Maria Joao Sande Lemos has sent me some texts by the two most prominent Portuguese theologians of today by Fr Anselmo Borges and Fray Bento Domingos which Nós Somos Igreja are uploading on their website every week.

The first:   Religiões: "o direito à esperança, à beleza, ao Céu" (2) can be downloaded in Portuguese directly from the November 5 edition of the Diario de Noticias

You can read my deepl translation into English by clicking on Text by Anselmo Borges

 Now read the original in Portuguese by Fray Bento Domingos and then the translation on his article


Fray Bento Domingos, O.P.

1. For a long time the Church was only in the news because of the ecclesiastical crimes of paedophilia. It was and still is a fundamental issue and should never be forgotten, as the French Episcopal Conference has just revealed. However, if the Catholic Church has suffered and suffers because of these facts and their consequences, we hope that the Independent Commission will continue its work and will have more and more support from all the bodies of the Catholic world.

It would, however, be a grave error for this misfortune to paralyse the movements for revision of life, for conversion and for missionary innovation. Pope Francis is the first to give the example of pursuing simultaneously

the renewal of the Curia with the unprecedented contribution of women in decision-making positions, of practising new ways of intervening in society, in defence of the most forgotten, in listening to and supporting popular movements. It encourages creative initiatives in the field of inter-religious dialogue, in the search for new paths to peace amidst the conflicts and violence of wars and their tragic consequences.

From the 3rd to the 6th of this month, the Pope was in Bahrain for the Forum of Dialogue, East and West for human coexistence. In addition to all the contacts, he gave the closing speech, the scope of which requires another chronicle.

The pandemic has prevented many activities of society and the Church from taking place. We are now experiencing a fervent cultural awakening. Besides the editorial references that have already been made here, I want to highlight some absolutely remarkable publications: Dominican Traces from Portugal to the World[1]; Theology and the Challenges of Africa Today[2]; Values and Religiosity in Portugal. Generational Behaviours and Attitudes[3]; The Dialects of Images: Discourses of the Sacred and the Profane[4]; Necessary Metamorphosis. Rereading Saint Paul[5]. This without forgetting the publication of 70 Years of the Movement for the Renewal of Religious Art and the 21st Edition of the International Festival of Sacred Music, to be held in the Vatican from 12 to 15 of this month.

On Sunday, in addition to other relevant events in society and in the Church, such as the Climate Summit in Egypt (6-18/11/2022), we cannot forget the VI World Day of the Poor for the eradication of poverty, always shamefully postponed. The Message dedicated to it by Pope Francis needs to be meditated upon in order to inspire new decisions with concrete measures.

From the preaching of the prophets of the Old Testament, to the radicalization done by Jesus Christ and the challenging witness of the exemplary community mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles - in which there was not one destitute person because they shared all their resources[6] -, passing through the harsh denunciations of the so-called Fathers of the Church, we have the radiant example of Saint Francis of Assisi and of the recently canonized Brother Charles de Foucauld. Without ever forgetting the works of mercy of countless Christians and non-Christians in all times. But the Nazarene's sad lamentation before the narrow-minded view of his disciples remains: poor people you will always have among you!

It is not a fatality. It is only the verification of our resistance to eradicate inhuman and humiliating poverty.

2. What should be done so that the celebration of this Sunday may represent something new and not just the repetition of a liturgical date without consequences?

Several viable proposals are possible. One could begin by organising the Liturgy of the Word, based on extracts from the Pope's Message for this Sunday.

For example, for First Reading it would be appropriate to highlight the current context: "A few months ago, the world was emerging from the storm of the pandemic, showing signs of economic recovery that was expected to bring relief to millions of people impoverished by the loss of their jobs. A peaceful sky was opening up which, without forgetting the sadness at the loss of loved ones, promised that it would finally be possible to return to direct interpersonal relationships, to meet each other without embargoes or restrictions. But then a new catastrophe appeared on the horizon, presenting the world with a different scenario.

"The war in Ukraine has come on top of the regional wars which in these years have produced death and destruction. Here, however, the picture is more complex because of the direct intervention of a superpower, which seeks to impose its will against the principle of the self-determination of peoples".

After the 1st Reading, it would be time to sing the Magnificat: He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed...

For the 2nd Reading, it could be the following passage: "In the case of the poor, rhetoric is of no use, but rather rolling up our sleeves and putting our faith into practice through direct involvement, which cannot be delegated to anyone else.... It is not activism which saves, but sincere and generous attention which enables me to approach a poor person as if he were a brother reaching out to wake him up from the slumber into which he has fallen".

3. The reading of the Gospel can be more concrete: "It is urgent to find new paths which can go beyond the configuration of those social policies "conceived as a policy for the poor, but never with the poor, never of the poor, and even less as part of a project which brings peoples together"[7]. Instead, we should strive to adopt the attitude of the Apostle, who could write to the Corinthians: "It is not a matter of giving relief to others, but of equality" (2 Cor 8:13). It is mutual love that makes us bear one another's burdens, so that no one is abandoned or excluded".

"The poverty that kills is misery, the child of injustice, exploitation, violence and the unjust distribution of resources. It is a desperate poverty, without a future, because it is imposed by the throw-away culture that offers no prospects and no way out.

The homily, as well as inviting the community to a full reading of this Message, should try to find possible ways to incarnate it without clerical paternalism.

This proposal draws on the old and ever new Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you in the same circumstances.

 13 November 2022

[Coordination by: Cristina Costa Gomes and Isabel Murta Pina, José Manuel Fernandes, O.P. and Maria João Pereira Coutinho, Universidade Católica Editora, Lisbon 2022.

[2] 1st International Theological Week of Luanda (STIL), Co-ordination by: José Nunes, op. and José Paulo, op

[3] Eduardo Duque, Edições Afrontamento, 2022

[4] Aurélio Lope and Vítor Serrão with Foreword by Fr. Bento Domingues, Caleidoscópio 2022

[5] José Tolentino Mendonça, Quetzal 2022

[6] Acts 4, 32-35

[7]Francis, Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti, 169