Catholic Christians in Cameroon are deeply moved, and for good reason, His Eminence Cardinal Christian Tumi (91), passed away on the eve of Easter 2021. Who was the man?
The news was confirmed on 3 April 2021 by Bishop Samuel Kleda, his successor at the head of the Diocese of Douala. « I have the deep sorrow of announcing to you the return to the Lord (death) of his eminence Christian Cardinal Tumi. His death occurred this 3rd April 2021. By the mercy of God may his soul rest in peace, » he wrote on his Facebook page.
Born on 15 October 1930 in Kikaikelaki (Kumbo), Cameroon, Christian Wiyghan Tumi was ordained a priest on 17 April 1966, in the diocese of Buea. His academic career took him to Nigeria, where the young prelate trained in education sciences, and then to London, United Kingdom. He then enrolled in theology at the Catholic Institute of Lyon, France, where he obtained a licentiate, followed by another in philosophy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and a doctorate. On 28 June 1988, Pope John Paul II appointed him Cardinal.
On his return to Cameroon, he was appointed rector of the regional major seminary of Bambui in the archdiocese of Bamenda. Christian Tumi was successively Bishop of Yagoua, Coadjutor Archbishop, Archbishop of Garoua, Archbishop of Douala; he is Archbishop Emeritus of Douala since 2009. He presided over the Cameroonian Episcopal Conference between 1985 and 1991.
Christian Tumi retired as Archbishop on 17 November 2009 at the age of 79. His coadjutor, Archbishop Samuel Kleda, succeeded him. Cardinal Christian Tumi, Archbishop Emeritus of Douala, Cameroon’s first and only cardinal, famous for his tireless attempts to mediate between the English-speaking secessionists and the government in Yaoundé, leaves the scene without having finished his fight, which was none other than the return of peace to the English-speaking areas in crisis.