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In 1972, the archbishop Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns launched Operation Periphery (Operação Periferia), a sweeping emergency campaign to address poverty in the expanding urban peripheries of São Paulo, already the most populous Catholic archdiocese in the world. Even as it expanded social services, Operation Periphery created new parishes and organized laypeople in the periphery into base communities or comunidades eclesiais de base. As this talk explores, Operation Periphery placed São Paulo at the center of global efforts to reimagine the Catholic Church in the wake of Vatican II (1962-65) and the Council of Medellín (1968). Using oral histories with key protagonists and hitherto unavailable records, it traces how activist clergy and laypeople, mainly working-class migrant women, created a horizontal “people’s church” closely aligned with liberation theology during Brazil’s civil-military dictatorship (1964-85).
Daniel McDonald is a historian of modern Latin America and Brazil whose research focuses on Catholicism, citizenship, and social movements. At present, he is a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of History and a member of St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford.

All welcome – This event is free, but booking is required.

Details on how to join this session will be sent to all registered attendees 24 hours in advance.  Booking will therefore close the day before the scheduled date.