In July 1955, the Roman Catholic Church and the Brazilian government staged what Manchete magazine called “the greatest spectacle of faith ever seen in Brazil.”1 Held in Rio de Janeiro to venerate Christ and inspire participation in Holy Communion, the 36th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) drew more than a million people. The government built a large plaza and provided lodging, security, and other aid for the weeklong fair. Church reports underlined state commitment: not only would the IEC take place despite the political tempest following President Getúlio Vargas’ suicide, but the leader’s last decree had granted 14 million cruzeiros in funds.2 For its part, the church backed Brazil’s policy of nationalist developmentalism by promoting the sacred pageant as a way to foster tourism and class harmony.

This article explores such reciprocities between church and state and argues that economic considerations have been central to the link between religion and politics in contemporary Brazil. Indeed, the crucial church-state pact fostered under Vargas and nurtured throughout the democratic-populist era (1930-64) entailed an important financial dimension that is usually overlooked.3 Public subsidies helped the church expand its social and religious works, but also created dependence on the state.4 The 1955 eucharistic congress vividly highlights how finances and faith mingled in Brazil’s complex mosaic of religion, politics, and society.

The IEC marked the apex of a church-state harmony that originated in the Brazilian bishops’ campaign to reassert Catholic influence after disestablishment at the start of the First Republic (1889-1930). Preserving the colonial unity of cross and sword during the Empire (1822-89), the church had operated as part of the state bureaucracy. But an undisciplined clergy and severe government regulation led to the church’s institutional breakdown. In the 1870s, bishops and imperial officials clashed over state intervention in ecclesiastical affairs. The positivist-inspired military officers who toppled the monarchy ended subsidies to Catholic activities, secularized education, wrote religious freedom into the Constitution of 1891, and generally undermined the church’s position in Brazilian society.

The bishops welcomed liberty from state control, but they also pushed for the reestablishment of time-honored privileges. Under the leadership of Dom Sebastião Leme da Silveira Cintra, archbishop of Olinda and Recife (1916-21) and later Rio de Janeiro (1930-42), the church rebuilt its cadres—its clergy, religious, and lay activists — and strengthened its ties to local and regional officials. As the church grew stronger, Brazil’s leaders acknowledged it as a bulwark of social stability. When President Artur da Silva Bernardes (1922-26) paid an unprecedented official visit to Dom Leme, he stressed the church’s collaboration in “maintaining order and promoting national progress.” By the time Vargas rose to power in the Revolution of 1930, the church was poised to reenter national politics.5

In exchange for church guardianship of the status quo, Vargas granted Catholicism quasi-official recognition. The 1955 IEC triumphantly embodied that relationship but also marked the start of a transition to a new era for the church.

This essay first discusses eucharistic congresses as major rallying points for the Catholic world and as contributors to the church’s political influence in Brazil during the First Republic. It then analyzes the intense reciprocal relationship between church and state under Vargas. Finally, focusing on the 1955 IEC, it describes the different sectors of government (and private enterprise) that contributed, the economic links that complemented the political ties, and the IEC’s catalytic effect on Brazilian life. The gathering affected the physical development of Rio, Brazilian tourism, and in particular the career of Dom Hélder Câmara, the IEC’s secretary general and arguably the most influential Latin American bishop of the twentieth century. Seen at the time as the brains behind the event, Dom Hélder best embodies the complex issues surrounding it, including the church’s struggle to adapt to a rapidly modernizing, increasingly pluralistic society and its growing awareness of Brazil’s poverty.6

The Congresses and “Romanization” in the First Republic

Inaugurated at Lille, France, in 1881, international congresses arose from a European eucharistic revival rooted in church reaction against secularization and persecution following the French Revolution. Inspired by successful pilgrimages to sites of eucharistic miracles in the heatedly anticlerical France of the 1870s, the congresses sought to bolster believers’ faith by assembling them in devotion to the Eucharist, the Body of Christ taken as Holy Communion, the central ritual of Catholicism.7 As the congresses quickly spread to other countries, a permanent committee of clergy chose the locations, each ratified by the Pope. The first international congress outside France took place at Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1885, followed by gatherings in Jerusalem (1893), Montreal (1910), Chicago (1926), Sydney (1928), Carthage (1930), and Manila (1937).

Attracting millions of attendees, the festivals projected the church’s power as it reasserted itself doctrinally and politically. At the 1905 Rome congress Pope Pius X, the “Pope of the Eucharist,” increased the importance of the sacrament by shifting emphasis from simple adoration to daily consumption of Communion as spiritual food. The most controversial congress took place in London in 1908, when Protestants persuaded the prime minister to bar the Catholics from publicly showing the Blessed Sacrament. In contrast, at the Vienna festival of 1912, the Austro-Hungarian emperor and his archdukes marched in a procession of hundreds of thousands. After a hiatus during the carnage of World War I, the congresses dropped earlier public complaints about the secular state to underscore Pope Pius XI’s notion of the Eucharist as sole unifier of humankind.

In Brazil, the church fortified itself through a process of “Romanization,” a campaign for the conservative modernization and moralization of Brazilian Catholicism. Begun in the 1850s, this movement flourished under republican religious freedom and lasted into the 1950s. For the first time, the Brazilian church adopted the rigid model of seminary training established at the Council of Trent in the 1500s. Directed by a growing corps of priests either born or educated in Europe, the new system reduced the proportion of Brazilians among the clergy and strengthened ties to the papacy. Romanization was further intertwined with the Europeanizing tendencies of the First Republic. Pastors “Europeanized” religious customs by essentially seizing control of popular Catholicism and substituted uniform rituals under priestly authority for varied and numerous lay practices.

The church further worked to influence society at large. It opened schools for the children of the urban middle and upper classes, whose Eurocentrism meshed well with Romanization. Their attitudes contrasted sharply with the inward-looking, millenarian worldview of popular Catholicism in rural communities such as Canudos, the religious settlement opposed by the church hierarchy and destroyed by the army in 1897. Striving to instill in the masses moral order and obedience to authority, Romanization vaulted the church into the arms of Brazil’s modernizing elite.8

Romanization reinvigorated the institutional church after its poor performance in the 1800s. The church’s new freedom allowed it to create dozens of additional dioceses and to import thousands of European priests and nuns. By the late 1920s, the church’s highly educated cadres were running social assistance projects, publications, schools, convents, and seminaries. They also had become ingrained in local and regional networks of power.9

Most important, Romanization spawned an ideology of neo-Christendom, which posited a Catholic religious monopoly and a central role for the church in Brazilian society through influence on the state and on the middle and upper classes. The revitalized church marshaled the faithful to pressure the government for religious education in the public schools of the State of Minas Gerais, for instance. Neo-Christendom thrived under such leaders as Dom Leme. He reaffirmed Brazil’s Catholicity and upheld the social order by supporting the authorities, re-Christianizing the secularized upper classes, and maintaining a conservative, paternalistic outlook toward the poor. In 1922, for example, he encouraged the prominent intellectual and former atheist Jackson de Figueiredo to found the Centro Dom Vital. Its membership coordinated a panoply of Catholic organizations that served as the church’s political base. Dom Leme also set up Ação Católica Brasileira (ACB, Brazilian Catholic Action), a group of lay organizations that the archbishop and the clergy used to mobilize the faithful.10

In line with Romanization, Dom Leme made national eucharistic congresses a religious and political tradition. Situated on the periphery of the Catholic world, Brazil figured little in the first international congresses. Before 1955, moreover, only one of those gatherings took place in Latin America: the 32d, at Buenos Aires in 1934. Following a worldwide trend, however, Brazil held diocesan festivals, beginning as early as 1915 in São Paulo.11 In 1922, led by Dom Leme, Rio de Janeiro hosted the first congress of national significance, followed by others in Salvador (1933), Belo Horizonte (1936), Recife (1939), São Paulo (1942), Porto Alegre (1948), and Belém (1953).12

As part of Brazil’s centennial independence celebration, the 1922 Rio festival testified to the church’s patriotism. It also marked church efforts to guide Brazilian society just as a newly formed Communist Party, nationalistic artists and intellectuals, and rebellious army officers began demanding political and social reform. Typifying Brazil’s congresses, the Rio pageant showcased Holy Communion as the way to spiritual purity, the antidote for life’s difficulties, and the guarantor of social harmony. At the fair’s end, Dom Leme and other bishops laid the first stone of the Cristo Redentor, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, to be raised on public land atop Rio’s imposing Corcovado peak. Approved by the government, this last touch broke a republican taboo against open church-state cooperation.13 Conceived by the French Vincentian missionary Pedro Maria Bos and built by a French sculptor, the statue captured the essence of eucharistic congresses’ elevation of Christ—and not popular saints and rituals—as the center of official, Romanized Brazilian Catholicism.

Church and State Under Vargas: Forging a “Moral Concordat”

The First Republic ended on October 24, 1930, as Dom Leme, invested as a cardinal days earlier, escorted the deposed President Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa to safety after negotiating an accord with the rebels. As Brazilian church historian José Oscar Beozzo has observed, “The First Republic, which began its history by establishing the separation between church and state and excluding the church from the new liberal positivist order, paradoxically leaves the scene 40 years later at the hands of a member of the Catholic hierarchy.”14

The revolution had defeated the old oligarchical elite. In the volatile political atmosphere that followed, Vargas sought church legitimation of his regime. His victory had the full blessing of Archbishop João Becker and the powerful church of Vargas’ native state of Rio Grande do Sul, where priests, nuns, and Catholic activists had enthusiastically joined the Revolution. His relationship to the national church, however, was still uncertain. Dom Leme seized the opportunity to pressure Vargas for concessions. In May 1931, the cardinal showed the church’s force by rallying the faithful around Our Lady of Aparecida, the black Virgin named patroness of Brazil in 1930 by Pope Pius XI. After a procession with the Virgin’s image through the streets of Rio, Dom Leme consecrated the country to Our Lady as Vargas and his cabinet looked on. Crowds gathered again in October for a weeklong devotion to Cristo Redentor. Vargas, his cabinet, and 45 bishops accompanied Dom Leme in dedicating the statue on the Corcovado. During the festivities, Dom Leme presented Vargas with a list of Catholic demands to be included in a new constitution.15

Vargas and the church established an informal pact of cooperation, which historian Ralph Della Cava has labeled an “unwritten concordat.”16 The church offered the state ideology, moral content, and models of social discipline, and it backed Vargas’ emerging corporatist system by aiming to “respiritualize culture” and foster cooperation among social classes.17 Corporatism resonated strongly with church teachings on social unity and against class struggle. For instance, Oliveira Viana, one of Brazil’s leading intellectuals and a key Vargas adviser, saw the Vargas regime as flowing from a “Christian corporatism.”18

For itself, the church sought state support in the cultural and religious spheres. The Constitution of 1934, for example, contained all the proposals made by the Liga Eleitoral Católica (Catholic Electoral League), the political pressure group set up by Dom Leme. These included promulgation of the constitution in the name of God, the indissolubility of marriage, civil recognition of the legal validity of religious marriage, labor legislation inspired by the precepts of social justice and the principles of a Christian order, rights for Catholic unions, and more general Catholic demands, such as female suffrage and freedom of education.19

The government also placed religious images and crucifixes in public buildings and reinstituted military chaplaincies, banned under the republic. As Thomas Bruneau has observed, Dom Leme had regained a “position for the church in public life.”20 In light of Vatican concordats with Italy, Germany, and a dozen other countries, church and state later contemplated a formal accord. None was reached, however, presumably because Dom Leme feared the church would fall under the control of Vargas’ authoritarian Estado Novo (1937-45), which repressed political organizations and closed the National Congress. Nevertheless, as one bishop put it, the informal pact endured as a “moral concordat.”21

The moral concordat revoked prohibitions on state subsidization. During the First Republic, the church had at times overcome this legal barrier through political accommodation and thus had received some federal and state funds for charitable and other works.22 Now Vargas collaborated openly with the church. In 1931, for example, he created a Caixa de Subvenções to fund charitable establishments — an area dominated by Catholic institutions. In contrast with the first republican constitution, moreover, the 1934 magna carta permitted the subsidization of Catholic institutions. Accordingly, subsidization increased during the Estado Novo. For instance, the church used public monies to organize anti-Communist labor unions known as Círculos Operários. Although the círculos declined in importance after Vargas’ fall in 1945, the state still expected the church to help discipline workers.

Additional resources flowed to Catholic entities under the Conselho Nacional de Serviço Social (National Social Service Council), created by Vargas in 1938 and run by individuals with ties to the church. Subsidies continued under President Eurico Gaspar Dutra (1946-51), the second Vargas government, the administrations of Juscelino Kubitschek (1956-61), Jânio Quadros (1961), and Joño Goulart (1961-64), and even the military regime (1964-85)23

The church used public funds to expand Brazil’s social infrastructure, building hospitals, child-care centers, orphanages, charitable organizations, housing projects, libraries, and educational entities (schools, universities, seminaries, and convents) that taught hundreds of thousands of people. In line with the ideology of neo-Christendom, the church saw these works as a way to instill Catholic truths in the populace. According to government statistics, in 1955 Brazil had 5,478 Catholic social projects. By the mid-1960s, 40 percent of the people in Salvador, Bahia, were receiving Catholic charity. Across Brazil, government at all levels supported 416 hospitals, while the church ran 300 hospitals known as santas casas and directed another 800 of the country’s 2,854 private medical centers. In all, religious orders tended 150,000 of Brazil’s 284,000 hospital beds. A later church study estimated that 10 percent of Brazilians benefited from its establishments, with 61.6 percent of the activities backed by national, state, or municipal governments.24 Thus, under the moral concordat, the church became a major social arm of the state.

The surge of projects complemented the state’s own increased presence in the social arena after 1930.25 The church, however, believed that government efforts were inadequate. Seeking to bolster the state, in the 1950s the bishops hoped “to multiply by ten, by a hundred, by a thousand the action of official agencies.” Furthermore, though reliance on public funds meant having to seek patronage, the bishops saw the church as a corrective to the inefficiency and influence peddling of the political system. The church could manage the social network better than “grandiose” government departments paralyzed by bureaucracy and electoral interests. Subsidies were not a political favor, but the “people's money” used in service to the community.26

Strictly ecclesiastical projects also benefited. In 1954, for example, the Brazilian Congress voted five million cruzeiros for the construction of the National Basilica of Aparecida, which became a major attraction for pilgrims and a symbol of Brazilians devotion to Our Lady.27 Celebrations such as episcopal anniversaries received state funding, as did eucharistic congresses. The 1940 Recife festival, for instance, acquired resources at the municipal, state, and federal levels, as well as from banks, commercial interests, industry, and numerous church groups, while the 1953 Belém congress secured a federal grant of three million cruzeiros.28

Church, State, and Society in the 1955 Eucharistic Congress

The 36th IEC in Rio was an immense display of piety but also of luxury, efficiency, and power. Like previous congresses, it aimed to inoculate the faithful against modernity by focusing on the “great modern errors,” “the essential function of the priesthood,” an “intense eucharistic life,” and the family.29 The economics of the IEC joined different sectors of Brazilian society—church, state, military, business, the press, labor, and the faithful—in an effort to polish Brazil’s international image. Public and private aid facilitated cooperation by making the IEC a Brazilian success story and giving the church a platform to preach the faith as the key to national unity. In the process, church and state revealed common goals in national development, labor relations, and social policy. The religious and the political, the sacred and the secular, and paradoxically, the traditional and the modern melded into one.

The Congress opened as a relay team, in an event conceived by Roberto Marinho’s Rádio Globo and his daily newspaper O Globo, carried the Eucharistic Torch from the Corcovado peak to the Praça do Congresso, the downtown esplanade laid especially for the congress’ main events. There, world champion triple jumper Ademar Ferreira da Silva used the torch to light a four-meter-high, 840-kilogram candle—said to be the world’s largest—that would burn throughout the congress. “This colossal candle marked the presence in spirit of millions and millions of persecuted brothers behind the Iron Curtain,” stated O Seminário, the official journal of Brazil’s candidates for the priesthood. In the praça stood a 15-meter-high brazilwood cross and the throne of Dom Pedro II, lent by descendants of Brazil’s imperial family.30

Participants could also admire a giant monstrance, 2.5 meters tall, containing 140 kilograms of gilded silver, 56 brilliants and encrusted diamonds, 1,029 semiprecious stones, and a bluish beryl weighing 790 grams. Cast especially for the congress, this receptacle for displaying the Holy Eucharist was, the IEC Boletim Informativo insisted, “a work of art to be executed with the greatest diligence” and “without delay.” Dom Jaime de Barros Câmara, Dom Leme’s successor as cardinal-archbishop, received donations for the monstrance of gold and silver objects and at least 19 collections of precious stones. From throughout the country, people rich and poor sent jewelry, and widows gave up cherished wedding rings.31

The most imposing prop was the altar, conceived by Lúcio Costa, the urban planner who later would design the new capital at Brasília. Located at the water’s edge, the altar took the form of a caravelle to symbolize the arrival of Catholicism in Brazil with the first Portuguese explorers. Its mast, made by the Brazilian navy, rose 30 meters into the sky.32

About 1.5 million people participated in the IEC, including 300 bishops, 20 cardinals, and thousands of priests and visitors from around the world. The attendance was striking, given Rio’s population (according to the 1950 census) of 2.3 million. Officially, the church registered more than 450,000 people in Rio alone, among them the current Miss Brazil, Emília Barreto Correia Lima. Many Brazilians arrived from far-off Brazilian states, such as the passengers on Panair’s special pilgrim flights from Bahia.33 In the praça, the crowd reached one million during the opening ceremony and half a million at the closing. Hotel ships floated in Guanabara Bay, some carrying foreign delegations led by their pastors. Francis Cardinal Spellman, archbishop of New York, headed a group of three hundred on the ship Brasil. Others came from New Orleans and San Antonio, other parts of Latin America, numerous European countries, and the Middle East.34

The congress encompassed a myriad of activities intended to accent the church’s presence and to inculcate Christian values in Brazilian society. In one march, thousands of priests and seminarians walked down Rio Branco Avenue, a main thoroughfare in the heart of the business district. A maritime procession carried the Eucharist to the praça. There were other processions, liturgies, study sessions, and concerts, as well as ceremonies honoring the bishops. Special events catered to foreign pilgrims, the military, girls, women, seminarians, the handicapped, and the sick, among others. Pope Pius XII blessed the congress during a radio address to Brazilians that emphasized social unity and Catholic traditions in the land of “order and progress.” President João Café Filho, Vargas’ immediate successor, also spoke over the airwaves and led other high officials in receiving Benedette Aloisi Cardinal Massela, Pius XII’s legate to the congress and the former apostolic nuncio (1927-46). From Geneva, where he was meeting with Western European leaders, U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower telegraphed a greeting to IEC participants. Moreover, public officials pronounced Brazil’s consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The church announced that it would distribute four million religious medals during the congress, and the government issued special postage stamps.35

Rio underwent a spiritual awakening. The masses of people in the streets and the outpouring of emotion and religiosity made the IEC a “vast plebiscite of faith,” as Nereu Ramos, president of the Brazilian senate, put it.36 Wearing IEC emblems on their chests, for a week Cariocas and their guests prayed, sang, and paid homage to Christ, Our Lady of Aparecida (the congress’ patroness), and church leaders. Radio stations helped by broadcasting special programs about the IEC, as well as classes in Gregorian chant. Triumphalistic, highly Romanized Catholicism dominated. “Convert the Protestants!” the people exhorted God during one public prayer session. “Convert the Jews!”

“We saw a different Rio, Catholic, perfectly conscious of spiritual values, disproving that the capital of the republic is just the land of carnival and macumba [Afro-Brazilian religion], a fame that erroneous publicity spreads everywhere,” observed journalist Hélio Damante following the congress. He further noted that of the one million people who received the Eucharist at Communion services, at least three hundred thousand were men and boys, an improvement over the usually much lower male participation in Communion.37

Like the 1922 Rio congress, the 1955 IEC took place at a critical historical juncture. Reelected in 1950, Vargas had resumed his earlier nationalist drive for industrialization and had built worker support to counter antistatist conservatives. As politics became increasingly polarized, Vargas’ opponents feared the resurgence of the Communist Party, outlawed in 1947 with the church’s encouragement. They further disapproved of his sympathy for the syndicalist regime of Argentine president Juan Domingo Perón. Vargas’ suicide in August 1954 ignited further nationalist sentiment. Despite calls from the Right to suspend balloting, three months after the IEC Brazilians voted in Kubitschek, Vargas’ political heir. In November the army staged a preemptive coup to block another anti-Kubitschek plot.38

Like the 1930 Revolution, the crises of 1954-55 cast Rio’s cardinal-archbishop, Dom Jaime de Barros Câmara, as an intermediary. Two weeks before the suicide, Dom Jaime and his auxiliary bishop, Dom Hélder Câmara (no relation), visited Vargas at the Catete Palace to discuss a possible resignation. Vargas refused. Following the pro-Kubitschek coup, opposing military factions requested the support of the cardinal, who frequently celebrated Easter Mass for members of the armed forces. Dom Jaime replied with an appeal for peace to the military commanders.39

The IEC also came at a key moment for the church. Brazilian society was growing increasingly pluralistic as alternatives to Catholicism gained appeal. Spiritist, Afro-Brazilian, and Protestant religious rivals—“enemy number one of the people's faith” in the eyes of Latin America’s bishops—eroded the church’s religious monopoly and even competed for state funding. In the 1950s, Protestant ministers began to hold large revivals, while adherents of the Afro-Brazilian faith Umbanda exalted their religion in newspapers and conferences as a new national faith. The bishops responded by organizing an official campaign against the Umbandistas.40 In addition, the church’s battle against Communism deepened as the Cold War progressed. Thus, in the “pious 1950s,” large devotional gatherings such as the national Rosary Crusade, processions of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and local eucharistic congresses became political arms for defending neo-Christendom. The IEC, Brazil’s most important religious event of the decade, stood as the last great exhibition of Brazilian Catholic hegemony.41

Piety, however, was just one option for the church. The institution also sought to adapt its conservative, Romanized Catholicism to meet other challenges of the modern world. Because Brazil’s model of capitalist development failed to improve conditions in the countryside, vast numbers of people migrated to the cities, where many had to settle in favelas, or shantytowns. Fully supportive of nationalist developmentalism yet committed to social justice, a small but influential group of clerics began to challenge the neo-Christendom model and to advocate structural changes, such as agrarian reform. Backed by the Vatican, they also created new church organizations dedicated to those goals.

The key reformer was Dom Hélder Câmara. A profoundly devout priest, trained in the 1920s and 1930s by the Romanizing Vincentians and influenced by Franciscan spirituality, Father Hélder possessed a wide-ranging political biography. In the 1930s he worked in the Ministry of Education and then on the National Education Council. Both in his home state of Ceará and in Rio, he was a leader of Ação Integralista Brasileira (AIB, Brazilian Integralist Action), a movement inspired by European fascism. Staunchly corporatist, AIB upheld the family, the nation, and God and enjoyed enthusiastic support from the clergy. After the undoctrinaire Vargas crushed integralismo during the Estado Novo, however, Father Hélder disassociated himself from the movement.42

Like a number of former integralistas who shared a strong desire for Brazil’s development but not necessarily the movement’s fascist image, Father Hélder gradually moved left. In 1947 he became national director of Ação Católica Brasilieira. In the 1950s, ACB gained inspiration from European progressive Catholics, such as Jacques Maritain, the French humanist and lay theologian, whose ideas entered Brazil by way of Alceu Amoroso Lima—a leading Catholic intellectual, a key influence on the first Vargas regime, and a mentor of Father Hélder. Partly in response to Communism, Hélder helped revitalize this lay apostolate, which became active in student and worker politics in the 1950s and openly radical in the 1960s.

Named Dom Jaime’s auxiliary bishop in 1952, Dom Hélder used the ACB model to form the Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil (CNBB), one of the world’s first associations of bishops.43 Shortly before the IEC, Dom Hélder was promoted to archbishop, and he immediately joined other Latin American prelates gathered in Rio for the congress to found the world’s only continental episcopal group, the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM). CELAM concentrated on traditional concerns, such as the critical shortage of priests, but it also focused on Latin American underdevelopment.44

As a central figure in these initiatives, Dom Hélder began to depart ideologically from his superior, Dom Jaime, and to eclipse him as the leader of the Brazilian church. Perhaps unwittingly, Dom Jaime himself spurred his assistant’s rise by making him the chief IEC planner. Despite an incipient rivalry, however, in 1954 and 1955 the two worked together for the success of the congress.

“The Most Sincere and Complete Cooperation of All”

One of their first steps was to seek government assistance. This proved easy to do. According to Dom Hélder, when he and Dom Jaime approached Vargas, the president exclaimed, “But this is very important! People will come from all over the world!” Dom Hélder recollected,

I remember when Vargas [assumed] the presidency in 1951, he insisted on sending a personal representative . . . to ensure that all the state apparatus was made available to us in preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress of 1954-55. Every door was opened to us, every facility was made available. That was how we were able to get a huge esplanade built across the bay right in the heart of Rio—the project was already under way, and we got it speeded up.45

In addition, Vargas gathered his cabinet to study the public sector’s role in the event.46

Dom Jaime punctuated Vargas’ commitment by calling together government officials again on May 22, 1954. Dom Hélder, the mayor of Rio, the president of the city council, the presidents of the federal senate and the Chamber of Deputies, Vargas’ entire cabinet, and Vice President Café Filho attended.47 The details of the meeting are unknown, but in a letter to Finance Minister Osvaldo Aranha, Dom Jaime made the agenda clear. The IEC, Dom Jaime wrote,

can be of no little interest to the public powers . . . because of the exceptional occasion of tourism that may very well mark the decisive development of tourism as an authentic source of income for Brazil.

However, in order for the 36th IEC to assume its potential and just proportions, the most sincere and complete cooperation of all, and in particular that of the government, is indispensable.48

As the cardinal recognized, the church’s religious strategy meshed neatly with state interests and the country’s economic fortunes.

Public support for the IEC took many forms. As Dom Hélder noted, the church used its clout to obtain a site for the Praça do Congresso, which skirted the shore of Guanabara Bay at the southern end of Rio Branco Avenue. The praça was essential for the large ceremonies. When the government of the federal district refused to cede the area in July 1954, Dom Jaime criticized the city in his “Voice of the Pastor” radio broadcasts. He also dispatched Dom Hélder to Vargas, who in turn sent his official envoy, Ambassador João Pizarro Gabizo de Coelho Lisboa, to Mayor Dulcídio do Espírito Santo Cardoso with orders to begin building the plaza.49 The founders of the future Modern Art Museum also wanted the prime real estate but received it only after the congress.50

The praça was the first section of the Aterro do Flamengo, a landfill built into the bay to extend Rio’s area. The church scrutinized this public works project and combated rumors that the government would not complete it on time. To finish it, the federal district rushed to remove one-third of the downtown Santo Antônio Hill to the praça. In a year’s time, trucks transported 2 million cubic meters of earth in 500,000 trips, giving Rio 250,000 square meters of new space.51 The church alone did not have the resources to carry out such a Herculean task, which transformed the face of Brazil’s “Cidade Maravilhosa.”

Rio’s government did much more to support the IEC, and improved its own image in the process. Mayor Pedro Alim, appointed by Café Filho after Vargas’ death, collaborated with the church to spruce up the city, cleaning, widening, and repairing streets; building 22 kilometers of new highways; and renovating the Cristo Redentor statue.52 At the church’s urging, Rio put in a third water main to end shortages that had forced some people to buy the precious liquid, although after the construction, parts of the city’s lower-class North Zone still lacked it.53

“Everybody knows that the Water Department has deaf ears,” the daily newspaper Jornal do Brasil opined. “The complaints continue as if Rio de Janeiro were the most backward African village.” The commentary revealed many Cariocas’ apparent frustration with the government and, oriented as many were by European ideas, perhaps also the negative image they held of their country as it struggled to develop. During the IEC, however, church-state cooperation produced “model organization” in Rio and at least temporarily reversed the norm of inefficiency in public service. Reporting Dom Hélder’s announcement before the Associação Brasileira de Imprensa (ABI, or Brazilian Press Association) that the praça was nearly completed, the Jornal do Brasil praised the IEC for catalyzing the “realization of works in record time in a country where things take far too long, notably those that fall under the control of the public power.”54 In short, as Hélio Damante observed, the IEC provided a “lively and opportune negation of Brazilians’ reputation for improvidence and improvisation.” During the congress, everything functioned “like a good Swiss watch.”55

Some of the most impressive public assistance came as direct subsidies. The 14 million cruzeiros granted by the National Congress with Vargas’ approval equaled approximately 165,000 U.S. dollars, a hefty sum at the time. Another subsidy of 10 million cruzeiros, or approximately 110,000 dollars, came from the mayor’s office. These funds provided 29 percent of the church’s official IEC budget of more than 74 million cruzeiros, which actually generated a 10 percent surplus.56 Another subsidy of 10 million cruzeiros went to finish the main building of the new campus of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro in the Gávea district. A letter from the university to Osvaldo Aranha recommended “moving ahead” with disbursement of aid so that the structure could be inaugurated during the IEC.57 The state’s many other contributions, such as the praça, were unaccounted for in financial terms. The city and national governments opened lodging for 50,000 people in public buildings, for instance; and the Municipal Health Secretariat set up seven first aid posts, each with two doctors and two ambulances.58

The virtuosos of state support were Brazil’s armed forces. The IEC provided an example of the very significant cooperation between cross and sword absent from writings on modern Brazil. The military embellished the ceremonial aspects of the congress by providing an honor guard and personal escort for Cardinal Massela. Martial bands played at religious observances, and soldiers marched in the opening procession, which included tributes to Brazil’s men in uniform.59 Such public display symbolized how well the church and the armed forces had reconciled since their estrangement during the First Republic. Additionally, it gave a religious hue to the armed forces’ cherished role as the povo fardado (the people in uniform).60

The military contributed further with material and logistical support. The air force, for example, transported packages and sign-up sheets for the congress, while the navy shone its spotlights on the praça and exploded fireworks provided by the government.61 Under army colonel Geraldo de Menezes Côrtes (who had served as Rio’s director of transit and later police chief in the early 1950s), the military provided security and directed vehicle and pedestrian traffic. During the IEC, Côrtes also stocked food in government warehouses ceded by Vargas, thereby averting price speculation and actually causing food prices to drop during the large influx of visitors.62

A wide variety of businesses also backed and benefited from the IEC. The church met initial expenditures, thanks to loans from seven private banks. Phillips do Brasil provided lighting and a sound system for the immense praça, while the merchant marine refurbished seven old ships into floating hotels. The Quintilha family lent its nearly completed apartment building as a hotel for bishops and priests, with suites furnished by private businesses and religious orders.63

Dom Jaime recognized the Antártica brewing company for its “valuable donation” of 7,500 cubic meters of wood for the praça’s altar and benches. In large newspaper ads, the ten construction and engineering companies that helped build the esplanade thanked Mayor Alim for undertaking the project and also welcomed IEC participants to Rio, while RCA Victor issued a phonograph record of the official congress hymn. The Atlántica insurance firm commemorated the IEC by publicizing an 80-cruzeiro traffic accident insurance policy approved by the church. “Nobody is safe in a cosmopolitan city,” Atlántica warned.64

Boosting the Tourism Industry

Business, government, and church interests merged in the IEC’s prospects for generating tourism. Though materially dependent, the church had the organization, vision, and unifying ideology necessary to fulfill this potential.

Rio de Janeiro’s authorities had long recognized their city’s promise as a draw for visitors, but tourism in Brazil remained “at best in its infancy,” as one visitor put it in the 1940s.65 Rivadavia Caetano da Silva, treasurer of the Confederação Nacional do Comércio (CNC, the National Confederation of Commerce) and former president of the Rio de Janeiro state tourism federation, blamed the industry’s lack of growth on the “pernicious” influence of government, which hampered foreigners with visa restrictions and did little to attract guests. The country lacked tourist infrastructure, a situation sorely apparent during the IEC, as a shortage of hotel space obliged many foreigners to stay on the hotel ships and Brazilians in public accommodations. Brazil also lacked well-planned excursions, comfortable transportation into the interior, and promotional publicity.

Thus, despite Brazil’s drive for economic development, it failed to cut a slice of the growing international tourist pie. In 1954, Silva noted, U.S. travelers had spent $1.4 billion on foreign travel, with Europe absorbing $550 million, Mexico $250 million, and Japan $60 million. “Of the $70 million expended in South America, how much must have been Brazil’s part?” he asked. Silva did not answer this rhetorically powerful question, suggesting that no one in Brazil knew, either. Statistics of the International Monetary Fund demonstrated that in the early 1950s, Brazilians spent more on travel outside their country than did foreigners who visited Brazil.66

In 1955 the church filled the organizational breach by setting up nearly two dozen commissions to coordinate different aspects of the congress and to mobilize the city. The souvenir commission encouraged industry to manufacture mementos of “good taste” for the salvation of the people and the IEC’s coffers. Buyers could choose from 36 different kinds of items, including 40,000 copies of a Bible emblazoned with an IEC logo.67 A decorations committee offered the populace guidelines for adorning the city so as to impress visitors. Its president, the Benedictine priest Dom Gerardo Martins, stated that stores should not exhibit crosses, altars, chalices, or religious images because such items would harm the aesthetics of commercial displays; appropriate were large photos of picturesque scenes of Brazilian cities. Shop windows needed to convey to foreigners and Brazilians alike “our sensibility and the beauty and refinement of our national products,” he said.

Whatever Cariocas did, it had to be uniquely Brazilian yet avoid all signs of provincialism, such as festoons and streamers, which would detract from Rio’s native and architectural beauty. “Ornamentation that befits Paris or London will certainly be a failure for us,” Dom Gerardo stated. “Let us not forget that Brazil, and notably Rio, is the leading country in modern architecture.” Perhaps sensing that the enthusiasm for captivating visitors was overshadowing the sacred, Dom Hélder cautioned Rio’s populace to “avoid the expression tourists: the right word is pilgrims.” In reality, IEC participants could be both.68

The church reinforced the link between religion and tourism by forming a Pilgrim Assistance Commission to train more than five hundred guides, defined as “persons speaking foreign languages who are able to offer information about the congress, Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro.”69 A training course prescribed the Ten Commandments of the Guide:

  1. The guide sees Christ in the pilgrim.

  2. The guide loves the pilgrim and helps in all ways.

  3. The guide treats all pilgrims equally.

  4. The guide fulfills his duties, even with sacrifice.

  5. The guide wins over the pilgrim with a good example.

  6. The guide is obedient and disciplined.

  7. The guide confronts and solves all difficulties.

  8. The guide does not criticize nor speak badly of anybody.

  9. The guide is generous and unselfish.

  10. The guide is courteous and gentlemanly.70

The trainees visited Rio’s Tijuca Forest and took classes on the city’s sites, Brazilian history, politics, literature, and art. Other organizations supplemented these efforts. The Touring Club do Brasil, for example, placed guides at the Santos Dumont Airport and the central bus station to aid arriving visitors.71

The church’s publicity campaign further demonstrated its commitment to tourism, though it spent “not one cent” on newspaper, radio, or television advertising. Instead, a publicity commission headed by Auxiliary Bishop Dom José Távora established a press office just blocks from the praça at the São Joaquim Palace, the curial offices, where reporters picked up releases on the IEC.72 In the praça, the church set up broadcast booths and special seating for reporters, who had permission to circulate freely during the ceremonies. The resulting coverage filled the airwaves and Rio’s dailies.73 The emphasis on good press relations was new for a church wary of modernity, but not surprising in light of the reformers’ efforts to adapt the institution to changing social and economic conditions. Dom Hélder in particular worked the press well and received credit from the ABI for “focusing the entire world on our capital.” The archbishop in turn declared that the journalists’ reports gave the IEC “magnitude and splendor.”74

The church’s own publication, the Boletim Informativo, expanded tourism-related publicity. One issue exhorted Brazilians to save for the trip to Rio: “Immediately get a piggy bank or open an account at a bank or at the Caixa Econômica [federal savings bank], and start saving. If you have a little money left over, put some aside in order to help the pilgrims without funds. This same measure can be taken in religious associations.” Other issues refuted rumors circulating in the turmoil surrounding Vargas’ death that “revolution is going to break out during the congress and nobody will be able to return home. . . . These false reports,” the Boletim suggested, “must be repelled as promptly as possible whenever they arise.” After the suicide, the Boletim assured readers that Vargas had always supported the IEC.75

More to the point, the bulletin focused on Brazil’s tourist attractions. Appearing in six languages, it described Rio as both a “modern” and a “traditional” city. “Available two steps away from the urban agitation are its forests (without snakes!), which are a place of repose and an invitation to meditation; mountains cross our path and unforgettable beaches await us at each step.” In the same vein, the Boletim voiced enthusiasm for nationalist developmentalism. “Brazil is a young country in South America,” it announced.

The country has entered a phase of industrial growth (turning to good account the country’s enormous potential in waterfalls, hydroelectric plants are now being installed, as well as blast furnaces for its abundant iron; the country is reequipping its railroads, opening up highways, intensifying its civil aviation, which has the world’s third-largest amount of traffic).

Culturally, Brazil is beginning to assert itself, especially in the area of science (particularly physical and biological sciences), the arts (Brazil’s modern architecture is of international renown), and literature (the authors of novels and poetry have been worthy of translation).76

An IEC album published by a group of priests and a military officer expressed similar sentiments in its commercial and political advertisements. For example, one proclaimed the growth of the energy, transportation, and industrial sectors of Minas Gerais under then-governor Kubitschek. Likewise, a handbook for pilgrims, issued in five languages, effused optimism about Brazil and repeated the common belief in its racial democracy.77

“Still so unknown” in the world, Brazil enjoyed unprecedented publicity from the IEC, declared João Vasconcellos, the CNC president. In churches “in the four corners of the world, from the most important cities to the most remote hamlets . . . posters speaking of our country were put up.” The IEC was an “excellent opportunity for advertising the country,” wrote journalist Alexandre José Barbosa Lima Sobrinho. “And publicity means new tourists in the future, when the pilgrims tell their compatriots all about our country.”78

The Fight Against Communism

The IEC occurred at a poignant moment in the struggle against Communism. In May 1954, Vargas had doubled the minimum wage, a move aimed at building working-class support but which ultimately stirred anti-Communist fear. Before its proscription in 1947, the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) had gained two hundred thousand members, making it the largest Communist party in Latin America and leading to impressive electoral showings, such as its plurality on the Rio city council. Though banned, the PCB remained an important political force in the 1950s. The Cold War came into sharp focus on the eve of the IEC as Hungary’s Communist government suspended the life sentence of Josef Cardinal Mindszenty, a Catholic cause célèbre after his imprisonment in 1949 for opposing the regime. Dom Jaime had protested the jailing and staged a procession of the Eucharist to show solidarity for the cardinal.

The church hoped to promote social harmony by steering Brazil’s working classes away from Communism. The Americas were the Communists’ “favorite target,” the Jornal do Brasil noted. Catholics formed a barrier against these “totalitarian agents,” and the IEC infused the faithful with “new energies” for their “redemptive crusade.” In a 1954 pastoral letter, Dom Jaime evoked the social function of the eucharistic congresses, likening them to the “table of the Father, which brings together sons perhaps separated by the force of antagonistic interests.” In the Eucharist, “bosses and laborers” once again became brothers. “It is there that the soldier kneels alongside the general, sharing in the same benefits,” the cardinal wrote. “Governments cannot ignore the effect of that spiritual union.” As Dom Jaime noted in calling for state support, the IEC could cause a “profound repercussion among the masses in this confusing and agitated hour.”79 Indeed, the congress occasioned a truce by 150,000 maritime workers whose demand for higher wages had threatened to disrupt it.80

Catholic writer Humberto Bastos underscored church support for a corporatist development model that opposed Communist notions of class conflict. “The church remains the spiritual base par excellence,” he wrote. “The campaigns for social assistance, for the recuperation of the worker, have no other meaning.” Economic growth created a “climate of natural disquiet,” and without the church the industrializing areas of Brazil would be “stirred up by political groups. . . . It would be pure and simple anarchy. The impact of social decomposition would bring the complete disarticulation of the labor market.”81

In appealing to the masses, the church presented itself as an alternative to Communism. One example was the festa do trabalhador (festival of the worker), organized by members of the Juventude Operária Católica (Catholic Worker Youth), one of Brazil’s leading Catholic Action groups. JOCistas canvassed Rio’s factories, workshops, offices, stores, and banks to discuss the importance of the congress with workers. Though opposed to class struggle, they believed that to fulfill the Eucharist’s dignifying potential, laborers needed to obtain an equal share in society’s benefits by organizing unions.

They demonstrated this during the festival by staging a play in the huge Maracanã soccer stadium, titled “The Worker and the Eucharist.” Its verse dialogue reflected the church’s desire that working people “liberate them-selves/from their precarious situation. . . . It is shameful and inhuman/To use man as a pure instrument of profit.” Dressed in laborers’ clothing, young men and women carried bottles of wine, wheat, and flowers to an altar—the laborer’s worktable—for Mass. Another group of men shouldered a large cross, signifying the sanctity of work and of collaboration with God in seeking social welfare. The play also identified workers as the Christ of national development; they bore the cross—the quintessential sign of both suffering and hope in the Christian world—in the quest for Brazil’s progress.82

In contrast, according to church rhetoric, behind the Iron Curtain there was no Christ and no salvation. The hundred million Catholics of the “silent church” faced repression from atheistic governments. “Convert the Communists!” the people prayed. One night during the congress, bishops from 14 Communist nations called attention to religious persecution by marching to the praça altar. Four bishops’ thrones remained empty to symbolize the vacant sees in Communist countries. For a few moments the lights went off, revealing only the burning candles held by the clerics. The audience said prayers for priests killed by the Communists and recited the stations of the cross for the salvation of Eastern Europe.83

Dom Hélder’s Shift to the Poo6r

Overseeing this Catholic response to Communism was Dom Hélder Câmara. He was a paragon of the priest as administrator, public figure, and politician, orchestrating the ostentatious arrangements without questioning the church’s paternalistic views of the working class. Indeed, his leadership and organizational acumen won him national popularity and boosted his appeal among Brazil’s entrepreneurial and social elite. After the IEC, for instance, Dom Hélder became friends with the local president of Volkswagen, which began to make cars in Brazil during the Kubitschek presidency, and even knew his private telephone number. Rio’s bankers’ association made Dom Hélder an honorary member, and Varig airlines gave him a free pass.84 Dom Hélder also became one of Kubitschek’s principal advisers, although he turned down offers to become minister of education and mayor of Rio.85 When Kubitschek invited Pope John XXIII to the inauguration of Brasília in 1960, he chose Dom Hélder to travel secretly to Rome to contact the Pontiff86

While basking in prestige, however, in the late 1950s Dom Hélder increasingly concentrated on social reform. He and other Catholics sought fresh approaches for meeting not only the Communist threat but also the negative effects of economic development, such as the burgeoning favelas. While some members of Rio’s middle class carried out charity in the shantytowns, others glossed over the substandard conditions and viewed them with curiosity; they even made a fad of visiting them to party. The favelas had been festering for at least half a century, but after the PCB’s postwar electoral success they suddenly became a political challenge for church and state. Thus, in 1947, the church countered growing Communist influence in the slums by joining the federal government to provide them with social services —a substantial shift from the strategy, advocated by many leaders, of eradicating them and returning favelados to the countryside.87

Dom Hélder had witnessed this social blight since his arrival in Rio in the 1930s, but only during the IEC did he develop a profound interest in it. One IEC committee, for example, was charged with constructing new housing for the poor, using the dismantled benches donated for the Praça do Congresso by the Antártica company.88 For Dom Hélder, moreover, the IEC placed church efforts in favor of the corporatist development model in sharp relief. His friend and European counterpart Pierre Cardinal Gerlier, archbishop of Lyon, visited Rio’s favelas and was repelled by the contrasts between their poverty and the IEC’s splendor.89 Gerlier sought out Dom Hélder after the congress and spoke of his shock.

Brother Dom Hélder, why don’t you use this organizing talent that the Lord has given you in the service of the poor? You must know that although Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities in the world it is also one of the most hideous, because all these favelas in such a beautiful setting are an insult to the Lord.90

“I was thrown to the ground like Saul on the road to Damascus,” Dom Hélder later recalled.91

As a result, Dom Hélder dedicated himself “first and foremost” to work in the favelas.92 Together with his IEC assistants, he used the IEC’s 8-million-cruzeiro surplus to found the Cruzada São Sebastião (Saint Sebastian Crusade), a housing program named for Rio’s patron saint. (“From the name alone you can see that we were still tied to the medieval attitudes of Christendom,” Dom Hélder said in retrospect.) Going beyond earlier church strategies that merely emphasized education, the bishop implemented concepts of community development.93 Like the IEC, the cruzada received broad public and private support. The Café Filho government donated 50,000 cruzeiros. Later Dom Hélder won Kubitschek’s approval to construct housing using money from sales of land reclaimed from the sea. Thus originated Dom Hélder’s reputation as the bishop of the favelados. In 1957 Dom Hélder expanded his efforts for shantytown dwellers by organizing a congress of Rio favelas, and in 1959 he founded the Banco da Providência, a charitable and social service entity financed by an annual fair.94

In one of its major projects, the cruzada built apartments for the residents of Praia do Pinto, a large favela located near the upper-class neighborhood of Leblon. Some Cariocas attacked the cruzada for putting this housing next to prime real estate, while more sympathetic critics, such as IEC collaborator Colonel Côrtes (now a member of Congress and a student of the favelas), believed that the slum dwellers should receive the resources to build their own homes.95

The cruzada ultimately failed because of interference from clientelistic politicians, land speculators, and an unsympathetic military regime. Like many other favelados, the residents of Praia do Pinto were removed to public housing projects on the outskirts of Rio, far from their jobs. Nevertheless, Dom Hélder was pleased that the cruzada had drawn the attention of authorities to the favelas for the first time.96 Yet despite his and other Catholic activists’ increasing awareness of the need to combat poverty, the cruzada’s most serious deficiency was perhaps its inability to go beyond the paternalistic view of the poor that marked Brazilian neo-Christendom. Instead of focusing on social inequality, the cruzada still emphasized such classic elements of neo-Christendom as anti-Communism, the Christian family, good moral behavior, and acceptance of the social order.97


The centrality of economic factors in church-state reciprocity necessitates a more varied analysis of the link between religion and politics in modern Brazil. A shared corporatist ideology was a key element, but the palpable economic aspects of the collaboration provide an even clearer picture of how and why church and state cooperated.

The church was not only a political actor but a multidimensional organization acting in many spheres. As a nonprofit institution, its search for resources was especially critical because it had to seek diverse funding sources. As Dom Hélder later recalled about the IEC, the church needed money, “and we thought of all sorts of ways of getting it.”98 Thus the Brazilian “moral concordat” involved the state’s material support in exchange for the church’s religious legitimation and the application of its labor and organizational skills for social peace and economic development.

The symbiosis of the moral concordat, however, made the church financially dependent on the state. In 1955, anthropologist Thales de Azevedo aptly observed that such reliance caused the faithful to lose “the habit of contributing directly for the necessities of their religious community.” The pattern continued even after the 1964 military coup brought attacks on the church and damaged the moral concordat. Former congressman Márcio Moreira Alves noted that most Catholic charitable projects received public monies from all levels of government. Before the generals took control of all federal spending, “the voting of the budget was annually preceded by a kind of siege. Hundreds of priests and nuns from the four corners of the country would grab the parliamentarians in the corridors in the hope of obtaining more money for their projects.”99 Instead of a missionary organization, the church resembled a lobby.

The system recalled the royal patronage of the colonial and imperial eras and the church’s prominence as a provider of social aid.100 It also reflected the traditional patron-client relations of Brazilian politics. In the modern era, however, the church had to compete for patronage in an environment of increasing religious pluralism, which eroded the Catholic religious monopoly. Thus the moral concordat both linked the church with its past and mirrored the growing religious struggles of contemporary Brazilian society.

In a broader sense, the IEC tapped into the ancient Constantinian identification of religion with nation and power. The church was Romanized, but it was also patriotic. Its contribution to tourism linked nationalism, economic progress, and religion. Church, state, and the private sector pooled their interests, revealing a multiplicity of relationships and blurring institutional boundaries. A decade later, the universal conclave of bishops known as the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) abandoned triumphalism in favor of religious freedom and ecumenism, once again creating a sharper division between church and state and forging a new identity for Catholicism. For an ecclesiastical leadership embattled by religious competition, the memory of the 1955 IEC now evokes nostalgia for an era when the Brazilian church easily commanded the masses and government cooperation.101

In the 1990s, the church faces serious religious and political challenges from other denominations. A prime example is the syncretistic, neo-Pentecostal Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, one of whose pastors caused a national uproar in 1995 for punching and kicking an image of Our Lady of Aparecida on television. In the long run, however, increased religious competition could rejuvenate Brazilian Catholicism.102

Standing at the nexus of the church-state relationship, Dom Hélder questioned the stark contrast between publicly supported religious ostentation and the poverty of most Brazilians. During the developmentalist euphoria of the Kubitschek years, the government displayed its alliance with the bishops to allay conservatives’ fears about developmentalism, while Dom Hélder and the church’s growing reformist wing seized on the theme of progress as a way to social justice. Dom Hélder used his prestige to alert politicians and business moguls to the need for change in the socioeconomic structure.103 Later, at Vatican II, he and Cardinal Gerlier became leaders of the movement for a “church of the poor.”104 Dom Hélder’s new stance, however, cost him popularity among Brazil’s elite and sidetracked his career by prompting his transfer out of Rio in March 1964.

The military that had once been Dom Hélder’s gracious collaborators now vilified him as a Communist bishop. One of its ambassadors to the Vatican allegedly boasted of blocking his nomination as cardinal.105 Ultimately, Dom Hélder’s story demonstrates the importance of finances in the spiritual context, but also the limits of the moral concordat. His fall from the pinnacle of prestige among the upper class is a reminder that while the church frequently relied on power and wealth to influence society, it also needed to sacrifice them to rediscover the spiritual roots that nurtured its mission for justice.

The author thanks Ralph Della Cava, Pedro A. Ribeiro de Oliveira, Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, Marina Bandeira, Dain Borges, Mark Szuchman, Eric Van Young, and two anonymous HAHR readers for their excellent comments on earlier versions of this article, and also those who remarked on a presentation of these findings at the Second General Conference of the Commission for the Study of the History of the Church in Latin America, São Paulo, July 25-28, 1995. He is also grateful to the agencies that funded research for this article: the Fulbright Commission (Brasília), the Organization of American States, the History Department of the University of California, San Diego, the North-South Center at the University of Miami, and the History Department and Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Diego. Thanks also go to Cristina Mehrtens for research assistance.


Manchete (Rio de Janeiro) 171 (July 30, 1955), front cover.


36th International Eucharistic Congress, Boletim Informativo (hereafter cited as BI) no. 7 (n.d. [1954]), pp. 4-5, and no. 8, p. 1. See also Coleção das leis de 1954 (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional, 1954), 3:17.


Most works give only impressionistic treatment of the role of finances in the Brazilian church’s well-known political odyssey, generally concentrating on the church’s political transformation since World War II. Outstanding examples are Thomas C. Bruneau, The Political Transformation of the Brazilian Catholic Church (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1974) and The Church in Brazil: The Politics of Religion (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1982); Márcio Moreira Alves, A igreja e a política no Brasil (São Paulo: Editora Brasiliense, 1979); Maria Helena Moreira Alves, Estado e oposição no Brasil (1964-1984) (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1985); Clara Amanda Pope, “Human Rights and the Catholic Church in Brazil, 1970-1983: The Pontifical Justice and Peace Commission of the São Paulo Archdiocese,” Journal of Church and State 27:3 (Autumn 1985), 429-52; Scott Mainwaring, The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil, 1916-1985 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1986); Mainwaring and Alexander Wilde, eds., The Progressive Church in Latin America (Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 1989); Marcello de Carvalho Azevedo, Basic Ecclesial Communities in Brazil: The Challenge of a New Way of Being Church, trans. John Drury (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown Univ. Press, 1987). A rare example of economic focus is Ralph Della Cava, “Financing the Faith: The Case of Roman Catholicism,” Journal of Church and State 35:1 (Winter 1993), 37-59. See also Della Cava, "Thinking About Current Vatican Policy in Central and East Europe and the Utility of the ‘Brazilian Paradigm,’” Journal of Latin American Studies 25:2 (May 1993), 257-81, and “Roman Catholic Philanthropy in Central and East Europe, 1947-1993: A Preliminary Inquiry into Religious Resources Networking” (Unpublished paper, New York, 1994); Della Cava and Paula Montero, E o verbo se faz imagem: igreja católica e os meios de comunicação no Brasil, 1962-1989 (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1991). See also Brian H. Smith, More than Altruism: The Politics of Private Foreign Aid (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1990); Erick D. Langer and Robert H. Jackson, eds., The New Latin American Mission History (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1995); Daniel H. Levine, Religion and Politics in Latin America: The Catholic Church in Venezuela and Colombia (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1981), 106-17. For theoretical considerations see “Religion and the Economic Order,” theme issue of Social Compass 39:1 (Mar. 1992). For an example of faulty interpretation of the church’s role in politics resulting from inadequate knowledge of its finances, see Kevin Neuhouser, “The Radicalization of the Brazilian Catholic Church in Comparative Perspective,” American Sociological Review 54 (Apr. 1989), 233-44.


I have also developed the theme of church dependence on state subsidies in other essays. For an overview, see Kenneth P. Serbin, “Brazil: State Subsidization and the Church Since 1930,” in Organized Religion in the Political Transformation of Latin America, ed. Satya R. Pattnayak (Lanham: Univ. Press of America, 1995), 153-75. On Vargas’ policy of state subsidies, see idem, “State Subsidization of Catholic Institutions in Brazil, 1930-1964: A Contribution to the Economic and Political History of the Church” (Notre Dame: Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Working Paper no. 181, Oct. 1992). See also idem, “Igreja, estado, e a ajuda financeira pública no Brasil, 1930-1964: estudos de três casos chaves,” Textos CPDOC (Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil [hereafter FGV-CPDOC], 1991).


Bruneau, Political Transformation, 37-39.


The allusion to Dom Hélder as the brains of the IEC is in “A praça do congresso,” O Seminário (Viamão), 30:4 (Sept.-Oct. 1955), 234-35.


Thomas W. Schwertner, The Eucharistic Renaissance; or, The International Eucharistic Congresses (New York: Macmillan, 1926), 9-10, 22, 31-62; Henrique Alla, Os congressos eucarísticos intenacionais (Rio de Janeiro: Agir, 1955); J. C. Willke, “Eucharistic Congresses," New Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967-), 5:617-18; Roger Aubert, “Eucharistic Congresses from Leo XIII to Paul VI,” in The Church and Mankind (Glen Rock, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1965), 1:156. For an overview of French religiosity, see Thomas A. Kselman, Miracles and Prophecies in Nineteenth-Century France (New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1983); Ralph Gibson, A Social History of French Catholicism, 1789-1914 (London: Routledge, 1989), esp. 256-60.


On Romanization, see Kenneth P. Serbin, “Priests, Celibacy, and Social Conflict: A History of Brazil’s Clergy and Seminaries” (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California, San Diego, 1993), chaps. 2, 3; Ralph Della Cava, Milagre em Joaseiro, 2d ed., trans. Maria Yedda Linhares (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1977); idem, “Catholicism and Society in Twentieth-Century Brazil,” Latin American Research Review 11:2 (1976), 11-12; idem, “Brazilian Messianism and National Institutions: A Reappraisal of Canudos and Joaseiro,” HAHR 48:3 (Aug. 1968), 402-20; Pedro A. Ribeiro de Oliveira, Religião e dominação de classe: gênese, estrutura efunção do catolicismo romanizado no Brasil (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1985); Martin N. Dreher, ed., Imigrações e história da igreja no Brasil (Aparecida: Editora Santuário/CEHILA, 1993). See also Bruneau, Political Transformation, 11-51; Robert M. Levine, Vale of Tears: Revisiting the Canudos Massacre in Northeastern Brazil, 1893-1897 (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1992), chaps. 1, 3; Dain Borges, The Family in Bahia, Brazil, 1870-1945 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1992), chap. 5; Jeffrey D. Needell, A Tropical Belle Epoque: Elite Culture and Society in Turn-of-the-Century Rio de Janeiro (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987), 58-63. On Europeanization, see also George Reid Andrews, Blacks and Whites in São Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988 (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1991), chap. 3; on millenarianism, Todd A. Diacon, Millenarian Vision, Capitalist Reality: Brazil’s Contestado Rebellion, 1912-1916 (Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 1991).


Sergio Miceli, A elite eclesiástica brasilera (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Bertrand Brasil, 1988); Tânia Salem, “Do centro D. Vital à universidade católica,” in Universidades e instituições científicas no Rio de Janeiro, ed. Simon Schwartzman (Brasília: CNPQ, 1982), 97-134. During the First Republic, the rural oligarchy financed many church works. See José Oscar Beozzo, “Decadência e morte, restauração e multiplicação das ordens e congregações religiosas no Brasil,” in A vida religiosa no Brasil: enfoques históricos, ed. Riolando Azzi (São Paulo: Edições Paulinas, 1983), 103-5.


On Minas, see John D. Wirth, Minas Gerais in the Brazilian Federation, 1889-1937 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1977), 90-93, 109, 114, 124-26, 198-99; Riolando Azzi, “O início da restauração católica em Minas Gerais, 1920-1930,” Síntese (Belo Horizonte) 14 (1978), 65-92. On Dom Leme see Bruneau, Political Transformation, chap. 2; Mainwaring, Catholic Church and Politics, chap. 2; Azzi, “O início da restauração católica no Brasil (1920-1930),” Síntese 10 (1977), 61-90, 11 (1977), 73-102.


Congresso Eucharistico de São Paulo (São Paulo: Escolas Profissionaes do Lyceu Salesiano S. Coração de Jesus, 1917); São Paulo no IV Congresso Eucarístico Nacional (São Paulo: Arquidiocese de São Paulo, 1942), 211, 213.


Salvador held the first official national congress. The report of the Rio congress, however, also claimed its festival as first, probably because it gathered a large number of bishops and coincided with Brazil’s centennial independence celebration. See Primeiro Congresso Eucharistico Nacional (Rio de Janeiro: Comissão Promotora do Primeiro Congresso Eucharistico Nacional, 1923).


José Oscar Beozzo, “A igreja entre a Revolução de 1930, o Estado Novo e a redemocratização,” in História geral da civilização brasileira, tomo 3, ed. Boris Fausto (São Paulo: DIFEL, 1960-), vol. 4:297; Laurita Pessôa Raja Gabaglia [Sister Maria Regina do Santo Rosário], O Cardeal Leme (1882-1942) (Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio Editora, 1962), 245-56. For a contrast with the U.S. practice of strict separation, see, e.g., M. Colleen Connor, “The Constitutionality of Religious Symbols on Government Property: A Suggested Approach,” Journal of Church and State 37:2 (Spring 1995), 385-411.


Beozzo, “A igreja entre a Revolução,” 289-90.


Ibid., 275, 287-89, 293-98; Della Cava, “Catholicism and Society,” 13-14. Aparecida, of course, was a major exception to Romanization. For a discussion of Aparecida’s choice as patroness, see Beozzo, “A igreja entre a Revolução,” 294-96. Juliana Souza of the Universidade Federal Fluminense has begun much-needed historical research on Aparecida.


Cited in Pedro A. Ribeiro de Oliveira, “Estruturas de igreja e conflitos religiosos,” in Catolicismo: modernidade e tradição, ed. Pierre Sanchis (São Paulo: Edições Loyola, 1992), 42, n. 2. See also Della Cava, “Catholicism and Society,” 13.


Simon Schwartzman, Helena Maria Bousquet Bomeny, and Vanda Maria Ribeiro Costa, Tempos de Capanema (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1984), 44-45, 56, 60-61. See also Alcir Lenharo, Sacralização da política (Campinas: Editora da UNICAMP/Papirus, 1986).


Viana cited in James M. Malloy, The Politics of Social Security in Brazil (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1979), 17, 63. On Viana and corporatism, see also Jeffrey D. Needell, “History, Race, and the State in the Thought of Oliveira Viana,” HAHR 75:1 (Feb. 1995), 1-30; Dain Borges, “Review Essay: Brazilian Social Thought in the 1930s,” Luso-Brazilian Review 31:2 (Winter 1994), 137-50. On corporatism, see David Collier, “Trajectory of a Concept: ‘Corporatism’ in the Study of Latin American Politics,” in Latin America in Comparative Perspective: New Approaches to Methods and Analyses, ed. Peter H. Smith (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995), 135-62; W. E. Hewitt, “Catholicism, Social Justice, and the Brazilian Corporative State Since 1930,” Journal of Church and State 32:4 (Autumn 1990), 831-50. On the debate over corporatism under Vargas, see John D. French, The Brazilian Workers’ ABC: Class Conflict and Alliances in modern São Paulo (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1992); Joel Wolfe, “The Faustian Bargain Not Made: Getúlio Vargas and Brazil’s Industrial Workers, 1930-1945,” Luso-Brazilian Review 31:2 (Winter 1994), 77-95.


Alceu Amoroso Lima, Indicações políticas (Rio de Janeiro: Civilisação Brasileira, 1936), 135-55


Bruneau, Political Transformation, 37.


Beozzo, “A igreja entre a Revolução,” 334-41. See also Margaret Todaro Williams, “Church and State in Vargas’ Brazil: The Politics of Cooperation," Journal of Church and State 18:3 (Autumn 1976), 443-62. This was an extraordinary achievement in comparison with such countries as Mexico, Chile, Cuba, and France, where the church failed to reenter the public domain after being forced out. See Bruneau, Political Transformation, 37. The Cristero War of the 1920s in Mexico provides the most interesting counterpoint to the Brazilian case. See, e.g., Roberto Blancarte, Historia de la iglesia católica en México (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica; Colegio Mexiquense, 1992).


Sérgio Lobo de Moura and José Maria Gouvêa de Almeida, “A igreja na Primeira República,” in Fausto, História geral, tomo 3, vol. 2:325-27. Miceli states that the church received large public subsidies and loans but offers no specific examples. A elite eclesiástica brasileira, 147, 149. Beozzo notes that the church also obtained subsidies under an 1843 law permitting it to act as the state in areas populated by Amerindians. "As igrejas e a imigração,” in Dreher, Imigrações e história da igreja no Brasil, 57. In contrast, a church administrator in the 1950s asserted that during the First Republic it was “absurd" to think of the federal government subsidizing private charitable and educational activities. See Laercio Leopoldino, “Serviço de procuratórios," Revista da Conferência dos Religiosos do Brasil (Rio) (hereafter RCRB) (July 1955), 50. We lack a detailed study of church-state relations during the First Republic. On the bishops' ideology with respect to the state, see Anna Maria Moog Rodrigues, ed., A igreja na república (Brasilia: Editora Universidade de Brasília, 1981).


Neither the government nor the church specified subsidy totals. They were awarded to thousands of Catholic entities, usually listed in the Coleção das leis (government lawbooks) or the Diário Oficial (the government gazette) under diverse categories. An excellent source on subsidies is the archive of Gustavo Capanema, Vargas’ minister of health and education (1934-45) and later a prominent legislator. See Arquivo Gustavo Capanema, FGV-CPDOC, Rio de Janeiro. Church stress on subsidies is evident in the history of the Conferência dos Religiosos do Brasil (CRB, or Conference of Brazilian Religious), founded in 1954, which opened a bureau to expedite subsidization requests. See Irineu Leopoldino de Souza, “O problema das subven-ções,” RCRB (April 1959), 192-205; “Relatório da Conferencia dos Religiosos do Brasil,” RCRB (Sept. 1956), 554-74; Maria Carmelita de Freitas, “Os religiosos no Brasil nos últimos 20 anos: elementos para urna história da Conferência dos Religiosos do Brasil,” Convergência (Rio) 194 (July-Aug. 1986), 353-67, and 195 (Sept. 1986), 421-44. Vargas also supported the preservation of historic religious symbols. See Daryle Williams, “Ad perpetuam rei memoriam: The Vargas Regime and Brazil’s National Historical Patrimony, 1930-1945,” Luso-Brazilian Review 31:2 (Winter 1994), 45-75.


On instilling Catholic truths, see Frater Wolfango, “O problema financeiro das missões católicas,” RCRB (Aug. 1956), 502-5; on numbers who benefited from Catholic education, see, e.g., João Virgílio Tagliavini, “Garotos no túnel. Um estudo sobre a imposição da vocação sacerdotal e o processo de condicionamento nos seminários” (Master’s thesis, Univ. of Campinas, 1990), 13. For the government statistics, see XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional Relatório oficial (Rio de Janeiro: Secretariado Geral, 1955), 40; on Bahia and hospital figures, see Bruneau, Political Transformation, 50. The church study is Recursos sociais da igreja no Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Centro de Estatística Religiosa e Investigações Sociais, 1975), 13-14, 27-28.


On state social action, see Malloy, Politics of Social Security.


Bishops' comments cited in Antônio Flávio de Oliveira Pierucci, Beatriz Muniz de Souza, and Cândido Procópio Ferreira de Camargo, “Igreja católica: 1945-1970,” in Fausto, História geral, tomo 3, vol. 4:358; and Souza, “O problema das subvenções,” 193-94. Here the bishops echoed the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, developed in the Middle Ages and more explicitly defined in twentieth-century papal encyclicals. It affirmed that the state's “intervention in social and economic affairs must be limited to cases where subordinate bodies are unable or unwilling to perform their own proper function.” See R. E. Mulcahy, “Subsidiarity,” New Catholic Encyclopedia 13:762-63. For an example of church awareness of the importance of cultivating congressional contacts, see “Do serviço de procuradoria: relação dos deputados com seus respectivos enderegos,” RCRB (May 1956), 308-14.


Coleção das leis de 1954, 3:26. Similarly, as a concession to the church, the Mexican state in the 1970s helped construct the new Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Blancarte states that no proof of such aid exists. Historia de la iglesia en México, 302-4. It was confirmed, however, in an interview with Msgr. Guillermo Schulemburg, abbott of the basifica, Mexico City, July 23, 1993.


Annais do III Congresso Eucharistico Nacional (n.p., 1940), 296-402; Coleção das leis de 1953. 5:19. See also Coleção das leis de 1948, 7:156; Coleção das leis de 1953, 7:63.


BI no. 1, pp. 3-4.


“Colaboração do esporte," O Seminário 30:4 (Sept.-Oct. 1955), 219; “A praça do congresso,” ibid., 234-35, and untitled note, 255. For photos of the praça and other aspects of the congress, see Relatório oficial.


O Mundo Ilustrado (Rio) 26 (July 27, 1955), 13; BI, no. 6; Relatório oficial, 72. One critical observer noted that while Catholics were generous, they gave too much for objects such as the IEC’s precious chalices and not enough for missionary work. Wolfango, “O problema flnanceiro.”


Relatório oficial, 74; “Mastro para o Congresso Eucarístico construído pela Marinha,” Jornal do Brasil (Rio) (hereafter JB), July 8, 1955, pt. 1, p. 9.


“Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 5, 1955. pt. 1, pp. 6, 9.


“O XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico e o exército brasileiro,” ibid., July 8, 1955, pt. 1, p. 9; “XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” July 1, 1955, pt. 1, p. 9; “No desfile da abertura, a história do Brasil," July 14, 1955, pt. 1, p. 10. Annibal Martins Alonso states that several hundred thousand foreigners took part. Alonso, XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional (Rio de Janeiro: Companhia Brasileira de Artes Gráficas, 1956), 8.


As the Pope’s representative, Cardinal Massela was the IEC's most honored visitor. Popes generally did not leave Rome for such events until after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). For a text of Pius XII's speech, see “Mensagem de S. S. o Papa Pio XII ao XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional (24-VII-1955),” Vozes de Petrópolis (July-Aug. 1955), 425-27. For additional description of the congress and its preparations, see Programa oficial do XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional (Rio de Janeiro: Gráfica Olímpica, 1955); Revista Intercâmbio, year 13, no. 4/6 (1955); Radiolândia, year 2, no. 68; Rio Magazine 249 (July 1955); O Mundo Ilustrado 25 (July 20, 1955); Manchete 170 (July 23, 1955), 171 (July 30, 1955), “número especial” (1955); O Cruzeiro, July 30, 1955.


Cited in Dom Eugênio Araújo Sales, “Fonte de bênçãos,” JB, July 15, 1995.


Hélio Damante, “Lições e exemplos do congresso eucarístico,” Vozes de Petrópolis (Nov.-Dec. 1955), 574-75.


Unlike Vargas’ downfall, Perón’s demise in September 1955 resulted largely from conflict with the church—a situation much noted in the Rio press. For the Argentine case, see Austen Ivereigh, Catholicism and Politics in Argentina, 1810-1960 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995); on Brazilian press coverage of Perón, see, e.g., “O XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico e o exército brasileiro.”


Regina da Luz Moreira and Ivan Junqueira, “Câmara, Jaime,” Dicionário histórico-biográfico brasileiro, 1930-1983, ed. Israel Beloch and Alzira Alves de Abreu (Rio de Janeiro: Forense Universitário/FINEP, 1984), 1:555-56. The cardinal was archbishop of Rio from 1943 to 1971. A new biography is Ivo Calliari, D. Jaime Cámara: diário do carded arcebispo do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro: Léo Christiano, 1996).


On “enemy," see CELAM: elementos para su historia, 1955-1980 (Bogotá: Conference of Latin American Bishops [CELAM], 1982), 68-71, 73; on monopoly, see Thales de Azevedo, O catolicismo no Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Ministério da Educação e Cultura, 1955), 24; on subsidization, see Associação de Educação Católica, Lei no. 1.493 de auxílios e subvençães (de 13 de dezembro de 1951) (Rio de Janeiro: Edições da A.E.C. do Brasil, n.d.); on Protestant growth, see Antônio Gouvêa Mendonga, “Evolução histórica e configuração atual do protestantismo no Brasil,” in Introdução ao protestantismo no Brasil, ed. Mendonça and Prócoro Velasques (São Paulo: Edições Loyola, 1990), 11-59; on Umbanda, see Diana DeG. Brown, Umbanda: Religion and Politics in Urban Brazil (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1994).


On the 1950s, see Della Cava, “Catholicism and Society,” 36, inc. n. 51; Serbin, “Priests, Celibacy, and Social Conflict, chap. 3, pt. 5. See also Thomas A. Kselman and Steven Avella, “Marian Piety and the Cold War in the United States,” Catholic Historical Review 72:3 (July 1986), 403-24. On the IEC’s importance, see Servus Mariae [Raimundo Caramuru de Barros], Para entender a igreja no Brasil: a caminhada que culminou no Vaticano II (1990-1968) (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1994), 103-4.


Dom Hélder Câmara, “Minha passagem pela Ação Integralista Brasileira,” Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil, Instituto Nacional de Pastoral, doc. 02143; Margaret Todaro, “Pastors, Prophets, and Politicians: A Study of the Brazilian Catholic Church, 1916-1945” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia Univ., 1971), chap. 4; Hélder Câmara, The Conversions of a Bishop: An Interview with José de Broucker, trans. Hilary Davies (London; Collins, 1979), chaps. 5-7; Sebastião Antonio Ferrarini, A imprensa e 0 arcebispo vermelho (1964-1984) (São Paulo: Edições Paulinas, 1992), chap. 2; “Câmara, Hélder,” Dicionário histórico-biográfico brasileiro, 1:551. On integralismo, see Hélgio Trindade, Integralismo: o fascismo brasileiro na década de 30, 2d ed. (São Paulo: DIFEL, 1979); Robert M. Levine, The Vargas Regime: The Critical Years, 1934-1938 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1970).


Gervásio Fernandes de Queiroga, Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil: comunhão e corresponsabilidade (São Paulo: Edições Paulinas, 1977).


Marina Bandeira, “D. Hélder Câmara e o Vaticano II,” Revista de Cultura Vozes (Petrópolis), year 72, vol. 82 (Dec. 1978), no. 10, pp. 73-76; Barros, Para entender a igreja no Brasil, 93-94. On CELAM, see François Houtart, “CELAM: The Forgetting of Origins,” in Church and Politics in Latin America, ed. Dermot Keogh (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), 65-81. See also, in the same volume, Emile Poulat, “The Path of Latin American Catholicism,” 3-24.


Câmara, Conversions of a Bishop, 88, 150.


BI no. 8, p. 1.


Ibid. no. 7, p. 5.


Dom Jaime de Barros Câmara to Osvaldo Aranha, Rio de Janeiro, May 17, 1954, FGV-CPDOC, Arquivo Osvaldo Aranha (hereafter AOA), OA 54, 05, 17/2.


Câmara, Conversions of a Bishop, 150-51; Moreira and Junqueira, “Câmara, Jaime,” 555; “João Pizarro Gabizo de Coelho Lisboa,” Anuário 1956 (Ministério das Relações Exteriores), 163.


Câmara, Conversions of a Bishop, 150-51; interview with Marina Bandeira, Rio de Janeiro, July 7, 1994. A prominent laywoman and close associate of Dom Hélder, Bandeira worked on the bishop’s IEC team. The Modern Art Museum now stands on the site of the praça, next to the Santos Dumont Airport.


Bl no. 8, p. 5; “O morro lançado ao mar,” Manchete, special edition (1955); “Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 7, 1955, pt. 1, p. 6.


Maurício Joppert da Silva, “Palmas ao prefeito,” JB, July 24, 1955, pt. 1, p. 5; “XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” ibid., July 13, 1955, pt. 2, p. 1.


“Realizações do Congresso Eucarístico,” ibid., July 2, 1955, pt. 1, p. 5; “XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” ibid., July 13, 1955, pt. 2, p. 1.


“Coisas da cidade,” ibid., July 8, 1955, pt. 1, p. 6; “Realizações do Congresso Eucarístico.” On previous urban renewal and Rio’s public spaces in the context of Eurocentric, anti-Afro-Brazilian ideas, see Jeffrey D. Needell, “Making the Carioca Belle Epoque Concrete: The Urban Reforms of Rio de Janeiro Under Pereira Passos,” Journal of Urban History 10:4 (Aug. 1984), 383-422. For another perspective on urban life in Brazil, see James Holston, The Modernist City: An Anthropological Critique of Brasilia (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1989).


Damante, “Lições e exemplos,” 572.


Relatório oficial, 112.


Alonso, XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional, 150; “Na universidade católica,” O Seminário 30:4 (Sept.-Oct. 1955), 216; PUC-RJ document, FGV-CPDOC, AOA, OA 53/54.00.00/7[?]. On the PUC-RJ and its state subsidies, see Serbin, “Igreja, estado, e a ajuda financeira”; Luiz Gonzaga da Silveira D’Elboux, S.J., O padre Leonel Franca, S.J. (Rio de Janeiro: Agir, 1953).


BI no. 10, p. 3; “Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 8, 1955, pt. 1, p. 9.


"XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 1, 1955, pt. 1, p. 9; “XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” July 17, 1955, pt. 1, p. 7; “Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” July 10, 1955, pt. 1, p. 9; "No desfile da abertura,” July 14, 1955, pt. 1, p. 10. On church-military relations, see Kenneth P. Serbin, “ ‘Social Justice or Subversion?’ The Secret Meetings of Brazil’s Bishops and Military, 1970-1974” (Paper presented at the 19th International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Washington, D.C., Sept. 28-30, 1995).


“O XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico e o exército brasileiro.” On the povo fardado, see José Murilo de Carvalho, Os bestializados: o Rio de Janeiro e a república que não foi (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1987), 48-52; Alfred Stepan, The Military in Politics: Changing Patterns in Brazil (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1971), 43-44.


Bl no. 6, p. 1, no. 10, p. 3; “S. Beatitude Máximos VI, patriarca de Antióquia, Alexandria e Jerusalém, virá ao Rio de Janeiro,” JB, July 3, 1955, pt. 6, p. 1.


On Côrtes’ career, see “Côrtes, Geraldo de Menezes,” Dicionário histórico-biográfico brasileiro, 2:955; Arquivo do Exército, Ministério da Guerra, Diretoria das Armas, “Caderneta de assentamentos,” indicações XXI/22/31-A, XXI/22-31-B; Antônio Carlos Muricy, Antônio Carlos Muricy (depoimento, 1986) (Rio de Janeiro: FGV-CPDOC, História Oral, 1993), 168, 247, 255, 261, 313, 218, 340, 343. For his expertise on traffic management, see Geraldo de Menezes Côrtes, “Como o tráfego repercute no urbanismo,” Estudos Municipais, Serviço de Documentação do DASP, 8 (1954), 29-57. Information on Côrtes’ role also from Bandeira interview; “A voz do pastor: policiamento e trânsito durante o Congresso Eucarístico,” JB, July 9, 1.955, pt. 3, p-1; Os bancos do congresso dão 96 quilômetros,” Tribuna da Imprensa, July 1, 1955. P. 2.


Relatório oficial, 51, 54, 76, 112.


On Antárticas donation and the Atlántica policy, see XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional (Rio de Janeiro, n.d.). The advertisement “Sejam bem-vindos, congressistas” appeared in Diário de Noticias (Rio), July 17, 1955, pt. 1, p. 2; Tribuna da Imprensa, July 16-17, 1955, p. 5. On RCA, see Relatório oficial, 15.


On Rio, see Michael L. Conniff, Urban Politics in Brazil: The Rise of Populism, 1925-1945 (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1981), 20; on the 1940s, see Karl Loewenstein, Brazil Under Vargas (New York: Macmillan, 1942), 172-73, 239, 297-304. To my knowledge there is no study of the history of tourism in Brazil or any mention of its role in the Brazilian economy in works focusing on economic development.


“O turismo sem oportunidades no Brasil," JB, July 9, 1955, pt. 1, p. 6; Balance of Payments Yearbook, vol. 8 (1950-1954) (Washington, D.C.: IMF, 1957), 40.


Relatório oficial, 9-11, 58-59.


“Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 8, 1955, pt. 1, p. 9; Dom Hélder Câmara, “Sede benvindos peregrinos,” O Mundo Ilustrado 25 (July 20, 1955), 25. On religious pilgrimages and “pilgrim-tourists” see Erik Cohen, “Pilgrimage and Tourism: Convergence and Divergence,” in Sacred Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage, ed. Alan Morinis (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1992), 47-61.


BI no. 3, pp. 1-3; Relatório oficial, 51-53.


“Curso de orientadores do XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” mimeograph, Biblioteca Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, 1955, pp. 1, 24-92.


“Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 6, 1955, pt. 1, p. 9; “Touring Club do Brasil,” ibid., July 8,1955, pt. 1, p. 8.


Bandeira interview.


“XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 12, 1955, pt. 2, p. 1.


“XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 13, 1955, pt. 2, p. 1. On the church and the media, see Della Cava and Montero, E o verbo se faz imagem.


BI no. 3, p. 3; no. 7, pp. 4-5; no. 8, p. 1.


Ibid. no. 2, pp. 1-2.


XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Intenacional; Livro do peregrino (Rio de Janeiro: XXXVI IEC, 1955).


“Aspetos econômicos do 360. C.E.I.,” O Seminário 30:4 (Sept.-Oct. 1955), 258-59; [Alexandre José] Barbosa Lima Sobrinho, “Comentários à margem do Congresso Eucarístico,” JB, July 24, 1955, pt. 1, p. 5.


“O Congresso—instrumento de libertação,” JB, July 20, 1955, pt. 1, p. 5; Dom Jaime de Barros Câmara, Trigésimo sexto Congresso Eucarístico Internacional. Décima sétima carta pastoral de D. Jaime de Barros Câmara (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1954), 5—11; Dom Jaime to Osvaldo Aranha, Rio de Janeiro, May 17, 1954, FGV-CPDOC, AOA, OA 54.05.17/2.


"XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional,” JB, July 15, 1955, pt. 1, p. 7.


Humberto Bastos, “A igreja e o desenvolvimento econômico,” Rio Magazine 249 (July 1955), special edition on the IEC.


Impressions of the festa and the JOCistas’ visits from interview with former JOCista Tibor Sulik, Rio de Janeiro, July 6, 1995. The interpretation of the cross is both Sulik’s and mine. For other details of the festa, see Relatório oficial, 97-100; Alonso, XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico Internacional, 272-73. On the JOCistas’ participation, see also Dalva de Magalhães, Ao encontró de deis mundos: o morro e o asfalto (Rio de Janeiro: Jotanesi Edições, 1995), 23.


“Deixai vir a mim as criancinhas,” JB, July 23, 1955, pt. 1, pp. 7-9; “A palavra eclesiástica,” ibid., pp. 8-9; Relatório oficial, 96.


Interview with Raimundo Caramuru de Barros, Brasília, Feb. 7, 1990. A priest reduced to lay status, Barros was one of Dom Hélder’s closest collaborators in the 1950s and 1960s.


Câmara, Conversions of a Bishop, chap. 13; Alves, A igreja e a política no Brasil, 179.


The Pope declined the invitation without citing a specific reason. See Câmara, Conversions of a Bishop, 160-61.


Rute Maria Monteiro Machado Rios, “Amando de modo especial os menos favorecidos, 1945-1954,” in Educção e favela: políticas para as favelas do Rio de Janeiro, 1940-1985, ed. Victor Vincent Valla (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1986), 43-61; “A urbanização das favelas do Rio de Janeiro,” Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira 15 (Dec. 1955), 1040-41. On elite views of the favelas, see Zuenir Ventura, Cidade partida (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1994), 18-20. On favela growth, see Julio César Pino, “Family and Favela: The Reproduction of Poverty in Rio de Janeiro” (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California, Los Angeles, 1991), 282.


XXXVI Congresso Eucarístico International; Relatório oficial, 9-11.


Barros, Para entender a igreja no Brasil, 104-5.


Câmara, Conversions of a Bishop, 152.




Ibid., 152-53; “Aspetos econômicos do 360. C.E.I.”


Rute Maria Monteiro Machado Rios, “O desenvolvimento e as favelas: adaptar o favelado à vida urbana e nacional, 1955-1962," in Valla, Educação e favela, 62-84. On the IEC surplus, see Relatório oficial, 112. Dom Hélder’s comments and an overview of the cruzada are in Camara, Conversions of a Bishop, 153-55.


On the Café Filho donation see Pino, "Family and Favela,” 193-94. On cruzada support, see also “Câmara, Hélder,” 552; Geraldo de Menezes Côrtes, Favelas (Rio de Janeiro: Ministério da Eduçãlo e Cultura, 1959), 23. On the Banco da Providência see Barros, Para entender a igreja no Brasil, 125-26.


“Câmara, Hélder,” 552; Côrtes, Favelas.


Pino, “Family and Favela”; Rios, “O desenvolvimento e as favelas.” For Dom Hélder’s assessment, see Câmara, Conversions of a Bishop, 153-55.


Pino, "Family and Favela."


Câmara, Conversions of a Bishop, 150-51.


T. de Azevedo, O catolicismo no Brasil, 24; Alves, A igreja e a política no Brasil, 61.


On the colonial era, see A. J. R. Russell-Wood, “Prestige, Power, and Piety in Colonial Brazil: The Third Orders of Salvador,” HAHR 69:1 (Feb. 1989), 61-89.


For a present church perspective, see Sales, “Fonte de bençãos.”


On rejuvenation, see Rodney Stark and James C. McCann, “Market Forces and Catholic Commitment: Exploring the New Paradigm,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 32:2 (1993), 111-24. On the Universal Church, see Kenneth P. Serbin, “Brazilian Church Builds International Empire,” Christian Century (Chicago), Apr. 10, 1996, pp. 398-403; Philip Berryman, Struggle and Witness in the Megacity: Catholics and Evangelicals in São Paulo and Caracas (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, forthcoming).


On the Kubitschek years, see Pierucci, Souza, and Camargo, “Igreja Católica: 1945-1970," 359-60. On Dom Hélder and the elite, see Barros, Para entender a igreja no Brasil, 126.


On church concern over the contrast between its wealth and the Brazilian people’s poverty, see Raimundo Caramuru de Barros, Joseph Romer, Bernardino Leers, and Jaime Snoek, Bens temporals numa igreja pobre (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1968).


Barros interview.