From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Porto Algre: "Lula is preaching the gospel" says Federico Pagura
"WCC Media" <Media@wcc-coe.org>
Thu, 30 Jan 2003 15:05:34 +0100
World Council of Churches
For Immediate Use
30 January 2003
"Lula is preaching the gospel" says Federico Pagura
"President Lula is preaching the gospel when he says that his aim is that, by
the end of his term, not a single child will go to bed hungry," Bishop
Federico Pagura of the Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina told the
third World Social Forum in Porto Alegre.
Speaking at a Forum event on 27 January as a Christian committed to the cause
of the people, the WCC president cited Luis Pirez Aguirre, a Uruguayan
priest, who argues that the focus of preaching the Gospel in Latin America
today is "an approximately eight-metres-long tube called the digestive
In another expression of his deep commitment to his people, the Argentinean
bishop, who will be 80 in March, said that his forebears were Italian with a
bit of Indian blood. "The European and Indian sides of me are fighting a
battle that has not yet ended, but I think the Indian is going to win," he
Addressing a packed crowd, the man whom WCC director of Programmes Genevihve
Jacques described as "one of Latin America's prophetic voices" told his
audience that he comes from Rosario, "the home of that Latin American
patriot, doctor and revolutionary known as Ernesto Che Guevara".
Pagura made no secret of his sympathy for Brazil. "I have followed with
interest the march of the Landless Workers Movement, the Workers' Party, and
the long journey of the Brazilian ecumenical movement, one of the liveliest
and most dynamic."
The World Social Forum, "which has begun to overshadow the World Economic
Forum in Davos", is "a powerful symbol of what we are fighting for," said
Pagura. "Another world is possible," he proclaimed, echoing the Forum slogan.
In the north, Davos and Washington are proposing new forms of exploitation
and an insane war whereas in the South, countries like Argentina, Brazil,
Ecuador and Cuba demonstrate, as Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano says about
Cuba, that "people might lack everything else, but they have human dignity to
Speaking of his own country Argentina, Pagura criticized the economic "gurus"
who promised that their "magic" recipes would lift the country into the
"First World", but who turned out to be complete frauds. "Visit my country,"
said Pagura, "and you will see things that make you want to weep. "
People like Martin Luther King and Oscar Arnulfo Romero "preached a message
of life and hope and inspired people. They did not forget the need to
transform people's living conditions." Thinking about King and Romero renewed
the hope and faith that sustained him in the most difficult moments of his
life. "Both showed the churches the direction they should follow in order to
remain faithful to their mission," Pagura said.
Photos of the WCC delegation in Porto Alegre are at
The WCC delegation is participating at the World Social Forum within the
framework of an Ecumenical Caucus set up by the WCC, the Lutheran World
Federation, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, the Latin American Council of
Churches and an ecumenical coalition of Brazilian churches and related
Delegation members are leading a series of workshops showing links between
Christian spirituality and examples of resistance against the unjust world
order by churches and social and ecumenical organizations.
Further details of how the WCC is participating in the World Social Forum,
including descriptions of the workshops and the text of the presentations,
can be found at:
For further information, please contact the Media Relations Office,
tel: +41 (0)22 791 64 21 / (41 22) 791 61 53
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in
more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works
cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which
meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in
1948 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary
Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.
World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346
PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
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