Interior Minister who invoked God over Albufeira floods “wanted to be a monk”

At last, a sign as to why the new interior minister invoked God at every turn when he visited Albufeira’s devastation on Monday afternoon. Diário de Notícias carries a fascinating exposé this morning on the man who surprised all and sundry by saying the Almighty would “surely reserve an adequate place” for the elderly pensioner swept to his death by floodwaters on Sunday morning.

An adequate place? What did he mean? A dry corner of Heaven? A place where no celestial river was likely to sweep him up and carry him away?

As DN explains, Calvão da Silva was “insistent” in his Holy references, to the point that he perplexed “even those who believe in God”.

“God isn’t always a friend,” he considered as he stepped gingerly through the mangled and muddied streets of the baixa district. “There are times when he gives us periods of provocation,” he added as he surveyed the insides of businesses that face having to rebuild from scratch with no apparent recourse to insurance policies.

Lamenting the drowning of Francisco Navio, he prompted stunned reflection when he considered that Navio had “given himself to God”.

Well, now all is explained. As a 12 year old, Calvão da Silva – then presumably a barefoot child in the northern area of Trás-os-Montes, “knocked on the door of a monastery” and was let in.

There followed a “life of religious education”, until he wrestled with his conscience and ultimately joined the PSD centre-right political party, which has now rewarded him with this plum post in a government that may not last till the end of the month.

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