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Brazilian bishops warned against political model. (World).

BRAZIL: In responding to the serious social problems plaguing Brazil, bishops should be careful not to reduce the church's ministry to a political model, the pope said. If the church starts acting like a partisan institution--favoring some groups and excluding others--it would distort the universal redemptive mission established by Christ, the pope said.

He made his remarks while meeting Oct. 19 with a group of bishops from the northeastern state of Maranhao, where 62 percent of the people live below the poverty line and the church has spoken out on issues of forced labor and land reform. The pope acknowledged that huge social problems--including unemployment, housing shortages and urbanization--were taking a heavy toll. He said the church cannot diminish its pastoral efforts, nor should it reduce them to a "temporal and worldly dimension" or limit them to important contingent issues like agrarian reform.

"To claim for the church a political model of participation, where decisions are voted on by a `base'--limited to the poor and those excluded from society but separated from the presence of all the segments of the people of God--would distort the original redemptive purpose conceived by Christ," he said.
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Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Nov 1, 2002
Words:193
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