Religion: Pastor of the Poor

The plot seemed like something out of Becket. The conspirator's accomplice, a poor man, was to go to the city of Recife in northeastern Brazil and there seek out a certain troublesome archbishop. "That priest," the accomplice was told, "must be eliminated." As it happened, the 1968 scenario was never played out. The would-be assassin was too softhearted to go through with the murder. Instead, he went to his intended victim, confessed the plot and warned him that others might try.

A certain grace seems to touch the life of the diminutive (5 ft....