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No. 53 • July - December 2011 • Page 303
 •  Initiatives

São Paulo, Brazil. Catholics in public life

A group of professionals and students gather each week at the Sumaré University Study Center to discuss various social questions in the light of Catholic doctrine. The study group has as its focus the words of Benedict XVI at the Brazilian Shrine of Aparecida, in 2007, where he encouraged the laity to “fill the notable gap, in the political, communications, and university spheres, of voices and initiatives of Catholic leaders with a strong personality and selfless vocation, who are consistent with their ethical and religious convictions” (May 13, 2007).

The participants are university students and recently graduated professionals in the fields of management, law, philosophy and the social sciences. While most are Catholics, members of other Christian groups, Jews, etc. also take part. They are united by their eagerness to prepare themselves to better defend fundamental human values in social life.

Topics of study have included, for example, the directives of the Holy Father on the relations between Church and State contained in his address to the British Parliament in Westminster Hall on September 17, 2010, and in his recent addresses to the Bundestag in Berlin on September 22, 2011. Besides the weekly gatherings, moderated by Professor Marcus Boeira (a professor of political science, with a doctorate from the University of São Paulo), once a month a chapter of the Nichomachean Ethics is studied, in the light of a Thomistic philosophical anthropology.

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