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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Attack on Colombian Police Kills 7

Defense ministry vows to 'maintain and intensify' operations against armed groups, drug traffickers following the attack
More

Chronically Hungry Numbers Decline

Three U.N. agencies have released the State of Food Security in the World report
More

UN: Enforced Disappearances Continue Unabated Globally

UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances says more than 43,000 cases from 88 countries still remain to be clarified
More

Hurricane Odile Weakens, Still a Threat to Mexico

Odile could drench Baja California with as much as 46 centimeters of rain by Friday
More

Powerful Hurricane Threatens Mexico's Baja California

US forecasters have downgraded Odile to strong Category 3 storm, with top sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour
More

Hard-hitting Films Tackle Homelessness at Toronto Festival

'Time Out of Mind,' 'Shelter,' and 'Heaven Knows What' all focus on characters struggling with homelessness, addiction on the streets of New York
More