MOREIRA, Fr. João de (c.1683-1747)
16th bishop of Cape Verde.
He was born circa 1683 and was a Franciscan from the province of Soledade. He was presented in 1742 and confirmed and consecrated in 1743. He made solemn entry in the diocese on Lazarus Saturday, 1744. He received a series of financial gains that were nothing more than promises that were destined to be paid in the customs of Santiago (where there was very little fiscal revenue) and divided equally between secular and ecclesiastical officials. D. Fr. João de Moreira was only able to recruit six priests from the kingdom to accompany him. The diocesan chapter welcomed the bishop, because since 1731 there hadn?t been any resident prelate that could confer holy orders or present local priests to the parishes or the offices of the diocesan chapter, and they no longer had influence in the courtly circuits to attain letters of presentation. After some pressure from previous prelates, and also from the diocesan chapter, which maintained a clergy member from the kingdom as procurator in Lisbon, the allowances were finally increased in 1743. Several years had passed since the last increase in 1609. The disorder was such that they had lost the records of how much parish priests earned. There was no money to pay the clergy much less provide for ornaments and vestments or repair the churches, many of which were open-roofed and without consecrated species. In the Barlavento islands, the vicars colluded with the administrators and they appropriated all of the trade tithes as ecclesiastical revenue. Nearly all of the Portuguese capitulars had been absent, and that required the bishop to ascertain whether the absentees had lost their rights to the ecclesiastic allowances and, if so, to use the money to repair the churches. Some local priests didn?t show any respect for the hierarchy of the clergy, and they continued to practice even after being suspended by the prelate. The great resource of the diocese continued to be the Franciscan missionaries that assisted the parishes and were financed by the region of the Rivers of Guinea. They aided the local clergy in the parishes in the most solemn occasions of the liturgical calendar, such as Lent and Holy Week. In addition, they officiated at the cathedral, preached in the city of Ribeira Grande and taught to the ordinands. D. Fr. João de Moreira died in 1747.
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SOARES, Maria João, ?A Igreja em tempo de mudança política, social e cultural?, História Geral de Cabo Verde, vol. III, coord. de Maria Emília Madeira Santos, Lisboa-Praia, IICT-INIPPC, 2002, pp. 390-393.
Author:Maria João Soares
Translated by: John Starkey