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When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.

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A bit about Dom Helder Camara ...

Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara (February 7, 1909, Fortaleza, Ceará, North East Brazil - August 27, 1999 Recife) was Roman Catholic Archbishop of Olinda and Recife. He was known as the 'Bishop of Corum' and took a clear position with the urban poor. He retired as archbishop in 1985, and lived to see many of his reforms rolled back by his successor Jose Cardoso Sobrinho. In 1959 he founded Banco da Providência in Rio de Janeiro, a philanthropic organization that still exists fighting poverty and social injustices. He is famous for stating, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist." Camara's short tract, Spiral of Violence (1971), was written at the time of the Vietnam war. It is distinctive not just for the manner in which it links structural injustice (Level 1 violence) with escalating rebellion (Level 2 violence) and repressive reaction (Level 3 violence), but also for the way in which Camara calls upon the youth of the world to take steps for breaking the spiral to which their elders are often addicted. This book has been out of print for about 20 years (in the UK), but a scanned version is now available on the web at wikipedia. In 1973, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). He was awarded the Pacem in Terris Award. It was named after a 1963 encyclical letter by Pope John XXIII that calls upon all people of good will to secure peace among all nations. Pacem in Terris is Latin for "Peace on Earth."

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