News / Americas

    Brazilian Ex-Catholics: Pope Visit Won’t Win Us Back

    Brazilian Ex-Catholics: Pope Visit Won’t Win Us Backi
    X
    July 26, 2013 9:41 PM
    The Roman Catholic Church is hoping that Pope Francis’ visit to Brazil for its World Youth Day will staunch the hemorrhage of its flock throughout Latin America. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visits an evangelical church near Washington that serves Brazilian immigrants and met some former Catholics.
    VOA Religion Correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visits an evangelical church near Washington that serves Brazilian immigrants.
    A weeknight prayer service at the Nations United Baptist Church outside Washington has everyone on their feet. As one of many Portuguese-language evangelical churches that have popped up in the United States in recent decades to serve the Brazilian diaspora, as might be expected, it’s not hard to find former Catholics here.
     
    The enthusiasm of these Brazilian immigrants is testament to the exponential growth of evangelicalism in the country that hosted Pope Francis this week.
     
    A generation ago, Brazil was 90 percent Catholic. Now it’s around 65 percent.
     
    Pastor Samuel Rozolem says many Brazilians felt the Catholic Church was out of touch.
     
    "The evangelical church in Brazil grew extensively because also it started to reach out to the needs of people, to the poor, to the drug addicts," he said.
     
    Brazil is exporting its own Evangelical brand — influenced by the deeply emotional charismatic worship style.
     
    For Franco Rossetti, a neuroscientist, his native faith did not answer his questions.
     
    "When you’re born Catholic in Brazil you go to the church to be baptized, you don’t know, and after that you go to the church every Sunday, but you don’t know why you go to church every Sunday," he said.
     
    Vane Garcia says that was the kind of upbringing she had.
     
    "I have nothing against the Pope, but I don’t believe he can do anything for me," she said.
     
    According to Andrew Chesnut, chair of Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, many Catholics have left the Latin American church because it was historically oriented toward the privileged.
     
    "It's only really when, because of Vatican II — but more importantly because so many millions of Latin Americans were leaving the Catholic Church to become Pentecostals, starting in the mid-20th century — that the Catholic Church really starts to discover its poor parishioners throughout Latin America," he said.
     
    Francis has taken that further, becoming known as the “slum pope” for recently visited a Rio de Janeiro favela. Some observers believe he is encouraging charismatic practices. Several months ago, he laid hands on a Mexican man said to be possessed by evil spirits.
     
    Luis Lugo of the Pew Research Center in Washington says the church has been forced to respond to the greater religious pluralism in the region.
     
    "This competition, if you want to call it that, from evangelicals, Pentecostals, but also from the rising number of the unaffiliated, has been a kind of wake-up call to the Roman Catholic church that it has to now work harder to keep those folks within its fold," he said.
     
    Brazil has 123 million Catholics. That’s still more than any other country. But despite their excitement over Pope Francis, it will likely take much more than a papal visit to maintain Catholicism's central role in Brazilian life.

    Jerome Socolovsky

    Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

    You May Like

    Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: BarbaraAnn Pendse from: N Birmingham Alabama
    July 29, 2013 6:34 PM
    First of all, this has been a very sudden drop in the number of Catholics in Brazil. Someone says the number of Catholics dropped, however, I hear quite a bit of "Chicken Little" tales, these days, from the beasts, who send in their agents: x-cons, false teachers, the desperate, and military paid. I'm not really going to believe this report, unless a Catholic leader indicates that the population stats are such. Secondly, The there has always been slander about the Papacy, since the early Church. Why else would St. Peter and the rest of the Apostles, except for John, have met their end, by cruxifiction? The worldly Catholic militants, slandered, persecuted, tortured, imprisoned, and murdered them. They are still at it, only today, they are Godless militants, and some Protestant militants.
    The Papacy has ALWAYS been about helping the poor. Make no mistake about it, Jesus at His Sheepgate, with The Holy Spirit, has always been caring for the poor, and promoting doing God's will. Those who didn't do His Father's will, were not wanting to suffer, or be less than worldly. The Holy Spirit, upon Popes, can't fail to be anything less than Jesus is. That amount of Holy Spirit, lifts one's soul, mind, emotions, and body UP, to higher planes of behavior, and is perfecting of individual personalities, even though every Pope IS an individual.
    Why does someone want to start a conflict between Pentacostals, and Vatican devout Catholics? These should be the last bretheran to have a conflict with each other. The early Church HAD Pentacostal Charismatic Catholics, as described in the Gospel of Acts, on the day of Pentacost, and also all throughout St. Paul's writings giving instruction to the Church members about how and when to pray together and share gifts of The Holy Spirit! If Pentacostals and Charismatic Catholics prayed together, they would never know the difference among them, about who is Catholic, and who is Pentacostal. Not unless they indicated this difference. I've only had great rapport with Pentacostals, as a Catholic, and have never had rejection about praying with them!
    Its time that Pentacostals come back Home to their true Universal Church, where their Pentacostal roots originated!
    They will LOVE the miracles, that with their high faith, they will experience in the Body and Blood of the Universal Holy Catholic Church!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.

    More Americas News

    Pope to OK Use of Indigenous Languages for Mass in Mexico

    Move before trip to the country next week is symbolic gestures in defense of Indian rights

    Ecuador Sacks Military Top Brass Over Questioned Land Deal

    Armed Forces apparently sold 66 lots to Environment Ministry for $48 million, but report from Attorney General's office says they were worth only $7 million

    Video Zika Virus Dubbed Inconsequential Except for Link to Microcephaly

    Virus fairly harmless overall, health expert says, but possible link to thousands of babies born with underdeveloped brains causing alarm worldwide

    Obama Ramps Up Aid to Colombia as Peace Deal With Rebels Nears

    Leaders mark anniversary of joint initiative begun to help end armed conflict, drug trade; Obama calls Colombia a country 'on the brink of peace'

    Peru Board Weighs Another Presidential Election Disqualification

    Julio Guzman didn't fulfill requirements when registering his party, National Jury of Elections says; Cesar Acuna may also be barred because of plagiarism probe

    Colleagues' Defection Outrages Argentine Opposition Party

    Move by 12 Front for Victory members alters balance of power in Congress, exposes power struggle within country's broad Peronist movement