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Brazilian Cardinal Hummes, key liberal leader and papal ally, dead at 87

July 04, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: Cardinal Claudio Hummes, an influential Brazilian prelate who was a close friend of Pope Francis and a leader among the liberal members of the College of Cardinals, dies of lung cancer on July 4 at the age of 87.

Ordained as a Franciscan in 1958, the future cardinal was named coadjutor bishop of Santo Andre, Brazil, in 1975. He was named Archbishop of Fortalez in 1996, but after a short stay there became Archbishop of Sao Paolo in 1998. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

In 2006, Cardinal Hummes was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. He continued in that role until his retirement in 2010 at the age of 76.

Cardinal Hummes reportedly backed then-Cardinal Bergoglio at the papal conclave of 2013, and the newly-elected Pontiff asked the Brazilian prelate to join him on the loggia of St. Peter’s basilica when he was introduced as Pope Francis— a name that Cardinal Hummes had recommended to him.

Cardinal Hummes was a supporter of liberation theology, who questioned the discipline of priestly celibacy. He was a key figure in the Amazon Synod of 2019.

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