Confessions of a Catholic Lady

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By MARILY PACHECO FIORILLO*

Congenital reactionism is not just the preserve of evangelicals

Under the boiling crust of influencers-download, from the monotonous porn selfies and the eschatology of social networks, there is an ancient magma: the root religious conservatism.

There's a lot of banging on the Bible bench. Applause. But conservatism, or better said, congenital reactionism, is not the prerogative of evangelicals. They are flashy and caricatured. But ask a Catholic how they would vote on issues such as unconditional freedom from abortion, gay unions, LGBT+ rights, stem cell research or liberalization of drug possession (to stay just on the behavioral agenda). The result will probably be identical: against, against, against and against. With sweeter allegations (it is premature, it needs to be discussed by society, it violates religious freedom), the fact is that the majority of the Brazilian population rejects these themes. Or is it only evangelicals who commit feminicides and murder homosexuals?

Demonizing one belief and omitting that the other shares the same prejudices and idiosyncrasies is a cunning, convenient device (governability, always), the balm of hypocrisy. Even in some unofficial rites, root Catholicism and other beliefs are identified, pretending otherwise.

The sanctimonious lady in this story is almost a Weberian ideal-type (Max Weber, the forgotten one, is a source in the sociology of religion). There are many sinks like her, waiting for the right moment to strike. She is not at all smart and does not even consider turning the other cheek, otherwise the mask will fall. Because Religion with a capital letter is hers, the others are sects.

It is worth remembering the resounding statement made by a media authority: “every torturer is an atheist”. Damn atheists! Cornered, they have nowhere to fall dead – without temples, assemblies, parties and, much less, LOBBY to defend them.

The new catechumens

Look, it's not for nothing, but you should call Armenia, you can't believe how Luisito's agency improved after she went to his office and performed the exorcism. New customers started to appear, people who didn't pay settled their bills, even the employees, there was a delay in life, a payroll that never ended, Luisito got rid of the whole gang, now he hired a girl who does everything, from answering the phone and getting snacks to billing. There's no need to be suspicious, Armenia is not one of those Macumbeira pickaxes who throw shells, it is very Catholic, Roman Apostolic Catholic, baptized, confirmed, daughter of Mary, she was even Father Antero's right-hand man, you know, the conscience advisor of the Colégio Santo Escolástico, which organized those parent meetings. You may know him by name, he is famous, he always appears on TV.

There are a lot of videos that Armenia recorded with him, if you want I can lend you, of special prayer, meditation on the Revelation of the fourth Gospel, of the courses they gave together, on faith and self-help. They're kind of old, before she dumped him. Yeah, she left Antero and joined the Larenostrum. Today he can't stand his work, he can't stand the mentality of a communist priest anymore, because the Church is very infiltrated, very divided. At the Larenostrum No, what matters is unity. Unity is the soul of movement. The headquarters is in Italy, but the movement has grown a lot, you need to see, it has communities even in Africa and Yugoslavia, especially in Poland, it is very strong, but this is normal because the Polish people have always been very devoted to the Virgin, even at the time of communism, and the deacons of Larenostrum They preach a return to the true mysteries of Catholicism, the original ones, you know, those of Christ martyred on the Cross. As? Through communion with Bianca.

Bianca? Wow, have you never heard of it? She is the founder of Larenostrum, a woman who doesn't even look human, a Charisma. You can see that a light radiates from her, at least those who have gone to Rome on retreat told me. Retreat? You stay in fraternity with other brothers for a week, ten days, just living Unity.

Armenia is the regional advisor of the Brazilian Movement of Larenostrum. On the day she went to do the business exorcism in Luisito, she said that the Movement has open arms for anyone, the only thing that is required is that the volunteer smiles. “A smile is “the uniform of our Navy” – she told us with tears in her eyes.

Armenia had her first tooth when she was a month old, that's a Santa thing, isn't it? Her nickname here is 'Bianqueta', because she has that gift for the ministry, that strength to spread her Charisma. I've never seen Bianca up close, but I've watched several videoconferences right after she got Luisito's accounts in order. I joined a group of them, you know, a catechesis group, “The Renewed Catechumens”, you should go too. It is recognized by the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith, that section of the Vatican that separates the wheat from the chaff, that expels those who deviate. I mean, not all parishes accept Larenostrum, the red one by Father Antero (my confessor told me) rejects it. But in most Houses of God, especially here in Jardins, there are only Catechumens, well-dressed staff, women in Versace and even the priest wears an Armani suit, outside of Holy Mass. None of that lame, tacky suburban crap.

When I started participating _ look, I tell you this with tears in my eyes_ they put me in a catechesis group of housewives, I felt so blessed, if it weren't a sin I would say I was beatified, I had returned to that spirituality lost in the rush of life . Someone always asks you, with a smile on their lips, “Are you happy today?” And not a minute goes by and someone taps you on the shoulder and says “Today is the first day of your new life!”. And it really is, the first day of a rapture.

Do you want proof? That time when Sandrinha was sick, with a high fever, Luisito wasn't at home, the pediatrician wasn't there, the nanny was off work, I was desperate, then I remembered Bianca's Charisma, I left the girl wrapped up in her crib and ran for the Catechumens. I heard the call. Luisito then shouted at me, “you crazy woman, how can you leave a girl with a fever, at night, alone at home”, but I felt so much peace that I stayed quiet. I knew that Bianca's Charisma would work a miracle.

Especially in the family, family is everything for Larenostrum. She didn't give anything else: then we took Sandrinha to the hospital, it was just the beginning of pneumonia, they applied serum but she was already anointed by the blessing, and she returned home sleeping like an angel. Luisito kept repeating: “Are you crazy, woman? Have you become irresponsible?” I didn't respond, nowadays I'm so in harmony and Unity that I never respond. I'm a mother, but Bianca is like the Virgin, the mother of us all, one day Luisito will understand.

Come, go! We have an open heart to welcome you.

The housewives, who were they? Ah, the housewives who were a little removed from the faith for whom I did catechesis. In true doctrine, I learned this there, we are all born apart, carrying original sin. But, if you visit one of our branches, you don't even need to join, just come and see what it's like, I guarantee you will be resurrected in Bianca's bosom. I'll tell you something that people repeat at higher-level Catechumens meetings: “You don't need to believe in God, just believe in Bianca”.

The first day of our lives

Do you know my sister, Diná? She was the one who took me to Armenia, I had taken a course with her at Colégio Santo Escolástico, she went because of her children, the school asks for a shared catechism, and right before the lecture began, Armenia said to the audience: “Repeat with me: this is the first day of our Lives.”

Diná closed her eyes and concentrated: “This is the first day of my life, this is the first day of my life”, you know how she is, suspicious… but then she told me that she had experienced a 'piphany', I think it is 'pifania' When he spoke, he felt a sharp pang in his chest, as if a crown of thorns had been stuck in his heart, huge thorns that made blood spurt down his shirt.

I knew at the moment that I had received Grace, and I was going to overcome my greatest difficulties. No sooner said than done. Since that day, Diná has never had a problem finding a place to park her car in the shopping center. On the first floor she would slow down and whisper: “This is the first day of my life, I'm going to find a space”. And she thought so.

And when did she have her hernia operated on, then? She couldn't walk, stand up, she couldn't even sit upright, her whole stomach hurt. She stayed in her mother's apartment post-operatively for a week, and was distressed because her husband, you know, Flávio, he's a judge, remember, of Opus Dei? He didn't really like her disappearing from home, he's a great professional, he has a lot of authority among the people at Opus Dei, but he doesn't know how to fry an egg. He was grumpy about Diná staying away from home just because she couldn't walk or anything. And she's worried about saving her marriage, family is everything, Flavio hasn't taken a step without her in forty years, he doesn't go to the corner, he doesn't pay a bill, he doesn't even know the maid's name.

Then Dinah remembered one of Armenia's prayers and prayed with great fervor. She called him: “Flávio, come and sleep here at Mom’s, we’ll put a bed in the room, it’s like when we were engaged. You could only touch me from the waist up.” I don't know what happened, but this thing about him only touching her from the waist up saved the marriage. Their life is a dream, there is no more discussion, since the nights he spent with his mother, Diná said, it stays just between us, Flávio only wants to do it from the waist up, and asks more often than before, and lives laughing for nothing. Diná sometimes misses it, after all, she is a woman like the rest of us. But in life the important thing is to give love, not receive.

Business exorcism

The exorcism? I won't even tell you. It's a spiritual cleansing. No, it has nothing to do with this nonsense about spiritualism, about taking away the backrest. The Vatican approves, the Pope who came before this said that the Larenostrum were his new Crusaders. Sacred things do not change. An ancient technique, very useful when people became possessed, in the Middle Ages women became directly possessed. But now exorcism has become specialized and can be applied to companies too, in addition to people. Even because in the Middle Ages there weren't any companies, were there?

Money is sacred. Armenia explains this very well, with some quotes from the Bible, from Isaiah, I think it's Isaiah, “let your money sweat in your hands until you know who you give it to”, that is, money is for saving and saving, for it is he who sows harmony and reaps Unity. And if you can exorcise a person, why not tables, chairs, the room? Remember, your husband's firm is like a big family.

Armenia arrived, took Luisito aside and measured his aura, finding it very positive, he had always been surrounded by love, since he was little, and then asked him some questions, who sits in this corner, who sits in that corner. Then he started walking around the room placing his hand in certain places, I didn't find it strange because I know that this is a tradition of the Church, the laying on of hands, it was used a lot during the time of Christ, the apostles did it to heal lepers, blind people, paralyzed people, woman who did not menstruate. Now it is also used, as Armenia said, to “harmonize performance”.

You need to see how it works. The place where Armenia spent the longest time laying hands was the sales girl's computer, how could she have guessed that that was precisely the computer that recorded the inflow of money? I told you that Armenia is not normal, the story of the teeth, it could have ended up on the secretary's computer, on that of the guy who makes contacts with suppliers, on Luisito himself, but it ended up precisely on the one that records the company's profits. Luisito fired the girl the next day – the criminal had embezzled a meal voucher.

After laying on hands, Armenia takes the holy water and begins to anoint the room. At that moment I got goosebumps, with tears in my eyes, because she recited a prayer while she sprinkled the furniture, Latin mixed with Portuguese, and repeated “Submit yourselves, submit yourselves”, of course it was for the demons, for Luisito it was it was not, and then “Remove your Exactors”. She was sprinkling the holy water and bringing the Crucifix of Success closer. You have to buy this one anyway if you want the exorcism, because it's not in the Armenia package.

She recommends the store, it's actually very beautiful, made of light wood, you can then use it and hang it in your room, it's decorative, it goes well with a cream bedspread on the bed. When the holy water was finished, she asked Luisito to show her where the safe was, he said he didn't have one, he thought it would be safer not to have one, so she said it was finished: “Amen, may prosperity be in this house”. And she gave us a little cup of milk and honey, to consecrate the company's rebirth. It charges, but it's cheap.

Luisito, at first, didn't want her to come, “that's nonsense, woman, I have more to do”, but then he thanked me. In two weeks he had sent everyone away except the secretary, you can't imagine the savings at the firm. The atmosphere of the place has changed from water to wine, sometimes I go there in the late afternoon and it is so calm and silent that it reminds me of a sacristy.

If Luisito's business took off? Armenia assured that it takes a while to feel the improvement, but we cannot doubt it, as any doubt could break the effect of the exorcism. The secret of true faith is mystery.

Lucineide is pregnant

Okay, I agree with you, there are certain things we shouldn't touch. Faith is a gift. But it doesn't hurt to try the exorcism in your store, it makes the package simpler, promotional. When we complete the exorcism with Armenia, you receive the leaflet with the prayers to expel evil for free, there are four, at least, for medium-sized companies – in very serious cases, Armenia needs a second session, and only then will you You pay for extra prayers, but the first four are included in the package price. We supply the Scapulars of Prosperity and the Crucifixes of Success, but she gives the address where they are purchased.

It's not mandatory, I bought it because I wanted to, I told Luisito that you can't save on these matters, if it was supposed to be a full service. In the promotional package you will only miss out on the laying on of hands, but your store is so small, I think the holy water and prayer are more than enough. And then Armenia makes it three times easier.

There's no need to be in doubt. I would be the last person in the world to embark on these stories of energies, of spirits, I am shocked by the amount of belief, superstition, common people stuff. I always say to Luisito, we have to be selective, we are Catholic and that's it.

Even in charity you have to be selective, right? Have you ever imagined giving alms to everything that is a lighthouse, where are we going to end up? I have always helped others, but there is no point in throwing charity away. Start with your family and your home. Want to see? My diarist's daughter, look at the absurdity, the girl is fifteen years old and got pregnant, the poor mother is raising three children on her own, all of them small, and the other day she came home with this news: “Dona Pia, Lucineide is pregnant, the boyfriend doesn’t want to take over, if she has the baby she’ll stop studying, what do I do, mercy.” I said: “Iraí, it’s your fault for giving her condoms, the condom breaks, I’m tired of warning you that sex is only after marriage.”

But the worst came the next day, “Dona Pia, Lucineide decided to take the baby away, she says that the boy, who works in a tire shop, will find the money”. Then I trembled from head to toe, struck like lightning by Bianca's accusing finger (the one they have in a chapel there in Rome). I would not allow this abortion! This innocent man's life had reached my ears and no one was going to take it away. I put the day laborer in the car, I struggled to get to the back of her house, she lives with a bunch of children, her elderly mother, brother and sister-in-law, you need to see, those people crammed into two small rooms, there are only three beds. It looks like an animal. But I pretended that I didn't smell the bad smell, of mold and garbage, I took the girl aside and explained that a baby was a blessing from God, I was prohibited from taking the poor thing's life, and if it wasn't for good it would be for bad, Because if she refused, I would go straight to the police station to report it, because abortion is a crime equal to murder, it leads to prison, it leads to years in prison.

Poor thing, she regretted it, she needs to see how she cried. Iraí was so scared that she didn't let the girl have an abortion. The new employee, Irai's neighbor, told me because she asked for the bills. It seems that the girl dropped out of school and works as a cleaner, because a job as a monthly payer is difficult to find. The younger sister takes care of the baby, she had to leave school too, because Lucineide got sick after giving birth, it must be punishment, God forbid, but it can only be. I paid the thirteenth and even gave a little extra money to Irai, but I remained firm: “If your girl miscarries, I will call the police”. The people at Larenostrum encouraged me.

The soul's agenda

The marches for the faith of Larenostrum bring tears to our eyes, filling St. Peter's Square, in Rome. I've never been, but it must be like the retreats here, I always go to those. There is no politics, no option for the poor here and there…And the poor in spirit _prostitutes, gays, transvestites, drug addicts_ don't they also deserve to be saved by our lessons? In Larenostrum it is only God. It appears to be the consubstantiation of a single body. When I say Unity, and I say it with a smile on my lips, it's not something out of a book, God forbid, it's much deeper. Therefore, the less we spend digging, thinking, asking, the closer we are to salvation. Doubt is the nail in the flesh. As Bianca says: “Blessed are those who kneel their minds”.

You don't calculate, I spend the whole month counting the days until the retreat. God forgive me, but it seems supernatural. We are never alone, we have lunch together, we sleep in shared rooms, women separated from men, of course, but the majority are ladies, they listen to music and sing together, pray together. The experience of unity is so intense that it takes me a while to tune in when I get home. Especially now that I stopped being a supporter and became a class 1 volunteer. Positions? No, that's nonsense. Our Movement is a fraternity, we only respect the authority of Bianca and the Pope. At most we divide people by roles and votes. At the end, the followers go on stage and tell how the retreat transformed their lives.

I didn't tell you, but one thing that really, really helps on the path to God is the “Soul Agenda”. Retreat participants have to write down in a diary everything that happens to them, what they ate, who they talked to, how they felt, what others said. When saying goodbye, they hand over the Soul Agenda to a faith inspector, who evaluates the person's spiritual growth. Many people have already been saved from depression, divorce and bankruptcy, thanks to the Soul Agenda, because the inspector knows the person's intimacy so much that he discovers what needs to be corrected before they do. Retreats are love bombing.

I'm even thinking about taking Sandrinha next time. Since that pneumonia fever, I told you, the girl hasn't been doing very well. It only gets worse. Yesterday he spat blood. I'm going next Friday night, no more doctors, no more exams and medicine, I'm going to hand her over to Bianca's breast. Exorcism for children is cute. Armenia holds children's sessions in groups. You need to see how moving, I tell you this with tears in my eyes, with eyes full of tears, with tears running down and smearing my mascara, all those sick children, disillusioned, lined up, receiving holy water and sobbing, being reborn in Charisma.

Why am I smiling, you asked?

*Marilia Pacheco Fiorillo is a retired professor at the USP School of Communications and Arts (ECA-USP). Author, among other books, of The exiled God: brief history of a heresy (Brazilian Civilization).


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