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African named dean of cardinal college.

For the first time, a black African cardinal has been chosen as dean of the College of Cardinals, a position that carries important duties during the election of a pope.

Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, 71, is presently the head of the Congregation for Bishops, which coordinates selection of new bishops around the world. Gantin, a native of Benin, replaces Brazilian Cardinal Agnelo Rossi who retired.

In the case of a pope's death, the dean assumes several key functions: convening regular meetings of cardinals before a conclave, notifying the cardinals of the conclave, chairing the conclave and presiding over meetings of the college.

Gantin was the first black African in modern church history to become an archbishop when he was named head of the Cotonou archdiocese at the age of 37. He was named a cardinal in 1977, and some observers gave him an outside chance to succeed Pope Paul VI in 1978.
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Title Annotation:Vatican Cardinal Bernardin Gantin
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Biography
Date:Jun 18, 1993
Words:151
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