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About - The Progressive Catholic Church and Working Class of Brazil

The Archive of the Diocesan Curia of Nova Iguaçu (ACDNI), is the historic center of the progressive Catholic Church in Brazil throughout the military dictatorship. Throughout its lifetime, the archive has collected resources vital to the study of human rights, social movements, resistance to authoritarianism, and liberation theology. The materials, dating from 1948 to 2015, vary greatly in content and format. Most notably, the collection includes the institutional documentation of the Diocese as well as materials produced and received by Dom Adriano Mandarino Hypólito, the third bishop of Nova Iguaçu and one of the Church’s leaders in the struggle against the military dictatorship. 

Dom Hypólito is considered as a legendary figure in the history of human rights and opposition to military rule in Brazil. This project works to preserve his personal archive, newspaper clippings (collected by his assistants for supporting their socio-political activities), leaflets/documents produced by church-sponsored social groups, and pieces from the following periodicals: A Folha (weekly, 1972-1993), Boletim Diocesano (monthly, 1969-1992), and Informativo (monthly, 1977-1984).

In addition to covering ecclesiastical matters, these materials also represent the Church’s support for social movements, labor unions, and political resistance groups. Specifically, the collection depicts the struggles of the working class in Rio de Janeiro known as the Baixada Fluminense, a population of several million people suffering from extreme inequality and unstable living conditions. Preserving the history of Baixada Fluminense is of great importance as they are a heavily neglected group by government and scholars alike.

Materials connecting ecclesiastical base communities with urban and rural communities will help further facilitate research within several fields. Scholars of social and political sciences, religion, rural and urban land occupations, neighborhood movements, and human rights will particularly benefit from exploring this archive.