By Marcel Bataglia Gonçalves

Evil done in the name of Religion is not its responsibility

Ricardo Baesso de Oliveira (photo), from the city of Astolfo Dutra, in the state of Minas Gerais, is a medical doctor and an active member of the Spiritist Movement in the city of Juiz de Fora, where his family moved to when he was 10 years old. He is one of the founders of the Instituto de Difusão Espírita (Institute for the Dissemination of Spiritism) in Juiz de Fora. In the current interview, he stresses the importance of simplicity, a quality that, partially because of the technological developments of our era, seems to be lacking in many areas of the Brazilian Spiritist Movement:

When did you have your first contact with Spiritism? 

I’m from a third generation of Spiritists in my family. My grandparents were pioneers of the Spiritist Movement in this area of the state of Minas Gerais in the 1930s and 40s.

How did you get actively involved in the Spiritist Movement as a volunteer worker?

Spiritism was always a part of my life, as a result of the involvement of my grandparents and my parents. I must say, however, that what prompted me to get actively involved in the Spiritist Movement was a three-day seminar that took place in Juiz de Fora in 1988, after I finished my medical training in Rio de Janeiro. I consider that to be the defining moment of my life, from a spiritual perspective.  

Which of the three aspects of Spiritism – scientific, philosophical and religious – attracts you the most? 

The scientific aspect of Spiritism, as it allows me to have a better understanding of the links between body and spirit, mind and brain and life and death. To study the connections between the different elements of the official science and the information received, through mediums, from the spirit world has been a source of intellectual pleasure for me.

Which Spiritist books would you recommend for those who are now beginning their journey in Spiritism? 

I would stress the importance of continuously reading the writings of Kardec (including the Spiritist Review). That, I would say, is the top priority. I also highly recommend the books written by the mediums Yvonne Pereira and Chico Xavier. And I have a particular affection for Gustavo Geley. For those who are arriving now in Spiritism, I would recommend starting by reading: What Is Spiritism, The Spirits’ Book and The Gospel According to Spiritism.

One of the few controversies around Spiritism concerns its secular aspect. In your opinion, is Spiritism a religion? 

Yes, and Kardec demonstrated that through his life and through his writings. When the codifier of Spiritism described it as a revelation of the law of God, he made that point very clear. After all, the findings of philosophy or science are not considered revelations. No one would be able to register a philosophical or scientific society if their meetings began with a prayer. That was his clear recommendation, and that’s nothing wrong with that. Religion is a good thing. The evil that is done in its name is the responsibility of those who do it.  

What is your view on the debate about abortion? 

The basic problem lies in the fact that, from a scientific, technical or legal perspective, there is still a lack of clarity about when life actually starts. Is it at the moment of conception; is it after 12 weeks, when the foetus’ brain gives the first signs of electric activity; or is it only at birth? That drives the debate over the termination of pregnancy. Spiritism believes that life begins at conception and, therefore, that the termination of pregnancy is an ethical mistake at any stage of the pregnancy.

What is your assessment of the Spiritist Movement in Brazil?

I believe that the efforts for the dissemination of Spiritism have been going well. We have learned to deal with the different media and we have used them well. But I would say that I’m not happy with the Brazilian Spiritist Movement in general. The lack of simplicity has always been a problem in the Spiritist Movement, which has been marked by a mistaken attraction for sophistication in leaderships, activities and organisations. That has had a serious impact on the Movement. Also, the existence of events that you have to pay for, unnecessarily expensive books and seminars and events in general organised at a high cost has excluded from the Spiritist Movement a great number of people of lower income.

We know that the process of transformation of the planet into a world of Regeneration has already begun. The Earth will cease to be a planet of Trials and Tribulations to become a world of Regeneration, where, in the words of Saint Agustin, the word love will be written on the foreheads of everyone. How many years do you think it will take for that to happen?

I prefer to answer with the words of the Spiritual Benefactor, Emmanuel, who wrote in Lições de Sabedoria (Lessons of Wisdom): “In several centuries, not in the near future”

What is your advice to those who occupy positions of power in the Spiritist Movement in Brazil and abroad?

Strive for simplicity in your personal, professional and devotional life. Strengthen the family ties, be honest, always, and most of all, make sure you don’t profit or benefit, from a personal and materialistic way, from your involvement with Spiritism.



Leonardo Rocha -



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita