EPISCOPAL ANGLICAN CHURCH OF BRAZIL: Pastoral Letter to the God´s People about the national context

EPISCOPAL ANGLICAN CHURCH OF BRAZIL

HOUSE OF BISHOPS: Pastoral Letter to the God´s People about the national context

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Considering all the scandals and processes widely publicized by the media involving several cases of corruption on different levels, we address the people and clergy of our Church and to the whole Brazilian society, expressing our concerns about the reality:

a) Corruption is an historical evil in this country, including during the periods of civil-military dictatorships. We understand that tackling corruption is encouraging, it preserves democratic system, promotes political reform with a significant participation of the population, it involves commitment to changes in political culture and the strengthening of citizenship.

b) Corruption is present in both public and private spheres, affecting national and international companies. It is important for us to realise that the role of the media has been partial and not very clarifying, as it expresses its own interests and preferences and not the true magnitude of this evil.

c) The National Congress of Brazil was elected with the support from strong economic interests, strengthening the more conservative sectors which are very against the worker class and human rights. A proof of this is the resistance to a political reform and the end of business financing for electoral campaigns; the attempt to increase the scope of outsourcing, the proposal of the revision of the statute on disarmament and the demarcation of indigenous land, among other points of suppression of rights.

d) One aspect that needs our special attention is the attempt to reduce the legal age of criminal responsibility. It won´t neither eliminate the causes of crimes nor will alleviate the situation of violence in our country, as the youth of our Church have clearly declared.

e) On the other hand, the federal government, composed by indefinite alliances, proposes a fiscal adjustment that only penalizes the workers, putting at risk social programmes aimed to overcome inequalities and makes even more difficult the access to fundamental rights in health, education, security, among others. In the meantime, the wealthy continue to enjoy tax protection.

As Bishops of the IEAB (Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil), we commit ourselves to:

1. Support the movement for a Referendum on Political Reform;

2. Continue resisting the proposal of reducing the legal age of criminal responsibility;

3. Tackle corruption, motivating and promoting transparency and democratic participation in both public and private spheres;

4. Strength the social and ecumenical movements, defending justice and peace and affirming human rights and the integrity of creation. We remember that the Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion should be our principles in the aim to transform society in the light of the values of the Kingdom of God:

i) To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom;

ii) To teach, baptise and nurture new believers;

iii) To respond to human need by loving service;

iv)To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation;

v) To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the Earth;

We pray for our country, its people and for a better world for all people.

Santa Maria, 14th May 2015

Bishop Francisco Assis da Silva, Bishop Primate, Santa Maria, RS

Bishop João Cancio Peixoto, Recife, PE

Bishop Naudal Alves Gomes, Curitiba, PR

Bishop Filadelfo Oliveira Neto, Rio de Janeiro, RJ

Bishop Mauricio José Araujo de Andrade, Brasília, DF

Bishop Saulo Mauricio de Barros, Belém, PA

Bishop Renato da Cruz Raatz, Pelotas, RS

Bishop Humberto Maiztegui, Porto Alegre, RS

Bishop Flavio Irala, São Paulo, SP