Sunday, December 27, 2015
Monsignor Kräutler, great advocate for Brazil's indigenous people, resigns
December 24, 2015
On Wednesday, December 23rd, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Monsignor Erwin Kräutler as bishop of the Prelature of Xingu, Brazil's largest ecclesiastical territory. The acceptance of the resignation comes a year and half after he submitted his resignation in July 2014.
The now bishop emeritus, who will remain as apostolic administrator until the inauguration of his successor, in a note released by the prelature itself, expressed his joy at the appointment of Franciscan João Alves Muniz, who turns 55 on January 8th, asking everyone to "pray for the bishop-elect so that, with the grace of God, he will have the courage and energy to lead the People of God of the Xingu who have been entrusted to him."
At the same time, he calls for "the new bishop to be received with an open heart by all the faithful so that, from the beginning of his pastorship in the Xingu, he will feel welcomed with joy and gratitude."
The CNBB (National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, for its acronym in Portuguese), through its Secretary General, Monsignor Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, has welcomed the new bishop wishing that "the hallmark of his episcopal ministry be the Face of Mercy for the good of the people and the particular Church entrusted to him," while thanking Monsignor Kräutler for "putting himself at the service of the most vulnerable people, often being a resounding voice of those who cry out for their rights and life projects, denouncing the evils that undermine human dignity and the environment, not keeping silent in the face of death threats or the murder of his brothers and sisters on the journey." For all that, it asks that "God's grace allow him to continue being a supportive presence among those most in need, bringing hope of a more just, dignified and fraternal world."
Monsignor Erwin Kräutler came to the Prelature of Xingu in 1965 and was appointed bishop in 1980. For sixteen years, he was president of CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Council, for its acronym in Portuguese), becoming the great advocate for Brazilian indigenous peoples against the interests of big business, hydroelectric and logging companies, and agribusiness, which led him to be recognized in 2010 with the Alternative Nobel, but also to be threatened with death, because of which he has had police protection for the past ten years.
In his understanding of the Church, the laity have always had a prominent role. He has argued that if the laity don't assume the mission that is born of their Baptism and Confirmation, then there is no Church. We can not forget that there are more than 800 communities in the prelature and the presence of a priest is often reduced to once a year, so in one of his interviews with Pope Francis, he proposed that married men be able to preside the Eucharistic celebration.
Among the contributions of the apostolic administrator of the Prelature of Xingu is also contributing to the Pope's latest encyclical, Laudato Si' from his deep knowledge of the Amazon situation.