Brazil: Loss of at least 9 million Catholics in two years
From October 2014 to December 2016, Brazil has lost at least nine million Catholic faithful, or 6% of Brazilians aged over 16 years. According to a study published by survey group Datafolha in December 2016 and quoted by cath.ch on January 12, 2017, only 50% consider themselves Catholics in 2016.
The study also shows that a third of Brazilians (29%) aged 16 and over consider themselves evangelical. The majority state their affiliation with Pentecostal evangelicals (22%). The study indicates that 14% of Brazilians consider themselves “of no religion,” and 1% are atheists.
Datafolha states that the majority of departures for Protestant sects occur before 25 years of age, and “converts” say their motive for changing was “a closer relationship with God” (77%) and “the style of worship in the newer churches” (68%). However, according to Fr. Jorge González Guadalix who commented on this survey on January 8, “everything that the most progressive call for has been going on in Brazil for decades.” On the Hispanic website InfoCatolica, the priest, a native of Madrid, emphasizes that the country has been “the seat of bishops considered to be the most progressive,” “the land (…) of chief opposition to so many Vatican directives. Brazil is the Church of the people, liberationist, the Church of the companies of brotherhood.” And he concludes clearly, “Such a church should be an example and a mirror in which universal Catholicism should be examined,” but it is a model to “follow, if we want to bring the Catholic Church to a quick end, not to say a very quick end.”
(Sources: cath.ch – benoit et moi – Info Catolica – DICI no. 349, 17/02/17)