Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pedro Casaldaliga: Standing on the side of the outraged

This month, Pedro Casaldaliga, the 84-year old bishop emeritus of Sao Felix do Araguaia, gave a radio interview in Catalan to RAC1. The radio station selected some quotes from the interview to transcribe and we have translated these into English so non-Catalan speakers can get the gist of the interview. At the end of the interview, Casaldaliga is asked about a TV series that is being made about his life. The program will be titled "Descalç sobre la terra vermella" ("Barefoot on the red earth") and is based on a book about the bishop with the same title by Francesc Escribano. -- RG

Pedro Casaldàliga believes that the "outraged" ("indignados") are "the sign that things are changing," and that there is a conscience of struggling for the oppressed that he hasn't seen in years. The bishop emeritus of Sao Felix do Araguaia has taken a position in favor of the outraged and has recommended "fighting with hope." Speaking from Brazil, he commented that he is living with Parkinson's disease, that he feels old and growing closer to "the Father's house," but he still has ideas that are younger than ever. He believes that women should have a more prominent role in the Church, and that in Europe there are increasingly fewer vocations.

Pedro Casaldàliga, bishop emeritus of Sao Felix do Araguaia, also said:

- "I feel good, hopeful, with many reasons to thank God."

- "I carry Parkinson's like a brother known to abuse confidence, knowing that it limits movements, but doesn't hurt."

- "Right now, we are experiencing exclusions to the famous crisis. The little people, the ordinary people are going through it; the big people aren't going through it. It is used to strengthen economic power. But it is also serving to raise awareness. The outraged, even the United States, are a sign that things are changing, an important step, a unified global consciousness against the disparity."

- "I stand clearly on the side of the outraged. However, one has to fight with both indignation and hope. "

- "There are some in the church hierarchy who bring nothing. Instead of being open to dialogue and understanding, they ban and excommunicate. They give the impression of a judgmental God."

- "It is an injustice that women are relegated to second or third positions within the Church. The Church is now being sustained mainly by women. At the services, 70% are women. Wanting to marginalize women within the Church is immensely foolish. But this will pass."

- "Women will get into all ministries of the Church. There is no theological argument that shows that women can not be ministers of worship [ie. priests]. If they haven't been up to now, it's because society has been sexist."

- "Everyone deserves full respect for their identity. There has been a historical process that has marginalized homosexuals, who have been branded evil in society."

- About gay marriage: "The Church must consider human nature along with the specific conditions of each people, culture, and individual. We can't make generic definitions that don't take into consideration specific circumstances."

- "God can not be a motive for war, He must be a reason for peace. There have been too many wars for religious reasons."

- "When we die we will find God's embrace. It is our hope. They can take everything away from us, except hope."

- "Europe must recognize that it has a mission: to save Greece from the hands of those who want to save it while putting their interests first, and not the dignity of the Greek people."

- "As long as profit and the banks go on being the masters of life and human history, we will have crises -- economic crises and crises of dignity."

- "Europe will be saved by solidarity within Europe and throughout the world. You have to be vigilant against the temptation to exclude immigrants. It's a challenge: if we don't know how to receive outsiders, we won't know how to live with those in the house."

- "I have never left Catalonia. I'm still there. Being far away, we are close. I have a poem that says that the more we go away, the more we come back. The roots are there. I still eat bread with tomato every day."

- About the series that will honor him: "When they proposed it to me, I said no. I was afraid they would make a religious western. But I have confidence in those who are leading it, starting with Paco Escribano. I insisted on this idea: It's not my life; it's our causes."

- "They picked a good lead actor [Eduard Fernández]. We met here. I had seen him in "Pa Negre" ("Black Bread"). He seems a very sensitive man who has penetrated and is interested in the role."

- "[My daily life is] reading, praying, receiving visitors, answering e-mails, I hope, with much hope. I'm closer now to the Father's house."


  1. thank you for this gift,Rebel Girl.Bless you.Dom Pedro is long one of my heroes.I always remember when the Pope visited Brasil in the 1980's they had to take up a collection to buy Dom Pedro a pair of shoes.Would that our feted North American princes were so shod.

  2. "I still eat bread with tomato every day."
    ...amb oli d'oliva i sal. :-)

  3. I have worked with a priest that was blessed enough to work with Casaldaliga in 1970s. Pedro Casaldaliga for Brazilians is not a man but an ANGEL OF MERCY. I wish the world could learn with him. Casaldaliga is Brazil´s Oscar Romero and more. I wish I had an opportunity to meet this angel face to face one day. God bless you angel Casaldaliga. We love you dearly. Thank you for everything you have done for the aboriginals of Brazil. We all know that the ring the Vatican gave you, you ended up selling it to release some aboriginals from prison. In exchange for the Vatican ring, the aboriginals decided to make a special ring for you and you alone. The floor of your church was soil cause you were too busy protecting, loving and caring. For that and more we thank you.