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Cardinal Aloísio Lorscheider


“A great bishop, a great theologian”


By Stefania Falasca



On 23 December 2007 Cardinal Aloísio Lorscheider, Archbishop Emeritus of Aparecida, died in the San Francesco Hospital in Porto Alegre. He was 83 years old. At the solemn funeral mass Cardinal Odilo Scherer, Archbishop of San Paolo, recalled him as “a precious point of reference for the service carried out in the Church, admired for his intelligence and saintliness”. “A great bishop, a great theologian”, he then described him, and emphasized his compassion and simplicity. Lorscheider was one of the more eminent historical figures in the Latin American episcopate. A Franciscan, born of parents of German origin, in Estrela, Archdiocese of Port Alegre, on 8 October 1924, he was ordained priest in 1948. Having graduated in Dogmatic Theology at the Antonianum of Rome in 1952, he taught this discipline in the seminary of Divinópolis, in the State of Minas Gerais, until 1958. His consistent scholarly production persuaded the superiors of the Order to call him back to Rome as teacher at the Pontifical Antonianum Athenaeum. On 3 February 1962 he was nominated bishop of Santo Ângelo and he remained in the Brazilian diocese for more than eleven years, giving proof of his organizational abilities and pastoral dedication. He gave an impulse to the seminary and to the mission, established a vital relationship with the clergy and the faithful, undertook constant visitations to the parishes when he would personally administer the sacraments, including confession. He participated in Vatican Council II. He was nominated Archbishop of Fortaleza in 1973, where he remained for nearly nine years. He was created cardinal by Paul VI in the Consistory of 24 May 1976. From 1995 to 2004 he was Archbishop of Aparecida. He was a member of the Theological Commission of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference, of which he was subsequently elected President, a role in which he was reconfirmed many times (1971-1978). Former vice- president of the Latin American Episcopal Council, he became its president in the period 1976-1979, succeeding Archbishop Pironio. He was President of the third General Conference of the CELAM in 1979 in Puebla. He participated in the two conclaves of 1978 that led to the election of John Paul I and of John Paul II.