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The risk of Hybris: Anglicans who consider themselves as fully right!

Many analyses have been made on the current crisis within the Anglican Communion, which increasingly is issuing in schisms in many parts of the Communion. Generally they refer to theological matters referring to the differences in hermeneutics as the main cause of tensions, especially related to what the Bible says about sexual behavior. That is true. In the view of others, the central issue is related to power. Power to try and show that the truth is owned by those who define themselves as defenders of the true faith. This is also true. But I would add a new aspect in these analyses: the inflation of the self or, in Greek, HYBRIS. People who consider themselves as model of faith sometimes forget completely the community dimension, the collegiality and humility before others. They often underestimate the weight of institutions, canons, hierarchy, obedience --  everything that might mean a limit to their convictions.The path that many Anglicans are choosing today is the dangerous path …

Brazilian Bishop is fasting for River São Francisco

"Therefore, I restart my fasting and pray. And I only will stop it with the withdrawl of the army from the construction site of the diversion project at the north and the east canals and with the final suspension of the São Francisco River diversion project. There is no other alternative". D. Luiz Cappio in a letter to the President LulaFor second time a roman catholic bishop in Barra, state of BA started a fasting in defense of the river São Francisco. In a midst of a great controversy involving the project for implementation of the river, the bishop start two years ago a fasting. After negotiations with governamental representatives that promised suspend the project and discuss it with social representations, the bishop stopped his first fasting.Now, with the lack of agreement between government and popular sectors, the work of implementation has started, even with the presence of military troops.The Archbishop Mauricio Andrade and brazilians anglicans bishops is joining o…

A humble and wise response from Church of Ireland

On that day you will not be put to shame
       for all the wrongs you have done to me,
       because I will remove from this city
       those who rejoice in their pride.
       Never again will you be haughty
       on my holy hill. Zephaniah 3:11I just read a statement from Church of Ireland responding about the proposed Anglican Covenant. The answer was given by a proposal of a new Covenant, in which appear noticeably some of our more traditional marks as Anglican Communion.
Above all, I enjoyed the reassurance of inclusiviness and the provincial autonomy as values inextricabel linked our history. The document affirms that Scriptures need to be read under the evolution of the human needs. This assertion constitutes a vehement no to those who are attempt to  build a narrow doctrinaire Covenant for specific purpose of exercising control over the Church.This very sensible statement moved me to reflect about the today's biblical text at the morning …

Brazilians Churches agree on mutual recognition of Baptism

In a very moving celebration at the Mosteiro de São Bento, São Paulo, Brazil, the Roman Catholic Church, The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, the Presbiterian United Church and the Sirian Orthodox Church signed a document recognizing mutually the administration of the sacrament of Baptism.This agreement was a result of many years of dialogue and advance of a more closer relashionship between these Churches trough the National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC). The signature took place at the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the CONIC, last week, precisely at 15th november. More than 400 people witnessed the celebration. At the document, the churches agree that " the baptism instituted by Christ is fundamentally a free gift of God, linking the baptized with the death and Christ's ressurection for sins pardon and new life".Also, the Churches "accept the Baptism as basic link of the unity that is given by the fai…

Martin Luther: Sorry for that!

In the last days I saw a variety of declarations delivered by a group of conservative Primates and theologians within the Anglican Communion. In one of these declarations, the Archbishop Akinola compared the current crisis inside the Communion with the context of Reformation. Adding more color on his statement he invoked the image of Luther to say that the conservative group faces the same challenges and needs to embody the same struggle and values defended by the German reformer.
In my opinion, this comparison is absolutely out of context. And surely for Luther's demerit!
I would like to point at least two reasons for justify as it is unhappy this comparison:
1. Luther fought against obscurantism - One of the main postulates of the Reform was exactly overcome the monopoly of the biblical interpretation by Church chiefs. The Bible was, according to Luther, important element to faith enrichment and the Church laymen owed themselves free access to Scriptures. Each believer has the righ…

Dearborn: a nice fellowship!

One week of rich talks with fellows from around the world and brothers and sisters from TEC. It was an opportunity to share common concerns on our mission as partner’s churches.
The meetings of the Executive Council and the Standing Committee on World Mission were shared at Hyatt Hotel in Dearborn, MI, in a midst of a very hard agenda but at the same time full of hopes and courageous decisions.
Warm welcomes were addressed to the representatives from Philippines, Mexico, Iglesia Episcopal Anglicana de Centro América, Liberia and Brasil. From each of these sisters churches were heard summarized reports on their emancipations processes, their commitment with justice and peace issues and theirs actual challenges. Every address was heard with heartfelt attitude.
After 25 years of the decennial plan for autonomy, it was the first time that a Primate from Brazil and the Provincial Secretary were invited to attend the TEC’s Executive Council Meeting. This invitation, as the Archbishop Mauric…

Lambeth: ecclesial or ecclesiastical?

I read an interesting post from Bishop Allan Wilson, bishop of Buckingham, Oxford commenting on his intent to go to Lambeth.In very nice style, his comment could be read by all bishops around the world that are going to the Conference. No one needs to be armed and worried about who will seat in front of or side by side during the meeting.If each bishop is carrying the diversity of the diocesan church, every one needs to think that - despite theological conflicts within the Communion - all are invited to close their mouths and hear the God’s voice.Really, Lambeth could be an opportunity to confess and prayer on intolerance as the debate was managed until now. The criterion to be adopted is that every Christian – not only bishops – needs to re-evaluate how is exercising their baptismal vows. I just came from a meeting with priests, deacons and lay ministers from some dioceses in my Province. There we discussed profoundly the nature and responsibility of ministry. We spent some private t…

Who needs rulers?

I read with profound gratitude the document released by a group of American bishops entitled The Constitutional Crisis and addressed to the House of Bishops gathered in New Orleans.This statement written from a constitutional and canonical perspective raises very important issues on the actual debate within the Communion. The struggle from constitutional reformers is establish a kind of international rule for the whole communion guarantying a superlative legal instance that defines what is or not is Anglican in essence.Many of those who defend the Covenant – a body of principles as a standard of faith and legal compromise between provinces – are inspired by a willingness to overcome theological differences. The Covenant as proposed until now is raising many reactions from around the worldwide Communion as a threat to its inclusiveness built trough centuries. As the Archbishop of Wales told recently: ‘The indications now are that many see it as a contract, a means of ensuring a uniform…

Change and light: the nature of Mission

I was reading the news on Bonnie Anderson’s trip to Forth Worth. Her support for those who are experiencing difficult times within their diocese is a sign of hope. I’m happy her efforts have strengthened those who understand mission as openness to change the world and themselves.

The strong reactions to her visit by the Diocesan establishment seems to evidence how the theological conflict is overshadowing those who see maintenance of power as the final truth.

As a foreign partner I need to say that I don’t like to reinforce conflict. I respect profoundly the autonomy of each instance within the communion – this is a standard of our tradition. In this way I have no right to make any judgment on the statement made by the diocesan bishop. He has his right to have his own understanding of the right path for his diocese.

What I want to say is that I can’t conceive of Mission without movement. The Way of Jesus is a way of constant movement. Movement from a Jewish background toward a broad pers…

Impressions from Hong Kong

My debut as a member of this important body within our Communion is giving me greater awareness on the diversity of our church.The Church in Hong Kong received us all with a warmest feeling of hospitality. Kindness and promptness in offer to us a very organized event looking for everything that make us touched for their witness as brothers and sisters in Christ.The first thing I would like to point is the important fact that we can stay together with a large difference of roles and Provincial styles related to the job of a Provincial Secretary.This makes the event even more exciting in way to offer rich approaches.Beyond that, is clear that this three yearly meeting permits every Provincial Secretary to update its own comprehension on the dynamic and changeable context of our Communion.The Hong Kong’s Conference is offering a singular opportunity to show how as Provincial Secretaries we can contribute for more inter-dependence between our Provinces in terms of strengthens and weaknes…

Missionary District of the West: a frontier to be strongly supported!

My visit to the Missionary District of West was a magnificent experience. It was my first contact with this part of Brazil. And my first visit as Provincial Secretary to this jurisdiction under provincial responsibilities. The state of Rondônia - part that I visited - has all the proper contradictions of our rich country. Natural beauties, with its surrounded rivers and igarapés of a equatorial forest threatened to each day for the voracious deforestation.
A contradictory society built to generate few people rich and exploring the environment. And in the opposite side the majority does not have access to basic public services, such as education and health.
A region where the violence against children and teenagers is raising to an unexpected level. Years and years of pure control by egoistic elites generate an enormous will of transformation from the excluded population.
Voices to defend the dispossessed ones are few. Between these voices we have the Church. Our Church in Rondônia and i…

The show must go on!

Dears Friends

In the last 30 days I lived the dubiousness of feelings around life and the death through the illness and the final travel of my beloved father to the other side of the river.
In all these moments I received from many friends the affection and the certainty that the final Word of God is: the show must go on, paraphrasing the famous song interpreted by Fred Mercury.
Yes, the show must go on because this is the expressed wish from those that leaves the scene of history to share the eternity in faith.
Thus, keeping in mind and heart the firmness showed by my father for many years during his earthly life, I feel myself comforted and ready to say as Job: I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
My deepest thanks to all my friends and colleagues that shared with me this experience. I know that many of others did not hear about my father’s death but were so kind with me during his illness. Such solidarity deepened my faith and my commitme…

Primate of Brazil delivers message of solidarity facing tragedy in São Paulo

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121 1-2



We are now in a moment of extremely pain, a moment of sadness, Brazil is crying because the accident of the airplane from TAM Airlines, flight number 3054.

We want to express our feelings to all the relatives and friends of the victims in this horrible accident, praying to God that they may all be console and that their hope in resurrection may be renewed as the Bible says: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rules, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Romans 8:38-39.

I ask everyone to pray together for the relatives, for the friends, so that God – in all His mercy and kindness – embrace each one of them with His love, so they may be strengthen by His Grace.

With all my love and feeli…

Statement from Latin América and Caribbean Anglicans Bishops

Recently gathered in San José, Costa Rica, Latin America and Caribbean Anglican Bishops signed a Statement in which some of the more important points that characterize the anglican tradition were reaffirmed.
Among them I point some highlights of this Statement below:

We exhorted our Communion to preserve its partaking nature, diversified, wide and inclusive, characteristics that we consider essential to our Tradition and that constitute our main contribution to the Christian tradition.

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At our meeting fellowship, we perceived that we defend different positions on the issues that today are discussed within our Communion. However, we also experienced our plurality and diversity like wealth and growth sources, and not as controversy and division causes.

......

We invite all our brothers and sisters in the bishopric, as well as to all the clergy members and lay people that are identified with this vision, to unite us to work indeed by the reconciliation, interdependence and unit in the…

Lambeth 2008 under risk

The Lambeth Palace's invitation to the next Conference revealed that the Archbishop of Canterbury chooses a very difficult way to deal the conflict within the Anglican Communion.
The purpose of not invite what the Archbishop Williams understand as the extreme sides within the theological debates, would be a political deal or a ‘salomonic’ way to overcome constraints during the gathering next 2008 Conference. One of the not invited bishops to Lambeth is Gene Robinson. Acting as stated, the ABC is causing very strong reactions and putting the Conference under incertainty.
Especially because those who are reacting are raising some canonical and theological principals concerned on the comprehension about the Episcopate as is understood in the Anglican tradition.
The order of episcopate – in the Anglican tradition - is legitimate by the idea of communion. A bishop is consecrated after previous procedures that include being in communion with local diocese, national or provincial legitimat…

Welcome, Presiding Bishop

The Province of Brazil received with much joy the notice that Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori will visit us officially in July.
Our arms are open to receive you and to share our gifts and our dreams as a Church that serves and that is looking to welcome all people in their needs.
Here, you will receive the warmest and grateful demonstration of tenderness from a Church that is linked historically with the Episcopal Church. It is very relevant to remember that the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil was founded through the missionary spirit of your clergy. But, above all, we are a Church that incarnates strongly the Brazilian way of life. In our daily life, the liturgy, the music, all we do is a witness to the Gospel in our beloved country. We are a small church in numbers, but enormous in hospitality and public ministry
Like ECUSA, we have also suffered the tragic consequences raised by fundamentalism. We experienced a schism and like you, we lost communities, properties, clergy and peo…

Irmão ou Interventor?

A instalação de um Bispo cismático dentro da jurisidição da ECUSA por um Arcebispo que se diz em comunhão com Cantuária é um sinal de que a Comunhão Anglicana está definitivamente quebrada.
Akinola está demonstrando claramente que para ele não nenhum limite jurisdicional ou respeito para ampliar sua influência.
A atitude do Primaz da Nigéria é apenas um sintoma de como o fundamentalismo não respeita fronteiras. A carta da Bispa Presidente a Akinola apela de forma inequívoca ao respeito à autonomia da Igreja Episcopal nos EUA e lembra que a intenção dele contraria o acordo celebrado no Encontro dos Primazes.
A resposta, em contrapartida, é profundamente desrespeitosa e num tom quase monárquico pretende ensinar à Igreja americana os rudimentos da fé.
Esse é o problema das personalidades messiânicas: elas se consideram onipotentes.
Conheço bem esse discurso. Já o ouvi de um ex-bispo de nossa Provincia. A defesa da fé para essa gente não passa de uma fixação obsessiva.
O que o Palácio de La…

Brother or Crusader?

The installation of a schismatic bishop within a Province by a Primate that affirms to be in communion with Canterbury is definitively a signal that the Anglican Communion is radically broken.
The Archbishop Akinola is showing that neither jurisdiction or respect is sufficient to stop his will to spread his power.
The Akinola's attitude is only a symptom of how the fundamentalism does not respect borders. The initiative of the PB to write to him a letter appealing for an unequivocal respect to the Episcopal Church autonomy was so pastoral but at the same way a clear remind that the violation of such autonomy is absolutely contrary to the Church's tradition.
The response of the Nigerian Primate, in an opposite way was deeply disrespectful and in an almost monarchic tone intending to teach the Episcopal Church the faith rudiments.
Such selfish language is a mark of the messianic personalities: They think that they are almighty.
I know very well this kind of speech. I heard it from…

At a Mugabe's feets...

As was not enough the biblical fundamentalism conservative and its sad consequences within Anglican Communion, my eyes did not want to believe in what bishops' from Central Africa stated on the Zimbabwe context, in a Pastoral Letter. In that document, practically the Anglican Church puts herself kneeling in front of a dictator. Everybody have knowledge about what Mugabe is doing against his political objectors. The daily violations of human rights and power maintenance by violent and intimidate ways are so evident to the public opinion around the world. The groups that support him in power are so unscrupulous. The fear is the language used agains who defies the President.
While organizations and governments are trying to pressure Mugabe to leave the Anglicans bishops argue in favor of an intangible harmony in the current circumstances. Expressing an rhetorical nationalism, they condemned the West for cause the suffering of Zimbabwean people.
The document makes no reference to the…

Lament and tears at God's hands

Sometimes we ask ourselves why events as yesterday in Virginia happen.
Certainly there are not rational answers for that. We live in difficult times. Each of us are in risk to face a tragedy. In the altar of our society, it seems that many innocents will continue to be sacrificed.
Only a strong emphasis in a peace culture would be a didactic way to overcome the violence. Policies of disarmament are so needed to be adopted by governments. In any corner of USA people are free to buy guns and this is one of the stimulate way to see scenes as yesterday.
Looking for this catastrophe we can be convinced how the human being is able to manifest its unconscious shadow, specially in a middle of a materialistic society that no is aware of spiritual needs. The consumption and materialism transform the people in sterilized souls, disconnected from love and compassion.
My heart is going to be with our brothers and sisters in USA. I pray for each family that is crying their pain. Nothing is sufficient t…

He humbled himself....to all

The greater example that inspires us at the Holy Week is the full donation of Christ to the world’s cause.
He taught us, when washed disciples' feet, that everybody we needs to be clean of what represents our own shadows.
See our fellows as equal are the secret to abandon any power pretense. Wash the feet each other constitutes an exercise of humility and repent.
When, at the cross, He died carrying all our pains and limitations, Christ taught us the profound meaning of God’s compassion. Compassion directed to all humankind. By his death we were definitively sealed with his blood. This seal challenge us to live as he lived, according St. Paul’s writings. The discipleship is more than an honor: is a commitment to carrying the pains and limitations of each of our fellows. His arms extended at the Cross symbolize embracing the entire world. Differently that we see today in our world full of exclusions, especially of those that are not conformed according the rulers.
May God have mercy up…

Communion...not Power!

I received with joy the message delivered by the Episcopal Church's Bishops after their meeting yesterday.
First, I was heartened by the courage in defending what it is a principle crystallized in the Communion -- that is, provincial autonomy. The Episcopal Church, like the other provinces, has its own canonical mechanisms that allow the exercise of its autonomy inside the parameters already consolidated historically in our tradition.
The present crisis within the Communion has been creating abnormal situations because, generally, the conservatives, under the claim of defending orthodoxy, transgress the jurisdictions, trespassing diocesan or provincial legitimate authorities.
Brazil's Province suffered this improper interference when the Primate of the Southern Cone extended his pastoral supervision over the bishop and the schismatic clergy of the Diocese of Recife without respect for the sovereign provincial decision that deposed the bishop of that diocese.

The establishment of…

Flesh....and not Text

Anglicans from around the world are gathering in Joannesburg, South Africa, to reflect about the Church's role in concrete involvement in the MDGs Campaign for overcome poverty in the world. Millennium goals is a set priorities that UN has demanded to implement, with the support from the Governments and organizations for reduce economic inequalities up to 2015.

The Conference called TEAM - Toward an affective Anglican Mission - was opened with eucharistic celebration by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primate of Southern Province in a Parish located at Tsakane. A vibrant community received the delegates with a warm and profound celebration full of rooted faith and very nice welcome.

At the opening speech, the next day in plenary, the Archbishop Williams emphasized that the church has the responsibility that is to make God known to the world. Exploring the meaning of the word "know", the Archbishop assumed that make God known is fundamentally to establish a profound …

Some Reflections about.Communion and Covenant

I have been looking attentively over some arguments put forth by some scholars in recent days about the significance of the proposed Anglican Covenant as a legitimate way to overcome the conflict that we are living within our Church.

With full respect for the people who adopt this strategy as a legitimate way to overcome the crisis, I would like to point out some limitations in the construction of an theological instrument without considering the more heartfelt incarnational meaning of the word Koinonia.

As I said in the Epiphany West Conference in Berkeley, I reaffirm that Communion is built with feelings more than in theological agreements. This is the most profound meaning of the Greek sense of Koinonia.

Sharing the holy table, dreaming together, acting jointly in the world motivated by the God's love does not demand, necessarily, a theological covenant.

When people starts to feel the need of a clear and a consensual definition on beliefs, as an agreement that makes demands on eve…

What is dividing the Anglican Communion?

Probably many people observe the crisis within the Anglican Communion and say that the corner stone of the division is the matter of how the church faces the role and the place of gay and lesbian people within the Church.

In my vision, gay and lesbian people do not divide the Church. What divides it is a fight to prove who has power within the Anglican Communion.

The framework of the Primates' Meeting, since the events of 2003, was substantially different in relationship to previous meetings. There was a very uncommon broadening of their powers. The conservative movement headed by some African and Asians primates introduced a habit to which Anglicans are not accustomed: An instance of theological control over provinces.

Since its creation, the Primates' Meeting has always been a pastoral opportunity to share needs and issues brought together by each primate from their background and a space for prophetic speeches to the world. There was a concern for the bonds of affection, cel…

Reflexões sobre Dar-es-Salaam

Em recente palestra elaborada pelo Rev. Dr. Carlos Calvani, a qual tive a honra de apresentá-la em Berkeley, diante de uma platéia de episcopais dos EUA, afirmei que a Comunhão Anglicana necessitava re-descobrir o autêntico sentido de comunhão e superar de vez a ilusão de que a racionalidade de certos "instrumentos textuais de consenso" possam ser a garantia da unidade desta parte da Igreja de Cristo.
Mesmo com uma audiência bastante heterogênea teologicamente, a reação foi de completa empatia com o pressuposto de que comunhão se faz com sentimento, mais na dimensão horizontal do que na dimensão vertical de verdades construidas pela razão.
Lamentavelmente essa dicotomia saiu vencedora na reunião dos Primazes da Igreja Anglicana, em Dar-es-Salaam, semana passada. O Documento final do Encontro simplesmente submete uma importante parte da Comunhão Anglicana a um escrutínio que me lembra os famosos Editos Papais da Idade Média, contra aqueles que ousavam pensar diferente. Os libe…

Redução da Maioridade: comoção não é sábia legisladora!

A comoção nacional em torno do brutal assassinato de João, mais um santo inocente a ser sacrificado nessa selva chamada Brasil, não pode também criar a ilusão de que reduzir a maioridade penal signifique de vez a abolição da violência cometida por adolescentes.
Situações dessa ordem, com o aguçamento de emoções, não constituem sábias conselheiras para se mudar as leis como se fazendo isso pudéssemos mudar a realidade.
O problema da violência está em outro campo que não o especificamente legal. As leis existem em profusão, dada essa fantástica criatividade legislativa brasileira. O problema é que sua aplicação é ineficiente ou, no mínimo seletiva para certos segmentos sociais.
A redução da maioridade penal só iria encher ainda mais as cadeias brasileiras, com o crescimento dos riscos e da integridade de adolescentes que ainda poderiam ser realmente recuperados num processo de autêntica reeducação.
É bom lembrar que a criminalidade cresce com muito maior velocidade onde o Estado torna-se …

Kassa(m)b(adas) desequilibradas!

Homens públicos são demandados a terem postura e equilibrio emocional para o desempenho de suas funções. Faltou isso ao prefeito de São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab, no dia de ontem, ao expulsar um cidadão de dentro de um posto de saúde, aos berros de "vagabundo, vagabundo".
Parece que a sina de bate-boca com populares é uma marca que tem acompanhado os gestores maiores da maior capital do País. Quem não se lembra do bate-rebate, emocionalmente afetado entre a prefeita Marta Suplicy e uma popular tempos recentes?
Mas o pior veio depois. Passado o momento de exasperação, o prefeito teve ainda o despautério de dizer o seguinte:
- Na verdade todos sabem o espírito democrático desta gestão.
Comento: democrático prefeito? chamar um cidadão de vagabundo? expulsá-lo de um ambiente público pelo fato de estar protestando? Me parece que o prefeito ainda não estava no gozo da racionalidade em construir essa premissa para a sua defesa.
E continuou:
- Estamos dentro de uma unidade de saúde. E o cida…

Crescimento sim, mas não a qualquer custo!

O Presidente deve anunciar nesta segunda-feira o esperado Pacote de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC). Sem dúvida, é uma demonstração da fixação do seu governo com a questão do crescimento que tanto frustrou expectativas tanto do próprio governo como da sociedade.
Mesmo sem ser ainda oficial a proposta, algumas medidas previstas já causam polêmica nos meios sociais e políticos.
O Presidente está certo quando se propõe a oferecer um conjunto lógico de medidas que estimulem o crescimento, evitando assim que o Brasil fique na rabeira dos países em desenvolvimento em termos de percentual de crescimento do PIB.
No entanto, é muito importante não comprometer a outra perna do processo: a sustentabilidade. Tomo o exemplo da proposta de conclusão da estrada Cuiabá-Santarém. Essa rodovia sempre foi tema de enormes desacordos entre técnicos e ambientalistas. Se o objetivo é apenas promover o escoamento da produção agrícola da região, temos ai um problema sério. Ela vai beneficiar apenas ao agronegóci…