Brazil May Cease Being the Most Catholic Country in the World

August 21, 2023
Archbishop Jaime Spengler

Archbishop Jaime Spengler, president of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference and Archbishop of Porto Alegre, warns of the drop in the number of Catholics in Brazil. This phenomenon has become a matter of concern for the bishops of the country. The next census of the Brazilian faithful could show that they are already less than 50% of the population.

At the 2010 census, Catholics represented 61% of a population that was approaching 200 million inhabitants. At that time Brazil had approximately 122 million Catholics, which represented the highest number of faithful in a country. Hence the title of “the most Catholic country in the world.” It should be remembered that 30 years ago Brazil was 89% Catholic.

In 2021, the population amounted to 215 million inhabitants. With their numbers falling below 50% of the populace, the number of Catholics could drop below 100 million. However, Mexico has just over 100 million faithful. It would then take the place of Brazil to become the “most Catholic country in the world.”

During the Synod on the Amazon, the question of this constant decrease in the faithful and its causes was not really addressed. Certainly, some bishops had issued warnings about the continual growth of Pentecostal Protestantism, but the destructive ecumenism was opposed to them.

The aforementioned synod was an opportunity to discover the bewildering betrayal of many members of the clergy who have reduced evangelizing action to a simple exercise in interreligious dialogue. Thus a missionary, Fr. Corrado Dalmonego, celebrated the fact that he is the director of a “mission of presence and dialogue” in which no one has been baptized for 53 years

For an overview of this immense mess, or rather for this betrayal organized around liberation theology or indigenous theology, the reader can refer to our Dossier on the Amazon Synod.

There he will discover – or rediscover – a synod centered on ecology, terribly polluted by the rites offered to the Pachamama, or even by the bastard rite of the “Mass of the earth without evil” which took place on October 12, 2019. in the church of Santa Maria Traspontina, in the presence of the famous Pachamama statue.

The hemorrhaging of the faithful worries the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), faced with a difficult scenario to fight against the flight of Catholics to Protestant sects. “We have to take these numbers into account,” said Archbishop Spengler who is also president of the Episcopal Council for Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM).

The Archbishop called on the faithful, priests, men and women religious to reflect on how to be “the salt of the earth.” It is necessary, added the Archbishop, “to find a language capable of proposing the message to adolescents, young people, and adults of today, in a social context marked by immense inequalities, but also by extraordinary technological advances.”