EDITORIAL - EASTER
The dead man came out, with his feet and hands wrapped up, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, Unwrap him and let him go. ( Jn.11,44)
There is an Easter to be lived by each one of us. The Easter of the Lord is all that responds with effectiv- ness to the situation of hopelessness and death, that each man, each woman each family and each community is experiencing.
It was from the depths that He called his friend Lazarus. It is from the depths that He calls us. It from the core of human suffering that He unbinds the chains and frees us.
And how we are in need of Easter. How many Brazilians are in the tombs of a life without hope? How many unemployed families or landless people without a place to live or to plant? How many are imprisoned hands and feet in the cells of social injustice? And what can be said of the shroud of illiteracy and of ignorance that obstructs a vision of basic rights?
O God, we pray, free also the Church of Olinda- Recife, so that she can walk freely, leaving behind the bonds of oppression and thus free, give testimony to your kingdom. Amen.
DENOUNCEMENT: THE BISHOP AND MACHIAVELLI - ( by Sérgio Menezes )
If Machiavelli was alive today, in Olinda-Recife, his book probably would not be named The Prince but The Bishop, such is the resemblance between the attitudes of authority of our archdiocese and the famous character of Machiavelli.
A careful analysis of the time of D. José Cardoso Sobrinho, in the archdiocese of Oinda-Recife reveals a series of similarities that even the most innocent or childlike laity, would note the coincidence.
The situation is so absurd that it is not possible to participate at the same altar without being conniving with all sort of arbitrariness that has already been practiced in this archdiocese and that has provoked the dismantling of a church, that was becoming the People of God.
Priests dismissed, parish councils dismissed, laity forbidden to participate in pastoral activities in their own parishes, police being called to break up a demonstration in support of dismissed priests or to guarantee the repossession of temples where the faith- ful were meeting, prohibiting the distribution of food and funds to needy communities, and so many other things that we would not have enough paper to describe.
We are again, on the eve of Holy Week and the pressure on the clergy to participate in the Mass of the Holy Oils is growing in view of intimidating the priests and feigning a situation for the press which will cover the event and for Rome.(see notices p. 6.)
In times of penance, of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ what is seen in the Archdiocese of Olinda-Recife is a strengthening of the oppression , of dictatorial authority, of coerced obedience.
To the expelled priests, to those who are threatened to be expelled, to those who will attend the Mass of the Holy Oils under coercion, in short, to all, be they clergy, religious or laity, who find themselves dedicated to bringing about the Kingdom, yet suffering threats and persecution; do not give in to temptation to search for the wider gate, our solidarity and our deepest respect.
To those who persecute, and those who support them, our prayers that during this Lent, you have the opportunity to reflect about the true path to be followed for the construction of a CATHOLIC CHURCH COMMITTED TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
JESUS CHRIST OR BARABBAS ? - ( by Antônio Carlos )
About 1,964 years ago, a young Galilean of 33 years. died in Jerusalem. In the recorded genealogy written by the authorities of the time you can read: Personal data: Jesus Christ, 33 years, born in Bethlehem, son of the carpenter, Joseph and of a housewife, Mary. Cause of death: crucifixion.
Cause of condemnation: In the last three years of his life, he became a vagabond and a wanderer and together with a small number of followers, sub- verted the order proclaiming to be a King of a King- dom that was not of this world, destabilizing the Temple, rebelling against the High Priests.
How do we, as Christians today, read these facts which occurred almost two thousand years ago? More than this: how would we behave today in the face of these facts?
How would we accept subverting the order and the destruction of the Temples in a society where, from a materialistic view, each one is given his/her rightful place: to the Pharisees the places of honor, to the publicans the last places, to the adulteresses the penalty of being stoned, to the lepers exclusion, to the rich prosperity, to the priestly leaders the power of mediation with God, to the faithful the obligation of obedience to the laws dictated by the priestly leaders, etc., etc.?
How would we accept a wandering Messiah, who allows himself to be kissed by a prostitute, who offers friendship and pardon to an adulteress, who dines with a tax collector, who minutes before he dies promises Paradise to a thief who is dying by his side.
A Messiah who destroys the Temple, the pride of some for its beauty, with such beautiful stones and all the offerings.(Lk.21,5), to build an Church- People of God united by faith?
A Church that does not solidify itself in stone, limestone and power, but grounds and eternalizes itself in the commandment of LOVE?
This reflection, in order to produce fruits, should be part of the reality of our lives, for our place and time. In our case, more concretely, for Olinda- Recife, during this time of Easter, 1997. To free all those who are imprisoned (CF 1997), laity and priests should reflect profoundly and courageously, to examine if our actions are for embellishment of the Temple or the establishment of the Kingdom, or if we have become Priests of the Temple or pastors of the Kingdom.
Even though to beautify the Temple or to be a priest in the biblical sense of the term (disciple of Caiaphas) is easier and more acceptable and recognized than to be a laborer or pastor in the construction of the Kingdom.
Serving in the Temple pacifies consciences, negotiates salvation, assures order and tranquillity and respects the hierarchy of place.
The pastors and laborers of the construction of the Kingdom will be persecuted or imprisoned.
They will be judged in places of prayer, and later thrown into prison. they will be betrayed by their own family and friends, and will be hated, warned Jesus (Lk.21,12-17), later promising: But not a hair of your head will be lost. Be firm, for thus you will be saved. (Lk.21,18-20). This strong teaching of the Gospel of Luke warns us not to confuse silence with peace, but to nourish it within our weakness, continually attempting to be laborers in building of the Kingdom.
It alerts us to the fact that, at times, applause or submission are a modern form of opting, precisely what the mob of 1,964 years ago, led by Caiaphas, cried out: Barabbas, Barabbas, Barabbas!
A PRECIOUS GIFT - ( by Fernando Gonçalves )
A great evangelizing Easter gift, can be found in the CD-ROM, THE BIBLE, from Editor Vozes, with the required imprimatur of the noted Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, cardinal archbishop of São Paulo.
The CD contains the entire Holy Bible (Vozes Version) narration of some biblical texts and illustrations of some of the biblical scenes of the Sistine and Pauline Chapels. Also, you can hear Gregorian chant sung by the Canarinho Choir of Petropolis.
In the appendix of the CD-ROM you can consult a table of weights and measures, a complete index of bible readings for Sunday Masses and a very well elaborated biblical-pastoral index.
In all, the CD-ROM includes 43 biblical-historical maps, 300 photos of the Holy Land, 120 detailed images of the Sistine and Pauline Chapels in the Vatican, 48 narration of biblical excerpts, 28 Gregorian chants, with nearly seventy minutes of marvelous music, besides 1,095 prayers and daily messages prepared by ecumenical theologians.
Under the general coordination of Fr. Steven Ottenbreit OFM, who collaborates with such illustrious personalities as Carlos Mesters, Leonardo Boff, Ivo Storniolo, Antônio Houaiss, along with other friends Robinson Cavalcanti and Fr.Carlos de Araújo Lima, O.Carm, known here in Recife.
On the CD-ROM, you will also find a General Introduction , enclosed in the printed Bible, that informs the reader about where, when, and for what purpose the Sacred Book was written, clarifying its meaning for the Christian life and orienting those less experienced toward a more profitable reading of the sacred texts.
Even more, each Book of the Bible is preceded by explanatory notes that are eminently theological and pastoral. For the readers of IGREJA NOVA an exceptional opportunity to give a gift to someone, extending an evangelization that is so indispensable especially on the eve of the New Millennium. That all may have Life and have it more abundantly. (Jn.10,10)
(Fernando Antônio Gonçalves University professor, ex- president of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Olinda-Recife, -Pastoral de D. Hélder Camara)
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: FREI CLODOVIS BOFF - PART II
IGREJA NOVA- From your point of view, how will the pontificate of John Paul II be seen in future generations?
CLODOVIS BOFF- Well, both the analysts and the theologians have trouble analyzing this pontificate. From the point of view, of relationship with the world, that is the politics of the church in relation to society, this pope has great merits. In their last book, "His Holiness John Paul", Bernstein and Politi, the latter an Italian, show how this Pope acts very politically.
I.N.- In what sense?
C.B.- He is one of those responsible for the opening of Eastern Europe, for the changes in the Soviet Union, for the fall of the military regimes, repressive regimes in Latin America, and enjoys great prestige in the political world today. Therefore, externally, he is a great figure, probably an historical landmark; it will be difficult to write the history of the 20th century, without giving this Pope special emphasis. This would be true in whatever field, not only religious, but most especially political.
I.N.- And in relation to the Church?
C.B.- Now, in terms of the internal state of the church , that is, of the participation of the national Bishops' Conferences, of religious, of lay movements, etc. there are many things worthy of observation.
C.B.- Because there is a huge concentration of the action of the church in the person of the Pope, and this happens to the detriment of the local level, that is, of the local bishops, of local churches and even more basic, of the lay movements. Therefore, since this Pope assumed the Papacy the Church grew in terms of public opinion but diminished in terms of participation.
I.N.- How will it be after him?
C.B.- When this Pope dies, he will leave the Church very weakened, without much potential because with him will die the extreme power concentrated and personalized in his person, and the bishops consecrated during his pontificate do not have the strong influence that earlier bishops had.
I.N. - And the earlier popes, and the bishops? Did they not "concentrate" power?
C.B.- Even in the time of Pius XII, the bishops that participated in Vatican II, Alfring(Amsterdam), Fring (Cologne), Dopfner (Munich), Lercaro (Bologna), Suenens (Brussels), Bea (Christian Unity), their dioceses were authentic eclectic communities with these bishops there. And Pius XII was a very authoritarian pope, but he was also conscious of the importance of metropolitan churches, (Paris, Munich, Amsterdam). Therefore their bishops were great personalities who represented the church well.
I.N.- The actual situation, now, how do you see it in relation to that of the pre-council?
C.B.- Well, this pope, on the contrary, concentrates much power in Rome and the bishops who represent the Churches are an extension of this ...like him.. they are constructed in his image and likeness, in his shadow, so to speak. So when he dies, the shadow will also disappear in great part.
I.N.- What is, therefore, the sign of hope for the future?
C.B.- Within the Church itself, there is a willingness to participate; this search for new ways, these groups that are not being heard, but despite this, continue to labor and commit themselves.
I.N.- Can you give us an example?
C.B.- We have an impressive example that was born in Austria: "We are the Church". that has already gathered millions of signatures, 500,000 in Austria, and more than a million in Germany, thousands in Italy, in Switzerland, Belgium, France, etc. This shows that at the grassroots level there is an element of dissatisfaction with respect to authoritarian and concentrated politics and a desire for participation.
I.N.- And what do you hope for from the next Pope?
C.B.- We hope that the next Pope will allow space for this part of the grassroots, so that these people can manifest their desires, that they can bring to the Church their contribution of diversity, of creativity, and of protagonism of the laity,etc. In this way, a great historical, political personality will be diminished, however, space will be given for forces and charisms to emerge within the church, gifts which the Holy Spirit is pouring out, but which the Church has not been able to hear or to give sufficient value.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: FREI CLODOVIS BOFF - LAST PART
NEW CHURCH- Frei Clodovis, to end this interview, I would like you to leave a message for our readers, who are basically of the Church of Olinda-Recife.
C.B.- I would say that we have to place ourselves before Christ because He is the only Lord of the Church. He who is the founder of the Church, the animator of the Church and who leads the Church through His Spirit. It is He who will judge our mission in this world. our commitment and our efforts are with Him.
N.C.And in terms of our ordained pastors?
C.B.We should not concentrate on the pastors, for they are auxiliary fizgures, they are means for our work.
N.C.And when they make things difficult?
C.B.When the means fail, we should maintain our objectives which are evangelization, witness to Christ, presence of the Kingdom in society in the form of justice, equality and the promotion of human rights, and the process of inclusiveness and participation. These are our great commitments.
N.C.And the commitment to the hierarchy of the Church? How does one react?
C.B.Our only commitment is to Jesus Christ and the fidelity to Him that we promised and vowed on the day of our Baptism and to which we recommitted ourselves at our Confirmation, and recall at each Eucharist, at each encounter, and at each gathering in which we participate. Above everything else, it is to Him that we owe our ultimate loyalty, our unconditional loyalty.
N.C.We know that this is the essence of our Christian faith, but we live in an ecclesial context...
C.B.Everything else should be regarded as being relative, even with a certain sense of humor, a human sense, because these things are passing. Believe that God is hearing the shouts, the suffering, the pleas of His/Her people and will take care of things in His/Her time. The time of Gods calendar is always mystery.
N.C.Then you leave us a message of hope.
C.B.God will hear this plea; by way of participation, by light, by hierarchical service, fraternal, humble listening, respectful of the gifts and the voices of the Spirit in the Laity.
N.C.There is, at least in theory, a strong call to the laity...
C.B.It is above all the laity who today have more liberty, who have greater eccleisal immunity, who are called to creativity, to the spirit of initiative, struggle, combat..
N.C.This seem to be especially directed to us, the laity of this suffering Church of Olinda-Recife.
C.B....without losing your critical sense, your prophetic courage, and at the same time with great historical patience and a deep understanding of the limits of the Church, maintaining the banners of openness, of participation, of liberation; these are gospel banners. We cannot let these banners fall because of adverse times, they are a matter of principle, and in the name of these principles we cannot let them fall to the ground. In time, these principles will have their space and opportunity within the Church. They will be affirmed.
N.C.Thank you very much, Frei Clodovis.
TO BE WOMAN
In the month in which we commemorate Inter -
national Womens Day, we publish this poem
written by theologian João Luiz honoring all
to be woman is to be like the fertile earth,
which germinates life within her womb,
to be woman is to be like water pure and clear,
which whitens and rejuvenates all
with her beneficial presence
that washes and removes the dirtiness of life
that is untamable and which no hand
can totally retain.
to be woman is to be like a divine breath,
a light breeze
which where it touches impregnates life
even where, to all appearances,
somber death reigns.
to be woman is to participate eternally
of the banquet of LIFE.
EXCLUSIVE: FORMATION OF CHRISTIANITY 9 - THE WAR AGAINST HUNGER
We continue our series of exclusive articles about the Formation of Christianity.
The objective of Jesus was very different from the work of the Zealots or the philosophy of the Cynics. In reality, he wanted to do something about the very concrete problems of the Galilean rural people. The first thing, the most urgent, was to alleviate the hunger of the Galilean rural population. ( see; Rocha and Soares, "The Scandal of Hunger and the Practice of Christian Life", in Biblical Studies, 46, Vozes, Petró- polis,1995, p19-24).
It isn't the temporary hunger of someone who is not at home and doesn't have the possibility of eating some place, but an endemic hunger of those who are starving their whole life. The task is urgent. Hunger doesn't wait. The religion of the hungry has as its first and principal symbol an overflowing table, bread, wine , "Eucharist" (thanksgiving), because of the bread and wine.
The hunger of the people constitutes the primary urgency, the most immediate, that urges Jesus to action. He leaves behind his anonymity and makes himself known to society. Disgusted by the hunger he sees around him, he wants, at first impulse, to take care of a situation that might seem at first impossible.
Jesus is the first to be concerned about satisfying the hunger of the people, simple food for every day, bread and fish. Summons to overflowing tables and banquets are frequently repeated in the gospel narratives as the culminating moment of happiness. Supreme happiness consists in "never more being hungry, never more being thirsty", (Ap.7,16). to die of hunger is the worst disgrace. (Ap.6,8).
The expression " bread and fish", always returns. The attention of the poor always centers on the table and on everything that is eventually served on it; bread and fish. The one who is hungry only sees before him/herself, the mirage of a full table. It was Gandhi who said: "for the hungry, God has the image of bread".
This is the ultimate dream of the poor of all times and all places in the world. It was the dream in the mind of those who first heard Jesus of Galilee. He knows by experience that the people are hungry, because he visits their workplaces (Mt.13,55). Because of this, the orientation given to the apostles: fraternity cannot be limited to generous words, it has to have concrete expression, including material and financial goods. (Mk.10,21; Mt.19,16-30). That which grounds the Gospel narratives in the lived reality of the earth is this intimate relation with the world of the hungry which appears at each moment. Jesus deals directly with the hungry and directs his word and action for their benefit.
José Comblin writes; " The Gospel is a word spoken to the hungry" (Comblin, J. 'Hunger in the Bible', in Biblical Studies 46,Vozes, Petró- polis, 1995 p30). The gospel is related to hun- ger, it is, in the first place, a proposal in the sense of relieving the hunger of the rural population who are the landless of Galilee
EXCLUSIVE: THE FORMATION OF CHRISTIANITY 10 - THE EUCHARIST
CONTINUE WITH OUR SERIES OF EXCLUSIVE ARTICLES ON THE FORMATION OF CHRISTIANITY
The Eucharist is an exuberant thanksgiving at the moment that the bread appears on the table. We possess a revealing story: the multiplication of the loaves. But it is necessary to remove the varnish of the ages in order to view history in its natural colors.
The text was so manipulated that it reached us with a series of exaggerations, additions and commentaries, to the point that it is almost impossible to know what really happened. ( Duquesne, J., Jesus, Geração Editorial, S. Paulo, 1995,110).
Modern commentaries normally explain that the miracle is about attempting to feed the people who had followed Jesus in a desert region before nightfall. We do not know any more of what happened concretely on that occasion.
Personally, I think the explanation of Theissen is viable: that Joana, the wife of Cuza had sent a basket of bread, fruits and fish at that moment. (Theissen,G., A Sombra do Galileu, Vozes, Petropolis,1989,143). It is one among many explanations. But it doesnt explain the main point: the plan of Jesus in the midst of a hungry people, victim of endemic hunger.
If the four evangelists speak with insistence about this multiplication, and show how great the enthusiasm was at the time, and if they relate how carefully the rest of the bread was collected, so that nothing would be lost there must have been something more than only one multiplication of loaves in a passing moment of necessity.
Jesus must have thought of a plan that would conquer the plague of hunger. He was not the type with his head in the clouds, dreaming. The image of the twelve baskets with pieces of five barley loaves is absolutely irresistible.
The people exclaimed this is truly the prophet who is to come into the world, a man who know how to multiply bread in the mouth of the people. Jesus is a prophet because he multiplies bread for us. What was it that He did? He taught his followers to share the bread on the table with others.
Everything indicates that in the first communities there was a radical new posture before the hunger question , a communion of goods, a frank and open companionship at meals. It might seem strange to explain the Eucharist in such an unusual way, as a shout of joy and gratitude at the moment that the bread appears on the table.
But, we are considering ancient texts that do not easily reveal their meaning to the understanding of the modern reader. Not because they are difficult in themselves, but because the modern reader is too encased in his/her own world to capture the message - unadorned and almost evident- that emanates from the ancient text.
If we attempt to approach the first texts with the key hungry-satisfied, it is not because we are novel, but because the documents actually say: Happy are the hungry, a statement that only makes sense when completed by because they will be satisfied.
EXCLUSIVE: FATHER FRED SOLON WRITES FROM MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE
Maputo, February 12, 1997
Just imagine, its 10:pm and I am writing on a borrowed typewriter, racing against time (to take advantage of a Mozambican Franciscan who will be traveling to Brazil), when just ten minutes ago I received you letter with the newsletter Igreja Nova. It was sent on January 2, but only arrived today, February 12. Thats Africa.
Opening the newsletter, I saw the friendly faces of Hercilio, Maria Helena, Rejane and Deo and I felt lonesome. You are really hanging in there, and are a prophetic voice at this time. You asked me three questions:
1. What have you taken that is good from the Church of Oinda-Recife?
I would say the following. When I was 24 going on 25, distant from anything that had to do with religion, with spite for everything ecclesiastical and clerical( didnt yet have a sense of the ecclesial or clerical). I said to myself, that if one day I were to become part of any church, my faith would be much more in the church of men and women, than in the men of the Churches.
This is more than true of the Christians of Olinda-Recife. I have taken with me the certainty that this Church gives irrefutable proof of a profound faith that does not confuse telepathy with Pelés Aunt... that is united in hope and in tribulation . If it is true that God makes those whom He/She loves suffer, certainly God has a very special love, not only for the Church of Olinda-Recife, but for countless others as well, who are experiencing even worse tribulations, and do not lose faith nor hope.
2. What is the worst that you left in this Archdiocese?
We all know that Christ , in founding His Church knew perfectly well all that would happen in future ages. In spite of this, He wanted to do this knowing that more than the weaknesses and wounds that would come, He would always be present every day until the end of time.
He himself said that many would even murder, judging that they would be serving God. We who exercise a priestly function are the ones who should ask ourselves how many vocations how many fruitful ministries, how many joys, how many hopes we have killed, thinking that we were being of service to God and to the Church.
3. What is the message you would leave for the People of God of the Church of Olinda-Recife?
For the people of the Church of Recife, a word of hope, perseverance and above all great charity. Now, when we are in the Lenten season, only with much fasting and prayer will we be able to achieve what seems impossible.
If we think this is lacking in those who should have it, then we ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment to discover the will of God, even if Gods will brings us problems and misunderstandings. Above everything, there should be a sincere search for truth and justice , enlivened by a sincere charity and the desire to serve.
If Christ told us to pray even for our enemies, we pray above all for those who make up the same family and who should give witness to humility and tolerance, if we think that they are not doing this. Finally, we cannot forget that the Popes, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests and each of us move on, leaving our positive and negative impressions, but the Church continues in spite of us.
I only hope that they dont write on our tombstone what was said of a Colombian Bishop, (enemy of Opus Night and fanatic of Opus Dei), whose epitaph would be thus: The GOOD I did very badly, the BAD I did very well.
Keep on going, With a fraternal embrace, in Christ.
P.S. Really, looking back, in the presence of God, I am not sorry that, when I was principal of Nobrega High School, I opened the doors to the communities and movements of the church, especially to those who, in critical moments, were most persecuted, because we should always seek unity, which doesnt mean uniformity. This is a thing of military quarters and the ominous military dictatorship of unhappy memory.
FRATERNITY CAMPAIGN, 1997 - CHRIST FREES US FROM EVERY KIND OF PRISON
"THE REALITY OF THE IMPRISIONED HIDES THE HYPOCRISY, INJUSTICE AND THE OPPRESSION OF SOCIAL ORGANIZATION"
INTRODUCTION The "Fraternity Campaign", is an initiative of the CNNB (National Conference of Brazilian Bishops) that takes place during Lent. Each year a topic relevant to the human situation is chosen that calls out to the consciousness of people and demands a profound conversion and a courageous response of society.
1. THEME AND SLOGAN
The Fraternity Campaign 1997, focuses on one of the most serious wounds of our society: the problem of the imprisoned and everything related to their situation.
"Christ frees us form every kind of prison" is in harmony with Luke's gospel in which Jesus comes to proclaim a "jubilee year", a year of great jubilee, (joy), "holy year", year of emancipation , of freeing the captives (Lk 4: 18-19).
"Fraternity and the Imprisoned" is in harmony with the huge social challenges today. Daily, we hear news of crimes and offenses, overcrowding of jails and prisons, the horrible treatment inflicted on prisoners, tortures, massacres, escapes, slaughtering, excesses on the part of prison guards, prison revolts, and difficulties of reintegrating into society, those who leave prison.
2. OBJECTIVES OF THE FRATERNITY CAMPAIGN ABOUT THE IMPRISONED.
a) to awaken a sensibility and a solidarity for the
victims and for those imprisoned.
b) to accompany the victims and assist them in confronting their problems and to pardon.
c) to help prisoners (both men and women) to become active subjects in their conversion process and in their reinsertion into society.
d) to collaborate with legislative, judicial, police and prison authorities in their task to enact necessary reforms and laws.
e) to participate actively in the process of the change of the whole of society in overcoming prejudice, to better prioritize education and supervise the enactment of laws.
f) to collaborate with communications networks and those who influence public opinion in the working our of their tasks.
g) to create structures to counsel and help prisoners and their families.
h) to seek out alternatives to prison terms.
i) to help educators to achieve an education for fraternity, reconciliation and responsibility for the well-being of everyone.
j) to set up partnerships with Churches and civil organizations that work in these fields.
FRATERNITY CAMPAIGN / 97 -PART II: - SEE - DISREGARD FOR LIFE
The imprisoned are seen as a symbol of the general neglect of human life. In this way, the See of the basic text confronts us with the reality of the Brazilian prisons showing that the deprivation of liberty imposed upon prisoners also touches the right to dignity of everyone before the law, and the very right to life.
I. HOW DOES SOCIETY VIEW THE IMPRISONED?
There are many ideas which need to be examined more closely to better situate ourselves.
1. Some are born outlaws.
Such an idea continues to circulate in some places, as if some people are predestined to become criminals.
2. They chose this way.
Its as if opportunities have always been equal for everyone. We forget the tragic stories that are behind many of these lives.
3. If they are imprisoned, its because they are no
It is true, we are beings responsible for our actions. However, we are also, at least partially, what society makes of each one of us , through factors such as conscience education, family environment, social interchange, housing conditions, food, health, employment, schooling etc.
4. They live better that they deserve.
In a country where the rights of the free are not met, people are indifferent or even think that prisoners already have too many privileges. It is not perceived that merit is most often, fruit of easy conditions of life since the beginning.
5. Right is for those who have the right.
In certain people, there is a kind of relief when a lawless person is willing to carry out the death penalty, that does not exist by law but functions through private police. They secretly rejoice when incidents that escape control, eliminate unwanted elements. Such sentiments reflect the destitution of a population with no support, security, exposed to the law of the strongest, which ends up itself becoming barbarian, as is often the case of those who live in a permanent state of war. Society does not perceive with clarity that: a) to be worthy of a human right, the only requirement is to be human, b)when one has no respect for the right of any one person, the inviolability of the human life of everyone is placed in danger.
6. The criminal is the fruit of his/her environment.
There is, on the part of some, an attitude that is the extreme opposite, affirming that the criminal is simply a victim, a mere product of society. They make a mechanical association between delinquency and the impoverishment of the population. There could be a direct relation of cause and effect: when one is poorer, and thus deprived, there is more possibility of the need to steal in order to eat and consequently break the established laws in this unequal society.
Such an attitude puts all the poor under suspect, even without wanting to. This can be observed concretely:
a) when violent police actions are unleashed in poor
favelas or other areas where the poorer classes live, without there being any
b) when the poor are tortured in police stations without punishing the police,
c) when informal executions and slaughters are perpetrated in the slums, becoming only one more news item on the police pages.
7. Who is really at fault?
The unjust economic system? Crime is not only a question of economics, It includes other elements, as cultural, familiar, psychological and moral factors,etc.
The mystery of human freedom? It is difficult to explain that motives that make people coming from the same segment of the population, from the same family, apparently with the same living conditions, commit crimes, when others do not act in the same way.
In spite of believing in this mystery, we cannot excuse ourselves from the struggle for equal opportunities for everyone. The Brazilian government, itself, recognizes that the problem is not so much poverty as it is social injustice.
Collaboration of theologian, Joào Luiz
REMEMBERING OUR CHURCH
THE CHURCH SUFFERS
Mar.14- Father Giussepe Diana was assasinated in Naples, Italy when he was preparing to celebrate Mass. Fr. Giussepe was known for his assistance to poor African immigrants and for his stance against the Mafia of Camorra. 1944 (three years ago.)
Mar.15- The Vatican ordered the division of the Archdiocese of São Paulo and D. Paulo Evaristo Arns lost a part of his territory 1989 (8 years ago)
Mar.3- The NE II Region (of Bishops conference) inaugurates their new headquarters, after having been dislocated from the Curia Building on Giriquiti Street, by D. José Cardoso. 1993 ( 4 years ago).
Mar.24 - Pastor and martyr for the cause of the poor, d. Oscar Romero, bishop of El Salvador, was assassinated by a shot in the chest during a Eucharistic celebration. 1980 (17 years ago).
Mar.27 - Morro da Conceição, suffers new violence when Fr. Constant accompanied by the police, broke open the locks of a day care center,, and three chapels of the communities of Zé Grande, Domingos Sávio and Zé Deodate. 1995 (two years ago).
THE CHURCH MOVES ON
Mar. 7 - The last Assembly of the Archdiocese of Olinda-Recife, presided by D. Hélder Cámera was held. 1982 ( 15 years ago).
Mar. 7 - The inaugural lecture of the Institute of Theology - ITER - was pronounced by D. Hélder Cámera, the theme being I Am the Way. ITER was an important space in the formation of the seminarians and laity of the archdiocese of Olinda-Recife, until it was closed by D. Jose Cardoso. 1968 ( 29 years ago)
Mar. 13- A course of Theology for the laity was initiated in the parish of Boa Viagem, with the inaugural class offered by Fr. Luiz António, the theme being History of Salvation. The course was given in a room in the church until December of 1991, when it was expelled by the new pastor Fr. Marcos Fernando, however it continues to function today, away from the church.
Mar.14 - Fr. Vito Miracapillo returns to the parish of Riberão 12 years after he was expelled from Brazil for having refused to celebrate a mass commemorating the Independence of Brazil, during the military dictatorship,1993 (4 years ago)
WHAT THEY ARE THINKING
* ..that within us as women there awakens, the consciousness of the journey traveled, the path that is still to be traveled and above all the privilege that we have of being born and living in this century in which the world channged because of women. ( MARICKS RIBEIRO)
* How difficult it is for me to comprehend when someone makes of the religious experience a rupture, a prejudice, a wall, a barrier and not a universal, an ecumenism, a catholocism. (FREI BETO)
* One who assumes the commitment to preserve a fixed order, tends to be scandalized by those bolder ones who attempt to place themselves in direct syntony with the unpredicltable movements of God.
Hi, going well? All is going well here, despite the longing for home.(...) Regards to all at Igreja Nova. A hug from us in Portland. Gustavo Aguiar, Portland.
I would like to congratulate you all who are involved in the Journal, that is now on electronic mail. Congratulations on your work, and keep moving forward. Zildo Rocha - Recife.
? I liked your Journal so much, that it moved me to include it on Home Page(...) I belong to the Franciscan Youth, and also to the Third Order of St. Francis (...) Whenever I can I will call attention to your work. Peace. Robson
We were very happy to know that Peters Boat was surfing bravely on Internet. It is good to see that everywhere the laity are involved and taking charge of the apostolate that is theirs. Carlos Henrique Correia - Blumenau
In solidarity with your struggle and the work being done by you, I would like to receive all the material to publish and circulate in the community of Cuiabá. I am a journalist and sympathetic to Liberation Theology. Enock Cavalcanti, Cuiabá-MT.
I am happy that Catholic folks are making themselves known in this, without a doubt, great means of communication in the next millennium: Internet. I commend this Home Page. Marcos Roberto Videiras - Campinas-SP
Thank you for having linked to my page and helping to publicize this message of Unity between Peoples which is the charisma of the Focolare Movement. Emerson - Unicamp - Campinas -SP|
Congratulations on this marvelous Journal. Jacqueline DA Fort Barrette - Brasilia-DF
I discovered a page from you. I would like to congratulate you for the initiative and praise you for the excellent quality of the material displayed." Fr. Rogério Bebber, N.S. dos Passos Parish, diocese of Cachoeiro de Itapermirim ES.
"Friends, I visited your Home Page, and I invite you to visit mine (...) Regards," Joào Gorloth Chiesa- Rio de Janeiro.
"Hello friends do I.N. I would only like to congratulate you for the fantastic article of D. Casaldáliga. (...) I would like to say I am an assiduous reader of your Journal. (...) Regards in Christ, "Jessé - Terezina.PI.
"Dear friends, Congratulations for your Journal, which I have had the opportunity to know today through Internet. It is good to see laypersons who succeed in being faithful to Church, - community of communities, even without the help of the hierarchy. (...) Meanwhile, we are doing something ... in small groups, hoping thus, to change the form of living Christianity just a bit here in Europe. Congratulations." Arthur Jorge Pereira Rodrigues - School of Economy and Administration, University ofminho - Braga, Portugal.
"Continue firm. We are praying for you. Congratulations for your Home Page." Ornelas.
"Congratulations for your excellent journal" Fr. Walterson José Vargas Ferraz de Vasconcelos, SP
" From my heart, I congratulate you for the initiative you have taken. How great to be connected to Internet. It's a joy to discover something constructive that adds to the Kingdom of God. Count on me." Fr. Guy Ruffler, responsible for Education in the West-central Province of the Jesuits of Brazil.
"Dear friends of I.N.; when I worked in Recife in the parish of D.Bosco, Bongi, I always received the Journal Igreja Nova. I always felt in syntony with your reflections and initiatives. Today I discovered the possibility of continuing with you, through Internet. It was a happy discovery(...) I congratulate all for this great initiative. Regards". Fr. Nélio Viera de Melo, Rome ,Italy.
("Hello, everyone. The Igreja Nova dismisses commentaries for the quality of work.. Immediately, on the first visit we decided to place a link to our page, evidently giving force to your publication." Everaldo Souto Salvador , Blumenau, SC.
" I would like to publish some articles and interviews found in your journal, via Internet, in our magazine, 'Messages of St.Rita' of the Contemplative Augustines, in France SP." Fr. Sérgio Peres de Paula.
Great discovery: the Igreja Nova. For many years I have spoken Portuguese and walked the streets and hillsides of "Nova Descoberta" I am lonesome. I am happy that you have maintained such a strong faith. May the Holy Spirit continue strong in your lives, and may D.Helder continue firm and strong. " Heriberto Mansfield.
"In the next change of the 'page'of our parish of N.S. Mãe da Igreja, we will make your link on our page of good links." May God bless you on the Internet and out in the world. Regards from your brother," Rodrigo Pereira Braga.
"I very much liked the opportunity to know this page (...) I read your Journal which gave me many good memories. I will always return when I can. Regards to all. Continue with much light." Francisca.
"I wish to congratulate you for the excellent electronic journal including the contrasts of languages. I sense that other dioceses don't have the same will and initiative." Fr. Celio Domingos Xavier - pastor of Santa Inez, Belo Horizonte, MG.
NEWS - NEWS - NEWS - NEWS - NEWS - NEWS - NEWS - NEWS - NEWS
PRESENTED TO THE COMMUNITY -On March 9, , little VICTOR, son of Alessandra and Wladimir, received the sacrament of Baptism, in a lovely ceremony, conducted by Fr. Gilvan, in the Aeronautic chapel. Fr. Victor, who is the grandchild of our editors DEO and BETE, our congratulations and our prayers that this entrance into the community of Jesus Christ be the beginning of a life dedicated to the building of the Kingdom.
RESISTANCE on Conception Hill and surrounding communities continues strong and firm. During Lent there were morning and evening prayer groups, public Way of the Cross, Procession of Palms, Liturgy of the Passion with a procession of the Cross and an Easter Vigil celebration. All the ceremonies included liturgical songs and theater presentations of the community. On Easter Sunday there was a grand celebration of fellowship among the communities.
CEBs - Josenildo was elected general coordenator of the Council of CEBs of the Morro and adjaent communities. Congratulations.
PROPHETIC VOICE - On February 28 at a meeting of the Bishops of the Northeast region, in Beberibe, after the opening presentation Toward the Third Millennium by D. José Cardosa, where photos were shown to prove the presence of more than 50,000 people, a layman rose and questioned, these 50,000 people were there because of the worship, or because of the promise of the presence of Frei Damião or was it because of the dispensation of the Masses on that Sunday provided by the Curia? Where were the expelled priests of this archdiocese? How can the Third Millennium be celebrated when lay persons are forbidden to act and the police invade churches on the Morro? Our congratulations to this prophetic voice. His name, Geraldo.
OPUS DEI- Two directors of formation from the Seminary in Olinda will be sent to Rome to complete their studies in July. The concern is that they will be living in a institution of Opus Dei. To better clarify, this is one of the most reactionary institutions within the church and in the whole world. During the dictatorship in Spain, this institution was always present supporting the Franco government. Various times the founder was in conflict with Paulo VI and almost joined to the Orthodox Church. Despite the protest of the Spanish clergy, he was beatified by John Paul II. He spent the major part of his life trying to recover his family title of Spanish nobility.
MASS OF THE HOLY OILS -I - With his fixation on the presence of the priests at the Mass of the Holy Oils, D. Jose and four of his Vicar Generals formed authentic tribunals of the Holy Inquisition where the priests are submitted to truly psychological pressure. The method is traditional. The archbishop is seated, flanked by his Vicars, reads an anonymous accusatory letter from some parishioner ( who knows?). The priest is taken by surprise, then the archbishop reminds him that he is the one who gives permission to work in a parish. He also remembers the clergy meeting and the Mass of Holy Oils.
MASS OF HOLY OILS-II - Fr. Arnaldo Cabral was invited to preach to the archdiocesan clergy on Holy Thursday, before the Mass of the Holy Oils.
CULTURAL EVENTS - Paulinas Bookstore, continuing the calendar of cultural events is promoting the following events during the month of April: April 4, debate about the theme: Toward the New Millennium, without False Expectations, open to the public. April 12, Workshop about Alternative Work, with teaching helps. April 4-19, shows and courses of corporal expression with the writer and professor of music Newton Héliton at various schools. April 26, Meeting about alternatives in the area of Religious teaching, coordinated by sister Visitácio. For more information telephone 224-6644.
INTERNATIONAL Source: Magazine L'ACTUALITÈ RELIGIEUSE
EXCOMMUNICATION - On Jan 2, the congregation of Doctrine and Faith of the Vatican, presided by German cardinal Ratzinger, pronounced the excommunication of Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, actually one of the great theologians of Sri-Lanka whose book MARIA AND LIBERATION was judged heretical. it is the first case of excommunication since the Vatican II Council. The Religious order to which he belongs, ( Oblates of Mary Immaculate) officially went to the Congregation requesting a more just and impartial process.
THINGS OF THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM? SOUNDINGS - A study made by the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Évora, revealed that 87% of the Portuguese declared themselves Catholic; 45.1 considered themselves practicing. However, 59.4% are favorable to the admission of women to the priesthood and 65% are against obligatory celibacy for the priests. This in a religiously conservative country.
THE OPEN POPE - Pope John XXIII could be beatified in 1998. His beatification would be celebrated in Venice, in the Basilica of St. Mark. It was there that he live the major part of his priestly life. This event would be an opportune moment for an encounter between Pope John Paul II and the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis II. IT IS GOOD TO REMEMBER THAT GOOD JOHN XXIII WAS THE POPE OF
OPENNESS IN THE CHURCH, AND CONVOKED THE II VATICAN COUNCIL. REPARATION - The Catholic Church of England and Wales intends to offer greater assistance to women who have had children fathered by priests. For this we will create a special fund, revealed Bishop of Plymouth, Christopher Budd. If a priest has a child, he will personally take responsibility for this fact, declared Bishop Budd.
A NEW ECUMENICAL COUNCIL - I think that is necessary to have a new ecumenical council to introduce the third millennium. It would be an occasion to expose certain central questions about the way the Roman Curia functions; about the various ways of respecting the diverseness in the church, at the same time preserving unity. The Bishops could open the doors to new common reflections about the problems that we refuse to truly examine, such as the diminishing of religious practice, the crisis of vocations, about the role of the laity, about the introduction of different cultural elements in the liturgy and many other aspects of the life of the church. Declaration of Bishop John Quinn, retired archbishop of San Francisco, California and former president of the North-American Conference of Bishops.
CHIEF JOURNALIST : REJANE MENEZES - DRT No 2312
ANTÔNIO CARLOS E CLARINDA
ASSUERO E MÍRCIA
DEO E BETE
HERCÍLIO E MARIA HELENA
LUCIANO E NAIRA
MARCELO E DÓRIS
ROMILDO E TEREZINHA
SÉRGIO E REJANE
WALDEMIR E NORMÂNDIA
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