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Seixas, Romualdo Antônio de

SEIXAS, ROMUALDO ANTÔNIO DE

Church leader in Imperial Brazil; b. Camutá, Pará, Feb. 7, 1787; d. Salvador, Bahia, Dec. 29, 1860. Born into a poor but respected family, he began his studies in Pará under the direction of his uncle, Romualdo de Sousa Coelho, later bishop of Pará. He continued his studies in Lisbon at the Oratorian Seminary, where he had the famous Theodoro de Almeida as teacher. He returned to Pará when he was 19 and became a teacher of rhetoric and philosophy at the episcopal seminary. He was ordained (1810) at the age of 23. He was nominated bishop of Bahia Oct. 12, 1826, consecrated Oct. 28, 1827; he took possession of his see on Nov. 26, 1828. There he remained until his death. In 1841 he was named archbishop and primate of Brazil.

For many years Seixas was active in politics, and it was here that he made his greatest contribution. He was an elected deputy to the Brazilian General Assembly, twice from Pará and twice from Bahia. In 1838 the bishop was nominated minister and secretary of state, but he refused the honor, preferring to remain in his diocese. In the General Assembly his help was urgently needed to defend the rights of the Church. Although a moderate regalist in politics, he refused to go along with extravagant attacks on the Church and its doctrines; and often his was one of the few voices raised in the Assembly against the radical proposals. Among his published works are many sermons and various representations he made to the General Assembly, e.g., on the privilege of ecclesiastical forum (Bahia 1832) and on marriage impediments and matrimonial law procedures (Bahia 1832). He also published articles in newspapers on questions of the day, such as clerical celibacy, sundering ties with the Holy See, and destroying male and female religious orders. His was always a voice of moderation. As a reward for his service, Pedro II conferred on him the titles of Conde and afterward Marques de Santa Cruz.

Bibliography: Collecção de obras , 5 v. (Pernambuco 183957); Memorias do Marquez de Santa Cruz, arcebispo da Bahia, d. Romualdo Antônio de Seixas, metropolitanoe primaz do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro 1861). a. v. a. sacramento blake, Diccionario bibliographico brazileiro, 7 v. (Rio de Janeiro 18831902; Index, 1937) 7:154159.

[m. c. kiemen]

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