From hope to hope: Cardinal Evaristo Arns

Former IYCW and Brazilian JOC chaplain, Dom Reginaldo Andrietta, recalls the support of the late Cardinal Evaristo Arns for the movement.

The death of Cardinal Dom. Evaristo Arns, Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo, revived the historical memory of five decades of the relationship between Church and society in Brazil, helping us to rethink this relationship today. Much of his episcopal ministry was exercised in the context of the long military dictatorship, set up in 1964. Would we now be facing similar challenges? Certainly, because working-class militants, especially young people, express a renewed cry for support of their struggles for a new democratization.

In addition to being an icon of the pastoral development of the Church in the post-Second Vatican Council, Dom Paulo became one of the protagonists of the Church’s engagement in the struggle for the redemocratization of Brazil and Latin America: it stimulated Liberation Theology; Favored the development of Basic Ecclesial Communities and Social Pastoralists, from realities of poverty; Encouraged social, union and democratic political movements; Bravely faced the repressive regime; Fought against torture; And persistently defended human rights in an ecumenical spirit.

I am a witness to his encouragement to the militancy of the workers, especially young people, when he opened the 3rd National Congress of Young Workers at PUC in São Paulo in 1983, he said in his charming tone: “Your enthusiasm is The guarantee that Brazil will find the path of justice and fraternity. ” He wanted the Catholic Worker Youth (JOC), the organizer of this Congress, strongly suppressed by the dictatorship, to continue rebuilding and acting with ecclesial support.

For this reason, Dom Paulo referred in that Congress to “a document that the JOC promulgated in times of freedom in 1963, when it could still meet”, which says: “The promotion of workers is, for the Christian, an inevitable fact . This is because it is wanted by God, and the will of God is creative. The misery of our people is not wanted by God, for it is a blasphemy against the love of God, in a world that dares to call itself Christian “; And said: “That’s how our comrades spoke in 1963 and soon their voices were silenced by repression. Today, you take up the great journey and a great responsibility, and we want to be with you. “

These encouraging words of Dom Paulo resonate today in the hearts of many militants who continue the historic task of forming and organizing new working class militants. This same encouragement was given by Pope Francis in a letter addressed to the International Christian Worker Youth on the occasion of his 14th World Council held in Germany this year. Present at the opening Mass of this Council, I emphasized the current importance of this working class youth organization and its challenges throughout the world, and I said: “Let us take these challenges as a call from God!”

Working-class militants, especially Christian-inspired young people, are clamoring for renewed support for their just action initiatives, as dictatorial styles of government resurgent in democracy. Let us take the initiative to show, like Dom Paulo, that these militants who are fighting for a permanent and progressive democratization are not alone. Let us take up this commitment with deep trust in God, inspired by the testimony of Dom Paul and his episcopal motto “Ex Spe in Spem”, that is, “From Hope in Hope”.

Don Reginaldo Andrietta
Diocesan Bishop of Jales, SP

Dom Reginaldo Andrietta, De esperança em esperança (CNBB)