ROME, Italy — Last week, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Claudio Hummes, OFM, 72, Archbishop of Sao Paolo, Brazil, to head the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy. This move brings a Franciscan into the Pope’s cabinet. Cardinal Hummes succeeds Cardinal Dario Castillon Hoyos.
Cardinal Hummes, a third generation Brazilian of German ancestry, was born in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, on Aug. 8, 1934. He entered the Province of St. Francis (Porto Alegre) in 1952 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1958. He pursued graduate studies at the Pontifical Anthonian University in Rome and at the Ecumenical Institute of Geneva, and taught theology in his province, eventually being elected provincial minister in 1972 at the age of 38. In 1975, he was named bishop of San Andre, an industrial city in the outskirts of Sao Paolo. During these years he forged a close friendship with a labor leader there, Luis Ignazio Lula da Silva, who is now president of Brazil.
In 1996, he became Archbishop of Fortaleza before being named Archbishop of Sao Paolo in 1998, succeeding Cardinal Paolo Evaristo Arns, O.F.M. Cardinal Hummes is considered a pastoral moderate in church politics. According to Robert Mickens in The Tablet, “he is considered ‘loyal’ to the Vatican on all major moral and ethical questions, yet he has been characteristically ‘non-doctrinaire’ … He is not opposed to dialogue. Quite the contrary.”