Catholic influence declining in Brazil
POSTED: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 11:00am
UPDATED: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 11:04am
NBC News — When a new Pope is elected, he will face a growing cultural shift in Brazil, the world's most populous Catholic country, where the church's influence is on the decline. Brazil has the world's largest Catholic population although the number of followers has fallen off in recent years. The latest census data showed 63% of Brazilians say they are Catholics which is down from the 90% who called themselves Catholic in 1970.
While the figures are a concern to church officials, the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro said this week the church in Brazil remains robust. He says there are more people taking part in church and working together on social projects than ever before. Rio will host this year's Catholic World Youth Day. But many Brazilians have migrated to Evangelical churches because they tend to stress success through prosperity, as opposed to sacrifice and struggle. Evangelical churches also have services that are far less formal.