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Protection of workers and indigenous peoples. Trajectory of Dom Claudio Humes

Dom Claudio Humes was the 18th bishop of São Paulo, its 6th archbishop and the 4th to hold the office of cardinal, one of the highest positions in the Catholic Church. The archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo died this Monday (4) at the age of 87 due to lung cancer.

Born in Montenegro (RS) in 1934, Hummes entered the religious life of the Franciscan Order of Franciscans, received priestly ordination in 1958 and episcopal ordination in 1975.

During their long service, the religious devoted themselves especially to the protection of the rights of workers and indigenous peoples.

peoples of the amazon

The fight against deforestation, violence and diseases that threatened the population of Amazonia was part of the pastoral life of Dom Claudio Humes.

Speaking at COP21 in December 2015, he expressed support for indigenous ways of life. “it is necessary to protect them, to protect their rights, to give them the opportunity to be the heroes of their history, the subjects of their history again. Everything was taken from them: their identity, land, language, culture, history, everything,” he said.

In October 2019, the Synod of the Pan-Amazonian region was convened, which made it possible to focus collective attention on the problems of the region. Appointed as the main speaker, the cardinal offered the participants of the conference to search for new ways for the church in Amazonia.

“Indigenous peoples have shown in many ways that they want the support of the Church to protect and defend their rights, to build their future. And they ask that the Church be a permanent ally,” said the cardinal in the new Synod room. “Indigenous peoples must be restored and their right to be protagonists of history must be guaranteed, subjects and not objects of anyone’s colonial spirit and action,” he added.

In 2020, the religious was appointed the president of the newly created church conference of Amazon. During the operation, Humes advocated that the assembly’s nominations be put into practice.

“The Synod is the pinnacle that illuminates the paths. But it continues now, the whole process will continue also in the post-synodal annex, in the territory and in all places where there is a connection,” he told the Vatican media, through which he also condemned the “serious climate and ecological crisis”. It really puts “the future of the planet and therefore the future of humanity” at risk.

workers’ rights

Appointed bishop by Pope Paul VI in March 1975, Dom Claudio Humes took over the Diocese of Santo Andre (SP) in December of that year and remained there for 21 years until 1996, when he was appointed to the Archdiocese of Fortaleza (S. EC).

At Santo André, Humes closely followed the labor movement in Brazil, including the general strike of the ABC metalworkers in the late 1970s. Opposes the removal of protesters.

In Fortaleza, from 1996 to 1998, Humes coordinated activities with families, especially the poorest and most indebted, in the context of the preparation of the 2nd Meeting of Families with Pope John Paul II and the Pastoral Theological Congress on the Family. October 1997

The meeting between Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Dom Claudio Humes / Publicity/CNBB

“Don’t forget the poor”

In 1998, Dom Claudio Humes was appointed Archbishop of São Paulo by Pope John Paul II, remaining in the archdiocese until 2006.

In his position, he supported employment and income generation programs and promoted the “Charity Workshop” that began in 2001, which aimed to outline the actions aimed at the poorest that the Church of São Paulo was implementing at the time.

In 2006, the cardinal was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy by Benedict XVI, a post he held until 2010, when he tendered his resignation at the age of 75 due to the age limit.

Dom Claudio also featured prominently in the 2013 conclave that elected Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as Pope.

To his Argentinian friend sitting next to him, when he reached the number of votes needed to be elected, he whispered in his ear.Don’t forget the poor“.

It came from the Cardinal’s words Inspiration for choosing a grandfather’s name then newly elected. Pope Francis made the revelation to journalists in 2013.

“I had by my side Cardinal Claudio Humes, Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo and also Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation of the Clergy; big friend big friend When things started to get a little “dangerous”, he cheered me up. And when the votes reached two-thirds, there was the usual applause, because the Pope was elected. He hugged me, kissed me and said: “Don’t forget about the poor.” And that word remained in his head: poor, poor. “Soon, interacting with the poor, I thought of Francis of Assisi,” said the Pope.

The rights of workers and indigenous peoples were part of the ministry of Dom Claudio Humes / Photo: Luciney Martins

In June 2021, after receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Rosario (UNR) in Argentina, Pope Francis wrote to Archbishop Claudio thanking him “for the example he gave me during his life” and recalling two phrases: Soon after he was elected Pope, when Dom Claudio told him: “This is how the Holy Spirit works” and “don’t forget the poor.”

The pontiff emphasized that the Brazilian cardinal is one of those “leaders who have the courage to open paths, ways and inspire dreams. the courage to continue to always look to the horizon for problems and difficulties along the way.”

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