Arlindo Furtado will be a cardinal elector – in other words, he will be the voice of Cape Verdean Catholics, who will now have an official vote in the Catholic Church’s most important decisions, including in the election of Popes. The Bishop of Santiago is one of 20 new cardinals named by the Pope during the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square. All are about to become members of an elite in the Catholic Church hierarchy. Of these 20, 15, including Arlindo Furtado, are under 80 years of age, and will be a part of the conclave that will elect the eventual successor to Pope Francis.
Bishop Arlindo Furtado, the fourth child of Ernesto Robalo and Maria Furtado, was born on October 4, 1949, in Figueira das Naus, Santa Catarina, on the island of Santiago. He was baptized in Santa Catarina Parish in August of 1951.
He first attended São José Seminary on October 1, 1963, for his secondary school studies. On September 11, 1971, he departed for Coimbra, Portugal, in order to continue his studies in that city’s Seminary. After concluding a course in Theology at the Higher Institute of Theological Studies, he returned to Cape Verde in 1976.
He was ordained Deacon by Bishop Paulino Livramento Évora on May 9 of the same year, at São José Seminary, and began working in the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Graça. In the same year, on July 18, 1976, he was ordained as a priest, after which he was named Assistant Parish Priest of Nossa Senhora da Graça.
Between 1978 and 1986, he served as Rector at São José Seminary. In August 1986, he departed for Rome, where he earned a degree in Biblical Sciences from the Biblical Institute of Rome. He returned to Cape Verde in 1990, residing at São José Seminary.
For a year, he supported the population of the Praia neighborhoods of Lém Cachorro and Achada de São Filipe. In the same year, he taught English at Domingos Ramos High School. Between 1991 and 1995 he taught Biblical Greek, Hebrew, History and Geography of the Biblical People, as well as Old Testament Studies, at the Higher Institute of Theological Studies in Coimbra. During his years there, he was also parochial administrator of two communities, Amel and Vila Pouca.
He also collaborated with the group that translated the New Capuchin Bible, translating Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Ben Sira, writing their respective introductions as well. In 1995, he returned to Cape Verde to lead the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Graça. He was a member of the National Board of Education and a professor at the National Police Training School. He served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Cape Verde until 2004.
On December 9 of 2003, Pope John Paul II created the Diocese of Mindelo and named Father Arlindo Gomes Furtado its first bishop.- On February 22, 2004, he was ordained Bishop by Santiago Bishop Paulino Livramento Évora in the presence of bishops from Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Portugal and other members of the regional episcopal conference.
On August 15, 2009, Furtado was sworn in as Bishop of Santiago during the celebrations marking Praia’s patron saint, Our lady of Grace.
Arlindo Furtado is the 34th Bishop of Cape Verde and the second of Cape Verdean nationality.
The 15 cardinal electors who have been named hail from 14 different countries. Only one is from the Vatican. For the first time, cardinals were named for Cape Verde, Myanmar and Tonga, representing the Pope’s wish to have a College of Cardinals that represents the Church’s “natural universe,” according to Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.
There are currently 110 cardinal electors, nearly half of whom hail from Europe (52), followed by the Americas (33 – 17 from North America and 16 from Latin America), Africa (13), Asia (11) and Oceania (1).