"Franciscan friar and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Durban in South Africa
Calling for the Vatican to relax its policies on divorced and remarried Catholics, at first glance Cardinal Napier might seem like a "progressive" Catholic leader.
Well known in Africa both for his leadership and forthright condemnation of the Zimbabwean government's recent behaviour, he is also known for his determined opposition to the use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS, and promotion of sexual abstinence and chastity. The Cardinal presents an enigmatic figure.
Brother Wilfrid charmed Australians on his recent speaking tour, and left locals struck by his easygoing manner and approachablness.
Wilfrid Fox Napier was born in Matatiele in Transkei, in the Diocese of Kokstad South Africa, on March 8, 1941, the son of Thomas Dominic and Mary Davey. He grew up on the family farm with his seven brothers and sisters, amid the injustices brought about by the apartheid regime of the country at that time. The family knew the Franciscans from Ireland who ministered in the area, and Wilfrid's older brother Peter was encouraged by the friars to travel to Ireland to discern whether he had a Franciscan vocation in the Irish Province's novitiate in Killarney.
After first profession on September 8, 1961, Wilfrid studied in the Faculty of Arts in the National University of Ireland, Galway. He took a B.A. degree in Latin and English, graduating in 1964. He excelled at sports - and is still prone to using sporting metaphors when preaching.
Having made solemn profession in St Anthony's College, Galway, on October 4, 1964, Wilfrid went to the Irish Franciscan College at Leuven, Belgium, where in succession he took degrees in Philosophy and in Theology. He returned to his native South Africa and was ordained in Kokstad Cathedral on July 25, 1970, by local Bishop John Evangelist McBride, OFM, a former Provincial Minister of Ireland. Wilfrid worked in Kokstad diocese for ten years before succeeding Bishop McBride first as Apostolic Administrator in 1978 and then as bishop of the diocese on February 28, 1981, just before his fortieth birthday.
The then Mgr. Napier was elected President of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) in 1987.
On June 22, 1992, Wilfrid was translated to the Archdiocese of Durban, and took possession of the See on the Feast of Saint Francis, October 4, of that year. In July 1998 he was appointed Consultor to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He is a member of the Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariate of the Synod of Bishops and Consultant to the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church.
On January 28, 2001, Pope John Paul added seven names to the list of cardinals already announced for the Consistory of February 21, 2001. Among those names was that of Wilfrid Fox Napier, ofm (order of friars minor).
Producer: Noel Debien, Dan Driscoll "ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Australian; Government service; secular interests coverage)18 / 09 | September / 2005
"Cardinal-Priest of S. Francesco d’Assisi ad Acilia
Date Age Event Title
8 Mar 1941 69.46 Born Swartberg
25 Jul 1970 29.4 Ordained Priest Priest of Order of Friars Minor
29 Nov 1980 39.7 Appointed Bishop of Kokstad, South Africa
28 Feb 1981 40.0 Ordained Bishop Bishop of Kokstad, South Africa
29 Mar 1992 51.1 Appointed Archbishop of Durban, South Africa
21 Feb 2001 60.0 Elevated to Cardinal
21 Feb 2001 60.0 Appointed Cardinal-Priest of S. Francesco d’Assisi ad Acilia
Consistory - 2001: Created Cardinal
Conclave - 2005: Participated
Please contact the Cardinal through the Archdiocese of Durban.
a priest for 40.08 years
a bishop for 29.49 years
a cardinal for 9.51 years
Ordained Priest by:
Bishop John Evangelist McBride, O.F.M. †
Archbishop Denis Eugene Hurley, O.M.I. †
Bishop Dominic Joseph Chwane Khumalo, O.M.I. †
Bishop Andrew Zolile T. Brook
Episcopal Lineage / Apostolic Succession:
Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, O.F.M. (1981)
Archbishop Denis Eugene Hurley, O.M.I. † (1947)
Archbishop Martin Lucas, S.V.D. † (1945)
Pietro Cardinal Fumasoni Biondi † (1916)
Domenico Cardinal Serafini, O.S.B. † (1900)
Serafino Cardinal Vannutelli † (1869)
Costantino Cardinal Patrizi Naro † (1828)
Father Carlo Odescalchi, S.J. † (1823)
Giulio Maria Cardinal della Somaglia † (1788)
Hyacinthe-Sigismond Cardinal Gerdil, B. † (1777)
Marcantonio Cardinal Colonna (Jr.) † (1762)
Pope Carlo della Torre Rezzonico † (1743)
Pope Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini † (1724)
Pope Pietro Francesco (Vincenzo Maria) Orsini de Gravina, O.P. † (1675)
Paluzzo Cardinal Paluzzi Altieri Degli Albertoni † (1666)
Ulderico Cardinal Carpegna † (1630)
Luigi Cardinal Caetani † (1622)
Ludovico Cardinal Ludovisi † (1621)
Archbishop Galeazzo Sanvitale † (1604)
Girolamo Cardinal Bernerio, O.P. † (1586)
Giulio Antonio Cardinal Santorio † (1566)
Scipione Cardinal Rebiba †
Principal Consecrator of:
Bishop Michael Vincent Paschal Rowland, O.F.M.
Bishop Fritz Lobinger
Bishop William Slattery, O.F.M.
Bishop Oswald Georg Hirmer
Archbishop Paul Mandla Khumalo, C.M.M.
Archbishop Jabulani Adatus Nxumalo, O.M.I.
Bishop Barry Wood, O.M.I.
Bishop Thomas Graham Rose
Bishop Stanislaw Jan Dziuba, O.S.P.P.E.
Principal Co-Consecrator of:
Bishop Paul Themba Mngoma †
Bishop Louis Ncamiso Ndlovu, O.S.M.
Bishop Gerard Sithunywa Ndlovu
Bishop Pius Mlungisi Dlungwana
Bishop Xolelo Thaddaeus Kumalo"David M. Cheney writing for Catholic Hierarchy (Catholic hierarchy special interests coverage- mostly statistics and profiles and facts coverage; Independent it seems; American)Index on Cardinal Wilfeed Fox Napier O.F.M