Pope to visit Brazil slum, meet prisoners, on first trip

May 7, 2013

Philip Pullella & Alonso Soto – Reuters, 05/07/2013

Pope Francis will visit the poor in a favela and meet young prisoners when he travels to Brazil on his first international trip as pontiff in July, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

Francis, who has said he wants to make concern for the poor a hallmark of his papacy, will visit the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro on the fourth day of his July 22-29 trip to the world’s largest Catholic country.

Manguinhos is one of Rio’s most visible favelas, wedged between a busy highway and a former oil refinery and near the main airport and large military bases.

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Catholic church excommunicates Brazil priest for liberal views

May 1, 2013

Paulo Prada – Reuters, 04/30/2013

The Catholic Church has excommunicated a Brazilian priest after he defended homosexuality, open marriage and other practices counter to Church teaching in online videos.

In a statement released late on Monday, the priest’s diocese said Father Roberto Francisco Daniel, known to local parishioners as Padre Beto, had “in the name of ‘freedom of expression’ betrayed the promise of fealty to the Church.”

The priest “injured the Church with grave statements counter to the dogma of Catholic faith and morality.” The actions amount to “heresy and schism,” the statement said, the penalty for which is excommunication, or expulsion from the Church.

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Brazil forgets rivalry in Argentine triumph

March 15, 2013

The Times of India/AP, 03/15/2013

Bitter rivals in soccer. The butt of one another’s biting jokes. The samba versus the tango.

Brazil and its neighbour Argentina are bitter rivals in just about everything. But now, in the realm of religion at least, Argentina has supremely passed the giant next door.

The Wednesday election of Pope Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, put the country a step ahead of Brazil when it comes to holy matters.

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Holy rivals? Brazil ponders Argentine Pope

March 14, 2013

Jenny Barchfield – ABC News/AP, 02/14/2013

Bitter rivals in soccer. The butt of one another’s biting jokes. The samba versus the tango.

Brazil and its neighbor Argentina are bitter rivals in just about everything.

But now, in the realm of religion at least, Argentina has supremely passed the giant next door.

Read more…


The next pope could be a Brazilian banker

March 12, 2013

Anderson Antunes – Forbes, 03/11/2013

As a conclave gathers to elect a new pope, many in the Catholic world and well beyond speculate about who will replace the now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who abdicated the throne of St. Peter on February 11, the first papal resignation in almost 600 years. It is true that in the secretive world of the Vatican there is no way to know who is in the running, not to mention that history has yielded plenty of surprises, but there are a few names that have come up time and again as “papabile,” a term coined by Vaticanologists to describe the likely contenders to be elected pontiff. One of those names is that of Brazilian cardinal Odilo Scherer, Brazil‘s best hope to be the next pope.

At the relatively young age of 63, Scherer is known for enthusiastically embracing all new methods for reaching believers. He has appeared on Brazil’s most popular late-night talk-show. He is a prolific tweeter. He even prefers to squeeze into the busy and crowded subway of Sao Paulo, where he was appointed archbishop in 2007 and was named a cardinal later the same year, on his way to his morning commutes.

Scherer, who speaks Italian, German and Portuguese fluently and is proficient in English, French and Spanish, is also known as one of the “Vatican bankers,” a committee of cardinals who oversee the Istituto per la Opere di Religione (IOR), or the Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank, as well as being a member of The Prefecture for Economic Affairs, which coordinates the finances of the Holy See. Scherer was a constant presence in Rome during the “Vatileaks” scandal, the leaking of Vatican documents allegedly exposing corruption and money laundering charges that cost the church millions in higher contract prices and cost Ettore Gotti Tedesche, the then-CEO of the IOR, his job.

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Could the next pope be from Africa or Latin America?

February 13, 2013

Eric Marrapodi and Catherine E. Shoicet – CNN, 02/13/2013

Hours after Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation announcement Monday, speculation was surging over who might be his successor and what part of the world the new pontiff could be from.

The 118 cardinals who will pick the next pope are also in the running for the job. Those cardinals are from around the globe, but more than half of them hail from European nations, according to Vatican statistics.

Worldwide, the demographic trends among the Roman Catholic Church’s nearly 1.2 billion members show a different breakdown, with the church seeing only a trickle of new members in Europe, while membership has grown significantly in Africa.

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Odilo Scherer next Pope? Brazilian cardinal could replace Benedict XVI

February 12, 2013

Roque Planas – Huffington Post, 02/12/2013

With Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, it may be Latin America’s turn to take control of the papacy, and some point to Brazilian Archbishop Odilo Scherer as the leading candidate. 

Though the Vatican has been led by an unbroken chain of Europeans, demographics make a compelling case to look to Latin America to fill the vacancy. Some 42 percent of the world’s Catholics now live in Latin America, making the region home to the largest group of Catholics on the planet, according to Reuters. Europe is home to just 25 percent of the world’s Catholics.

Darci Nicioli, Auxiliary Bishop of Aparecida, told Brazil`s G1 that Scherer is one of five Brazilian cardinals in the running for the Papacy.

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Brazil prosecutors ask court to order ‘God be Praised’ removed from currency

November 14, 2012

Associated Press/The Washington Post, 11/13/2012

A prosecutor is trying to get God off of Brazilian bank notes….

Public prosecutor Jefferson Dias argues that the country is a secular state and that the phrase “God be praised” disregards the rights of non-Christians, and on Tuesday he asked a federal court to order the phrase removed.

“The fact that most Brazilians are Christian does not justify the “violation of the fundamental rights of those that follow different religions or do not believe in God,” Dias said in the motion he filed with the court.

Brazil’s public prosecutor’s office is separate from the executive branch of government and it is supposed to defend the social and individual rights of citizens as well as serving as a watchdog over the government. A spokeswoman for the agency said the initiative for the motion apparently came from Dias.

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Brazil vote’s winners: Evangelicals

October 29, 2010

John Lyons – Wall Street Journal, 10/29/2010

Brazilians will take to the polls Sunday to determine their next president, but already one big winner of this political season has emerged: evangelical Christians.

Former cabinet minister Dilma Rousseff is expected to win the run-off, with pollster Datafolha projecting a 56% to 44% spread against former São Paulo Gov. José Serra. The surprise is how much the final stretch of the campaign in this predominantly Catholic country was shaped by an increasingly powerful bloc of conservative Protestants.

Ever since Brazil returned to democracy in 1985, presidential elections have been dominated by economic concerns as the country lurched from crisis to crisis. Potentially explosive issues such as whether to legalize abortion and gay marriage were rarely on the front burner, though the nation of 190 million is often called the world’s biggest Catholic country.

This time, a grass-roots campaign of sermons, Internet videos and DVDs distributed mainly by evangelical pastors thrust moral questions like abortion and gay marriage abruptly onto the political agenda and forced Ms. Rousseff and Mr. Serra to declare positions. Joined by some conservative Catholic bishops, the evangelicals mobilized at least partly in response to the government’s approval last year of a broad social plan supported by Ms. Rousseff’s party that included calling for greater gay rights and abortion rights.

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Evangelical march in Brazil draws 1.5 million

November 2, 2009

Andre Penner-The Associated Press, 11/02/09

More than 1.5 million evangelical Christians joined Brazil’s annual “March for Jesus” on Monday, an event sponsored by a church whose leaders recently returned after being imprisoned in the U.S. for money smuggling.

Now in its 17th year, the march unites faithful from hundreds of evangelical churches and attracts dozens of Christian bands, preachers and local celebrities.

It is organized by the powerful Reborn in Christ Church, whose leaders said they expected 5 million people to gather around a central Sao Paulo plaza where the main stage was located.

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