.- Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou of the Diocese of Abomey, Benin was appointed Thursday morning by Pope Benedict XVI as the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Adoukonou took the place of Fr. Bernard Ardura, of France who moved to a new post as President of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences.
Adoukonou is known to be extremely dedicated to the development of Africa. In a paper published in 2003 on the Il Regno website, he wrote that "what's needed today for Africa to rise up is a humanity able to assume its own destiny and respond to so many generous development projects on the continent."
The priest has also been bold in entering with a Catholic perspective into some of the more controversial debates on issues affecting Africans. On strategies against AIDS, Catholic Documentation Information International published that in March of 2009 the priest signed a document along with Cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr, president of the Regional Conference of Bishops of French West Africa stating that “It is a crime against mankind to deprive children, teen-agers and young people from the training needed for his mind to master the body and its impulses which is called sexual education. In this sense, advertisements for and distribution of condoms could well be nothing else than irresponsibility and a crime against mankind. "
Most recently, Adoukonou was the secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of West Francophone Africa (CERAO) of that of Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA). He was also a consultant for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.