Laicism and other exaggerations about the First Republic

In matters of State and religion in Brazil, it is common among legal studies dedicated to the theme to identify two models of genetics experienced by the country after the advance of the republic: a selection model, defined by the 1891 Constitution, and a support model , established by the 1934 Constitution and, roughly speaking, maintained until the present day. According to this widespread understanding, the 1891 Constitution establishes a model of effective effect (that is, the laicizing trait), while the 1934

Constitution, as a kind of Catholic reaction and the text of the First Republic, criteria implemented in a model of cooperation between state and religion. This reading of the 1891 constitutional text has in its favor the following main aspects: (i) a context of profound institutional changes, including a change between state and religion and, therefore,

A revocation of the related relations

between these variables during a monarchy ; (ii) aseries of constitutional provisions that reform this change, affirming the validity of the State and its independence from the Catholic religion; (iii) a positivist ideology of a qualitatively expressive group of actors who take part in republican events; (iv) certain government measures without a sense of authorization from the State.

  • There are factors, however, that are not considered, nor less than the scheme mentioned above, and that can relativize, if not the same questionnaire, a notion of secularism of the First Republic as it is
  • currently understood.First, a historical analysis undertaken occurs, in general, from the
  • reading of the formal Constitution, or which is often not just a video, but a true methodological error, depending on the objective of the study. In fact, if you intend to understand or understand a constitutional text1 in a given historical period,

it is not important, but fundamental, to understand an interpretation given at the time, including analyzing an application of the rules in question – or what leads to the second point: the relative extension of the focused historical period. The 1891 Constitution was in force for a period of almost four decades, or which greatly increases the responsibility for pointing out a feature that may be characteristic of the entire First Republic, especially when it deals with an issue as problematic as the relationship between State and Church State Catholic.

The third relevant point for understanding this tension is the fact that the country is not, on account of the Proclamation of the Republic, a nation destroyed in a Catholic way. Therefore, the administrative framework of the State would inevitably be filled by a Catholic people. Finally, and not least, there is a vast bibliography in the field of social sciences, as well as ecclesiastical works on the history of Catholicism in Brazil,

significant change in the orientation

which identifies, from 19162, a  of the Catholic Church that, among others objectives, aimed at strengthening its relationship with the State. In other words, the same studies that pointed to a secularism in the first recognized Republic, with no record of inadequacy in the analysis, a change in relations between the State and the Catholic Church that did not wait for the Revolution of 30. Change that, as described here, perhaps did not even wait for 1916.

significant change in the orientationThe present work questions the idea of ​​a secularism as a period of the First Republic, confronting the aspects considered above with those points that in general support the most traditional reading. It is proposed here, from a closer analysis of the material reality and the same formal text of 1891, that a matrix of the constitutional organization of relations between the State and religion has already occurred in the First Republic, and not with the 1934 Constitution, no it depends exclusively on an internal change brought about by Catholicism.

The difference in historical reading proposed in this paper seems useful – and perhaps it is – but it has relevant consequences for the reflection on Brazilian effectiveness in the current situation. Yes, according to the traditional reading, which refers to the questionnaire here, in the Brazilian republic it is not only a test of a determined regime between States and religion, but it is also abandoned, replacing it with the determined application model. At a time when the questionnaire about the meaning, as well as the scope and directions of Brazilian secularism, seems to be unwise, which defines and defines a historical matrix of this principle in the country’s reality.

Whether it is the effect of the greater diversity

of the current religious situation, either because of the results of the peculiarity of a more expressive political participation of a minority religious segment (evangelicals), or (in a somewhat optimistic perspective) by the statistics of values ​​such as democracy or (from a really optimistic point of view), there is never so much discussion about the legitimacy of the relationship between State and religion in Brazil as in recent years. Thus, within a framework of definitions, limits and possibilities of Brazilian validity in the current constitutional order, expect to investigate a matrix of this principle established by the republic.

  • Before selection: State and religion in the confessional empire. As relations between State and religion, applied by the Constitution of 1824, a rigor, distancing from the simplicity that an idea of ​​the
  • confessional State could suggest. The constitutional text, the result of an act of granting, concealed a strong controversy within the Constituent Assembly
  • (later dissolved) and respect for themes related to religion3.

Under the guise of a constitution that favors confession and only tolerates it too much, there was a slightly more complex picture. The era of the Constitution of the Empire, kept as proportions, restrictive in relation to religions in general, both Catholic and non-Catholic. A privileged religion, although instituted a state religion, was not a national religion.

The constitutional provisions that regulate the emperor’s powers over an ecclesiastical institution generated more tension from the organization itself. Although it is not a novelty – it is that the institutes that subordinated the Church to civil power follow a Pombaline structure that still remains in the colonial period -, they also do not deal with a consolidated situation4.

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