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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Brazilian prelate who not only promoted communist regimes but also advocated for contraception, remarriage after divorce and women priests, is being considered for sainthood by Rome.
Few Catholics are aware that Brazil's late Abp. Hélder Câmara, who news reports say spent "a lifetime working against the Church from the inside" has his cause open at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS) since 2015. Raymond de Souza, a Knight of the Order of Malta and former contemporary of Câmara, has been pushing back since he found out in July.
"I learned about the beatification process of Dom Hélder Câmara after I watched a debate online between Trent Horn and Sam Rocha, Ph.D., organized by Catholic Answers that was streamed live on June 11," de Souza tells Church Militant. "The statement of the debate was: "Can a Catholic be a socialist?"
Watching the debate a couple of weeks after it had aired, de Souza says he was alarmed that Rocha used Câmara's cause for sainthood "to say that a Catholic can be a socialist." He further recounts that during the debate Rocha mentioned "Dom Hélder had been declared 'Servant of God' by the Vatican. I was shocked."
As an aside, Abp. Fulton Sheen, who was one of few prelates to speak out against communism, had his cause of beatification stopped owing to a single dubious accusation. It has yet to be restarted even though the single allegation against him has been thoroughly investigated and nullified by those responsible for his cause.
In contradistinction, De Souza expresses bewilderment as to how Câmara's case can proceed at the CCS in the face of a mountain of irrefutable evidence against the dissident, pro-communist prelate.
De Souza relates he was a contemporary of Câmara and well acquainted with the archbishop's pro-communist and heretical views:
I knew Dom Hélder rather well in Brazil, beginning in 1969 when I cooperated with the TFP (Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property) which, led by Dr. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, launched a petition to Pope Paul VI, asking him to intervene to curb the communist infiltration in the Church. Over 2 million people signed in support of the petition.
He adds, "Since then, in my 20s, I followed Dom Hélder in his activities on and off. The last time I attended a public talk by him was in Quebec City, Canada." True to form, he said, Hélder continued to employ his "demagogic style" while pretending to defend the poor.
This news prompted de Souza to draft a detailed report on Câmara. It outlines Câmara's advocacy for communist regimes including Soviet Russia, communist China, and Cuba under Fidel Castro. But even before promoting communism, Câmara was a "pro-Nazi militant" contends de Souza.
"His pro-Nazi convictions were so deep that he was ordained a priest wearing the Integralist Militia's uniform under his cassock — the ill-famed "green shirt," writes de Souza in his report.
He adds, "In 1946, the archbishop of Rio de Janeiro wanted to make him auxiliary bishop, but the Holy See refused because of his previous pro-Nazi militancy."
In addition to promoting Nazism and communism, Câmara promoted dissident theology, de Souza says, including a rejection of contraception, pushing for remarriage after divorce and advocating for women priests.
In a detailed summary of the report, de Souza strenuously objects to making a saint out of the heretical Câmara:
As a Brazilian by birth and, by the grace of God, a Roman apostolic Catholic by conviction, I publicly and with all the energy of militant Catholics, oppose the beatification of Dom Hélder Câmara — that dissenter archbishop who openly favored the priestly ordination of women, divorce, opposed the papal teaching on contraception and promoted Chinese and Cuban communism in his speaking engagements around the world.
He has directed his report, his summary and a press release on Câmara's cause to the prefect of the CCS, Cdl. Giovanni Angelo Becciu. The cardinal made headlines in 2019 for playing a key role in a controversial purchase of London real estate using hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Peter's Pence, the pope's charitable fund for the poor. Becciu also raised eyebrows in 2017 when he took over for Cdl. Raymond Burke, then-spiritual director for the Knights of the Order of Malta. His controversial actions with the Order were criticized by many at the time.
De Souza says he has passed on all the information on Câmara to the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Abp. Christophe Pierre. He is hoping that Pierre will pass it on to Becciu and that Becciu will use the information to stop Câmara's cause for sainthood.
In his report, de Souza prays that "heresiarchs who teach those errors, acting inside the Church — of whom Dom Hélder Câmara was a tragic and public example — never be elevated to the honor of the altars, lest a great scandal be perpetrated among God's people."
He puts the matter ultimately in the hand of the Blessed Mother.
May Our Lady of Fatima, who warned mankind that Russia would spread its errors throughout the world — i.e., Marxism, abortion, schism, etc. — obtain from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, her Divine Son, the final victory of her Immaculate Heart over communism and similar errors."
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