Ecumenism That Overcomes Hatred and Disputes

Source: Interview given by Paiva Netto to Portuguese journalist Ana Serra about his book “Reflections of the Soul,” launched in Portugal by Pergaminho Publishing House, in 2008. | Updated in March, 2018.

Reflections of the Soul

In an interview I gave to Portuguese journalist Ana Serra about my book Reflexões da Alma [Reflections of the Soul], launched in Portugal by Pergaminho Publishing House in 2008, I said:


José Saramago

Educating with Ecumenical Fraternity is a service that requires good ideal, time, and constant determination. As the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, José Saramago (1922-2010), stated on his visit to Brazil, “We will not change life . . . if we do not change our habits in life.”


Malcolm X

In my book Cidadania do Espírito [Citizenship of the Spirit] (2001), I bring a quote by Malcolm X (1925-1965)—one of the great Black leaders in the United States—which is very timely for this part of the interview. While overcoming the hardships of his initially violent and always painful life, he declared: The only persons who really changed History are those who changed men’s thinking about themselves.”

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Martin Luther King Jr.

His example is confirmed by his attitudes. When he travelled to Mecca, he realized it was possible to live among people from different backgrounds, opposed to his previous opinion. Upon returning to the United States, to the surprise of many, he started addressing not only African Americans, but also different ethnic groups, something that the renowned, charismatic leader and Pastor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) had already realized and had already been doing.

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Still on the power of the social relationship between religions, political parties, communities, and countries, I will resort once again to the book Citizenship of the Spirit, highlighting an important aspect of this matter: power is to be exercised with moderation and integrity of character. A perfect law is the one that encompasses Love and Justice. This is generous energy, which does not mean acquiescence with impunity—it would result in chaos. Confucius (551-479 B.C.) once said, and I like to repeat it: “Repay Kindness with Kindness, but evil with Justice.”

José de Paiva Netto is a writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) and of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI-Inter). Affiliated to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Radio Broadcasters of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). He is also a member of the Academy of Letters of Central Brazil. He is an author of international reference in the concept and defense of the cause of Ecumenical Citizenship and Spirituality which, according to him, constitute “the cradle of the most generous values that are born of the Soul, the dwelling of the emotions and of the reasoning enlightened by intuition, the atmosphere that embraces everything that transcends the ordinary field of matter and comes from the elevated human sensitivity, such as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Ethics, Honesty, Generosity, and Fraternal Love.”