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Year 7 - N° 311 – May 12, 2013
Brasília, DF (Brasil)
Leonardo Rocha - l.rocha1989@gmail.com

Antonio Cesar Perri de Carvalho:

"At the Brazilian Spiritist Federation, we will re-launch
an old campaign: 'Begin from the beginning' or in other words, the works of Allan Kardec"

Based in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, Cesar Perri has been
preparing for his new challenge as the coordinator of the
Brazilian Spiritist Movement

Antonio Cesar Perri de Carvalho (photo), president of the Brazilian Spiritist Federation (FEB), was born in Aracatuba (Sao Paulo state) and lives in Brasilia. He has a long history in the Spiritist Movement, from his days as the founder of the Youth Movement in his hometown to his post as mimer of the  Executive  Board  of  the  International Spiritist

Council (CEI).

In this interview, Cesar Perri talks to O Consolador about the challenges he has just begun facing in Brazil, including the controversy about certain books published as of Spiritist content. This interview was split in two parts. The second half will be published here in our next edition.

More and more controversial books are being published and publicised on the Internet. They are supposed to be Spiritist books, written in trance by mediums, but their value is highly disputable and many even challenge the core values of the Teachings. What does FEB intend to do about that?

FEB is facing a very complex situation, as many of those books being published are very popular among Spiritists, despite their questionable value. It is our duty at FEB to point out the mistakes from a theoretical perspective, but then we risk being accused of censorship, people may accuse use acting in the spirit of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. We read on the Internet people who say the Brazilian Spiritist Federation has banned such and such book, which is not true. We avoid criticising any book, but we recommend that Spiritists read well-established books. That is one of the reasons why we increasingly raise awareness to the need of reading the books of Kardec. We are going to re-launch an old campaign: 'Begin from the beginning', or, in other words, the works of Allan Kardec. That is our chosen path to disseminate Spiritism.

In less developed areas of Brazil, many Spiritist Centres lack published material and do not have access to the Internet. What could FEB do to help them access courses, books and other material concerning Spiritistm through the Internet?

Based on the principle of digital inclusion, FEB has created two online courses, which have been going on for two years. One provides guidance on how to manage a Spiritist Centre, the other one is about the Spiritist Movement. There is a third on the way, with guidelines on how to prepare tutors and tutorials. We have also been distributing relevant DVDs.

You have huge responsibility over your shoulders. Do you want to increment the dialogue with the Spiritist community, through talks, consultations and other means of communication, in order to get feedback and ideas?

Yes, we have been working on that. We have been opening up to the public matters that used to be decided solely by the National Federation Council of FEB. At a first stage, we are hearing the views of the federations of the 27 Brazilian states but we want to build on that, with more representatives at a grassroots level.

Spiritism is built on three approaches: science, religion and philosophy. How are the links between FEB and academic institutions to keep abreast of the latest scientific developments?

Well, FEB is a religious organisation and even though it has people with an academic background among its members, I do not think it should be adopting resolutions or making statements of a scientific nature. That would divert us from our goals. So what can should we do? We are establishing partnerships with specialised bodies.

There is an increasing number indeed of specialised bodies linked to Spiritism, such as the Brazilian Association of Spiritist Doctors or the Association of Spiritist Lawyers and Judges. These organisations are, by their own nature, selective and even elitist. Should they be encouraged by FEB? Are they part of a trend that will come to an end?

Neither FEB nor the National Federation Council encourage the formation of these bodies. We considered inviting them to join our Council, but eventually changed our minds as they might grow too much in size and importance, distorting the aims of the organisation (which are to represent each of the 27 Brazilian states). There is a project to build a National Council for Specialised Bodies to deal with certain themes that go beyond the remit or the capabilities of the state federations. There are legal, medical and psychological matters that are extremely relevant to Spiritism. The aim would be to have those organisations as advising bodies. We had a recent example where such organisation proved themselves very valuable. There was a debate to legalise abortion in Brazil, and that reached a delicate state in 2005. FEB produced a document to all Spiritists explained why we are opposed to abortion. But we did not have an opportunity to present that document to Supreme Court judges or members of parliament. The Association of Spiritist Doctors and the Association of Brazilian Lawyers and Judges produced a paper focusing on both aspects of the matter and that helped in the effort to stop abortion being legalised in Brazil at that time.

There is a growing number of Spiritist events to which you need to pay a fee or entry, which is completely against our principles. What can FEB do about that?

We are very worried about that. We even changed the venue of the 4th Brazilian Spiritist Congress, which was due to take place in Brasilia. But the cost to hire a venue here is just too high. We will run four parallel events and the cost will be spread. What is the situation now? We unfortunately still lack the resources and do not have a proper way of raising funds from the people attending such events. Based on a successful experience we had in Sao Paulo, we will give those taking part in the 4th Congress and paying for subscription a number of Spiritist books. Participants will be able to use the book vouchers at the event's bookshop. Then it will be up to the publishers to reduce the cost of books so everyone gains.

E-book readers and tablets provide a wonderful opportunity for access to Spiritist books and messages. Would it not be the case of FEB setting up a permanent scheme to make new books available online for download at very low prices? That would also generate new income for the Brazilian Federation…

The old FEB textbooks and the core works of Allan Kardec became available for download in the second half of 2012. We are now looking into other books. What is going on? Most of the books available for download are there without the proper authorisation. Some of them have a number of errors, with paragraphs and even whole chapters missing. But we cannot go against that trend. The only way forward is to put those books on our website for download at a reasonable price, with FEB's seal of quality. We have been working with the e-books too. Some of our books are available on our site, some at the CEI website. Some are also available on the main Amazon website, based on the United States. That is a very interesting proposition, because it enables people to buy a FEB or CEI book in the US or Europe for the same price they would pay here in Brazil.

Would you consider put the books for free download on the Internet? What would be the financial impact of that? Wouldn't online books give more visibility and impact the the FEB portal, making it a powerful tool to disseminate the Teachings to the whole world?

Those who subscribe to our magazine, Reformador, can already choose between the print and the online edition. As for the books, that is undoubtedly the way forward. And judging by the feedback we get from many publishers, online publishing does not kill printing. Different formats have different uses. People may access books from their tablets for research or reference, but they may still want to have the traditional book to read and enjoy with more time. I understand the virtual world is the world of the present and the future and we need to go through this phase of transition.

(To be continued in the next edition of this magazine.)


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O Consolador
Weekly Magazine of Spiritism