Land for the landless, food for the hungry, literacy for the uneducated— not through charitable works, but by forcing the state to take seriously its responsibilities to its poorest citizens. This was integral to the theology of liberation as it was practiced by bishops, priests, and nuns in Brazil beginning shortly after the close of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Important sectors of the Brazilian Catholic Church were “opting for the poor” at a time when economic development, modernization, and democracy were not considered appropriate or meaningful partners in the repressive environment characterized by the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985).

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Copyright © 2007, Academy of American Franciscan History. This article first appeared in The Americas: 63:3 (2007), 409-443.

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