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Cláudio Hummes, OFM (born 8 August, 1934) is a Brazilian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in the Roman Curia, having previously served as Archbishop of Fortalezamarker from 1996 to 1998 and Archbishop of São Paulo from 1998 to 2006. A member of the Order of Friars Minor and an outspoken proponent of social justice, he was elevated to the cardinalate in the consistory of February 21, 2001.

Early life

Auri Alfonso Hummes was born in the city of Montenegromarker to Pedro Adão Hummes, a German-Brazilian, and Maria Frank, a Germanmarker. Taking the name Cláudio upon his profession as a Franciscan, he was ordained to the priesthood on 3 August 1958 by Archbishop João Resende Costa, SDB. He obtained a doctorate in philosophy in 1963 from the Pontifical Antonianum Athenaeum in Romemarker.

From 1963 until 1968, he taught philosophy at the Franciscan seminary in Garibaldi, the major seminary of Viamãomarker and at the Pontifical Catholic University of Porto Alegre. He then studied at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in Genevamarker, Switzerlandmarker, from where he received an especialization in ecumenism. He was adviser for ecumenical affairs to the National Bishops' Conference of Brazil, Provincial Superior of the Franciscans of Rio Grande do Sul (1972-1975), and president of the Union of Latin American Conferences of Franciscans.

Along with his native Portuguese, he can also speak Spanish, German, and Italian.

Episcopal career

On 22 March 1975, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Santo Andrémarker and Titular Bishop of Carcabia. Hummes received his episcopal consecration on the following 25 May from Archbishop Aloísio Lorscheider, OFM, with Bishops Mauro Morelli and Urbano Allgayer serving as co-consecrators. He later succeeded Jorge de Oliveira as Bishop of Santo André on 29 December of that same year. Hummes allowed the labour unions to meet in parishes throughout his diocese, going against the dictatorship in Brazil at the time. It was here that he began his support for liberation theology, and forged his friendship with the union boss at the time, Lula. On 29 May 1996 he was promoted to Archbishop of Fortaleza and was then transferred to São Paulo on 15 April 1998.


He was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Antonio da Padova in Via Merulana by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001. He later preached the Lenten spiritual exercises for John Paul II and the Roman Curia in 2002. One of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Hummes was often mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II.

Hummes has Curial membership of Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pontifical Council for the Laity, Pontifical Council for the Family, Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pontifical Council for Culture, Pontifical Commission for Latin America, X Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational, and Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

On 31 October 2006 Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Hummes to head the Congregation for the Clergy, succeeding Darío Castrillón Hoyos.


Social justice

Hummes is judged to be a moderate or liberal on issues relating to social justice, while quite conservative on issues such as contraception and gay-rights. He has been quoted as saying "Nationality isn't the issue—the important thing is who can help the Church and the world, now and in the future."

Indigenous people

He is also active on the issue of indigenous peoples and made an official statement condemning the anonymous attacks on homeless indigenous people. "Such violence and cruelty is unacceptable and should be vigorously repudiated. The Church has cried out many times regarding the need to come to the aid of those who are forced to live in our streets, without shelter. She does so out of a duty of humanity and because of her faith in Jesus Christ, who wishes to be identified in each person, especially in the poor and handicapped," Hummes once said.

Clerical celibacy

In a 2006 interview with the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paolo, Cardinal Hummes said that “even though celibacy is part of Catholic history and culture, the Church could review this question, because celibacy is not a dogma but a disciplinary question.”


On the other hand, Hummes has publicly rebuked priests who have suggested that condoms be used to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, instead sticking closely to orthodox Vatican doctrine.

External links


  1. " Champion of Workers and the Poor," The Washington Post, (accessed 16 April 2008).
  2. Cardinal Egan says possibility of married priests not to be dismissed
  3. " The Vatican's condom challenge," BBC News, (accessed 16 April 2008).

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