Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

2019 Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren

Câmara, Dom Hélder Pessoa (Bishop)

  • Kjell NordstokkeEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27078-4_195

Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara was a Brazilian church leader and human rights defender and archbishop of Olinda and Recife in 1964–1985.

He was born in 1909 as the second youngest of 13 children in Fortaleza, in the poverty-stricken northeast region of Brazil. At the age of 14, he entered a Catholic seminary with the intention to become a priest and was ordained in 1931, only 22 years old. Strongly committed to social change, he started to organize worker’s groups and was appointed director of the Department of Education in Ceará, his home state. In this period, he supported the Integralist Party which had strong fascist tendencies, a mistake that he later deplored, but that his critics would hold against him (Piletti and Praxedes 1995).

Câmara was transferred to Rio de Janeiro in 1936, where he in 1952 became auxiliary bishop. He was strongly involved in the movement Catholic Action (Ação Católica) and its initiatives of educating young workers and students, based on the conviction that...


Human rights Vatican II CNBB CELAM 
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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Diakonhjemmet University CollegeOsloNorway