes of the church, are the closest advisors of the pope who participate in the election of the next pope if that time finds them below the age of 80. And while any baptized catholic is eligible to become cardinal, the rank is usually given to exemplary archbishops in dioceses around the world or in the Roman Curia.
And whilst any baptized catholic can become pope, cardinals who participate in the papal election stand a better chance because they are the first candidates. So you see how important elevation to the cardinalate is for any archbishop. Traditionally, archbishops who have hosted the pope usually make this list. And so locally you have Archbishop Emmanuel Nsubuga becoming cardinal in 1976 after successfully hosting Pope Paul V1 in 1969 and Archbishop Wamala becoming cardinal in 1994 after hosting Pope John Paul 11 in 1993.
Well, you may wonder why we are boring you with this background. But in the wake of the sudden death last week of Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga from a heart attack, we have found ourselves digging deeper into the reasons why the prelate died so suddenly.
While he had been known to have heart and sugar issues, our investigations show that Lwanga’s health took a nosedive following the November 28th papal announcement of new cardinals. A very senior priest in the archdiocese has told us when the list came out without Lwanga, the latter got so stressed and never recovered his full self.
“He saw it as a snub from the Holy See. The pope has created cardinals in Congo, central Africa republic… and Lwanga expected his turn to be now. He felt he was being treated unfairly when instead the honour went to a younger Kambanda in Kigali.
He felt the Holy See was listening to bad stories about him from Kampala and refusing to confer upon him something he felt he deserved,” this priest told us. Extensive investigations show Lwanga came to the conclusion that the rumour mill in Kampala had been feeding the apostolic nunciature in Mbuya with bad stories about him and perhaps had a hand in blocking his red hat.
Behind the façade of an energetic, happy prelate, Lwanga lived a stressed life that must have further weakened his heart.