Message to the Brazilian people

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By NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF BRAZILIAN BISHOPS*

Document approved at the 59th. CNBB General Assembly

“Hope does not disappoint” (Rm 5,5).

Guided by the Holy Spirit and impelled by the Resurrection of the Lord, united with Pope Francis, we Catholic bishops, in communion and unity, gathered for the first stage of the 59th General Assembly of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil-CNBB, in order to online and with the representation of various ecclesial organizations, we send a message of faith, hope and courageous commitment to life and Brazil to the Brazilian people.

It fills our hearts with joy to see the explosion of solidarity that has marked the entire country in the fight to overcome the health and social scourge of COVID-19. Sharing food, goods and spaces, assisting lonely people and the tireless dedication of health professionals are just a few examples of countless solidarity actions. Health managers and public agents, faced with a scenario of fear and insecurity, were tireless and resilient. The Unified Health System-SUS showed its fundamental importance and effectiveness for the social protection of Brazilians. The lucid awareness of the need for health care and mass vaccination overcame the denial of solutions offered by science. However, we cannot forget the death of more than 660.000 people and we sympathize with the families who lost their loved ones, bringing them both into our prayers.

We also thank, in particular, the families and other educational agents, who did not neglect the education of children, adolescents, young people and adults, despite all the difficulties. The pandemic would certainly have even more devastating consequences if it weren't for the actions of families, educators and people of good will, solidarity and selflessness. The 2022 Fraternity Campaign challenges us to continue the fight for integral, inclusive and quality education.

The serious health crisis found our country involved in a complex and systemic ethical, economic, social and political crisis, which already challenged us well before the pandemic, opening up the structural inequality rooted in Brazilian society. COVID-19, before being responsible, has accentuated all these crises, enhancing them, especially in the lives of the poorest and most marginalized.

The current situation is very serious. Brazil is not doing well! Hunger and food insecurity are a scandal for the country, the second largest exporter of food in the world, already punished by the high rate of unemployment and informality. We watch appalled, but not inert, the criminals careless with the Earth, our common home. In a voracious system of “exploitation and degradation”, one notes the dilapidation of ecosystems, the disrespect for the rights of indigenous peoples, quilombolas and riverside communities, the persecution and criminalization of socio-environmental leaders, the precariousness of actions to combat crimes against the environment and disastrous parliamentary projects against the common home.

All of this leads to latent, explicit and growing violence in our society. The cruelty of wars, which we watch through the media, can leave us anesthetized and unnoticed by the climate of tension and violence in which we live in the countryside and in the cities. The liberation and advancement of mining in indigenous lands and in other territories, the flexibilization of the possession and carrying of weapons, the legalization of gambling, femicide and the repulsion of the poor, do not contribute to the civilization of love and hurt the universal fraternity.

Faced with this scenario, we hope that the rulers promote major and urgent changes, in harmony with the powers of the Republic, adhering to the principles and values ​​of the 1988 Constitution, already so disfigured through Constitutional Amendment Projects. Do not allow the loss of rights of workers and the poor, the vast majority of the Brazilian population. The logic of confrontation that threatens the democratic rule of law and its institutions, transforms opponents into enemies, dismantles achievements and consolidated rights, foments hatred in social networks, deteriorates the social fabric and diverts the focus from the fundamental challenges to be faced.

In this context, we will go to the polls this year. The scenario is one of uncertainty and radicalism, but potentially full of hope. Our choices for the Executive and Legislative branches will determine the nation project we want. The exercise of citizenship is urgent, with conscious political participation, capable of promoting “good politics”, as Pope Francis tells us. We need a healthy policy, which does not submit to the economy, but is capable of reforming institutions, coordinating them and providing them with good procedures, such as the achievements of the Clean Record Law, Complementary Law 135 of 2010, which removes from electoral process, candidates convicted in collegiate decisions, and Law 9.840 of 1999, which criminalizes vote buying. There is no alternative in the democratic field outside of politics with active participation in the electoral process.

Attempts to break the institutional order, today openly propagated, seek to put in check the fairness of the electoral process and the irrevocable conquest of the vote. Disturbing the political process, fomenting chaos and encouraging authoritarian actions are, in short, not a project of interest to the Brazilian people. We reiterate our support for the Institutions of the Republic, particularly public servants, who are dedicated to ensuring the transparency and integrity of elections.

Two threats deserve special attention. The first is religious manipulation, carried out both by some politicians and by some religious people, who put into practice a project of power that has no affinity with the values ​​of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The autonomy and independence of the civil power in relation to the religious are values ​​acquired and recognized by the Church and are part of the patrimony of Western civilization.

The second is the spread of fake news, which through lies and hatred, distorts reality. Carrying within themselves the dangerous potential of manipulating consciences, they modify the popular will, affront democracy and fraudulently enable orchestrated projects of power. An authentic commitment to truth and respect for election results is essential. Brazilian democracy, still under construction, cannot be put at risk.

We call on all of Brazilian society to participate in the elections and to vote with awareness and responsibility, choosing projects represented by candidates committed to the integral defense of life, defending it in all its stages, from conception to natural death. That they also do not neglect human and social rights, and our common home where life develops. All Christians are called to be concerned with building a better world, through dialogue and a culture of encounter, in the struggle for justice and peace.

We appreciate the many gestures of solidarity from our communities, on the occasion of the pandemic and environmental disasters. We encourage organizations and social movements to continue uniting in a collective effort for life, especially for land, shelter and work. We invite everyone, brothers and sisters, especially young people, to let themselves be guided by the hope and desire for a just and fraternal society. Our Lady of Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil, obtain God's blessings for all of us.

*National Conference of Bishops of Brazil It is the body that brings together the Catholic bishops of Brazil.

 

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