Anuário Antropológico (Dec 2023)

Inculturation and environmental struggles: Catholic Church, public sphere and anthropocentric preservationism in Brazil

  • Marcos Pereira Rufino

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 28, no. 3


Read online

The article investigates the growing convergence between the Catholic Church and environmentalism in Brazil, aiming to demonstrate – through an anthropological reading of the Fraternity Campaigns that address sustainability and environmental crisis issues – how the national episcopate has been striving to reinvent the theology of inculturation as a system that incorporates, among other elements, the “natural world” as well. The hypothesis is suggested that the Church has been producing a symbolic narrative that articulates the fundamental elements of its theological conception of Creation with the set of social representations we know as ecology. This ecotheological narrative promotes a new perspective for interpreting biblical texts, seeking to recreate the relationships between Christianity and “nature” by projecting the origins of a certain Catholic environmental activism into a distant past. Despite being marked by anthropocentric categories, this new apostolic narrative seeks to assert, in favor of the Catholic Church and its pastoral work, a prominent position in the public sphere among the other relevant agents and institutions involved in present-day environmental struggles.