Brasilian Catholics: 1991-83% & 2005-67%

Sandro Magister has a very good piece on the move of Cardinal Hummes to the Congregation for Clergy.  In the article he makes a point I mentioned in my entry on the same, where I spoke about H.E. passionate description of how Catholics are bleeding away from the Church. 

In October of 2005, during the synod of bishops, pope Joseph Ratzinger was deeply moved by the diagnosis that Hummes made of the state of Catholicism in Brazil and in the rest of South America:

“The number of Brazilians who declare themselves Catholics has diminished rapidly, on an average of 1% a year. In 1991 Catholic Brazilians were nearly 83%, today and according to new studies, they are barely 67%. We wonder with anxiety: how long will Brazil remain a Catholic country? In conformity with this situation, it has been found that in Brazil there are two Protestant pastors for each Catholic priest, and the majority from the Pentecostal Churches. Many indications show that the same is true for almost all of Latin America and here too we wonder: how long will Latin America remain a Catholic continent?".

Read the whole piece, especially for the analysis of what Pentecostalists and other Protestants are doing to Brasil.

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12 Responses to Brasilian Catholics: 1991-83% & 2005-67%

  1. charles R. Williams says:

    I spent 6 weeks in Recife 15 years ago. The Catholic Church was invisible. The Protestants were everywhere. The explanation is quite simple – the institutional Church has neglected the gospel for left-wing politics and this has gone on for decades.

  2. Father, any guess why it is bleeding? As a Brazilian, I can say that is because our shepherds do not protect theis sheep from the wolves. As a matter of fact, almost all of them defend the wolves. Dom Claudio Hummes was not diferent. From time to time there is an ecumenical celebration on the Cathedral of São Paulo. He says what is happening, but do not act to solve the problem. He supported explicitly the socialist party for a long time. Let us hope and pray that he changes his mind while in Rome.

  3. Fr. John Pecoraro says:

    Just a thought,
    Is not South America ripe for the picking? The poor population “oppressed” by the rich aristocracy which is of European Catholic descent, coupled with the rebellious emotionalism of American Protestantism, and the overly simplified black and white literalist interpretation of scripture, seem to be a almost perfect fit for the social, cultural, and economic situation of South America. Also Protestant forms of Christianity import American culture, which may be seen as being very attractive with its perception of material wealth. The only issues that stand out in my mind are, how can you teach the bible to a population who is pretty much illiterate, and since American Protestantism will insist on stripping its South American members of their native culture and traditions, how deep will the conversion process go? There is no question that these American Protestants are chomping at the bit to “save” the whole Latin American world from their Catholicism, it just makes me sick.

  4. Fr. John Pecoraro says:

    I am assuming that the “evangelists” are going after the mostly poor undereducated population, I do not wish to imply that South Americans are wholly illiterate, I apologize if any offense is taken.

  5. Dan Hunter says:

    What God wants,and what is needed for Brazil,and every other country is a return to the Tridentine Mass and the enforcement of Catholic Doctrine which it so eloquently embodies.Also The Mass must be celebrated in beautiful liturgically correct churches.Reverence must return and then, because this is very attractive to people,they will convert,and come back.God Bless you all.

  6. RBrown says:

    Is not South America ripe for the picking? The poor population “oppressed” by the rich aristocracy which is of European Catholic descent,

    *** Read the article. It says that Base Communities haven’t worked.

    By the way, the Church is doing fairly well in Argentina, which is the most European of South American nations.

    coupled with the rebellious emotionalism of American Protestantism, and the overly simplified black and white literalist interpretation of scripture, seem to be a almost perfect fit for the social, cultural, and economic situation of South America. Also Protestant forms of Christianity import American culture, which may be seen as being very attractive with its perception of material wealth. The only issues that stand out in my mind are, how can you teach the bible to a population who is pretty much illiterate, and since American Protestantism will insist on stripping its South American members of their native culture and traditions, how deep will the conversion process go? There is no question that these American Protestants are chomping at the bit to “save” the whole Latin American world from their Catholicism, it just makes me sick.

    *** It’s a mistake to think South Americans are “pretty much illiterate”.

  7. RBrown says:

    During my eight years in Rome there were many Brasilian priests where I lived (the Convitto San Tommaso). I found them uniformly good guys, laid back, normal, and no limp wrists.

    But I also found that Catholicism wasn’t their strong point. I can remember none ever wearing clerical clothes, and they were to a man “pretty much illiterate” about the Catholic Church.

    To me it’s a simple principle: Where there are good bishops, good priests, and good religious, the Church flourishes.

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    *** It’s a mistake to think South Americans are “pretty much illiterate”.

    But, not knowing much about South America, I assume that (as Fr. Pecoraro suggested) these fundamentalist evangelists are mainly targeting those who are poor and undereducated. Would I be wrong?

  9. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Didn’t I hear rumors that the Brazilian bishops were going to lead a schism after BXVI was elected and were talked down off the ledge by Cdl. Marini?

  10. They are targeting those who are undereducated, yes. Those who are undereducated in the catholic doctrine (almost every one, not only in South America), because the priests and bishops do not teach their flock. The poor are more easily convinced since the main promise of these sects is money. People follow these sects because they do not have instruction in the catholic faith and not because they are poor or undereducated. Come on! The problem is not social-economical like an aristocracy descending from the europeans and the the poor people. The problem is the shepherds: bishops and priests. That is it. Teach the catholic doctrine in its integrity and the problem will be solved at large.

  11. Sidney says:

    As a Brazilian I totally agree with Daniel Pinheiro.

    May Our Lady of Aparecida, Queen of Brazil, protect and pray for the brazilians!

  12. Boko: Your wrote: “Didn’t I hear rumors that the Brazilian bishops were going to lead a schism after BXVI was elected and were talked down off the ledge by Cdl. Marini?”

    No, probably not.