Dom Helder Camara dies

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at SPAMsinectis.com.ar
Sun Aug 29 15:30:32 MDT 1999



I have just written this little article for a political magazine of non
marxist orientation I collaborate.
Because I was one of "those catholic youngs" that att those time became with
a life long compromise
with the revolution I want to share it with you.
After a lot of years, when I no longer was catholic I knew him personally.
It was during the least Rio Film Festival, that was made in Fortaleza,
Ceara, in the Northeast of Brazil.


Adiós a Dom Helder Camara

"Cuando le doy de comer a un pobre, me llaman santo. Cuando les pregunto por
qué los pobres no tienen para comer, me llaman comunista".
Dom Helder Camara

A mediados de la década del 60, su figura menuda comenzó a aparecer en los
diarios y revistas de todo el mundo. Era un hombre delgado, vestido con una
sotana blanca que aparecía rodeado de desarrapados, en medio de una
espantosa favela o en el miserable rancho de un perdido campesino sin tierra
del nordeste brasileño. El mundo comenzaba a conocer a Monseñor Helder
Camara, el obispo de Pernambuco.
Toda una generación de jóvenes católicos latinoamericanos se sintió sacudido
por su prédica y su acción contra la miseria sin límites en que vivían -y
viven- los pobres de nuestra tierra.
Sin otra arma que una valentía sin límites y una entrega total a la causa de
los oprimidos, monseñor Helder Camara denunció ante el mundo la injusticia
de los grandes terratenientes nordestinos, la crueldad de los cangaçeiros
contra los campesinos sin tierra, las torturas de la dictadura militar
contra los militantes populares. La palabra de Helder Camara actualizó el
tema de la reforma agraria en América Latina. De pronto, desde la más alta
magistratura de la Iglesia Católica, un hombre pequeño y sin miedo se
enfrentaba a los poderes políticos y económicos de su país, convertía la
causa del nordeste brasileño en una causa de la humanidad contra el hambre y
la miseria.
Cientos de miles de jóvenes latinoamericanos sintieron por primera vez que
la religión heredada de sus padres tenía un mensaje de compromiso con los
humildes, con los explotados, con los humillados y con esta idea se lanzaron
a la actividad política. Muchos murieron en el intento, otros claudicaron
frente al poder económico. Muchos, quizás los más, perseveraron en aquel
compromiso despertado por dom Helder y continúan en la misma trinchera.
Son los que, emocionadamente, hoy lo despiden.
Murió a los 90 años dom Helder Camara. Los pobres, los sin tierra, los
desheredados, las víctimas de un sistema social injusto han perdido a uno de
sus más preclaros y osados voceros y lloran, seguramente, su partida. A ese
dolor sumamos el nuestro.



----- Original Message -----
From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 29, 1999 11:57 AM
Subject: Dom Helder Camara dies


> "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the
> poor have no food, they call me a communist."
>
> -- Dom Helder Camara
>
>
> The Washington Post, August 29, 1999, Sunday, Final Edition
>
> Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian Catholic Archbishop, Dies; Leading Proponent
> of Liberation Theology, Which Swept Latin America in 1970s and '80s, Was
90
>
> Dom Helder Camara, 90, a former Brazilian Catholic archbishop and
proponent
> of Liberation Theology who became a noted human rights crusader and
> champion of agrarian reform, died Aug. 27 at his home in the northeastern
> city of Olinda, Brazil. The cause of death was not reported.
>
> "Camara was a blessed man who dedicated his life to ecumenical human
> rights, who fought for peace and solidarity. Brazil will feel his loss,"
> Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said in a statement.
>
> Born in the impoverished northeastern state of Pernambuco, Archbishop
> Helder Camara entered the seminary at age 14 and was ordained at 22. He
> served as archbishop in Olinda from 1964 to 1985.
>
> The prelate, branded by some opponents as "the red bishop," was a key
> proponent of Liberation Theology, which swept through Latin America in the
> 1970s and 1980s. It takes the view of the poor in an attempt to develop a
> theology of Christian activism to end social injustice.
>
> His term as bishop coincided with Brazil's 1964-1985 military
dictatorship.
> His relentless campaign for agrarian reform, better conditions for
Brazil's
> poor and for an end to torture in prisons drew much criticism from
> opponents, the military and the government.
>
> "I remember his great capacity to work for the poor . . . when there was a
> need to contact institutions, people or the government itself in favor of
> the poor, he would do it," Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, prefect of the
> Bishops Congregation, said in an interview with Vatican Radio.
>
> "It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Helder Camara.
> During his whole life, he fought against poverty and for the defense of
> human rights. The world has lost a great humanist and a free man," French
> Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said in a statement.
>
> Archbishop Helder Camara retired in 1985 but still participated in
services
> at his church Igreja das Fronteiras.
>
> Liberation Theology was once a burning issue in the church. In the 1980s,
> the Vatican disciplined priests it believed had taken it too far by
> promoting a violent class struggle or assuming political office.
>
> "The parting of Helder Camara brings great sadness to us," Enrique Dussel,
> an Argentine philosopher and theologian in Mexico, told Vatican Radio.
>
> "He was short in height but huge in stature when he spoke to the crowds.
>
> "He was one of the first to criticize the dictatorship . . . and he
> dedicated his life, along with other bishops . . . to the poor in Latin
> America," Dussel said.
>
>
> Louis Proyect
> (http://www.panix.com/~lnp3/marxism.html)
>










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