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Rio de Janeiro Cardinal: We have to be the bridge between God and suffering people

2015-04-26

Brazil is the seventh most violent country in the world. In 2012, there were an average of more than 150 murders per day. Cardinal Orani João Tempesta, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, said that mission of the Church is simple and clear: to unite people and give hope to those who suffer.

CARD. ORANI JOÃO TEMPESTA
Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
"How do you stay close to the people who are happy and have much faith, but also suffer so much? I think the Church should be the bridge between the people and God. This is our job."

Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world. Of the 202 million inhabitants almost 65 percent identify as Catholic. However, they have only four cardinal electors in the College of Cardinals. Tempesta said that whether Brazil has the representation it deserves said is not a question of merit. Rather, it is a decision that comes from above.

CARD. ORANI JOÃO TEMPESTA
Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
"It's not about merit nor just to see how many cardinals each country has. The number of cardinals is what it is, 120 cardinals. Pope Francis wants a universal College of Cardinals and it is true that in recent days and last year he created cardinals from around the world to show the universality of the Church."

Cardinal Tempesta was born in 1950 and decided to become a priest at age 17. He entered the Cistercian monastery of San Bernardo in 1967.

CARD. ORANI JOÃO TEMPESTA
Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) ORIG.ITALIANO
"I think I saw clearly when I had to choose what I wanted to study in college, something in the humanities or instead maybe the arts. And that caused me to think, 'Why not give your life for others, for the community and be a priest?'"

He notes that the people of Rio de Janiero bring hope and joy. He said that they reveal the reality of violence and social difficulties for the rest of the Church.


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