João Braz de Aviz

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His Eminence

João Braz de Aviz
Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Appointed4 January 2011
PredecessorFranc Rode
Other post(s)Cardinal priest of Sant’Elena fuori Porta Prenestina
Ordination26 November 1972
by Romeu Alberti
Consecration31 May 1994
by Domingos Gabriel Wisniewski
Created cardinal18 February 2012
by Pope Benedict XVI
  • Cardinal deacon (2012–22)
  • Cardinal priest (2022–present)
Personal details
João Braz de Aviz

(1947-04-24) 24 April 1947 (age 76)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post(s)
MottoOmnes Unum Sint
(All May Be One)
Styles of
João Braz de Aviz
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

João Braz de Aviz (Brazilian Portuguese: [ʒuˈɐ̃w ˈbɾaz dʒi aˈvis]; born 24 April 1947) is a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011. He began his career working for twenty years as a parish priest and seminary teacher. He became a bishop in 1994 and was bishop of Ponta Grossa from 1998 to 2002, archbishop of Maringá from 2002 to 2004, and archbishop of Brasília from 2004 to 2011.

Early life and education[edit]

Aviz was born in Mafra, Diocese of Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil in 1947. He has four brothers and three sisters – the youngest sister has Down's syndrome. After pursuing his philosophical studies at the Major Seminary Rainha dos Apostolos in Curitiba and the Faculty of Palmas, he completed his theological studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he obtained a licenciate, and at the Pontifical Lateran University, where he graduated in 1992 with a doctorate in dogmatic theology.


Aviz was ordained a priest 26 November 1972. He began his ministry as a parish priest in the diocese of Apucarana, as Rector of the Major Seminary Apucarana and Londrina, and as professor of dogmatic theology at the Theological Institute Paul VI in Londrina. He was also member of the Council of Priests and the College of Consultors and General Coordinator of the Diocesan Pastoral Apucarana. As a young priest Aviz was once on his way to a village to say Mass when he stumbled upon an armored car robbery. He was caught in the crossfire and shot, with bullets perforating his lungs and intestines and one eye. He survived and surgeons were able to save his eye; he still carries fragments of those bullets in his body.[1]


On 6 April 1994, he was appointed to the titular bishop of Flenucleta as auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Vitória and received episcopal consecration on 31 May of that year. He was appointed bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ponta Grossa on 12 August 1998 by Pope John Paul II. He was promoted to archbishop of Maringá on 17 July 2002 where he served until he was appointed archbishop of Brasília on 28 January 2004. In May 2010 he organised the XVI National Eucharistic Congress, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the city's founding.

Roman curia[edit]

On 4 January 2011, Aviz, not a member of a religious order, was appointed prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.[2][a] He is the fourth Brazilian to head a Vatican department.[b]

In February 2011, Aviz said he almost abandoned the seminary and the Catholic Church because of the ideological excesses that emerged in the early years of liberation theology. He said in an interview that "Personally, I lived with a lot of anguish during the years of the birth of liberation theology". He said he appreciated that liberation theology promoted the preferential option for the poor, which represents "the church's sincere and responsible concern for the vast phenomenon of social exclusion." He said consecrated men and women need to explore more deeply the mystery of God to strengthen their relationships with others.[3]

In July 2011, he referred to a breakdown in trust between the Vatican and many religious orders because of "some positions taken previously", referring to his predecessor, Cardinal Franc Rode, who decried a "crisis" in religious life following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) which he believed to have fostered excessively liberalizing currents in some communities of religious. Braz said that he recognizes there are problems, but his main aim is to "rebuild trust" by approaching issues in a new way, "without preemptive condemnations" and "by listening to people's concerns."[4]

In his memoirs, published in 2022, Cardinal Rode recounts his astonishment at hearing of the appointment of Braz as his successor. The first to inform him of Braz was Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He described Braz as "un fanatico focolarino" ("a fanatic focolarino", a member of the Focolare Movement). According to Rode, the fact that a female secretary of Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Secretary of State, was also a fervent member of the Focolare Movement contributed to the appointment of Braz.[5]

Pope Benedict made him a cardinal on 18 February 2012,[6] with the rank of Cardinal-Deacon assigned to Sant'Elena fuori Porta Prenestina. On 21 April 2012 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Clergy and the Congregation for Catholic Education.[7] In the spring of 2013, at the time of the conclave that elected Pope Francis, he was mentioned as a possible candidate for election to the papacy.[8][9]

On 16 December 2013, Pope Francis named him a member of the Congregation for Bishops.[10]

On 4 March 2022, he was elevated to the rank of cardinal priest.[11]


  1. ^ Since 1973, prelates ordained for religious orders and for dioceses have alternated in holding the post of prefect of the congregation overseeing religious in the Catholic Church. In the past 100 years, 11 of the 18 prefects did not belong to a religious order.
  2. ^ Others are Cardinal Agnelo Rossi, who led the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples from 1970 to 1984, Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, who headed the Congregation for Bishops from 1998 to 2000, and Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, who headed the Congregation for Clergy from 2006 to 2010.[2]


  1. ^ Allen Jr., John L. (5 July 2011). "Vatican's point man for religious life: 'We've started to listen again'". National Catholic Reporter.
  2. ^ a b Allen Jr., John L. (6 January 2011). "New Vatican head of religious life comes without agenda". National Catholic Reporter.
  3. ^ Glatz, Carol (2 February 2011). "Liberation theology nearly drove Brazilian archbishop from church". Catholic News Agency. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016.
  4. ^ Allen, Jr., John L. (5 July 2011). "Vatican's point man for religious life: 'We've started to listen again'". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  5. ^ Rode, Franc (2022). Vse je dar : spomini (in Slovenian). Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba. p. 637. ISBN 978-961-278-503-1.
  6. ^ Otterman, Sharon (18 February 2012). "Dolan Among 22 New Cardinals, as Trend Favors Vatican Insiders". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine" (in Italian). Sala Stampa della Santa Sede. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  8. ^ Heneghan, Tom (11 February 2013). "With Benedict resigning, can Latin American claim papacy?". Reuters. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Pope: Runners and riders". BBC. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Pontifical Acts – 16 December". Vatican Network News. 16 December 2013. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Ordinary Public Consistory for the vote on some Causes for Canonization" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Ponta Grossa
12 August 1998 – 17 July 2002
Succeeded by
Sérgio Arthur Braschi
Preceded by
Murilo Ramos Krieger
Archbishop of Maringá
17 July 2002 – 28 January 2004
Succeeded by
Anuar Battisti
Preceded by Archbishop of Brasília
28 January 2004 – 4 January 2011
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
4 January 2011 – present
Order of precedence
Preceded byas Vice President of Brazil Brazilian order of precedence
3rd in line
as Brazilian cardinal
Followed by
Foreign ambassadors