Monday, May 5, 2014

RIP: Dom Tomás Balduino, the bishop of "the poor of the Earth"

Religión Digital (English translation by Rebel Girl)
May 3, 2014

Brazilian Bishop Tomás Balduíno, known for his defense of agrarian reform and for the rights of the "poor of the Earth" and indigenous people, has died in Goiania, the capital of the state of Goiás, the Comisión Pastoral de la Tierra (CPT), which he founded, said today.

Balduíno, bishop emeritus of Goiás Velho, died Friday night at 91 as a result of a pulmonary embolism in the Neurological Hospital of Goiania, where he had been hospitalized for several days, according to the same sources.

"Dom Tomás Balduíno, the bishop of agrarian reform and the indigenous people, has left us his example of struggle, hope, and belief in the God of the poor," the CPT, an organization linked to the Brazilian bishops which for decades denounced the violence against the peasants as a result of the land conflicts in Brazil, stated in its release.

Always on the side of the least advantaged, Balduino closely supported the creation of the "Movimiento del Coste de Vida" ("Cost of Living Movement") as well as the "Campaña Nacional para la Reforma Agraria" ("National Campaign for Agrarian Reform").

Moreover, he was a key player in the creation of the Consejo Indigenista Misionario ("Indigenous Missionary Council" -- CIMI) and the Comisión Pastoral de la Tierra ("Pastoral Commission for the Earth" -- CPT), both linked to the Brazilian bishops.

After a long period of giving seminars and congresses, in 2003 he was appointed member of the Consejo Nacional de Desarrollo Económico y Social ("National Economic and Social Development Council" -- CDES), linked to the national government, a position he abandoned shortly thereafter, "feeling that it contributed little or nothing to the change desired by the Brazilian nation."

Balduino's body will be waked in the Iglesia Sao Judas Tadeu in the Goiana capital until 10 a.m. on Sunday, when a Mass in his honor will be celebrated. Afterwards, he will be moved to the Goiás Velho Cathedral where he will remain until Monday, when he is due to be buried.

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