17 March 2009: The administrative apparatus of the Holy See, call it the Roman Curia, is also the central governing body of the entire Roman Catholic Church. It can be compared to ministerial departments in other settings as they are in charge of coordinating and providing the necessary central organization for the correct functioning of the Church and the achievement of its goals. The Curia is, therefore, dedicated entirely to the Pope's ecclesiastical responsibilities. The offices in charge of the Vatican City State are, however, not part of the Roman Curia.

At the head of the Curia is the Secretariat of State. It is involved in the coordination of the Holy See's activities. It is headed by the Cardinal-secretary of State and has two sections: section for General Affairs and another for Relations with States. We also have the Congregations (nine), the Tribunals (three), the Pontifical Councils (eleven), the Synod of Bishops, the Offices (three), the Pontifical Commissions (seven), the Swiss Guards, institutions connected with the Holy See, the Labour Office of the Apostolic See and the Pontifical Academies.

A few Africans have left their mark in the Roman Curia. Such is the case with Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigerian nationality who was Cardinal-Prefect in charge of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 2002 to 2008. He is currently the Prefect Emeritus of the same congregation. Another, African, this time a Cameroonian, is also serving in the same Congregation. Mgr Gérard Njen has been in The Vatican system for over 17 years. He explains that the main function of their congregation is to handle matters relating to liturgical practices of the Catholic Church and also technical matters relating to the sacrament. They also recognize the translations of liturgical books and the adaptations, promote the liturgical apostolate or sacred music, song or art and ensure that liturgical norms are accurately observed. It is also its job to ensure that abuses are avoided and eliminated where they are found to exist.

Another brave Cameroonian in the Vatican system is Father Emile Martin Dibongue. He was called up by the Cardinal in Charge of the Congregation for the Evangelization of People to serve as Vice Rector at the Pontifical Urbano College in 2005 at a moment he was preparing his bags to return home after studies in Theology. The 35-year-old, who was sent to Rome by the Eséka diocese, is also undergoing doctorate studies in Biblical Theology. We also have Prof Martin Nkafu, a member of the Focolari Movement who is professor in several Pontifical Universities in Rome. Besides these Cameroonians, we have other Africans who are valuably representing the continent in the Vatican.

(Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/200903170612.html)