Saturday, June 26, 2010

La Virgen de la Copa?

Two of my greatest interests are Hispanic popular Catholicism and fútbol so when my colleague Marcos, a Brazil fan ("Go Canarinhos!"), told me this rumor about the Argentina selection and Our Lady, it was irresistible and I had to investigate.

Sure enough, I found a Web site, a Facebook page, and a video (see below) from avid Albiceleste fans who think the team should end its string of bad luck by going to the shrine at Tilcara. Here is a translation of this story as it appears on the Web site:

During the first days of January 1986, Carlos Bilardo brought the Argentina soccer players to train at Tilcara, to acclimate the team to the altitude of Mexico, where the World Cup was being held that year. The famous promise was made during this stay: the players visited the Virgin of Copacabana del Abra de Punta Corral and asked Her to help them with their dream of becoming world champions; in return, they promised to come back one day to thank Her.

Six months later, Argentina won the World Cup, lit up by the divine magic of the best player of all times, Diego Maradona. However, the promise was never fulfilled. They tried a few times; a delegation representing the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino (Argentina Soccer Association) even managed to travel to Tilcara. But the players, for one reason or another, never came back to thank the Virgin.

Maybe it's all just a coincidence, but the truth is that since then not only have we never been able to raise the Cup up again, but we have also suffered a series of misfortunes such as the dubious ruling by referee Edgardo Codesal in 1990, the "they have cut my legs off" in 1994, the unexplained elimination in 2002, and the shots hitting goal posts, expulsions, and even injuries that appeared and disappeared mysteriously.

There will be those who believe and those who don't. But we can all agree on one thing: Promises should be kept, especially when the Albiceleste is at stake.

Therefore this humble and respectful petition: that at least one of the players travel to Tilcara. A new World Cup is approaching. What better moment to fulfill the promise?

I don't know if this is true or not -- my friend Marcos would probably say that it's just that Argentina can't play, no otherwordly explanations required -- but I think the players should hedge their bets by keeping their promise. No debemos defraudar a Nuestra Madre.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Solidarity with the victims of the "new" PT

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia. Some of his older columns are available in English at

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)

I spent a weekend reading Machiavelli's The Prince for the umpteenth time in an effort to understand the current policy of the national leadership of the PT [Partido dos Trabalhadores - the Brazilian Workers Party]. And there I found the sources that may have inspired the so-called "new PT", the one that has changed the willpower to transform reality into the will to be able to go along with reality, which is obviously poisoned, for the purpose of remaining in power. In the words of the candidate elected by the party's convention in Minas Gerais, Fernando Pimentel, later invalidated in the name of the alliance with the PMDB [Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro - Brazilian Democratic Movement Party], "the new PT is a PT that makes alliances and coexists with the political reality in Brazil, trying to transform it... We are no longer a party that wears ideology as a mask, like dark glasses so as not see the political reality; we operate with political reality such as it is, to transform it"(O Globo, 6/12/2010).

Let us translate this dissimulating discourse. The basic ideology of the original PT was ethics and structural reforms. The new PT views this purpose as a mask that doesn't allow one to see the political reality as it is. We know what the current political style is -- built on spurious alliances, on the commodification of political relations and the plunder of public monies. Pimentel still believes that there is an intent to transform reality through alliances, as if to transform a gang of bandits, one would have to be part of it. Ethics was sent into limbo, and Machiavelli's advice came in instead. It had an aim similar to that of the PT leadership, "to follow up the real truth of a matter than the imagination of it" (XV). For Machiavelli, the true reality of things is the tenacious pursuit of power, ways to conquer and retain it. And that is worth everything, the end justifies all means: perjury, crime and even good, if it brings benefits. The "imagination of it" is ethics, what should be. This is not overlooked, it is valuable whenever it is conducive to power. Otherwise, it can be trampled -- "not to diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so, but, if compelled, then to know how to set about it" (XVIII). What matters is not to be good, but to appear so. There is no need to keep his word, if it turns against the prince, for never "will there ever be wanting...legitimate reasons to excuse this nonobservance" (XVIII).

It's sad to read in Pimentel: "In this process of renewal, some colleagues will be left behind." In reality, those ones are the carriers of the future, because they are faithful to the ethics and the dream of a different policy than the current one. The leadership of the PT surrendered to the latter, making scandalous alliances in order to remain in power and thus scuttling the past. The people do not deserve to be defrauded this way. It is not by investing in welfare policies that their dignity can be restored. There are also many people at the grassroots, deputies, mayors and councilors from the old ethical PT that keeps the dream alive and does not abandon the question: What type of Brazil do we want and what public ethics do we need?

I want to express my solidarity with the victims of the "new" PT's Machiavellianism, especially in Minas Gerais and Maranhão. A tragedy is happening in this state, well represented by the renowned trade unionist Manoel da Conceição, 75, founder of the PT, who was tortured and maimed by the police of the oligarchies among whom are the Sarneys, who is being forced to vote for Roseana Sarney of the PMDB. In an open letter to comrade Lula - a letter that makes one weep -- he writes "with the tenderness and love of a brother": "how could you choose those who mutilated and tortured me, and who killed dozens of my most loyal companions ... This wounds our honor and our history to the core." But the power project does not have the slightest humanitarian feeling -- Machiavelli dixit.

In the same way I want to express my solidarity with the victims of Minas Gerais, with Sandra Starling, with Patrus Ananias, one of the best government ministers, Durval Ângelo, champion of human rights, and with so many people who are suffering, outraged.

Not everything goes in this world. And if Christ died, it was also to show that not everything goes and everything has a limit, which also applies to the PT.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Controversial Departure of Fr. Felipe Berríos

I found this interview with Fr. Felipe, and the priest himself, fascinating. As I was working on the translation, I consulted a Chilean-American colleague about some expressions Fr. Felipe used and he told me Fr. Felipe married his brother and sister-in-law! Small world...

By Raquel Correa (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Revista El Sábado, de El Mercurio
June 5, 2010

He is leaving today for Africa -- not for two years, as has been said, but "as long as God wills it." In this interview, he defends the current Pope in his fight against sexual abuse -- "he is quite alone because of this", criticizes John Paul II, thinks that the new archbishop of Santiago should be Monsignor Ezzati, Goic or Lizama, and that instead, a possible choice of Juan Ignacio Gonzalez would be a setback for the country's unity.

It hurts the soul of many of his followers. And certainly his detractors, and there are many, will miss some of the controversies generated from his usual column in "Sábado." Father Berrios, Father Felipe, or just Felipe leaves today for Burundi, a poor country, with sects permanently in fierce guerrilla warfare.

He entered the Jesuits on July 31, 1977, and he states that he has never regretted it, even though it hasn't always been easy.

Ordained in 1989, he stresses that since he became a priest he has been "deeply happy, with a sense of fulfillment."

- No crisis?

- I have always waited for the crisis. My colleagues experienced it very strongly. I'm still waiting for it and it hasn't come. Of course I have produced many crises (laughs). The truth is that it is a grace from God. I've never had a shred of doubt that this is my vocation.

- Are you tired of being in the media so much?

- No. I've never swallowed the story. At age 28, I went to Tanzania and that marked me. One's life is at stake there.

- You wonder, "What would Christ do in my place?" Do you think He would leave Chile aside and go to Africa?

- "Yes," he says, without hesitation. "There are many well-educated people here. It's a country with a per capita income of $14,000 (US) and Burundi's isn't even $700. There, the problems are hunger and AIDS. I've finished a cycle. Now I have to go and take a gamble over there. I always thought about going away. I became a priest to proclaim the good news, to propagate the gospel."

- You have said "I find it fascinating to evangelize in Chile." Well then...?

- We go through stages. I am at the right age to go to Africa. Now I have to learn the language...

- Weren't you going to go for two years?

- "No", he answers slowly, as if revealing a secret. "I am going for as long as God wishes. At the beginning I said I was going for life, but that sounded arrogant. Now I say: as long as God wants. Now I'm going to learn French and feel free; I'm going to be 60. Suddenly we forget that we are on loan, but not forever. I have juggled the big issues in my life by intuition. Having been a priest for 20 years, I thought: this is the time, why wait any longer?

- You said that you would go back to Africa when there were no more shantytowns in Chile. Have they ended?

- Structurally, yes. Before, we used to see huge shantytowns as part of the landscape. Today, micro shantytowns, except for the one in Alto Hospicio. Of 135,000 families, there are 20,000 still in micro shantytowns.

"Simple priests are lacking"

When the photographer comes, he announces, laughing: "I'm going to put on the jacket for funerals, weddings and interviews." And he puts on a worn out blue coat with a beige zipper, with a cross on the lapel.

After ordination, he was director of the Workers' University. And he founded Un Techo para Chile [A Roof for Chile], which expanded to several countries.

Opposed to government assistance to the poor, he says:

"Everything that is given to the poor makes them poorer. We never have to give. We can accompany the poor in their suffering, but not give them money. One of the blunders that rich countries make with Africa is giving to them; that's why today they are poorer than before. We are aware that there should not be shantytowns. What's happening now is different, because of the earthquake and the shacks."

Felipe Berrios is going with a Maltese Jesuit and he states that the best way to be a missionary is to build shacks. "This is implementing the parable of the Good Samaritan. The other is a bit of proselytizing." Over there, he will work with refugees who have fled because of hunger or problems with the guerrilla.

- "The idea," he explains, "is to try to build a kind of agricultural school to generate food -- there is a very harsh famine.

- Doesn't it frighten you?

- "Since we passed the decree on The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice, 73 Jesuits have been assassinated in Latin America; in Africa, five. It's much more dangerous to talk about justice here. I am going to Africa to share my life with people who have nothing. I have no economic incentive to go to Burundi," he adds. "They haven't thrown me out nor am I being uprooted", as has been rumored. In the Jesuits they taught me that we are all irreplaceable, but no one is indispensable. Someone else will take charge of Techo.

- And your mom?

- My mom...well, yes. I think the best way to love my mom is to be a happy son.

- There's a shortage of priests in Chile...

- I don't think there's a lack of priests in Chile. I think there are more than enough. What are lacking are priests who are simple, close to the people, who don't scold but welcome, who don't think they are superior to others and who present the Gospel not as morals but as good news. Those are the priests who are lacking. We have many of the other kind. And we have many bishops like that as well.

The controversial priest

He argues that "the real power is in the freedom to say what one thinks, without calculating the cost". In honor of it, he has faced intense controversy. The best-known: the "cota mil" universities [Translator's note: This refers to a column by Berrios in which he suggested that these elite universities are out of touch with the rest of Chilean society]. And when divorce legislation was going to be enacted, the Church campaigned strongly [against it] and he opposed that campaign.

- Nobody scolded you?

- Yes. Canon law gives us rights and obligations and we have gotten into childishness, that it seems that priests ought not to have an opinion but say exactly what the bishop says. Not so. The Church is not a dictatorship. We have to all agree on the dogmas, but there are other things that are debatable.

- Divorce, for example?

- I have not changed one iota of what the Church believes. Sacramental marriage is forever. I disagreed with stigmatizing the children of divorced people.

- And you protested against the "protocol" that prevents separated people who have remarried from attending ceremonies with the Pope.

- It's ridiculous. Marriage is a privilege and anyone who fails is suffering: we have to support them. If marriage is viewed as an obligation and those who fail must be punished, then we have different points of view.

- When the Church reacted to the government campaign in favor of contraception, you disagreed.

- I said we have to educate young people on sexuality consistent with our values. But if a young person were unable to contain themselves and would have sex with their girlfriend or boyfriend or were going to have risky sex, they'd have a moral obligation to use condoms. The more orthodox tradition of the Church is the "lesser evil", he continues. The Bishops' Conference called me. I argued with the bishops and they didn't know how to refute me. If the lesser evil is applied in economics, no problem. The minimum wage is immoral: a family can not live on 140,000 pesos per month. But if it doubles, there would be more unemployment and more poverty. In this case, the lesser evil applies. Why is there no problem there, but there is in sexual matters?

- What do you think about celibacy?

- Ideally, married people could be ordained and diocesan priests could get married, like in the first centuries. I think we should rethink the issue of celibacy -- it is a vocation, it should not be imposed on all priests.

- Because of the shacks, you argued with the government?

- For thirteen years we have been saying that we do not want Chileans living in shacks. They are unworthy. For the last four years we in Techo have built only permanent houses of 50-80 square meters, with hot water, three bedrooms. But we were in an earthquake and in an arrogant country that wants solutions brought from Canada or the US and we didn't have the money to respond massively and rapidly to it. They delayed 50 days before concluding that the most effective thing, in the emergency, was the shack.

An archbishop who brings people together

- Who do you think is going to be the new archbishop of Santiago?

- I'm not good at these speculations and I've never liked them much. But, sketching an answer, I think the new archbishop of Santiago will be either Monsignor Ezzati, Goic or Lizama since the three of them have experience, are the right age, are widely welcomed by various Catholic and non-Catholic sectors and have the moral gravitas and leadership to address the rebuilding of credibility that the Church needs. They are men of God.

- And who do you want to be archbishop of Santiago?

- I want what's best for the Church. And that would be an archbishop who is acknowledged by all sectors in order to bring Catholics together, and also has the experience and the gravitas to deal with the delicate period the Church is in and launch it strongly into the 21st century. In this sense, I believe that the three men I named earlier fulfill those requirements.

- And if Monsignor Juan Ignacio Gonzalez were named?

- It would be difficult for the unity of the Church. When he was a lawyer linked to Opus Dei, he worked with Sergio Rillón in the office called "Government special affairs" or liaison between the dictatorship and the Church that, in fact, you could say it was "informing". Those were hard times for the Chilean Church, which was often persecuted. He then worked for La Moneda [the presidential palace] and I have heard that he was also in the General Secretariat of the Presidency and in the company management of the newspaper La Nación. At the end of the eighties, he left that to go to Rome, where he was ordained and got a PhD with a thesis about the military chaplaincy in Chile. To appoint someone who was so closely linked to the dictatorship as archbishop of Santiago for the Bicentennial would be a setback for the country's unity and an affront to many Chileans. Many of us who are in favor of the unity of the Church didn't say anything to his appointment as bishop, but that has a limit and that limit would be if he were appointed Archbishop of Santiago. With all due respect, I would issue my protest.

- That's a serious accusation against a bishop. Don't you think you are judging him unfairly?

- It's not an accusation; it's remembering his past, of which, to my knowledge, he has never publicly repented and is entitled to not do so, but I have my right to think that this is a serious impediment for a possible Archbishop of consensus, who is seeking unity among Catholics and in society in general.

"Laicize priests"

- What do you think is the root of the current crisis in the Catholic Church?

- The Church is in a tremendous credibility crisis. A group within the Church separated itself from the Second Vatican Council, which proposed a common priesthood with the laity, less clerical -- a Church more open, more in dialogue. With that very beautiful phrase: "Nothing human is foreign to us." They have been going in the opposite direction and towards a deification of priests. There has also been excessive focus on the issue of sexual morality, not social morality. And that secrecy ...

- Does it come from above?

- From the Pope down. Pope John Paul II did much harm to the Church. And much good in other ways. He came from a communist dictatorship and his great struggle was against communism. I think he was impressed when he came to Latin America and realized we had such ferocious dictatorships, but Catholic and right wing ones.

With respect to the decline in priestly vocations, he says:

- A more materialistic and selfish society, focused on benefits, has destroyed marriage and the priesthood. We have transformed Communion into a prize for the perfect, when it is food for the weakest.

- How are cases like that of Father Maciel viewed?

- There are people with a very great ability to "deceive" -- the profile of Maciel and Paul Schaefer. Allowing such closed groups is the breeding ground for such people to involve the weaker young people.

- Sick people?

- If they were sick, they would not be accountable. And there is some complicity -- we have let them create these real cults. Using confession as a system of coercion.

- Are you referring to Karadima?

- Karadima is the case against whom there is irrefutable evidence, like that of Kast. Secrecy and a classist Church help this.

- Wouldn't you say, as Cardinal Errazuriz does, that luckily they are few?

- Never. It was a facile statement and I think he's sorry he said it. There may be few priests, but what people do not accept is that they are cloaked by ecclesiastical authority. This secrecy is unacceptable. Monsignor Ezzati cannot meet with the Pope and say they did not discuss this issue.

- Do you have hope for the current Pope?

- Yes. It has always been known that the Maciel case folder was on the desk of Ratzinger when he was prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith. When John Paul II was diminished, the first thing Ratzinger did was get rid of Maciel. As Pope, he has been intransigent on this issue. I think this is why he is quite alone.

- What price will the Church pay?

- It will be greatly affected, but it is an opportunity to demystify priests. A simpler Church, more inspired by the Gospel, less inquisitional. There are wonderful priests, who do not appear on TV, who accompany the people, simple and human ones.


How can I keep from singing?

In the weeks since my mother's death, friends have marveled that I am smiling and active, not dwelling in grief but, as the hymn from which I quoted on my mother's memorial program says, "how can I keep from singing?"

Singing...because my mother's life was such a blessing to her children and to others. Thanks to my mother's courage, the neighborhood our family lived in in Nashville during the civil rights era is now integrated. Thanks to my mother and millions of others who said NO to apartheid with their pocketbooks and picket lines, South Africa is free from that scourge and hosting the World Cup today. Thanks to my mother's fearless defense of her faith, other Quakers who apply for passports now have the option to affirm rather than swear to tell the truth. Quakers refuse to swear because they take Jesus' injunction against oath-taking in Mt 5:34 literally and believe one should tell the truth at all times, not just under oath.

Singing...because my mother was able to live out her final years as she wished with minimal medical intervention, because she was able to die as she wished -- peacefully, with no extraordinary measures, and in the company of her daughters, and because she is being laid to rest as she wished -- and as she lived -- simply and quietly.

Singing...because I can write these words when so many in our world cannot read or write, because my mother cared enough to read to me when I was a toddler, take me to the library as soon as I was old enough to read for myself, spend hours answering my endless questions, and push and prod me to stay in school and go to university. She cared enough to read and comment on my writing, to instill the importance of good spelling and grammar and careful proofreading. Because of her, I can assist others by teaching ESL or helping friends fill out employment and immigration forms.

Singing...because my mother transcended the cultural and culinary limitations of her rural Southern upbringing, learning how to use spices other than salt and pepper, and passing that knowledge on to me. Dinners in our home were a veritable United Nations for the palate -- French, Indian, Italian, Chinese, Middle never knew what would land on the table. And she taught us the spiritual and nutritional value of sharing a home-cooked meal.

Singing...because I woke up on this brutally hot day in a comfortable home to the hum of central air conditioning when so many in the world lack shelter or, like some of my friends, struggle along without AC for economic reasons. I can do this because my mother helped me buy this house and the education helped me get the job that pays for the AC. I think of my mother growing up in my grandmother's house with only ceiling fans and copious quantities of iced tea and lemonade to fend off the northern Louisiana summer heat. We take so much for granted.

My mother left her children and the world in a better place to go to an even better place and, "since Love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?"

Immigration News Roundup - 6/23/2010

More Arizona fallout in this issue of the Roundup...

1. Corporate Con Game: An article by Beau Hodai in the July 2010 edition of In These Times exposes the role of the corporate-controlled American Legislative Exchange Council in the development of Arizona Senate Bill 1070. Among the members of ALEC are two major players in the private-prison industry which also runs many immigrant detention facilities and thus stands to benefit from the bill, the Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group. CCA operates six facilities in Arizona alone, three of which list ICE as part of their major customer base. Geo Group runs three facilities in Arizona and many more in Texas. Add some high-profile lobbying groups hired by these companies after SB 1070 was introduced and you have a very muddy mix...

2. Mayors group condemns Arizona immigration law: The U.S. Conference of Mayors has approved two resolutions condemning Arizona's new immigration law and asking Congress for an overhaul of federal immigration policies. Both resolutions were approved on a voice vote during the organization's 78th annual meeting (June 11-15) in Oklahoma City, with some opposition.

3. Rappers take on Arizona: Two samples...

And Chuck D (photo above), the frontman for Public Enemy, in a new song called “Tear Down That Wall”, speaks out against the Arizona immigration law and calls border enforcement “the growing tangible and intangible wall existing between the black and brown people in North America.”

4. Mexico challenges Arizona's immigration law: Mexico has waded into a legal challenge to a new immigration law in the US state of Arizona. In papers submitted to a US federal court, the Mexican government argues that the law is unconstitutional and would damage bilateral relations. It says it is concerned that it could lead to unlawful discrimination against Mexican citizens. The law - which comes into force on 29 July - makes it a state crime to be in Arizona without immigration papers.

Meanwhile, unphased by legal challenges to his first bill, Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce now wants to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in this country to undocumented parents. Legal scholars warn that it would be blatantly unconstitutional, since the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the U.S.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

U.S. Catholic Bishops and Immigration Website

For more than eighty years the Catholic Church in the United States has provided a strong, institutional presence in support of immigrants and in favor of more just immigration laws. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS) has partnered with The Catholic University of America to develop a new educational Website that highlights the significant role that the Church in the United States has played in this area. The site includes background on the issue, important documents that have been digitized, a chronology, a bibliography, and -- most important -- talking points on why this issue is important today.

And earlier this month, the bishops added to that history by issuing a regional statement on migration (also available en español). The bishops said: "As an immigrant nation, the United States and the American people, including Catholics, have traditionally welcomed newcomers and helped to integrate them into the country. We call upon the Congress of the United States and the Obama Administration to affirm this honored tradition and reform U.S. immigration law to allow migrants who work hard in the U.S. economy to enjoy the benefits of legal protection."

Photo: Fr. John Burke was the first general secretary of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, which established a Bureau of Immigration in 1920

Monday, June 21, 2010

Peace based on the paradigm of caring

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia. Some of his older columns are available in English at

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)

The will to power of one country over another, the patriarchal culture that still marginalizes women and the exploitation of nature to get material benefits are factors of violence and impediments to peace. Patriarchy has weakened the feminine dimension, which makes us more sensitive to all, and lowered emotional intelligence, the niche of caring and ethical and spiritual experience.

This bias, denying the anima dimension (the feminine), has continued to strongly affect ethics. The core of classical morality inherited from the Greeks and perfected by Kant, Habermas and Rorty is unconsciously based on the experience of the animus (the masculine). Therefore it is founded on two basic pillars: justice, expressed in the rights and duties of men (leaving women invisible) and individual autonomy, the idea that only a free being can be an ethical being.

But this view is incomplete because it leaves out key dimensions, typical of but not exclusive to the feminine (anima), such as the relationships that exist within the family, with others, with nature and all that we feel related to. Without such relationships, society loses its human face. Here, the broader category, which is caring, is required more than justice. Caring is a paradigm that is opposed to domination. It is this relationship that is concerned about and takes responsibility for the other, that is involved with and lets itself be wrapped up in life in its many forms, that shows solidarity and compassion, heals past wounds and prevents future injuries.

The empirical basis is the experience so finely analyzed by the English psychoanalyst D. Winnicott "that we all need to be cared for, accepted, valued and loved, and that we want to care for, accept, value and love." Women are the privileged, but not exclusive, bearers of this experience. They are directly linked to life that needs caring, through maternity, nurturing, concern during illness, support for education. These features are characteristics of the female (anima) that are also found in men who fulfill them in their own way.

In the background of this ethic of caring is a more fruitful anthropology than the traditional one, based on the dominant ethic -- part of the relational character of the human being. He is essentially an affective being, the bearer of pathos, the ability to feel, to affect and be affected. In addition to intellectual reason (logos), he is endowed with emotional, perceptive and spiritual reason. It is a being-with-others and for-others in the world. He is not isolated in his splendid autonomy; he always lives within networks of specific relationships and is permanently attached. He does not need a social contract to be able to live together with others. His nature is to live communally.

No doubt, in order to have a lasting culture of peace we need just institutions, but the way they work can not be formal or bureaucratic but human, caring and sensitive to the contexts of people and their situations. More than anything, we must nurture a pervasive culture of caring for the earth and people, especially the most vulnerable, and of attentiveness to relationships between people to prevent war.

Win-win comes into play instead of win-lose. With this strategy the factors of tension and conflict are reduced. To achieve peace, the consciously assumed virtues are relevant such as openness, the willingness to dialogue and listen, the warm welcome of the other. President Lula emphasized it when addressing the issue of Iran under the threat of American and allied truculence because of enriching uranium for peaceful purposes (a pretext for controlling oil and gas).

But there is a subjective and spiritual dimension that reinforces the search for peace. It is the ability to forgive and forget old disputes and conflicts. Now that cultures are meeting, historical tensions that separate people are becoming apparent. We must always look forward in building a new relationship based on a partnership of caring among all.

Living this necessary kind of humanism is within the capabilities of our being. It is the condition for lasting peace, already considered by Kant to be the foundation of the world Republic.