Brazil Launches Book by Papal Candidate
Apr 15, 2005
Brazil's cardinal, considered a strong contender for pope, harshly criticizes pro-market reforms and the globalization of the economy and urges solidarity with workers in a new book rushed into publication after the death John Paul II.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP, April 14, 2005) - Cardinal Claudio Hummes also speaks out against the ranchers accused of ordering the killing of American nun Dorothy Stang, a naturalized Brazilian originally from Dayton, Ohio, who was shot to death Feb. 12 in the eastern Amazon. She had spent the last 23 years of her life trying to protect the rain forest and its poor from loggers and ranchers. Five men have been arrested in her death.
“Everything points to a contract killing,” Hummes writes in “Dialogue with the City.'' “We see violence to forcibly seize land, at any price, murders and corruption.''
The book is a collection of 110 articles on the Catholic Church, faith and social problems that Hummes published over seven years in the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.
Hummes (pronounced HOO-mez) writes about issues ranging from jobs and land reform to drug abuse and human cloning, questions he has faced as archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city and home to some 6 million Roman Catholics.
Considered a conservative on doctrine and a progressive on social issues, Hummes hits hard at the pro-market reforms of the past decade that failed to shrink the yawning gap between Brazil's rich and poor.
“We know that social exclusion is closely tied to the new economic world order, globalized, with free and open markets, which isn't bringing prosperity or social justice to all,'' Hummes writes.
The Paulus publishing house, linked to the Catholic Church, intended to release the book on Apr. 17. But it rushed out 3,000 copies when John Paul II died and Hummes was cited as a possible successor.
An ardent defender of human rights, Hummes first drew national attention as a supporter of striking autoworkers during Brazil's 1964-85 military dictatorship. The ruling generals banned strikes as a threat to national security, and police suppressed them by force.
As bishop of the industrial city of Santo Andre in 1975, Hummes opened his church's doors to underground union meetings and shielded fiery union boss Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from police.
Silva today is Brazil's president, and Hummes hasn't forgotten their links. He discusses unemployment and urges Silva, known popularly as Lula, to deliver on pledges to create jobs for Brazil's poor.
“Solidarity with workers remains a priority for the Church,'' he wrote. “Most urgent is the good First Job Program, that Lula plans to implement, which hasn't got off the ground.''
He also backs land reform - long a banner for Silva's leftist Workers Party. The richest 20 percent of Brazilians control 90 percent of the nation's land, while the poorest 40 percent have just 1 percent.
But Hummes also disagrees with Silva. He says the Church disapproves of land invasions by landless workers and rejects the “liberation theology'' popular with the progressive wing of the Brazilian church and members of the Workers Party.
“John Paul II made it clear that ... liberation theology based on the teaching of Jesus Christ was necessary, but liberation theology that used a Marxist analysis was unacceptable,'' he wrote.
Hummes often invokes the Vatican and John Paul II when he addresses controversial issues like abortion, the day-after pill and human cloning. All are a “serious moral crime,'' he says.
Early reviews have been good.
“We finish reading 'Dialogue with the City' as if we had just drunk a glass of cool, clear water in the drought of the megalopolis that our pastor wants to transform into a human city,'' Alfredo Bosi, a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, said in an interview with the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.