SAO PAULO (CNS) — Christian leaders said they felt uncomfortable that so many members of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies invoked religion as they voted to authorize an impeachment process for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
Romi Benke, general secretary of the National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil, said that as federal representatives made their way to the microphone to cast their votes, she felt incredibly uncomfortable with the words uttered by dozens of Congressional representatives.
“It was shocking to hear the Lord’s name said in vain,” she told Catholic News Service. “The number of representatives who used the phrase ‘for God,’ ‘for our Lord’ or ‘in the name of the Lord’ to justify their vote was alarming.”
Benke said the session showed a widespread “instrumentalization of religion” by the representatives.
“I am convinced that they were not all speaking for all of the Brazilian Christians, and yet they spoke as though they were speaking for all of us,” she said.
Carlos Moura, executive secretary of the Brazilian bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission, agreed.
“For the commission there was an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment and dissatisfaction over the words uttered in the Chamber (of Deputies) on Sunday,” he said.
Moura said during five hours of voting April 17, legislators cast their votes “in the name of their wives, children, political party and God instead of sticking to the actual charges against the president.” Only a handful of representatives mentioned the official reason for impeachment proceedings as they voted: Rousseff has been accused of mismanagement of funds and using loans from state-owned banks to mask huge budget deficits.
Moura said the negative reaction toward legislators was so great on social media channels that their remarks were unlikely to be repeated if the process goes before the Senate for a vote.
Analysts said the process was more a no-confidence vote in the current administration’s ability to handle the worst economic recession in Brazil’s history.
Earlier, the bishops’ conference released a statement saying it was closely monitoring events and “expected the democratic rule of law to prevail.”
The bishops also urged people protesting on either side to be peaceful.
“Peaceful demonstrations contribute to the strengthening of democracy,” said the bishops’ conference statement.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103