Ecumenism That Overcomes Hatred and Disputes
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:
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”