Message to the Church of Christ and the Brazilian Society
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
James 3: 17-18
Dear brothers and sisters, citizens of this country, which gives name also to our Church.
We would like to reaffirm what we already said in our document “In Defense of Democracy and Social Justice and Against the Impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff”, published on Dec 10, 2015. In this document we express our understanding that the process of impeachment is steered by political leaders, many of which are being “investigated for corruption, are well known defenders of the business sector which historically has benefitted from public funds.”
The historical churches which have never had direct involvement with this or any other government, and which do not hold any other political post, have expressed themselves regarding this issue. These churches reaffirm the defense of the due legal process and the institutional proceedings for democracy. They therefore do not defend a particular party or political leader, rather, they defend the social and economic policies that will reduce the extreme poverty as well as facilitate the access to housing, education, and health services to millions of people who are excluded from these non-negotaible human rights.
The National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC) which includes the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Church of Brazil, the United Presbyterian Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, and our IEAB published a document “Statement on the Defense of Democracy by the Religious Organizations of Brazil”, endorsed by people of different religions, express that they do not “agree with the judicialization of politics, the partisanship of the judiciary, making a spectacle of the judicial procedures. These kinds of practices contribute to the discrediting of the institution and foster polarized positions. Therefore the Brazilian population casts shadows on the justice system. We respect those who think differently. We defend the right to a plural and democratic society. We encourage to be faithful in an honest dialogue with those who hold political opinions contrary to our own.”
Our Presiding Bishop the Right Reverend Francisco de Assis da Silva, reaffirms that:
“…the investigation into corruption of public servants in all its powers, and in association with some from the business sector, are an attack on the people. They should be confronted within the rule of law only. These investigations are only legitimate when there is proof and when the right to a defense is guaranteed. The corporate interests from the major media outlets cannot and should not be ideologically selective and they cannot condemn anyone beforehand because of their political ideologies.”
In addition to fully embrace the statements quoted above, we, would like to express our opinion because of the pastoral and evangelical task given to us to shepherd not only the people who attend our churches, but the entire Brazilian society:
1. That the way in which the impeachment process has been conducted shows clear vices, it does not prove crime according to the current legislations and hides the true intent of preventing the continuity of the social policies that have changed the lives of millions of Brazilians in recent years.
2. The for the goodness of the Brazilian society and its citizens, the fight against corruption should continue at all levels. We advocate a comprehensive reform of the political and electoral system in Brazil through a referendum which establishes clear procedures to finance campaigns, eliminating abuse and focuses on the welfare of the Brazilian people.
3. As was recommended in the letter of our Presiding Bishop, we, who have different political beliefs, should seek to respect the free expression of thoughts of the other in ways that renounce hatred and violence against individuals or groups. These forms of intolerance hinder the democratic society we strive to build in peace and justice.
We believe it is our pastoral and prophetic duty to raise our vices as part of Christ’s Church in defense of justice, truth and peace following the words of James “now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” and echoing the psalm 85:10 “mercy and truth meet, righteousness and peace have embraced.”
We call on all people of good will to work in preserving the democratic values of the Brazilian society.
Sao Paulo, March 31, 2016
Dom Francisco de Assis da Silva, Bispo Primaz e Diocesano da Sul Ocidental
Dom Naudal Gomes, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de Curitiba
Dom Filadelfo Oliveira, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana do Rio de Janeiro
Dom Mauricio Andrade, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de Brasilia
Dom Saulo Barros, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana da Amazônia
Dom Renato Raatz, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de Pelotas
Dom Flavio Irala, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana de São Paulo
Dom Humberto Maiztegui, Bispo da Diocese Meridional
Dom João Peixoto, Bispo da Diocese Anglicana do Recife