Alexa

Influential Brazilian cardinal dead at 83

Influential Brazilian cardinal dead at 83

Aloisio Lorscheider, one of Latin America's most influential cardinals, died Sunday after a lengthy hospitalization. He was 83.
The Brazilian had been in the hospital since the beginning of the month because of a heart condition, the Aparecida Archdiocese said in a statement. He had previously been hospitalized several times this year.
Lorscheider twice was president of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops, leading it from 1971 until 1978. He also presided over the Latin American Episcopal Council, known as CELAM, in 1976.
Lorscheider created a stir in 1998 when he doubted the healing effects of popular tiny rice-paper pills linked to Friar Galvao, who earlier this year became Brazil's first native-born saint.
Shortly after Galvao was beatified as a key step toward his sainthood, Lorscheider, at the time Archbishop of Aparecida do Norte, ordered the nuns to stop making what he called "small pieces of paper that foster superstition."
"Those pills are like the fake medicines that miracle workers claim could cure all diseases," Lorscheider said.
Thousands of believers still flock to the 18th-century Luz Monastery every day for the pills, three of which must be swallowed over a nine-day period known as a "novena."
Lorscheider also played an influential role in the first conclave of 1978, following the death of Pope Paul VI. According to authoritative accounts, he helped muster the votes of Third World cardinals to the patriarch of Venice, who became Pope John Paul I.
After the pope's sudden death 33 days after his election, Lorscheider pushed for the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland, who became John Paul II.
Lorscheider became Archbishop of Fortaleza in 1973, and in 1976 he was nominated cardinal by Pope John Paul IV.
He retired from the command of the Aparecida archdiocese in 2004.
Lorscheider was born Oct. 8, 1924, in Picada Geraldo, Rio Grande do Sul state.