Sales, Eugênio de Araújo (1920–)

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Sales, Eugênio de Araújo (1920–)

Eugênio de Araújo Sales (b. 8 November 1920), archbishop and cardinal of Rio de Janeiro. For decades, Sales has been one of the most important and visible leaders of the Brazilian Catholic Church. Ordained as a priest in 1942, Sales became bishop of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, in 1954. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was known as a leader of the moderately progressive faction within the Brazilian church. As archbishop of Natal, he promoted radio schools as a means of working with the poor, and he supported the creation of the Basic Education Movement in 1958 and of rural Catholic unions in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Both initiatives became important within the Brazilian church and in national politics.

After the coup in 1964, Sales was less critical of the military government and more willing to work with it than most other prominent church leaders. For this reason, he became identified as a leader of the moderately conservative faction of the Brazilian hierarchy. He was named archbishop of Salvador in 1968 and of Rio de Janeiro in 1971. As archbishop of Rio, convinced that the church needed to focus on religious issues, he became one of Brazil's most prominent critics of liberation theology. His theological and ecclesiastical positions made him a favorite of Pope John Paul II after 1978. He was involved in numerous assemblies and conferences, including the Assembly of the World Synod of Bishops at Vatican City in 1980, the Second Plenary Assembly of the Sacred College of Cardinals (also at Vatican City) in 1982, and the Fourth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate in the Dominican Republic in 1992. In 1997, he served as president delegate of the Special Assembly for America of the World Synod of Bishops. When he turned 80 in November 2000, he lost his right to participate in the Assembly. In 2001, he resigned his governance of the archbishopric of Rio de Janeiro. However, he was still able to serve as a special papal envoy to various celebrations in Brazil in 2004. After the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, he presided over most of the funeral masses during the nine days of official mourning.

See alsoCatholic Church: The Modern Period .


Sales, Eugenio de Araújo. Viver é fé: Em um mundo a construir. Rio de Janeiro: Marques Saraiva, 1991.

                                      Scott Mainwaring