ABSTRACT

Dona Joanina combines two forms of Catholicism that are, according to many, incompatible. Base communities, on the one hand, are the expression of liberationist Catholicism, a step on the way to constructing the kingdom of God on earth. They represent an ideology of engagement with the poor and oppressed in society. According to liberation theology, the people of God should organize and apply their religious inspiration in social and political activities. In the Catholic charismatic renewal (CCR) movement, on the other hand, religious experience and individual problem solving take a central place. According to critics, this emphasis is only possible at the expense of involvement in social action (e.g., CNBB 1994: 29-30). The CCR, explained one priest in the weekly magazine Isto É, “is the Catholic version of Evangelical Pentecostalism with its emphasis on miracles, exorcism, and manifestations of the Holy Ghost” (Spinoza 1997).