Protecting the Potentiality of the Vulnerable : a case study of Centro de Atendimento e Assistência Social (CADI) as a faith-based organisation in Brazil
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The purpose of this thesis is to increase our understanding of the role of Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) in social development work in Brazil, seeing it as an instance of public theology. In particular, it addresses how the concepts of poverty, vulnerability, protection, and potentiality are understood and operationalised in one such Brazilian FBO, namely, the CADI (Centre for Service and Integral Development). The case study aims to answer the following research questions through analysis of in-depth interviews and written material, in light of existing scholarly literature on the field. 1. How are the concepts of poverty, vulnerability, protection, and potentiality understood by the participants of CADI, at different levels? 2. How does CADI exemplify the role of faith-based organisations in social development in present day Brazil? 3. Which role can a Public Theology play for interpreting these concepts? The findings suggest the understanding of poverty in the work of CADI as multi-dimensional. Furthermore, the poor are held to have potentiality that should be protected. The study also finds that regarding vulnerability to each other as a common condition to all humans is crucial for such potentiality to thrive. Furthermore, the findings identify the emerging challenges for development endeavours in the Brazilian cultural framework and confirms the need for a public theology serving the processes of social development in the country. Key words: Brazil, Poverty, Vulnerability, Protection, Potentiality, Faith Based-Organisation, Public Theology.