Whether or Not to Teach Politics and Gender Is A Test for Traditional Catholic Schools

With roaring 'cultural war', institutions must position themselves on their Christian education mission

São Paulo

Brazil’s so-called “cultural war” has affected all of education in Brazil. But it’s impacting Catholic institutions in a way that makes them reflect on their identity. 

With 71 years of history, Santa Maria in Interlagos (south zone of São Paulo), just finalized a new teaching platform that solidifies where it stands on this “cultural war.” The document, created by school leadership and professors, says that the mission of the high school is to “promote reflective, critical and democratic education that focuses on Christian and human rights values."

A student at the Santa Maria School (Foto: Zanone Fraissat/Folhapress, COTIDIANO)

These new times have provoked the Santa Cruz high school to reflect on religious character education. The school, which is 67 years old, follows a more liberal line. 

Some parents became uncomfortable with the institution teaching about gender and politics. Others have even protested, demanding that the school simply teach the Catholic religion. 

For school director Fábio Aidar, the best response to this polarization is to reaffirm pluralism aligned with Christian values like social work. This opinion sets the Santa Cruz school apart from Catholic schools and others.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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