22.04.22: “Eduardo Hoornaert: A Belgian Brazilian” by Severino Vicente da Silva

Academia.edu sends you stuff. [Thinker over-here] opened up a paper for comments. [Theologian over-there] uploaded their 10th paper this month. And you get some good stuff. Today I was blessed by seeing a short biographical piece on a lesser known (outside of Latin America and outside of Brazil) liberation theologian, Eduardo Hoornaert. I learned a few things that I will put into my timeline project, where I delineate the history in order to retrieve it as I piece together my oral history thesis.

I don’t know if this link will stay up long, as its for review requests and has a 28.04.22 deadline, but here it is. Below are some facts I didn’t know and now do thanks to Severino Vicente da Silva:

  • “In April 1957 Pope Pius XII published the encyclical Fidei Donum, in which he asked the European and North American churches to send missionaries to organize the churches in Asia and Africa. It was one more action of the clergy to strengthen the new churches.”
  • After finishing his theological studies, Hoornaert “was sent to Africa where he came to teach Greek in one of the Catholic schools agreed by his diocese.”
  • Silva writes: “After a few years (two?) he returns to Belgium where he resumes the Latin American project.” [what project?]
  • cont. “He makes a first attempt in the Spanish-speaking region,” [where?] “but everything seems to indicate Brazil, where he arrived in the late 50’s,…”
  • Hoornaert becomes Prof. of Ecclesiastical History [knew that but] as Silva interprets: “influenc[ing] Brazilian historiography.”
  • Silva links Hoornaert to Dom Hélder Câmara, when he moves from João Pessoa to Recife, where Câmara “invites him to direct the Varzea Minor Seminary, which implies his permanent transfer to Recife.”
  • This means he participates “since the beginning” in the Regional Seminary of the Northeast, “together with Fathers José Comblin, René Guerre, HumbertoPlummen, Marcelo Carvalheira, Zildo Rocha, Diomar Lopes, among others.”
  • Hoornaert carries out research. It become the book: A Fé Popular no Nordeste. Pesquisa do Instituto de Teologia do Recife. Salvador: Editora Beneditina LTDA, 1974.
  • He’s also publishing throughout the ’60s in Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira, a Vozes publication.
  • Mentions CELAN “under the coordination of Enrique Dussel” [I don’t know this org] intending to “re-write the History of the Church in Latin America”. Hoornaert participates. There is a reaction from some bishop to this perspective of the poor history, and the try to “shipwreck” it.
  • Dussel’s “quick action”: founding Center for the Study of Church History in Latin America (CEHILA). Hoornaert a found.
  • QUOTE: “Taking the poor as a basic category for analyzing the Church’s participationin the formation process of Latin America, alongside Oscar Beozzo, João Huck,Hugo Fragoso, Riolando Azzi, Eduardo, from outside the Academy, promoteda shift in the historiography dedicated to Church in Brazil.”
  • Hoornaerts work criticised from traditional and progressive historians. For the latter: they “pointed out to the looseness of the theoretical framework” (the people/the poor).
  • OF INTEREST: “He writes about a “brown Christianity”, talks about the “Angels of Canudos”, tells a history of the first Christian communities and of the Christian people. He seeks in the documentation all the possibilities to present a collective creation, not an institutional one, because he is seekingto understand the paths that the poor have taken, the diculties imposed onthem for not being Europeans.” [Robert Chao Romero’s Brown Church comes straight to my mind. I still haven’t got that amazing book. And I wonder if dear Robert knows of Hoornaert’s: O Cristianismo Moreno no Brasil. Petrópolis: Vozes,1991]
  • In the last paragraph, Silva presents the uniqueness of Hoornaert’s studies and vision. For that, you can contact him at severino.vincente@gmail.com or severino.vsilva@ufpe.br

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