Two dynamics, two results: The Catholic Church in the Brazilian National Constituent Assembly 1987-1988
Abstract In the 1980s, after the military dictatorship, the Brazilian legal and political framework was being reviewed. The National Constituent Assembly (ANC – Assembleia Nacional Constituinte), that happened between 1987 and 1988, was the key moment for the establishment of the current Federal Constitution. This paper analyses the role of the Catholic Church in the ANC. By that time, the Brazilian Conference of Bishops (CNBB – Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil) was the leading sector of the Church and was strongly related to the Liberation theology, a group which stood up for children’s rights and land reform. This survey examines the dynamics of the catholic agents in the ANC within two different political spaces: (1) the Subcommittee of Land Reform and (2) the Subcommittee of Minors. In both cases, the catholic agents established collaborative networks and resisted other interest groups that were traditionally settled in the political arena. Results have shown that despite republican secularism, the Church played an important role in the development of contemporary Brazilian political structures.