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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Tropical Storm Erika Dissipates; 21 Dead

Storm flags over Cuba, could regain strength over Gulf of Mexico; death toll in Dominica, Haiti is 21
More

Video Cubans Embrace New Internet Connectivity Options

Government has approved use of prepaid cards for web access; some foresee construction of better infrastructure, with towers, fiber-optic cables
More

Brazil's Rousseff Faces Growing Impeachment Threat

President’s woes increasing as she now also faces angry rival who controls the possibility of impeachment proceedings against her
More

Cancer, Transplant Patients Rail at Drug Shortages in Venezuela

Currency controls, slumping production and smuggling have caused acute shortages of medical supplies in the socialist-led nation
More

Guatemalan Prosecutors Urge President to Resign Amid Scandal

Government comptrollers' office also issued a statement saying Perez Molina should resign 'to avoid greater social unrest that could have unpredictable consequences'
More

Bolt Sprints to Double Gold in Beijing

Jamaican's victories take place on track where in 2008 he first made headlines by winning Olympic gold medals in record fashion at Bird's Nest Stadium
More