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Eugênio de Araújo Sales
Eugênio de Araújo Sales (born on 8 November 1920) is currently the longest-serving cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, having been elevated by Pope Paul VI on April 28, 1969. He served as archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro for thirty years until his resignation was accepted in 2001, when he had already passed the maximum age for voting in a papal conclave. He is currently the Cardinal Protopriest of the Holy Roman Church.
Early life and ordination
Sales was born in Acarì, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil to a prominent upper-class family: his father, Celso Dantas Sales, was a judge in the Supreme Federal Tribunal. He did humanistic studies as a teenager and entered the minor seminary at Natal in 1936, graduating in 1941 to the major seminary at Fortaleza.
He was ordained to the priesthood on November 21, 1943, and spend the following decade in pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Natal.
Pope Pius XII appointed Sales to the Episcopate, naming him titular Bishop of Thibica and auxiliary Bishop of Natal on June 1, 1954. He was consacrated a Bishop on August 15, 1954, and attended all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965.
On January 9, 1962, Pope bl. John XXIII named Sales Apostolic Administrator of Natal, and on July 9, 1964 Pope Paul VI transferred him to the See of São Salvador da Bahia also as Apostolic Administrator. On October 29, 1968, Sales was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of the Primatial See of São Salvador da Bahia.
On April 28, 1969, Pope Paul created Sales a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, assigning to him the title of Cardinal-Priest of S. Gregorio VII. On March 13, 1971, Pope Paul VI transferred Sales to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, and in 1972 Sales received the additional responsibility of Ordinary to the Faithful of Oriental Rite in Brazil without their own Ordinary.
In accordance with Canon Law, Cardinal Sales tendered his resignation from the See of Rio de Janeiro when he became 75 years old in 1995, and he reiterated the letter of resignation a few times in the succeeding years, but Pope John Paul II only accepted Sales' resignation on July 25, 2001. Cardinal Sales had already completed 80 years of age in the previous year, and had thus lost the right to take part in a Papal Conclave and his membership in the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia. The fact that he was allowed to continue serving as Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro after that milestone was extremely unusual.
As is the normal practice, by mandate of the Holy See, Cardinal Sales, now Archbishop emeritus, continued to govern the See of Rio de Janeiro as Apostolic Administrator from the acceptance of his resignation on July 25, 2001 until the installation of his successor on September 22, 2001. Cardinal Sales's transition to retirement was completed on October 3, 2001 when his resignation to the office of Ordinary to the Faithful of Oriental Rite in Brazil without their own Ordinary was accepted by Pope John Paul II.
At the death of Pope John Paul II, Sales was the second-longest-serving cardinal in the Church and as such, although at 84 unable to vote in the 2005 conclave, he played an important role in the pre-conclave discussions. He presided one of the funeral Masses for John Paul II during the Novemdiales (nine days of mourning for the deceased Pope) as senior Cardinal-Priest present in Rome during the 2005 sede vacante. Also in that capacity, Cardinal Sales was present in the first and third (non-public) parts of the Funeral of Pope John Paul II, and was one of those who signed the rogito (the parchment containing biographical data that was placed inside the papal coffin).
Since the death of Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan on February 16, 2009, Cardinal Sales is both the Cardinal protoprete and also the longest serving living Cardinal of the Catholic Church. On 28 April 2009, Cardinal Sales completed 40 years as a member of the College of Cardinals.
Human rights violations
As Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro from 1971, Sales protested the many human rights violations in Brazil during the period. His work supporting those tortured by the regime in this era has been only recently noted by historians of Brazil.
Fight against dissent
Following the fall of the military dictatorship and Pope John Paul II's reining in of theological dissent, Sales became the Church's most prominent voice against what he saw as dissent from Catholic moral teaching. In the 1990s he made many efforts to become a cultural leader in this struggle: going so far as to oppose the traditional Carnival in Rio de Janeiro with a "festival of prayer" which he saw as opposing trends towards sexual libertinism in modern Brazil.
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Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)
- Secret Dialogues: Church-State Relations, Torture, and Social Justice in Authoritarian Brazil
Augusto da Silva
|Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia|
29 October 1968–13 March 1971
| Succeeded by|
Avelar Brandão Vilela
Jaime de Barros Câmara
|Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro|
13 March 1971–25 July 2001
| Succeeded by|