Dom Helder Camara
By: Francis McDonagh
The challenging voice of a modern prophet.
"When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why so many people are poor they call me a communist."--Dom Helder Camara
Dom Helder Camara (1909-1999) was one of the great prophets of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century. As Archbishop of Recife, Brazil, he gained an international reputation as a champion of human rights during the era of military dictatorship and as a dedicated champion for the poor. Banned from the media in his own country, he toured the world denouncing oppression in the Third World and drawing links between the gospel and liberation. And yet his stern call to justice was inflected with a joy-filled, mystical love of God and creation that brought to mind the image of St. Francis.
These selections from his many books highlight Dom Helders distinctive blend of spirituality and social vision. They point toward the renewal of the church, the transformation of the social order, and the healing of a wounded planet.
Francis McDonagh, who lives in London, has spent the last twenty years following development and religious issues in Latin America, including three years living in Recife, Brazil, as a correspondent for The Tablet. He currently manages the Andes program of CAFOD, the British Catholic development agency.