Cláudio Hummes

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His Eminence

Cláudio Hummes

Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy
SeeSão Paulo (Emeritus)
Appointed31 October 2006
Term ended7 October 2010
PredecessorDarío Castrillón Hoyos
SuccessorMauro Piacenza
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of S. Antonio da Padova in Via Merulana
Ordination3 August 1958
by João Resende Costa
Consecration25 May 1975
by Aloísio Leo Arlindo Lorscheider
Created cardinal21 February 2001
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Birth nameAuri Alfonso Hummes
Born (1934-08-08) 8 August 1934 (age 86)
Montenegro, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)
MottoOmnes Vos Fratres (Ye are all brothers)
Coat of armsCláudio Hummes's coat of arms

Cláudio Hummes, OFM (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈklawdʒu ˈʁum(i)s], born 8 August 1934) is a Brazilian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy from 2006 to 2010, having served as Archbishop of Fortaleza from 1996 to 1998 and Archbishop of São Paulo from 1998 to 2006. A member of the Order of Friars Minor and an outspoken proponent of social justice, he was made a cardinal in 2001.

Early life[edit]

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

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

Along with his native Portuguese and Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, a regional German dialect of southern Brazil, he can also speak French, Spanish, High-German, and Italian.


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

Styles of
Cláudio Hummes
Coat of arms of Claudio Hummes.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeSão Paulo (Emeritus)


He was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Antonio da Padova in Via Merulana by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001.[1] He later preached the Lenten spiritual exercises for John Paul II and the Roman Curia in 2002. One of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Hummes was often mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II.

Cardinal Hummes has Curial membership of Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for Catholic Education, Pontifical Council for the Laity, Pontifical Council for the Family, Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pontifical Council for Culture, Pontifical Commission for Latin America, X Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational, and Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See. He held membership of these dicastaries until his 80th birthday.

On 31 October 2006 Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Hummes to head the Congregation for the Clergy.[2]

In 2013 he served as one of the 115 cardinals in the conclave that elected Pope Francis.[3][4] When the new Pope won the conclave ballot, Cardinal Hummes whispered to the Pope, "Don't forget the poor people" and the Pope said that immediately he remembered St. Francis of Assisi and "the name Francis came into my heart". When the newly elected Pope Francis appeared on the balcony shortly after his election, Cardinal Hummes was among the cardinals who accompanied the new pope and stood beside him at his immediate left on the balcony.[5]

Recounting the moment of his election, Pope Francis told thousands of journalists on 16 March that Cardinal Hummes "hugged me, kissed me and said, 'Don't forget the poor.'" Francis also said he took to heart the words of his "great friend" Cardinal Hummes and chose to be called after St. Francis of Assisi, "the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation," the same created world "with which we don't have such a good relationship."[6]

A year later, Cardinal Hummes was appointed honorary president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), established in 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil, during a meeting of bishops whose territories include Amazon regions, priests, missionaries of congregations who work in the Amazon jungle, national representatives of Caritas and laypeople belonging to various Church bodies. In his message, he reiterated that the creation of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network "represents a new incentive and relaunch of the work of the Church in Amazonia, strongly desired by the Holy Father. There, the Church wishes to be, with courage and determination, a missionary Church, merciful, prophetic, and close to all the people, especially the poorest, the excluded, the discarded, the forgotten and wounded. A Church with an 'Amazonian face' and a 'native clergy', as Pope Francis proposed in his address to the bishops of Brazil".[7]

Climate activism[edit]

On 29 November 2015, ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference Cardinal Hummes appeared again in the world's global media stage when him and Avaaz campaigner Oscar Soria displayed a pair of shoes donated by Pope Francis to support a climate demonstration in Paris, in a defiance to French authorities that banned public protests in the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks. Originally, hundreds of thousands were expected to march in Paris that day, but the march was canceled after the attacks. Instead, Parisians and others from around the world donated shoes and set them up at Place de la Republique, in a symbolic march organized by the civic movement Avaaz that got the support of Pope Francis.[8]

"This is a very important and also very emotional moment, the Pope wanted to personally participate symbolically just like all of us who have put our shoes, we want to participate symbolically to the worldwide march for climate change here in Paris", Cardinal Hummes told journalists at the event.[9]

"We ask for drastic cuts of carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous threshold of 1.5 °C," the cardinal said before international media. "As the bishops' appeal states, we need to 'put an end to the fossil fuel era' and 'set a goal for complete decarbonisation by 2050 (...) And we ask wealthier countries to aid the world's poorest to cope with climate change impacts, by providing robust climate finance," he added.[10]

Recounting that event, Cardinal Hummes later said: "I had the privilege, along with Oscar Soria from Avaaz, to bring the shoes of Pope Francis. There were lots of expectations, it was a great and symbolically strong way of pressure from the people, and as well the presence of Pope Francis, in this clamor to avert climate change".[11]


Economic issues[edit]

Cardinal Hummes has criticized the spread of global capitalism, claiming that privatizing state companies and lowering tariffs had contributed to "misery and poverty affecting millions around the world".[12] At his first public audience following his election, Pope Francis revealed that he had been inspired to take his name from St Francis of Assisi by his good friend Cardinal Hummes who had embraced him at the culmination of the 2013 conclave whispering "don't forget the poor" when it was announced that he had been elected Pope.

Indigenous people[edit]

He issued an official statement condemning the anonymous attacks on homeless indigenous people. He said "such violence and cruelty is unacceptable and should be vigorously repudiated. The Church has cried out many times regarding the need to come to the aid of those who are forced to live in our streets, without shelter. She does so out of a duty of humanity and because of her faith in Jesus Christ, who wishes to be identified in each person, especially in the poor and handicapped".[13]

Clerical celibacy[edit]

In a 2006 interview with Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, Cardinal Hummes said that "even though celibacy is part of Catholic history and culture, the Church could review this question, because celibacy is not a dogma but a disciplinary question." He also said that it is "a long and valuable tradition in the Latin-rite church, based on strong theological and pastoral arguments".[14]


Hummes has reprimanded priests who attack Catholic teachings about condoms.[12][15]

Published works[edit]


  1. ^ Pope John Paul II (21 February 2001). "Concistoro Ordinario Pubblico per la creazione dei nuovi Cardinali" [Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals] (Homily) (in Italian). Libreria Editrica Vaticana. Assegnazione dei Titoli o delle Diaconie ai nuovi Cardinali. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018 – via the Holy See.
  2. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 31.10.2006" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  3. ^ "List of Cardinal Electors". Zenit. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  4. ^ Procession and entrance in Conclave (Television production) (in Italian). Rome: Centro Televisivo Vaticano. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  5. ^ Habemus Papam, Franciscus (Television production) (in Italian). Rome: Centro Televisivo Vaticano. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  6. ^ Wooden, Cindy (16 March 2013). "Pope Francis explains why he chose St. Francis of Assisi's name". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  7. ^ Radio, Vatican (2 March 2015). "Presentation of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM)". Vatican Radio. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  8. ^ McGrath, Matt (28 November 2015). "COP21: Pope's adviser urges Catholics to join climate marches". BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  9. ^ WorldPost, HuffPost (29 November 2015). "Empty Shoes Left Out To Replace Cancelled Paris Climate March". HuffPost. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  10. ^ Smith, Sean (30 November 2015). "A pair of papal shoes stand in defiance of Paris authorities as Catholics demonstrate over climate-change". Tablet. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  11. ^ Ecuador, Caritas (1 December 2015). "Zapatos del Papa Francisco: un símbolo en la defensa del planeta". REPAM. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  12. ^ a b Faiola, Anthony (3 April 2005). "Champion of Workers and the Poor". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Cardinal Hummes denounces indigenous killings in Brazil". Catholic News Agency. 25 August 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  14. ^ "Cardinal Egan says possibility of married priests not to be dismissed". The Catholic Review. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  15. ^ Gould, Peter (25 November 2003). "The Vatican's condom challenge". BBC News. Retrieved 10 July 2012.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
José Lafayette Ferreira Álvares
Titular Bishop of Carcabia
22 March 1975 – 29 December 1975
Succeeded by
Vittorio Luigi Mondello
Preceded by
Jorge Marcos de Oliveira
Bishop of Santo André
29 December 1975 – 29 May 1996
Succeeded by
Décio Pereira
Preceded by
Aloísio Lorscheider
Archbishop of Fortaleza
29 May 1996 – 15 April 1998
Succeeded by
José Antônio Aparecido Tosi Marques
Preceded by
Paulo Evaristo Arns
Archbishop of São Paulo
15 April 1998 – 31 October 2006
Succeeded by
Odilo Scherer
Preceded by
António Ribeiro
Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Antonio da Padova in Via Merulana
21 February 2001 –
Preceded by
Darío Castrillón Hoyos
Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy
31 October 2006 – 7 October 2010
Succeeded by
Mauro Piacenza
President for the International Council for Catechesis
31 October 2006 – 7 October 2010
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Luiz Fux
as President of the Supreme Federal Court
Brazilian order of precedence
6th in line
as Brazilian cardinal
Followed by
Ministers of State