Church can’t ignore politics – Brazilian bishop

Brazil’s bishops host national presidential debate on variety of topics

Brazil's bishops hosted a debate with eight presidential candidates because, as Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida said, the "Church cannot ignore politics”.

“The Church has always been present in the country's political life," Cardinal Assis, president of the Brazilian bishops' conference, said before the debate in an auditorium at the Aparecida national shrine.

This is the first time Aparecida, considered by many as Brazil's faith capital, has hosted a presidential debate, and the second time Brazil's bishops have hosted such an event.

The first was during the 2010 presidential campaign. "I believe the church should contribute to this important moment in Brazil's history," said Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of Brasilia.


Bishop Pedro Jose Conti of Macapa agreed with the archbishop's assessment and said, "To be able to talk to the candidates means that the church also participates in the country's social life."

During the debate, bishops and Catholic media representatives asked the candidates questions about major issues for the Brazilian people. While some views were already known to the Brazilian people, other concerns, especially social ones, were made clearer by the candidates during the September 16 debate, just weeks before the October 5 general elections.