Loading
By Catholic News Agency's Vatican Observer, Andrea Gagliarducci
Brazil's bishops take responsibility for backing junta
National Bishops' Conference of Brazil logo.
National Bishops' Conference of Brazil logo.

.- Brazil's bishops' conference has issued a declaration acknowledging that some of its members supported the authoritarian military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985.

“For New Times, with Freedom and Democracy,” issued April 1, says some of the nation's bishops backed the junta with “the intention of combatting communism.”

The document, unprecedented among Latin American bishops' conferences, is a contribution of the Church in Brazil to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the dictatorship's beginning.  

The Brazilian Armed Forces staged a coup March 31, 1964, overthrowing the left-wing president João Goulart, a member of the Brazilian Labour Party.

It was feared that Goulart would align Brazil with Fidel Castro's Cuba, and the military installed itself as a dictatorship. During its 21 years of rule, it restricted freedom of speech and the press, as well as political opposition. For it's anti-communist stance, it was also supported by the U.S.

The bishops called the period of the junta one of the “darkest periods of history” in Brazil: “throughout this period, student movements, laborers from rural areas and cities, intellectuals and religious groups fought arduously for democracy. Many were assassinated, tortured, exiled, or 'disappeared'.”

They recounted that “a spiral of violence, the limitation of the freedom of expression, the establishment of torture and censorship, the freeze of political rights” took place during those 21 years.

“In the name of a progress that was not carried out,” people were displaced from their homes, and killed.

Democracy and civilian rule returned to Brazil with the 1984 presidential elections, after which Jose Sarney assumed office.

“If it is true that, initially, part of the Church backed the movement that led to the so-called revolution to fight against communism,” the bishops' declaration stated, it is also true that “the Church did not neglect to denounce the repression as soon as it discovered that the means used by the new powerholders did not respect human dignity and human rights.”

Another statement, issued April 27 by the Church in Brazil as well as other Christian groups in the country, examined the current situation in Brazil, urging that public interest not be subjugated to “the private interests of businesses and organizations of economic power,” lamenting that there is a political culture which “is, in part, a legacy of the years of dictatorship.”

The bishops committed themselves to “a reform of the political system” and stated their support for popular democracy.

“We reaffirm our commitment to the deepening of a full democracy. The electoral process this year should be permeated by the central issues which guarantee the quality of democracy in our country.”

Elections for both president and the National Congress are schedule for October.

A source close to the Brazilian bishops' conference told CNA that Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Archbishop of Aparecida and president of the conference, is not willing to take strong political stances, and wants to keep neutral in view of the upcoming political elections.

The source maintained that the choice of issuing such a document “is driven by the need of balancing the bishops' conference, as well as the government.”

He underscored that “liberation theology remains strong among the members of the current administration,” and that some bishops and priests as well are “fascinated by it.”

“Taking responsibility for the wrongdoing of those in the Church who backed the dictatorship” also means “leaving the Church's left-wingers armless,” he explained.

“No more polemics can be made about the role of the Church in the military dictatorship – and so the bishops will be able to take the middle ground in view of the upcoming elections.”

Tags: Brasilia, Sao Paulo


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Jul
29

Liturgical Calendar

July 29, 2014

Saint Martha

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 11:19-27

Gospel
Date
07/29/14
07/28/14
07/27/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 14: 17-22
Gospel:: Jn 11: 19-27

Saint of the Day

St. Martha »

Saint
Date
07/29/14
07/27/14

Homily of the Day

Jn 11:19-27

Homily
Date
07/29/14
07/28/14
07/27/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: