Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo

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Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo SDB, GCL (born February 3, 1948) is a Roman Catholic bishop who received, together with José Ramos-Horta, the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, for their work "towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor."


Early life and religious vocation

The fifth child of Domingos Vaz Filipe and Ermelinda Baptista Filipe, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo was born in the village of Wailakama, near Vemasse, on the north coast of East Timor. His father, a schoolteacher, died two years later. His childhood years were spent in Catholic schools at Baucau and Ossu, before he proceeded to the Dare minor seminary, outside Dili, from which he graduated in 1968. From 1969 until 1981, apart from periods of practical training (1974-1976) back in East Timor and in Macau, he was in Portugal and Rome where, having become a member of the Salesian Society, he studied philosophy and theology before being ordained a priest in 1980.

Returning to East Timor in July 1981 he became a teacher for 20 months, then Director for two months, at the Salesian College[disambiguation needed] at Fatumaca.

Pastoral and prophetic leadership

On the resignation of Martinho da Costa Lopes in 1983, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Dili diocese, becoming head of the East Timor church and directly responsible to the Pope. In 1988, he was consecrated a Bishop (of Lorium, Italy).

Father Belo was the choice of the Vatican's Pro Nuncio in Jakarta and the Indonesian leaders because of his supposed submissiveness, but he was not the choice of the Timorese priests who did not attend his inauguration. However within only five months of his assuming office he protested vehemently, in a sermon in the cathedral, against the brutalities of the Kraras massacre (1983) and condemned the many Indonesian arrests. The church was the only institution capable of communicating with the outside world, so with this in mind the new Apostolic Administrator started writing letters and building up overseas contacts, in spite of the isolation arising from the opposition of the Indonesians and the disinterest of most of the world.

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