Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo

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The Most Reverend
Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo
  • Apostolic Administrator Emeritus of Díli
  • Titular Bishop of Lorium
Dom Filipe Ximenes Belo 2016.jpg
See Lorium (Titular See)
Appointed 21 March 1988
Predecessor Ennio Appignanesi
Ordination 26 July 1980
Consecration 19 June 1988
by Archbishop Francesco Canalini
Personal details
Born (1948-02-03) 3 February 1948 (age 70)
Baucau, Portuguese Timor
Nationality East Timorese
Denomination Catholic
  • Domingos Vaz Filipe
  • Ermelinda Baptista Filipe
Signature Dom Filipe Ximenes Belo Assinatura.jpg
Styles of
Carlos Ximenes Belo
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Signature. Dom Filipe Ximenes Belo Assinatura.jpg

Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo SDB, GCL (born 3 February 1948) is an East Timorese Roman Catholic bishop. His religious life openly denounced the brutal Indonesian occupation of his country. In 1996, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with José Ramos-Horta for working "towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor".

Salesians of Don Bosco Catholic religious institute

The Salesians of Don Bosco is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite religious institute founded in the late nineteenth century by Italian priest Saint John Bosco to help poor children during the Industrial Revolution.

Order of Liberty Portuguese civil order

The Order of Liberty, or the Order of Freedom, is a Portuguese honorific civil order that distinguishes relevant services to the cause of democracy and freedom, in the defense of the values of civilization and human dignity. The order was created in 1976, after the Carnation Revolution of 1974 in which the corporatist authoritarian Estado Novo regime of António de Oliveira Salazar and Marcello Caetano was deposed. The Grand Collar can also be given by the President of Portugal to former Heads of State and others whose deeds are of an extraordinary nature and particular relevance to Portugal, making them worthy of such a distinction. This can include political acts, physical acts of defense for Portugal, or the good representation of Portugal in other countries.

Indonesian occupation of East Timor

The Indonesian occupation of East Timor began in December 1975 and lasted until October 1999. After centuries of Portuguese colonial rule in East Timor, a 1974 coup in Portugal led to the decolonisation of its former colonies, creating instability in East Timor and leaving its future uncertain. After a small-scale civil war, the pro-independence Fretilin declared victory in the capital city of Dili and declared an independent East Timor on 28 November 1975.


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) 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.

East Timor Country in Maritime Southeast Asia

East Timor or Timor-Leste, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is a country in Maritime Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island surrounded by Indonesian West Timor. Australia is the country's southern neighbour, separated by the Timor Sea. The country's size is about 15,410 km2.

Baucau City in East Timor

Baucau is the second-largest city in East Timor, after Dili, the capital, which lies 122 km east of Dili.

Dili City in East Timor

Dili, also known as “City of Peace”, is the capital, largest city, chief port, and commercial centre of East Timor (Timor-Leste). Dili is part of a free trade zone, the Timor Leste–Indonesia–Australia Growth Triangle (TIA-GT).

Returning to East Timor in July 1981, he became a teacher for 20 months, then director for two months, at the Salesian College at Fatumaca.

Pastoral 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. On 6 February 1989, he was consecrated titular Bishop of Lorium. [1]

Martinho da Costa Lopes was an East Timorese religious and political leader. Msgr da Costa Lopes, who was a Timorese priest of many years experience, was also a member of the National Assembly in Lisbon. By 1975, when the Indonesian troops landed in Timor, he had become the assistant to the Portuguese Bishop of Dili, Dom José Joaquim Ribeiro. When the latter, distraught by the killings, requested retirement in May 1977, his position was taken by Msgr da Costa Lopes, who at the age of 58 became the Apostolic Administrator of the Dili diocese, answerable directly to the Pope and responsible for the whole of East Timor.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli diocese of the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli is a diocese located in the city of Díli in Timor-Leste.

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.

Jakarta Special Capital Region in Indonesia

Jakarta, officially the Special Capital Region of Jakarta, is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Located on the northwest coast of the world's most populous island Java, it is the centre of economics, culture and politics of Indonesia, with a population of 10,075,310 as of 2014. Jakarta metropolitan area has an area of 6,392 square kilometers, which is known as Jabodetabek. It is the world's second largest urban agglomeration with a population of 30,214,303 as of 2010. Jakarta is predicted to reach 35.6 million people by 2030 to become the world's biggest megacity. Jakarta's business opportunities, as well as its potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from across the Indonesian archipelago, combining many communities and cultures.

In February 1989 he wrote to the President of Portugal, the Pope, and the UN Secretary-General, calling for a UN referendum on the future of East Timor and for international help for the East Timorese, who were "dying as a people and a nation", but when the UN letter became public in April, he became even more of a target of the Indonesians. This precariousness increased when Bishop Belo gave sanctuary in his own home, as he did on various occasions, to youths escaping the Santa Cruz massacre (1991), and endeavoured to expose the numbers of victims killed.

Bishop Belo's labours on behalf of the East Timorese and in pursuit of peace and reconciliation were internationally recognised when, along with José Ramos-Horta, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1996. Bishop Belo capitalised upon this honour through meetings with Bill Clinton of the United States and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. In 1995, he also won the John Humphrey Freedom Award from the Canadian human rights group Rights & Democracy. [2]

José Ramos-Horta former president and prime minister of East Timor

José Manuel Ramos-Horta is an East Timorese politician who was the President of East Timor from 20 May 2007 to 20 May 2012. Previously he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2006 and Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007. He is a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize along with Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, for working "towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor".

Bill Clinton 42nd president of the United States

William Jefferson Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to the presidency, he was the governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992, and the attorney general of Arkansas from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy.

Nelson Mandela President of South Africa, anti-apartheid activist

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Resignation as Apostolic Administrator and new pastoral activity

In the aftermath of East Timorese independence on 20 May 2002, the pressure of events and the ongoing stress he endured began to show their effects on Bishop Belo's health. Pope John Paul II accepted his resignation as Apostolic Administrator of Dili on 26 November 2002.

Following his resignation Bishop Belo travelled to Portugal for medical treatment. By the beginning of 2004, there were repeated calls for him to return to East Timor and to run for the office of president. However, in May 2004 he told Portuguese state-run television RTP, that he would not allow his name to be put up for nomination. "I have decided to leave politics to politicians," he stated. One month later, on 7 June 2004, Pascuál Chavez, rector major of the Salesian Society, announced from Rome that Bishop Belo, returned to health, would take up a new assignment. In agreement with the Holy See, he would go to Mozambique as a missionary, and live as a member of the Salesian Society in that country.

In a statement released on 8 June, Bishop Belo said that, following two meetings in 2003 and in 2004 with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, he would go on a mission to the Diocese of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, as he had wanted to since his youth.[ citation needed ] He started in July 2004; the same year he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from CEU Cardinal Herrera University.

In February 2011 Belo received the Prize for Lusophonic Personality of the Year, given by MIL: Movimento Internacional Lusófono in the Lisbon Academy of Sciences.

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Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Dili Church in Díli, East Timor

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The following lists events that happened during 2008 in East Timor.


  1. Fernandes, C. The Independence of East Timor. Sussex Academic Press 2011.
  2. "John Humphrey Freedom Award 2009". Rights & Democracy. 2010. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.

Primary sources


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Martinho da Costa Lopes
Apostolic Administrator of Díli
Succeeded by
Basílio do Nascimento