Under the banner of bartolom de las casas
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Under the Banner of Bartolom é de las Casas. Brazilian Dominicans & Social Justice. “Con que derecho?. Question of Antonio de Montesinos, speaking for first OP community in Latin America, Christmas Eve 1511 “What right?” do the Spanish colonists have to exploit & enslave the native peoples

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Under the Banner of Bartolom é de las Casas

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Under the banner of bartolom de las casas

Under the Banner of Bartolomé de las Casas

Brazilian Dominicans

& Social Justice

Con que derecho

“Con que derecho?

  • Question of Antonio de Montesinos, speaking for first OP community in Latin America, Christmas Eve 1511

  • “What right?” do the Spanish colonists have to exploit & enslave the native peoples

  • from 1512 used tradition of natural law, favouring the citizen to demand social justice through the legal system

  • Francisco de Vitoria & followers in Salamanca took up the question of human rights for all

Bartolom de las casas

Bartolomé de las Casas

  • La Brevisima relación de la destruicón de las Indias

    • evangelical vision of peace and justice for Latin America

  • Voyage of Christopher Columbus

    • Missionary chosen by God

    • His discovery could advance the meeting of peoples & continents

  • On the One Way of Bringing All Peoples to the True Religion

    • His missiological ‘Summa’

    • Little studied till C20th

  • Denigrated, while Vitoria’s work in Spain was well received

Failures of evangelisation

Failures of Evangelisation

  • While the Church in Latin America preached the gospel of love & justice,

  • It used slave labour, accommodating injustice

  • In Brazil, Africans were enslaved, native Indians were decimated

  • Only in the C20th did a broad movement for Justice & Peace take up Las Casas’ teaching

Option for the sert o

Option for the Sertão

  • 1881: French Dominican friars & sisters inspired by Lacordaire set up a new foundation in the Sertão (rural hinterland)

  • Among peasants, Indians & mestizo people: choosing to live alongside the oppressed

  • 1936 Italian Dominicans joined including

    • Domenico Acerbi, tropical medic

    • Candido Penso, bishop who built a hospital

  • Motto of the province: the truth will set you free

Church renewal

Church Renewal

  • 1889 Brazil a secular republic

  • 1930s Catholic mobilisation for social justice

    • inspired by Quadragesimo Anno (1931)

    • ‘Social decalogue’ to parliamentary candidates 1933

  • Renewal of the Church

    • New groups & associations

    • Influence of Aquinas’ thought via Maritain

    • 1940s on: OP priories e.g. Rio de Janiero, São Paolo centres of spiritual & social renewal

Louis joseph lebret

Louis Joseph Lebret

  • French OP, visited Brazil from 1947 for study & dialogue

  • Collaboration in social science & urban planning

  • Modernisation model of ‘economy & humanism’, harmony of ‘charity & technology’

  • Confirmed Las Casas’ ideals

  • “action leads to God” in the fight for justice

Gospel social revolution

Gospel & Social Revolution

  • Social Encyclicals of John XXIII impact

    • Mater et Magistra (1961) on 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum: greeted as new in Brazil

    • With Pacem in Terris (1963), seen as a charter for Catholic action

  • Gospel & Social Revolution (Carlos Josaphat Pinto de Oliveira, 1962)

    • Interpreting Sermon on the Mount in light of Communist Manifesto

    • Including the social encyclicals

The dominicans chance

The Dominicans’ Chance

  • Lay movement for social justice, Ação Popular

  • OP involvement in student & worker movements e.g.

    • Mateus Rocha, rector University of Brasilia

    • Emmanuel Retumba & worker-priests in São Paolo

    • Joao Batista & UNILABOR working community project

    • Priory of St Albert the Great, Perdizes suburb of São Paolo

    • Brasil Urgente weekly paper

  • Until 31 March 1964 military coup d’etat

Frei betto

Frei Betto

  • Preacher, journalist, spiritual writer

  • Baptism of Blood (1982) on the dictatorship which ended 1980

  • contributed to foundation of Workers’ Party,

  • spiritual director, advisor to Lula

  • Led MIRE: Mística e Revolução (Mysticism & Revolution)

    • C20th-21st youth movement

    • combining spirituality & social engagement

    • to restart projects of the 1960s

Amazon rights solidarity

Amazon Rights & Solidarity

  • Working with communities of the rainforest & Amazon basin against transnational companies exploiting the land

  • Henri Burin des Roziers & sisters, OP lawyers

  • St Dominic Solidarity Group

    • Communicating between activist movements across Brazil, then America

    • Solidarity with South Africa, East Timor

Pastoral commission on the land

Pastoral Commission on the Land

  • 1988 constitution on land reform not enforced

  • Brazilian Conference of Bishops commission for land reform & against slave labour

    • Spiritual & ethical resource for MST movement of landless workers

    • OP involvment including its president:

Dom thomas balduino

Dom Thomas Balduino

  • Bishop of Goiás, heart of Seratão

  • ‘flying bishop of the Indians’

  • Helped the Brazlian Church to serve the native peoples

  • A model of a Church of communion, participation & sharing

Las casas mission today

Las Casas’ Mission Today

Dominicans in Brazil & Latin America

“are still called to give new life

to the option for justice,

by engaging in the difficult & exciting task of promoting human rights for all”

Carlos Josaphat Pinto de Oliveira

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