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  1. #1
    Ecogiustiziere Insubre
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    Dove c'è bisogno di me, in Insubria
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    Post La Chiesa perde terreno in Sudamerica

    Catholic Church losing ground in Latin America


    Reuters
    Posted online: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 at 1437 hours IST
    Express India
    Guatemala City, April 5

    Home to half the world’s Catholics, Latin America hopes to produce the next pope but the church is losing ground to upstart Protestant groups after 500 years of dominance.

    Academics say the percentage of Protestants in the region more than doubled to 10 per cent in the 26-year reign of John Paul II as evangelical and Pentecostalist groups sprang up in slums from Brazil to Guatemala.

    "One of the biggest two or three issues that any new pope is going to have to deal with is trying to stop that 10 per cent turning into 50 per cent," said author Philip Jenkins, a history and religion professor at Pennsylvania State University.

    Promising to combat alcohol and drug abuse and heal illness through faith, grass-roots Protestant churches try to fill a gap Left by the region's crumbling health services and tackle social ills in poor neighbourhoods.

    The Roman Catholic Church, seen as overly hierarchical and distant, is left tending to the faithful in declining rural areas.

    The Pentecostal Antioquia church is a haven from violence in Zone 8, a working-class district of Guatemala City, where the sound of gunshots is common and criminals frequently dump victims' bodies.

    "I know that the violence will end if we all evangelise with the gang members. I know that it changes people like me," said church warden Vinicio Rodriguez, 30, a former drug dealer whose silver-capped tooth glints in the sunlight.

    Vatican watchers say the conclave that will meet in Rome to choose the new pope might elect a Latin American clergyman as a reflection of the shift of clerical power to the Third World.

    Among those mentioned are cardinals from Honduras and Brazil, which both have vibrant Protestant communities.

    INROADS IN THE CITIES

    About 30 per cent of Chileans and 10 to 20 per cent of Brazilians are Protestant, said Jenkins. Guatemala's Protestant population is even higher, estimated at about 40 per cent.

    The Catholic Church's inability to keep up with social trends in Latin America - especially the flight from the country to fast-growing megacities - has allowed small, mobile Protestant churches to win converts.

    "In Brazil, the urbanisation was very rapid and so the Brazilian rural identity, which was Catholic, was partially lost," said Fernando Altemeyer, theology professor at Sao Paulo's Catholic University.

    Introduced by U.S. Missionaries in the 19th century, Protestantism in the region has taken on a Latin flavor.

    "Protestantism also has a particular appeal for the traditionally excluded communities: racial minorities, Mayan Indians in Mexico, black Brazilians and especially women," said Jenkins.

    To fight the Protestant growth, the Vatican has introduced to Latin America "charismatic" Catholic groups that have adopted many evangelical-style forms of worship.

    The Catholic Church has other problems in Latin America. Attendance figures have fallen and many young people pay little heed to the ban on contraception.

    Mexico, the world's most-populous Catholic country after Brazil, has become a global leader in birth control.

    Analysts say John Paul's conservative sympathies and the undermining of leftist Catholic liberation theology popular in the 1980s alienated many.

    Some Catholic clergy complain the free-market ethos adopted in many Latin American countries in the 1990s also found an expression in Pentecostal groups that encourage their flock to become rich.

    "Today, religion is often regarded in the minds of the poor not so much as an ethical challenge but as a consumer product," said Altemeyer.

    Brazil's Universal Church of the Kingdom of God promises miracles for cash and has an annual income of some $1 billion. Members of Guatemala's Pentecostal Antioquia church say they give 10 per cent of their incomes to the church.
    Iunthanaka
    Conte della Martesana

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  2. #2
    Fieramente Leghista
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    Predefinito

    il pseudocattolicesimo modernista is losing ground everywhere, perde terreno dappertutto, non solo in Sudamerica.
    Forse dovrebbero cominciare a ragionare sull'ottica del meglio pochi ma buoni?

 

 

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