Cardinal Brandao Vilela of Brazil Dies at 74
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Cardinal Avelar Brandao Vilela, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil and archbishop of the northeastern city of Salvador, has died of stomach cancer at the age of 74, a hospital spokesman said Saturday.
Brandao Vilela died Friday night at the Hospital Portuguese in Salvador, said hospital administrator Marcos Almeida Bonfim.
He said the cardinal was transferred from a Sao Paulo hospital to Salvador on Thursday.
Brandao Vilela, a bishop for 40 years, was born in Alagoas state in 1912. He became archbishop of the northern city of Teresina in 1955.
In 1971, the Vatican named him archibishop of Salvador and primate of Brazil. Two years later, he was elevated to the rank of cardinal by Pope Paul VI.
Brandao Vilela was known as the ″great conciliator″ in Brazil’s socially active church, where progressives and conservatives clash over the church’s role in society.
He was moderator at the Second Latin American Episcopal Conference in Medelin, Colombia in 1968, which laid the groundwork for a more progressive Latin American church.
Brandao Vilela was the brother of Sen. Teotonio Vilela, who fought to bring back democracy in Brazil and who died of cancer in 1983.