November 14, 2011 ( – Bishop Luiz Gonzaga Bergonzini, ordinary of the Diocese of Guarulhos in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has been selected for this year’s Von Galen Award by Human Life International for his courageous work on behalf of the unborn.

At the presentation of the award, HLI’s Brazil coordinator Raymond De Souza called Bishop Bergonzini a “symbol of the priest with a passion for the Gospel and by Jesus Christ.  For him and for the Catholic Church, life should be preserved from fertilization to natural death.”


The bishop is known for insisting on the involvement of the Church in the political process in the fight for the right to life, a principle upheld by the Vatican but often rejected by local bishops. 

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“We must distinguish between political parties and politics,” the bishop was quoted as saying. “The Church does not have the right to engage in politics? The Church has the obligation to do so! As a citizen I have the right, and as a bishop, as a Christian, I have the obligation to participate in politics…In our party, the head is Jesus Christ, and our weapon, our law, is the Gospel!”

The Von Galen Award is named after Blessed Cardinal August Clemens von Galen, of the Diocese of Muenster, Germany, who fought openly against Hitler’s euthanasia campaigns in the 1930s and 1940s.  He was beatified by the Catholic Church in 2005, the same year the award was created by HLI.

Bergonzini is the second Brazilian to win the award. In 2009, Brazilian Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, Archbishop of Olinda e Recife, received the award for his fight to prevent an abortion performed on the twins of an impregnated minor in his diocese.

The award was presented by Fr. Shenan Boquet, HLI’s new president, at the Second International Congress on Truth and Life held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, earlier this month.