São Paulo – The candidate of the Brasil da Esperança coalition for the Presidency of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) was blessed by Franciscan friars this Tuesday (4) – the day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the saint of the poor and of animals . The religious leader, Friar Davi, who is also the executive director of the NGO Educafro, expressed the wish that Brazil will once again be governed by a representative who has “Franciscan harmony” with ecology. “We cannot do this harm to planet Earth. Planet Earth needs the love of the Amazon.”
In addition, he demanded from Lula a commitment to deepening policies for the inclusion of blacks and the poor in education. In response, the former president stated that inclusion policies in education are “a matter of honor” and “zero priority”, if he is elected for a new presidential term. “We’re going back to put more poor people to study,” he said.
Frei Davi told Lula that 30% of blacks who entered public universities, through the Quota Law, are currently abandoning their studies due to lack of resources. In this sense, he called for the implementation of policies – such as housing grants and food grants – that guarantee the permanence of the poorest in universities. In the same way, he suggested the extension of these policies to Prouni students, with the same objective of reducing the dropout rate of the poorest.
The religious also denounced cases of corruption that in recent years have involved the Certification of Charitable Entities of Social Assistance in the Area of Education (Cebas). Private schools that receive public investments to include poor students would be, according to him, using these resources for other purposes, all of which are suspect. Finally, Friar Davi suggested the creation of a “Prouninho”, aimed at including the poorest in primary and secondary education.
Peace and good
Before receiving the blessing from the Franciscans, Friar Paulo recalled that the date of Lula’s birthday, October 27, coincides with the World Day of Prayer for Peace. “And St. Francis and the Franciscans have the audacity to fill the world with peace and good.”
The former president said that he even thought about going to the convent of São Francisco, in São Paulo, today. But he eventually backed off from the idea, lest he be accused of using religion to play politics. “I like to profess my faith in my privacy, without having ‘carnival’”, he reported, in an indirect reference to President Jair Bolsonaro. “For me, faith is a very sacred thing. My spirituality I take very seriously. And I do things with a lot of truth inside me.”
In this way, Friar Davi affirmed that Lula is an “example” of a Christian. “We have never had a more Christian human being in Brazil than you. That’s why I’m sure that if there’s someone who can call himself a Christian and value the poor and diversity, it’s you”.
Church Yesterday and Today
The friar recalled that he met Lula through Dom Cláudio Humes and Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, former archbishops of São Paulo. The candidate recalled Humes’ participation during the ABC Metalworkers’ Union strikes at the end of the 1970s. Likewise, he highlighted Arns’ participation in the fight against the dictatorship. “Dom Paulo is the only Brazilian who should have received the Nobel Peace Prize. It is unthinkable to know what Dom Paulo’s struggle meant in defense of democracy, freedom, in defense of the working people, the people of the periphery,” he said.
Furthermore, Lula cited Pope Francis as an example of “extraordinary courage”. And she highlighted the book Francisco and Clara’s Economy (Ed. Paulus) which, according to him, shows that the Catholic Church “is thinking about the world today with much more progress, much more fearlessness, than some time ago”.
At the end of the meeting with the Franciscan religious, Lula briefly answered questions from journalists and commented on the support of the governor of São Paulo, Rodrigo Garcia, to Jair Bolsonaro (PL) and to the Bolsonarista candidate for the government of São Paulo, Tarcísio de Freitas. . “If he decided to support Bolsonaro, it is his free and sovereign decision. We will beat Bolsonaro, even with his support. We are talking to other political parties. Today the PDT declared support for our candidacy“.
Lula also said that he has already talked to Simone Tebet (MDB), but said that, before trying to talk to people, he has tried to talk to political parties. She said again that she was just a “little bit” left to win the elections in the first round. She said the polls “proved” that 60% of Brazilian society rejects Bolsonaro at the polls. And she said she believes that the second round is an opportunity to deepen the debate with Brazilian society.