One of Bishop Duarte Costa's first reforms was the translation of the Mass from the Latin into the native language of the people. The Roman Catholic Church codified the same change, nearly 30 years later. Perhaps, over time, Bishop Duarte Costa's other disciplinary changes may be adopted by Rome as well. In the meantime, this mission parish remains a glowing torch of hope for Catholics in need of acceptance and understanding.
Beliefs and History
Can you imagine a Catholic Church in which divorced and remarried Catholics are openly welcomed to receive the Eucharist?
Can you imagine a Catholic Church in which a priest can choose to be married if he wishes and who supports himself through secular employment?
Could such a church and such a priest not empathize with parishioners who bear difficult family responsibilities?
We live in an age of declining church attendance, Catholic parish closings and a quiet, but growing, sense that the traditional Catholic Church has lost touch with the real life struggles of Catholic Christians today. In the midst of this reality, we wonder if the kind of Church we've described above may be ahead of its time, or perhaps long overdue.
These concepts echo the sentiments of one Roman Catholic bishop from Brazil, the Most Reverend Carlos Duarte Costa. Largely unknown to contemporary Catholics Bishop Duarte Costa (aka St Charles of Brazil) was considered a rebel by the Vatican and a saint by the countless thousands served by his ministry. An advocate for the poor, he criticized the political leanings of the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil. The Church, in Duarte's view, enjoyed a position of favor with the wealthy government; a government under which the privileged thrived while the countless poor were starved in the streets.
Duarte Costa was critical of the Vatican's policy of silence during World War II. Duarte Costa championed the abolition of celibacy and called for "a national Catholic/Christian church," Independent of Rome in which priests would "have wives if they choose... and in which divorce would be tolerated." Today, this Church, a National Church in Brazil, has a membership that numbers in the tens of thousands, with sister Churches whose members number in the millions worldwide in 22 countries. On July 7, 1995, in Rio de Janeiro, Bishop Duarte Costa's successors celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the founding of the Brazilian National Church.