End of an era for the Amazon’s turbulent priests

February 11, 2009

Liberation Theology has long been out of fashion at the Vatican, but its effects have lived on in Latin America. One is a tradition of foreign-born Catholic priests who went to the region to preach its message of justice for the poor and oppressed. But the falling number of priests in Europe and the United States and a turn away from this activist view of the Gospels has taken its toll. The clerics defending peasants against landowners and denouncing child prostitution, drug trafficking and illegal logging are growing old and the flow of foreign priests is drying up. There are Brazilian priests, but with family members living in the country, they are often more vulnerable to death threats.

Stuart Grudgings, senior correspondent in our Rio de Janeiro bureau, travelled to Abaetetuba at the mouth of the Amazon in northeastern Brazil to visit Italian-born Bishop Flavio Giovenale and other members of this disappearing breed of priests.

Read the whole feature here.

(Photo left: Bishop Flavio Giovenale, 11 Feb 2009/Paulo Santos)
(Photo right: Sunset over Abaetetuba, 28 Sept 2008/Paulo Santos)
One comment

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The Catholic Missionaries in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, liked or not also in Bolivia, in a silent way they did, and do a heroic work. Yes they come from Europe and USA and gave all for the people in need. Goverments are not so helpful to them, they always pass a lot of needs and be always threatened. The people even of other ways of religiosity look at them as friends than outsiders.

To talk about them is a tribute to them and a way to aware to us the missions in diferent parts of the world’
I also include in this tribute to other missionaries of other Christian and other groups that help too.

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