Religion: The River Bishop

When he is in his palace, the bishop of one of the largest Roman Catholic dioceses in the world rolls out of a hammock at 3:45 every morning and pads barefoot across the rough wood floor to wash in a bucket of cold water. Then, in a grey cassock, red skullcap, and big, gold pectoral cross, he hurries next door to the cathedral to say Mass. His congregation is a ragged handful of fishermen and their barefoot wives; their boats pull out after the service just as the sun is reddening the Amazon.

For the Most Rev. James Conleth Ryan, 48, a...

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