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Archbishop Helder Camaro dead.

Recife--Archbishop Helder Camara died here on August 29 at age 90. He was known during the post Second Vatican Council period as a great champion of the poor in his country.

Camara was appointed auxiliary bishop of Rio de Janeiro at age 43 in 1952, and became archbishop of Recife, in the poverty-stricken north-east of Brazil in 1964, retiring 21 years later in 1985. During this time he often clashed with state authorities whose pursuit of unbridled capitalism made them indifferent to the lot of peasant farmers, workers and aboriginals. He also struggled with fellow bishops whose placid acceptance of "laissez-faire" economics upset him greafly. Unlike some of them, Bishop Camara sympathized with the openness and freedom created by the Council and was unwilling to attack the supporters of "liberation theology."

His enemies dubbed him the "red bishop"--implying he was a Communist--in order to destroy his effectiveness. But there is not a Marxist line to be found in his writings, which were translated into many languages. Rather, he was a warmhearted, zealous pastor, indignant at the treatment of the poor.

He was nominated four times for the Nobel prize, though he never received it. He was an inspiration to Catholics worldwide. More than 350 books have been published about him and his work.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Oct 1, 1999
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