Why Catholicism Is Losing Influence To Evangelicalism In Brazil

Title change mine.
Despite the generalizing of Protestants, the author gives an interesting analysis of the growing influence of evangelicalism in Brazil.

Forty years ago, Brazil’s Catholics stood at 92 percent of the population. In 2000, that figure dropped to around 74 percent, and a decade later it dwindled to less than 65 percent. Protestantism, on the other hand, increased from 15.4 percent of the population in 2000 to 22.2 percent in 2010, a gain of 42.3 million followers.

This shift toward Protestantism has been driven by several factors, but perhaps the most prominent involves Brazil’s growing wealth.


Is evangelicalism/fundamentalism a rich man’s Christianity?

Sounds similar to the Philippines. Yes, the Prosperity Gospel (a complete heresy if you ask me) is gaining traction among people of growing economies (Brazil, Philippines) where they want to hear Scripture interpretation that tells them that Christ wants them to become financially rich.

I think one of the biggest influences has been the hierarchy in South America buying into liberation theology and other false doctrines. Had they taught the faith, straight up, and helped the people to live their Catholic faith in their sacramental lives, this problem would not exist. Period. At least the Protestants are teaching the 10 Commandments. But what they offer is so much less than what the Catholic Church has to offer…when She teaches the fullness of the faith!

Sooo true, Scooby…Brazil is rampant with liberation theology and it is alleged a former bishop there was communist. I worked with a priest whose faith broke, and when I was leaving there he told me he was a communist. Later there are pictures of him with this particular bishop from Brazil who was heavily into liberation theology, and it always seemed he was talking about class rather than the Lord.

But – there is a video that came out from the recently deceased bishop of Rio de Janeiro…I visited there and the cathedral in 1975 when there was much dissension among the church members. Anyway, he was a bishop of peace amidst the dissension.

On his casket stood an actual dove of white peace, and funeral attendees were paying much attention to the sign of the living dove on his casket. Sorry but you will have to do a search…Bishop Aures?..I can go back…

Well, if Brazilians are growing wealthier, perhaps they don’t want to hear the Church’s teachings about wealth.

The key teachings of liberation theology are simply orthodox Christianity applied to everyday life and stripped of spiritualizing accommodation with the powers of the world. There are certainly aspects of liberation theology that need to be corrected (as the Vatican has pointed out) but the key teaching that Jesus comes to liberate us from all oppression and degradation, bodily and spiritual, is an essential teaching of the Faith.

It appears that Catholics may be facing difficulties precisely because they do teach the faith “straight up” instead of accommodating it to the material desires of an upwardly mobile new middle class.


forget my portuguese…‘pomba branca pousa na caixao de Dom Eugenio Sales…’ The white doves settles on the coffin of Dom Eugenio Sales dde Araujo…Cardinal…who received his red hat in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.

It is a video of the white dove, July 12, 2012. May his prayers continue for the faith of his people in heaven.

I believe that the Church must continue to emphasize a devotion to our Blessed Mother, Patroness of the Americas. Obviously the Protestants will try and diminish her role in salvation, and if the people have grown up with a deep affection for our Lady it will be more difficult for them to leave the Church.

I had a 2-week stop over in Rio, stayed at CENFI, in the Santa Teresa district, across from the flavellas…my biggest culture shock ever was seeing two red hair white boys, about 8 and 6 digging in garbage behind a McDonald’s about about 9 pm at night, wearing their pajamas and making grovelling sounds like animals as they found tidbits.

Looking at people in general, they appeared to be approaching forthcoming affluence. There is alot of affluence. I think of the cities I have seen, Rio is the most beautiful of them all.

You have the flavellas and then you have the coming prosperity…wonderful climate, great beauty…happy people…saw this great film classic, ‘Black Orpheus’ a few years ago…incredible photography, and the Portuguese African Brazilian…the gaity of life…

Alot of different directions going at once…The Church there needs our prayers.

There are certain branches of what we consider evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity which have what is called “Prosperity Theology,” a sort of rabid Calvinism in which those who have material prosperity are thought to be in great favor with God, since He has “blessed” them with material goods. It kind of leads to an attitude that one is not really responsible for the poor, since they are obviously not favored by God, so it’s their own fault.

It is so sad that this is happening in so many parts of South America.

I think a lot of it has to do with poor catechism. I see this happen in a lot of areas where catholicism was more cultural. Also I don’t know if the people ever really were devout. They mainly practiced catholicism because that was it. Evanglicalism is something different and unfortunately is leading Brazil away from the church

Interested in the statistics for the retention rate of Catholics that convert to becoming Evangelical staying Evangelical

Poor catechism is a HUGE part IMO…also a problem in other Catholic countries.

Just to add to the poor catechesis statements already made, catechesis starts at home. There have been generations of Catholics that did not bother to seek out to learn the faith, as well as a lack of Clergy per person in South America.
It isn’t something that has happened overnight, many people have a hunger for God and seek answers, only to get the proverbial I don’t know from under-informed Catholics. In-step the Evangelicals with there zeal, and answers (albeit wrong answers quite often) to scoop up, then indoctrinate for the lack of a better term the under-informed Catholic, to whatever that particular doctrine the non-catholic “evangelical” is focused on, Prosperity…OSAS…Anti-Catholic…Non-trinitarian…liberal…etc… :shrug:

Agree with others that there is also a great lack of proper catechesis…alot of focus on the social side. There are those who practice Santeria. Everyone who attended CENFI went to a ‘makumba’.

I went with an Indonesian priest whose father was Pentecostal and a modern but very simple Franciscan sister from Pennsylvania. We were all pretty simple, the 3 of us, pretty casual compared to everybody else.

We came in and nobody was there. We went over to this glass cabinet and Fr began to look at the images and began praying…my sister friend began praying, but none of us were actually speaking to each other. I was going to pray any demons to hell.

Well we waited and waited…Finally some man came in and said, “No makumba tonight!”

Usually it’s just the opposite, particularly when it’s just starting to make inroads. Look at Mexico- the only non-Catholics who don’t have two thirds of their people earning below the median income is the Mormons. That would be a rich man’s Christianity- if it were actually Christianity.

But Brazil has some special circumstances. Catholic leadership there spent a good fifty years adopting and putting into practice a Marxist/socialist ethos which is specifically geared toward alienating the single most religiously active and devout class of Brazilian where it comes to any expression of Christianity- the middle class. The timing was particularly bad because that is now the rapidly-burgeoning Brazilian middle class, and they continue to be the most religiously active and devout Brazilians. But some of them are Protestants now, and that largely tends to be a good thing for them.


I don’t know if this make sense , but the Catholic Church , is like a big cake , everyone come and take slice of it .

now , with the rise of Protestantism , and the decline of Catholic Culture in latin america , it’s only a matter of time and atheism will take over the next generation of those who left the church . Actually , I was reading a book by the name of ‘’ the Future Church ‘’ and it made this point , that atheism is growing among second generation protestants in Brazil , and of course it will .

now the blame is on the Church leaders , for creating generations of people without a zeal for the church . as will as the false teachers who want to make their church grow and target the people who will listen to their false message.they will say something like this : of course it’s easier to talk to people who already were born christian than to talk for , Atheist in north Europe , so why bother go to evangelize our ancestors in europe ? They will give us hard questions that our tradition never know how to answer , after all , isn’t luther who said ‘’ reason is the greatest enemy that faith has’’ , so let’s go to places where Christianity is alive . Hypocrisy

I was in the missions where Pope Paul VI sent a papal nuncio to investigate issues of neo Marxist form of liberational theology, and read writings of a particular Brazilian bishop who had international acclaim and did indeed speak in such language and perspective.

What liberation theology does do, the wrong side of it, is see things as an ongoing class struggle. The worst part of it is now having faith in the work of human hands, but abolishing the work of grace in faith that comes from God alone.

I also saw alot of emphasis on the flesh and romance in Rio, a most beautiful place.

But protestantism, without its roots, does lead to divorce and breakdown of family for those not well grounded in God over time. We see that in countries in Europe. Italy, Ireland, Poland, and parts of Spain still are retaining their Catholic faith. It is sad for me to see these countries have problems letting go of their Catholic faith, and becoming lukewarm.

In this regard, if you become lukewarm and comprise yourself with the world, the Lord will spit you out.

There is a lot of truth in that, but its not entirely the case. These churches aren’t neglecting the poor. As this 2006 article in The Christian Century points out,

Looking at churches overseas, Miller said they are “not left-leaning, out to change the structures of society.” The sociologist said he agreed with a theologian in Argentina who quipped, “Liberation theology opted for the poor, and the poor opted for Pentecostalism.”

But Miller said Pentecostal churches “have been more successful [than the ‘base communities’ of liberation theology] in dealing with the felt needs of poor people – and especially women.” The warmth of the Pentecostal churches and their opposition to drinking, gambling and womanizing by the husbands has helped to create stable families, Miller said.

Last February, officials of the World Council of Churches, at their General Assembly in Brazil, said they wished to add more Pentecostal churches to their membership ranks, citing their ecumenical outlook and considerable social work. Indeed, Miller said that his study found "really creative programs involved with education, medical care and AIDS " including programs encouraging economic self-sufficiency.

“Sectarians do tend to withdraw from the world, and in the beginning Pentecostals were sectarians, but they were also part of the poor,” he said. “As they become more educated and sophisticated, they bring that understanding into the job.”

Prosperity theology says that God’s will for all Christians is that they be blessed. Prosperity is viewed as a sign of favor and blessing, but this definitely does not lead to an attitude that Christians don’t have a responsibility for the poor. It’s the exact opposite. Part of the key to divine blessing and favor is “giving” – to the church and to those in need. This can be in the form of monetary gifts (as in tithes and offerings to the church) or through giving aid and charity to others.

Prosperity churches offer a theology of empowerment. You don’t have to live in the slum or the ghetto your entire life, God has a destiny for you and he wants you to reach your fullest potential in him. In addition to giving them the standard evangelical presentation of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, they give marginalized and impoverished people hope that God not only desires to improve their lives spiritually but also financially, materially, and socially. When you become a member of these churches you are becoming a member of a large family and network of friends that become a source of support and a resource to you.

Most of the Catholic in Brazil are not really Catholics for a long time. Look at the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and tell me this are Catholic people. This protestant shift is only a visible result of an old problem.

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