199,321,413 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA
$11,900 (2011 est.)
Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census)
Brazil possesses both a strictly secular government and a richly spiritual society formed from the meeting of the Roman Catholic Church with the religious traditions of African slaves and indigenous peoples. This confluence of faiths during the Portuguese colonization of Brazil (1500-1815) led to the development of a diverse array of syncretistic practices within the overarching umbrella of Brazilian Roman Catholicism. Catholicism was the only recognized religion during colonial rule, and in 1824 it became the official religion of an independent Empire of Brazil that also guaranteed religious freedom. The shift to a republic in 1889 led to the adoption of a strictly secular constitution two years later, but the Catholic Church remained politically influential into the late 20th century. Religious pluralism has increased dramatically since the 1970s, largely due to a Protestant community that has grown to include over 15% of the population. The Constitution of Brazil guarantees freedom of religion and prohibits government support or hindrance of religion at all levels.
June 7, 2010
January 19, 2010
On Feb. 15, 1947, the Exodus 1947
set sail for Palestine with some 4,500 Jewish refugees, most of whom were survivors of the Holocaust. The organizers of this fabled expedition
fully expected the British to forcefully prevent the passengers from disembarking. As things turned out, they got more than they bargained for: three people died, including a U.S. sailor bludgeoned to death resisting the King's Navy.
November 9, 2009
Zilda Arns Neumann, sometimes called Brazil's Mother Teresa, was among those who died tragically during Haiti's earthquake. She was in Port-au-Prince to share lessons from the enormous church-based child health program she established in Brazil.
February 2, 2009
Aicha Ech Channa, a gutsy Moroccan woman, has worked for five decades with young unmarried mothers, who stand at the very bottom of the social heap in her country. Even if their pregnancy resulted from rape, they are condemned as prostitutes and thrown out by their families, and their babies are stigmatized as bastards.
September 20, 2007
Poverty statistics can be numbing. We scrabble for tangible images to translate sterile estimates of poverty's effects -- hungry, homeless, jobless - into terms people can grasp: daily deaths from AIDS are equivalent to x number of 747s crashing, avoidable deaths in childbirth to hurricanes. But it's still pretty abstract.
October 7, 2006
The streets of Monterrey were clogged this evening as Mexico's president arrived to open an 80 day named the Universal FORUM of Cultures, Monterrey 2007. The hotel lobby of the Holiday Inn swarmed with bagpipe groups in kilts, and a group that looked like medieval troubadours. I am here to participate in a first event of the Forum, which is an interfaith meeting, called the International Interreligious Encounter. A group of about 40 people from all over the world, scholars, practitioners,...
Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Azusa Church, considered the first formally established Pentecostal Church, this conference brought together a fascinating blend of scholars and "practitioners", in this instance preachers and activists in the Pentecostal arena. Among luminaries at the meeting were Rev. Harold Caballeros (Guatemalan preacher and candidate for President), Peter Berger, David Martin, Luis Lugo, Eugene Rivers, and Jack Miles.