The Centro de Reflexão Cristã and political spirituality: readings of democracy in the pages of Reflexão Cristã journal

Detalhes do projeto


The Centro de Reflexão Cristã (CRC) was created on Oct. 5 1975 by 78 individual or collective members, deeply connected to the 25 April 1974, a rupture event in Portuguese public life and the role played by Catholics in it. CRC is an association governed by public law. This marked the autonomy of its intervention in Portuguese society, as well as its relationship with the Church. CRC, and particularly its journal "Reflexão Cristã" (1976-), has been a space for theological readings of reality as well as theological readings based on the experience of reality. Over the course of more than 48 years of activity, the pages of its publications or the initiatives it has promoted, have welcomed protagonists of democratic political and civic life in Portugal, such as Manuela Silva, Fernando Gomes da Silva, A. Guterres, José Leitão, G. d'Oliveira Martins, M. L. Pintasilgo. Active Catholics, Christians from other churches, people from different religious denominations, women and men with different professions and roles in society, such as the historian J. Mattoso, the teacher and essayist I. Allegro Magalhães, the architect N. Teotónio Pereira, found in the CRC an open space for public discussion on the challenges of everyday life: poverty, inequalities, education, peacebuilding, women, the environment, etc.

The aim of this project is to analyze how CRC conceives a theology that makes it possible to act civically and politically in the process of democratization in Portugal, to deactivate the political-theological apparatus of Salazarism. The hypothesis is that the intersection of the country's political agenda of democratization, decolonization and development, with the agenda of changes brought about by Vatican II, consolidated a type of theology that was open to freedom of expression, favorable to the independence movement in the colonies, committed to human rights, critical of historical processes and, therefore, suited to the country's democratization environment. A theology that had the contributions of Catholic personalities such as Bento Domingues, Luís de França, Mateus Peres, A. Mourão, J. Resina, P. Stilwell, J. M. Pereira de Almeida, José Luzia, pastor Dimas de Almeida, the jurist with theological erudition J. Sousa e Brito, J. Carreira das Neves, among others.

This hypothesis will serve as a guiding thread for analyzing CRC's activities from 1975 to 1999. It is a period that encompasses the transition and consolidation of democracy in Portugal (1974-1986), accession to the EEC and a post-colonial phase until the self-determination of East Timor. Issues such as the process of secularization accelerated by European integration and the relationship with the churches, liberation theologies in Latin America and African theologies, are reflected in CRC's discursive practices.

The method to be used will be the archaeology of the discursive practices of theology and their correlation with social practices, based on an analysis of the interdisciplinary content of "Reflexão Cristã", the single thematic issues "Cadernos do CRC", and the collection "Cadernos de Estudos Africanos". It will be analyzed how the religious question is configured as a complex phenomenon, with genealogies of power and genealogies of ethics.

The written production of CRC will be analyzed based on Michel Foucault's notion of political spirituality as the emergence of a new subjectivity, which agonically breaks with the process of subjectivation provided by the governmental apparatus and evolves into a collective consciousness of resistance. Having its genesis in the resistance to the past and the emergence of the task of democratizing the country, CRC unfolds into a new way of doing theology, assuming itself as a "space for reflection on faith in its confrontation with everyday experiences - generator of a dynamic of personal and collective commitment to building a more just society" ("Reflexão Cristã", n.32, 1982, 72). CRC's publications, which have never been studied, are an important source for analyzing this new theology that emerges from a political spirituality, with public ethics as the primary theology that inspires the service of democracy, and which must be (re)read today: a narrative with protagonists from the public space in correlation with the theology affiliated with the Vatican II.

This project will be dedicated to theoretical reflection on public theology in the historical period of the construction of Portuguese democracy, the bibliographical treatment of documents, the study of their content, and the analysis and dissemination of results that will allow us to better understand context and protagonists.

The project's 4 researchers combine knowledge and research experience in areas that are fundamental to this field: theology, history, culture studies. The collaboration of the John Paul II Library and the provision of a IGR will provide the team with the specific bibliographic processing skills that the project requires.

Key findings

EstadoNão iniciado
Data de início/fim efetiva1/07/24 → …

Parceiros colaborativos

Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável da ONU

Em 2015, os estados membros da ONU acordaram 17 Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável (ODS) globais para acabar com a pobreza, proteger o planeta e garantir a prosperidade para todos. O projeto contribui para o(s) seguinte(s) ODS:

  • ODS 16 - Paz, justiça e instituições fortes

Impressão digital

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