Reverend Lucia Dalponte: "Francis will be a great prophet, a great companion, in the opening for ecumenism"
"There is no single reform and there are several reforms that lead us to live that project of Jesus Christ"
"If the women organize, the Roman Church would stop, because they are the ones who work"
( Luis Miguel Modino , correspondent in Brazil) .- Ecumenical dialogue is one of the great challenges of Christianity . The Second Vatican Council was an important moment in the theoretical reflection in this field, but in practice there were no significant steps for decades. Since his arrival in the Vatican, Pope Francis has tried to have concrete gestures that help to advance the ecumenical experience from a practical point of view.
Reverend Lucia Dalponte is a cleric of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil. He develops his pastoral work in the Anglican Parish of San Jorge in Londrina, state of Paraná, Brazil, city that will host from January 23 to 27, 2018, the 14th Inter-Church of the Base Ecclesial Communities (CEBs), with whom he has a collaborative work In different projects.
In this interview, the Reverend Anglican highlights the work in common that is carried out between different Churches , especially in what refers to the promotion of life. Above and beyond historical differences, which in some cases persist on both sides, the attempts at dialogue that take place and the importance of the arrival of a Latin American Pope stand out.
We are on the V Centennial of the Lutheran Reformation, an important moment that can become decisive for ecumenical dialogue. What can this moment mean on this path of dialogue?
I think it can be very important if the Churches open up to be together in this process of reflection of what this moment of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation meant for the people, for the people, for us, Christians and Christians of the whole world.
In this reflection we are going to perceive the importance of the questions and the posture, to look for new ways of living Christianity and to look for it as something that can bring about a transformation in that sense and to make the Roman Church itself to review its actions in That moment.
This is a very important moment for us to do that process of reflection, to look for what led to that reform, what were the causes of that and what brought newness to the Christians and Christians of the time and in this process of these Five hundred years.
I believe that it is necessary to review and reflect on this with great affection as different Churches of the Lutheran Church, which is already taking place through various movements, reflections and dialogue between the Lutheran, Roman and Anglican Church ..., through Of different means and forms, of meetings in this sense, to see what it is that brought us benefit, which is what we learned and the new Churches that emerged as a new way of living Christianity, since there is no single reform and yes several reforms That lead us to live that project of Jesus Christ, which I think is very important for our journey.
What are the resistances that take place within the Roman Church and the different Protestant Churches in the advancement of this ecumenical dialogue?
The resistances I see are more in the hierarchies of the churches, which are afraid of losing members, of abiding to the new, which scares. We are celebrating five hundred years of this process, in Brazil the Anglican and Lutheran Churches have been present for more than a hundred years, and we still perceive the difficulty of this opening.
For more than thirty years, after the Second Vatican Council, there was that opening to ecumenism, in which the Anglican and Lutheran Church began the dialogue with the Roman Church. There was progress in this discussion, but after some time there was a setback, a closure by the different Churches.
In the same way leaders influence, because in the different Churches, sometimes there are bishops open to dialogue, which causes a breakthrough. But at other times there are bishops, clergymen, clergymen, pastors and pastors more closed to that ecumenical opening, which causes it to close again. It seems that it is always a process of comings and goings, which depends a lot on who leads and how the opening, within each religious institution, for the other, in the sense of recognizing the other Church, is the one that be.
I believe that what most prevents this process are the leaders themselves, the hierarchical leaders, bishops, clergy, reverend, reverend, pastors and pastors, as they see that, the formation, the preparation, the means from where it comes, as it is seen Ecumenical dialogue.
Can the leadership of Pope Francis in the Roman Church be decisive and the express will he has for advancing ecumenical dialogue?
I see Pope Francis as a prophet, with that new loving, Latin American way of being, with this openness. For us, from the Anglican Church, and also for the brothers of other Churches, in this most ecumenical way, we perceive this as a great advance for the Roman Church, that openness that he has, that new way of looking at life, from Of Rome, of the Pope, that search for care with Creation, care for life, to welcome the single mother, the poor, the beggar, the people, to welcome life in a general way.
That brings a great advance for the Roman Church and for the ecumenical opening, because in the ecumenism we must look for the life and not for the institutions, because when we look at the institutions we are going to be locked up and focusing on ourselves. When we begin to see the life that suffers, that shouts, that is full of needs, we discover how much we can do together, and the Pope brings that vision, even though it is perceived that the pope's gaze still did not reach the bishops, The dioceses.
In spite of that, he makes us see the Roman Church with another vision, with another opening. That is why, for us who are part of other Churches, Pope Francis will be a great prophet, a great companion, in that opening for ecumenism, with that vision of welcoming life, of looking for people who suffer. That I think is going to be a breakthrough, it is already being.
How is coexistence between those who are part of the different Churches, between the Roman Church and the Anglican Church, at the base?
We have a very quiet coexistence. In Londrina we have an ecumenical movement of Christian Churches and we have the macro ecumenical or interreligious movement. Coexistence is always good, especially when we try to transform life projects. We respect many spirituality and the way of living that spirituality in each Church, each one has and lives theirs, but in the moments in which we are together, our liturgies and celebrations are very beautiful, participative, created from the ecumenical group, not one Church that prepares for all. We seek spirituality and work together.
If we talk about Brazil, the dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church is also good. There is a great deal of work together, as we are very close to the liturgy, working, especially with the Ecclesial Base Communities (CEBs).
In the Anglican Church there is a work we call diaconia, through which we engage in life-saving movements, with women, on the periphery of cities. In these works, when we go to the neighborhoods with the people of the Roman Church, there is a good coexistence.
I am part of the National Council of CEBI (Center for Biblical Studies) and so I have a lot of ease to be in this ecumenical environment. The Roman Church, especially the Church of the CEBs, has a lot of openness to the Popular Reading of the Bible, which facilitates coexistence, also with the Lutheran Church, which are the most united in this process.
What does the ecumenical journey bring to you in your experience of faith?
For me, Reverend Lucia, ecumenism, that ecumenical spirituality, is what gives me strength in the resistance and the struggle for life. As a Christian, I have a very great commitment to the project of Jesus Christ, which is very clear in the search for the transformation of life. When we speak of that, we can not advance alone as a Church.
First of all, my Church is small, it has few members in Brazil, but for me what makes me feel, to live, is to perceive that we can penetrate the walls of the Anglican Church and collaborate with other Churches, enlightened by this biblical spirituality, to do Work, going to the world from the transformation of life. The ecumenical question is very strong and I think that is what motivates me to live that spirituality from the project of Jesus Christ.
One of the impediments to progress in the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church is the role of women in the Anglican Church, what can the ordination of women bring to the Roman Church?
If we analyze the work of the Roman Church we perceive that those who are at the base, as leaders, are women, although they are as executors of the work and not in a process of discussion and creation, which is part of the hierarchy.
I believe that the work of women, if there were more openness, welcome and women were also part of this process of female ordination, the Roman Church was to have another experience, another energy for the life of the Church and also for the world .
But I know that it is not an easy thing, nor was it for the Anglican Church the ordination of women. We have been in Brazil for one hundred and forty years and it is only thirty-five years since the Church of Brazil ordained women, because the Anglican Church is a communion of Churches, each province has its organization.
In Brazil, we celebrated thirty-five years of female ordination last year, and it was not an easy process, it was very difficult, struggle, exclusion, confrontation, to reach that moment. I believe that this also has to happen in the Roman Church, because they are processes that are carried out.
In Brazil, when the female ordination was approved, the three orders were diaconate, presbyter and bishop, but until now, after thirty-five years, we have not been able to choose a bishop in Brazil because of that patriarchalism that is present. We are people, in our Church we are all equal, but in the Anglican Church there is a very strong patriarchalism, even by some women, who are not always clear about their role and how they can be an important part for that transformation, and in the moment In which there is an election, because in the Anglican Church the bishop is elected and not indicated, the woman herself, who does not have that conscience, ends up not voting in the woman like bishop. It is proof of how difficult that is in Brazil, and perhaps in the whole world, as a consequence of patriarchy and sexism. We have to advance a lot as women.
In the Catholic Church, Pope Francis is giving responsibility roles to some women in the Vatican. He is also making a proposal for the possible ordination of deaconesses. Do you think it is enough, important, the first step to reach a day further?
It may be important, but I do not think it's enough. I think there has to be another mobilization, another struggle. If we see the society, all the conquests came from the base, because the conquests is not something that comes from above. If women are organized, then, from my point of view, if women in the Roman Church make a movement to say that they will stop and demand their rights, the Roman Church would stop, since women are that force, that energy, that Struggle, that organization, they are the ones who work.
I still believe that it is not enough and that the opening is not going to come there, but from the mobilization of women, to demand their rights. I have heard many women in the Roman Church say that they will not go away, because they want to be inside to bother and defend what they think. But as soon as there is no greater resistance, a decision made by the woman herself in this quest, I do not think this will take place.