Macedo Costa, Antônio de
MACEDO COSTA, ANTÔNIO DE
Brazilian bishop and active opponent of regalism; b. Maragogipe, Bahia, Aug. 7, 1830; d. Barbacena, Minas Gerais, March 21, 1891. He was educated in Maragogipe and Salvador, finished his seminary training at Saint-Sulpice in Paris, and was ordained on Dec. 19, 1857. He received the degree of doctor of Canon Law in Rome on June 28, 1859, and entered teaching when he returned to Brazil the same year. Dom Antônio was nominated to fill the vacant See of Pará, and was consecrated in Petrópolis on April 21, 1861, and took formal possession of his see in August.
Dom Antônio is remembered for his memorials directed to the imperial government condemning the interference of the state in the spiritual jurisdiction of the Brazilian church. He involved himself early in the controversy over freemasonry's infiltration of the religious brotherhoods. Such action brought about his arrest on April 28, 1874. He was tried and sentenced on July 28, 1874. During his imprisonment, Dom Antônio continued his fight against Freemasonry and carried on his episcopal ministry: on Oct. 22, 1874, he issued a pastoral giving the reasons behind the Religious Question and on Jan. 6, 1875, he ordained two candidates for the priesthood. Dom Antônio was amnestied with Dom Vital gonÇalves de oliveira on Sept. 17, 1875, and visited Pius XI in February of 1877.
Some historians maintain that Pedro II granted this amnesty because he and his ministers recognized in the actions of these prelates, signs of a growing independent ecclesiastical leadership that threatened regalism. To quash such a movement the Religious Question had to be quickly and effectively settled. When Dom Antônio returned to his remote diocese of Pará, he had a much less advantageous platform from which to carry on his battle against imperial regalism; nevertheless, he did protest, and apparently won the intense dislike of Dom Pedro II.
After the fall of the empire on Nov. 15, 1889, it was Dom Antônio and not the archbishop of Bahia, the primate of Brazil, who wrote the Pastoral colectiva, March 19, 1890, enunciating the Church's acceptance of the republic and explaining its relation to the Church. When the bishops of Brazil convened in Saão Paulo on July 16, 1890, Dom Antônio presided. He had been transferred to the primatial see of Bahia on June 26, 1890. In September of 1890, despite his failing health, Dom Antônio went to Rome to apprise the pope of conditions in the Brazilian church. He returned in early November because he wanted to be in Rio de Janeiro when the Constituent Assembly convened later that month. Responsibility for shaping the political events weighed heavily on Dom Antônio. It was one of his sorrows that his involvement in government affairs prevented his going to his new See of Bahia. He never took official possession of his archdiocese even though he assumed the presidency of the Brazilian hierarchy.
Government statements at the time of Dom Antônio's death as well as general newspaper comment reveal the high regard in which he was held in his own country. He made a positive contribution to ecclesiastical vigor and to the prestige of the Church at the advent of the republic.
Bibliography: f. guerra, A questãao religiosa do segundo império brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro 1952). f. de olÍvola, Um grande brasileiro (Recife 1936).
[m. c. thornton]