Saint John the Evangelist Seminary

A Commitment of the Evangelical Catholic Church for Academic Formation

Est. 2006  

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa

1888 - 1961

 

As you have already learned from the Apostolic Succession of the Evangelical Catholic, part of our apostolic roots go directly to Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa. 

The life and vocation of Bishop Costa serves as the model and example for all who serve within the Autocephalous Catholic Movement.

Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa was consecrated as the Roman Catholic Diocesan Bishop of Botucatu, Brazil, on December 8, 1924, until certain views he expressed about treatment of the Brazil's poor, by both the civil government and the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil, caused his removal from the Diocese of Botucatu. Bishop Duarte Costa was subsequently named Titular Bishop of Maura by the late Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, formerly Vatican Secretary of State until 1939, under Pope Pius XI). Bishop Duarte Costa had been a strong advocate in the 1930's for reform of the Roman Church; he challenged many of the key issues that the Second Vatican Council would later thirty-five years take action upon.

Bishop Duarte Costa's criticisms of the Holy See, particularly about Vatican foreign policy during World War II toward Nazi Germany, were not well received at the Vatican, and he was eventually separated from the Roman Church by Pope Pius XII. This action was taken only after Duarte Costa's strong and repeated public denunciations over the fact that the Vatican Secretariat of State was engaged in the issuance of Vatican Passports to some very high ranking German ex-Nazis, a practice referred to as the "Ratline."

These former Nazi officials were among some of the most notorious of war criminals, such as, the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Commandant Adolf Eichmann and the infamous, Dr. Josef Mengele, the "Angel of Death," both of whom traveled after the War on officially issued Vatican Passports. Such criminals were in flight from trial to South America in 1945.

The Brazilian Government came under the criticism of Bishop Duarte Costa for collaboration with the Roman Church over these passports. Costa espoused more pastoral church positions on divorce, challenged mandatory celibacy for the clergy, and publicly stated his contempt regarding abuses of papal power, including the concept of Papal Infallibility, which the Bishop considered a misguided and false dogma.

 

Infancy to Vocation

 

The founder of the legal entity of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB) was born in the city of Rio de Janeiro, on July 21, 1888 in the neighborhood of Saint Antonio, in the residence of his uncle, then Eduardo Duarte Da Silva.  Son of Joao Matta Francisco Costa, and Maria Carlota Duarte Da Silva Costa, he was baptized on September 3, 1888, by the priest Francisco Goulart, and confirmed by Bishop Joao Eberhard. 

At the age of nine, he made his first communion, on  July 24, 1897, in the Cathedral of Uberaba, at the hands of his uncle, Dom Eduardo Duarte Silva. He concluded his primary studies in the Santa Rosa College, in Rio De Janeiro. Later, his uncle was raised to the Episcopal Dignity, being nominated Diocesan Bishop with his See in Uberaba, exerting a dynamic and efficient apostolate in the pasturing of the souls in his Diocese. As a child of nine years, Carlos Duarte Costa, was taken by his uncle Dom Eduardo Duarte Silva, now a Bishop, to Rome to study in the American College Boarding School Pius-Latin, where he completed courses in the minor seminary.  

In 1905, he returned to Brazil for health reasons, having been entered in the largest seminary in Uberaba, for the Congregation of Augustinian Priests, where he finished his Philosophical and Theological studies in the Major Seminary. 

Deacon Carlos Duarte Costa was a senior cleric for his uncle, Dom Eduardo Duarte Silva, in the Cathedral Church of Uberaba. In the same Cathedral Church, Fr. Carlos Duarte Costa, celebrated his first Mass, in a Cathedral filled with the faithful on May 04, 1911. After his ordination, he returned to Rome to further his education, and obtained a Doctorate in Theology, in the Gregorian Pontifical University of Rome. 

Returning from Rome, he worked with his uncle, Dom Eduardo in Uberaba, as secretary of the Diocese. The priest, Fr. Carlos Duarte Costa, was awarded with title of Monsignor for the publication of a catechism for children. Soon afterwards, he was nominated Apostolic Protonotary and General Secretary of the Archdiocese of Rio De Janeiro, for Sebastiao Cardinal Helm of the Silveira Cintra, succeeding Dom Cardinal Joaquin Arcoverde Albuquerque Cavalcante, executing this function until May 24, 1923, when the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Rio De Janeiro was nominated.

 

Bishop of Botucatu 

 

Since the death of Dom Lacio in 1923, Botucatu remained a vacant diocese.  For his work, for his dynamism and virtues, in the fulfillment of his duty in the Archdiocese of Rio De Janeiro, on July 04, 1924, Pope Pius XI nominated Dom Carlos as the Bishop of Botucatu. His Episcopal consecration occurred on December 8, 1924, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio De Janeiro, being consecrated by Cardinal Dom Sebastian Leme da Silveira Cintra, having as assistants: Dom Alberto Jose Gonzales, Bishop of Ribeirao Preto and Dom Benedict Pablo Alves de Souza, Diocesan Bishop of the Holy Spirit.    

Political and Social Influence 

In the 1930’s, he was one of the great articulators of Catholic Electoral Union, where Catholics also defended the catholic vote against the politicians. It intended of this to form and to preserve the Christian principle in the Laws and Acts of the Politicians, as for example, the creation of a rule of law for the divorce, that it is an act denied the poor persons for the Roman Catholic Church, but widely supported for the Bible. In 1932, on the occasion of the Constitutionalist Revolution, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa formed a “Diocesan Battalion of the Hunters ", generally known as the "Battalion of the Bishop" to fight on the side of the Constitutionalist Troops. For this, he collected deep between the fiduciary offices, he sold his pectoral gold cross with amethyst and precious gems, and a farm of the Diocese, demonstrating his deep love of the cause of freedom and to the democratic institutions. Such acts caused great national repercussions; it had who supported it, therefore being Dom Carioca Carlos, he raised the Sao Paulo flag and he made many more compatriots; but he also had those who disapproved, and were envious of his popularity, as he, acting as a true Moses, was searching for all the methods and ways of freedom for the Brazilian people. 

Ecclesiastical Renovation and Persecution 

 In 1936, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa made his second "ad-limina" visit to Rome, to visit Pope Pius XI, in the Vatican. He presented him various requests for the clergy of his diocese and, consequently, for the clergy of Brazil. He requested permission for the maintenance of the largest seminary in his diocese, the celebration of the Holy Mass and theadministration of the sacraments in the vernacular language or either, in Portuguese, the permission for clergy to marry, and the abolition of auricular confession, replacing it with general or communitarian confession, distribution of the Holy Communion to the laity under both species of the consecrated Bread and Wine, the institution of the Permanent Diaconate for the married laypeople, the celebration of the Holy Mass "Versus Populi", or either, facing the people, with the Sacrario detras of the Altar, the organization of a Council of Advice, constituted of Bishops to govern the Church, together with the Pope, the participation of the laypersons in the administration of the Word, of the Eucharistic and the Evangelization. These requests made by Bishop Duarte Costa were not accepted by the Pope of that time, but years later, Pope John XXIII placed some in practice through Vatican Council II. Some claims have been made that Dom Carlos Duarte Costa was regarded poorly by the Roman Curia of the Vatican. After twelve years leading the Diocese of Botucatu, Dom Carlos was obliged to renounce due the two great problems: his involvement in the differing political position from the Roman Church, and what he considered the poor administration of the property of the Diocese, that he placed at the disposal of the poor, disobeying the Pope.  

Due to the construction of the new Cathedral, of the Orphanage and the College, in addition to other projects, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa initiated the sale of some property of the Diocese, to be able to erase the debt, with the purpose to support, and to help the hungry poor persons of the time. The benefits of his shining administration are still standing in the Sao Paulo city of Botucatu, as a testimony of his capacity and determination. 

Political Pressure and Forced Resignation 

President Getulio Vargas, infuriated with Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, for his having convinced a battalion of soldiers from the Constitutional Troops to join him in his struggle against the corruption of the government, President Vargas asked the Holy See for the removal of Dom Carlos Duarte Costa from the Diocese of Botucatu. 

The Vatican could not do it directly, so the Apostolic Nuncio in Brazil entered into an agreement with the Secretary of the Diocese of Botucatu to obtain the resignation of Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, as Diocesan Bishop of Botucatu. This evil and perverse secretary, in the daily documents and reports that Dom Carlos Duarte Costa always had to sign, placed the resignation letter within a series of documents, which Dom Carlos Duarte Costa signed as a result of the deception. 

The Diocesan of Botucatu informed the Holy See that Dom Carlos Duarte Costa had signed the document mistakenly without reading it. This occurred in early 1937. The Holy See renounced claims that it was a forgery, based on the statements of the secretary of the Diocese, and the resignation was accepted by Pope Pius XI on October 6, 1937. After the acceptance of the resignation, Dom Carlos was appointed Titular Bishop of Maura, an extinct Diocese.  

Titular Bishop of Maura 

After his "forced resignation", Dom Carlos Duarte Costa,  definitively abandoned the life of rich capitalism, imposed by the Vatican, and went to live humbly,  in the city of Rio De Janeiro as Bishop Emeritus de Botucatu, with title of titular Bishop of Maura, where he obtained the determined support of his protector, Cardinal Dom Sebastiao Leme da Silveira Cintra, who granted permission to him to keep the particular Chapel, with the Blessed Sacrament in its residence, as well as presiding over marriage,   to celebrate festive and solemn masses and to manage the Sacrament of the Chrism in the parishes where he was invited by the respective vicars.  

At this time he established the Messenger magazine "Nossos", a vehicle to spread the devotion to Our Holy Mother. Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, always courageous, he analyzed all the human problems, of the necessary goods, of the degeneration of the Church of Rome.  

Divergence from the Roman Church 

What Dom Carlos had carried through in Botucatu, he was to start alone. Speaking against the domination that oppressed the poor Brazilian people and mainly the sacrifices of the work force, he renounced the luxury and material products obtained through their oppressed labor. Dom Carlos Duarte Costa intensified his politic work and was critical of the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Dom Carlos Duarte Costa had formed a variety of attitudes against the politics of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1944, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa wrote the preface of the book "the Soviet Power", written by Rev. Hewlett Johnson, the dean of Canterbury, of the Anglican Church. Such an act had very positives repercussions in all the country: How a Catholic Bishop could defend a Protestant Bishop? He criticized the periodicals and the Encyclicals from the Pope, specifically, Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII and Quadragesimo Ano of Pope Pius XI andDivina Redemptoris, he denounced the Roman Catholic priests of German and Italian nationality, residing in Brazil, as agents in the service of German Nazism and Italian Fascism and as guilty of the destruction of the Brazilian warships for German submarines.  

Dom Carlos Duarte Costa went very well in Rio de Janeiro, under the protection of Archbishop Cardinal Dom Sebastiao Leme da Silveira Cintra, but with the death of his protector and friend, was nominated as Archbishop of Rio De Janeiro, Dom Jayme de Barros Camara. The Cardinal persecuted him, and pursued it to the extreme cutting all the Episcopal exemptions to him that had been granted by his predecessor, in the Archdiocese of Rio De Janeiro. 

On July 10, 1944, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa was forbidden to preach the Gospel and to hear the confessions of the faithful, the result of a decision pronounced by the Ecclesiastical Chamber in retaliation for the pronouncements of the Bishop of Maura against the dogmas and doctrines of subjugation taught by the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Bishop Duarte Costa made of radical choice to help the poor.
Here he stand with a group of single mothers
whom he founded a home for assistance.

 

Excommunication 

On June 06, 1944, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, by the order of the government, facilitated by the Apostolic Nuncio joining the Brazilian fascists, was imprisoned and led to Belo Horizonte - MG, where he was accused of being a communist sympathizer, and remained imprisoned until 06  September 1944, when the order against the Brazilian Association of the Press was lifted, the government of Mexico and the United Nations, intervened together to the Brazilian Government through its intermediaries of their embassies in favor of Dom Carlos Duarte Costa. 

Several warnings had been given to Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, from the Roman Apostolic administration. But the more he was warned, more he defended the Christian faith, the laborers, the existing native land against the fascists and Nazis in the Church and its hierarchy. Without any hope of the submission of Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, the Vatican, enraged, laid against Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, Bishop of Maura, the penalty of excommunication on July 02, 1945.   

The Founding of ICAB 

When he learned of the excommunication, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, responded, establishing the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic National Church (ICAB) on July 6, 1945. The extract of the statutes of the new Church was published in Federal official gazette, page 12, 637, July 25, 1945. The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church was registered in book No 2 of the Civil Societies, under Number 107.966 of the Book A, Number 04.  

On August 18, 1945, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa published in the press of the world, his wonderful "Manifesto to the Nation", where he criticizes the Roman Catholic Church and he spoke of his established Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church.   

Although Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, already had left the Roman Catholic Church, and was no longer a member, acting as a bishop of that church in any way, on July 24, 1946, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, was declared, "excommunicado vitando", that is, excommunicated to the severest degree that exists, to prevent Roman Catholics from having anything to do with him whatsoever. This excommunication for his “schismatic audacity” was to make him “return to the unity of the true Church.” 

Persecution against ICAB 

When Dom Carlos Duarte Costa established ICAB, he used the same vestments, insignia and the same rites of the Roman Catholic Church, therefore, the cardinals of Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro had appealed to the Minister of Justice and the President of the Brazilian Republic. 

On September 27, 1948, the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church was closed, by virtue of legal action of the Courts of the Republic, Dr. Haroldo Teixeira Valladao, July 07, 1948, published the decision in the official Federal gazette of September 25, of the same year.

On 30 of November 1948, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa entered in the Federal Court of Appeals, and with a Writ of Mandamus, petitioned for the Judges Carpenter Luiz and Benjamin, requiring the reopening of ICAB.

The Brazilian Government, through their intermediary of the Minister of Justice, Dr. Agamenon Magalhaes, on September 22, 1948, said, "…it is not intention of the Government to submit the heads, or fiduciary offices of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church to any constraint in its freedom of worship, while it uses vestments, insignia, badges and different rites than that of the Roman Catholic Church”.  

Reopening the Churches, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, instituted in ICAB, Rites, vestments, proper insignias, and gray cassocks for the Priests. He instituted gray soutanes with cinctures, for the bishops, grey soutanes with red cinctures, red bands and stockings, to obey the order of the Minister of Justice, Dr. Agamenon Magalhaes, in order not to be confused with the Roman Church. 

The Church Becomes Global 

Dom Carlos Duarte Costa sent missionaries to other countries to establish National Catholic Apostolic Churches there. Some of these early missionaries were able to establish missions, while others were pursued, hunted, and even tortured and imprisoned. In spite of persecution by governments, at the behest of other Churches, the concept of the Catholic Apostolic National Church took root.                                                                 

 

In Death, Exalted to the Altars 

Tomb of Bishop Costa

 

Dom Carlos Duarte Costa guided, directed and governed the Brazilian Church with a firm hand for 16 years, until he fell asleep in Christ, in Rio De Janeiro March 26, 1961, on Palm Sunday. At that time, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, at 73 years age, had 50 Priests and 37 Bishops. The death of Dom Carlos Duarte Costa moved all of the Brazilian people, mainly in the City of Rio De Janeiro. Igreja-Mae and Couto Street of fiduciary offices had been overcrowded with people. The people wanted to see their Shepherd. It was a burial worthy of a Bishop who was very much loved by the people. The coffin with the mortal remains of Dom Carlos Duarte Costa proceeded down Igreja-Mae, on Couto No 54 Street, where Dom Carlos Duarte Costa was entombed with all the honors of a Pontiff, in the presence of the Bishops of ICAB.

The life of Dom Carlos Duarte Costa was irrepressibly evangelical, being distinguished for his absolute chastity, devotion the Holy Virgin Maria and the Eucharistic, where he passed several hours daily, in worship of the most august Sacrament of the Altar. Therefore, all who have had appealed to the Triune God, through his intercession, had been blessed with favors and miracles. Due to everything he had done, he was granted the honor of the altars by the national episcopate on July 4 – 6, 1970, on the Street of the Couto, n 54, Penha Quarter, in Rio De Janeiro, with the title of “Saint Carlos of Brazil”.

 

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