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Fr. Pedro Casaldáliga

February 16, 1928 – August 8, 2020

Pedro Casaldáliga was a Brazilian prelate of the Catholic Church. He was one of the best-known exponents of liberation theology. He was a forceful advocate in support of indigenous peoples. Casaldàliga co-founded the Conselho Indigenista Missionário in 1972, an organ of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil that fights for the right to cultural diversity of indigenous peoples to strengthen its autonomy. His advocacy for indigenous peoples and peasants resulted in repeated death threats made by wealthy landowners in Brazil.

In 1988, as part of a Vatican effort to place restrictions on the liberation theology movement, Casaldáliga was called to Rome to be examined on his theological writings and pastoral activity. A statement acknowledging his errors was produced for him to sign. He would not sign it. He summarized his views by saying, “I have criticized the Curia over the way bishops are chosen, over the minimal space given to women, over its distrust of liberation theology and bishops’ conferences, over its excessive centralism. This does not mean a break with Rome. Within the family of the church and through dialogue, we need to open up more space.”

"He made the church realize that we cannot abandon the poor." - Archbishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner

Submitted by our members in 2020.