After the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, pictured here in 2008 with then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Catholics in Brazil are hoping for a Brazilian successor. (Google Images)

written by Kaitlin Higgins

Ben Tavener of The Rio Times is reporting that, after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, the Catholic population of Brazil–the largest in the world–is wondering if they might supply his successor. Most speculation predicts another European Pope, although an increase in Catholicism in China and Africa, for example, could be reason enough for doubt. Five Brazilian Cardinals, two of whom the media favors, could potentially claim the papacy. Although significant, however, the Catholic population of Brazil has been declining and will not necessarily impact the choice for the next Pope.

Tavener writes:

“Estimates from 2010 census suggest that Brazil is almost 65 percent Catholic, and 22 percent Protestant. The statistics indicate the Catholic Church become less prominent in recent years, partly due to a concerted recruitment drive by evangelical churches, but also because opinions, particularly among younger Brazilians, have been increasingly at odds with those expressed by both the Catholic Church.

On Benedict XVI’s trip to Brazil in 2007, he called Catholics to stem the mass conversion to Protestantism and of reinvigorating Brazil’s connection to Catholicism.

Regular Opinion writer for The Rio Times Michael Royster says the Catholic Church’s hard line on women, homosexuality and birth control has not rung true with many Brazilians, and the fact that Protestant churches allow women in their ranks and have married clergy has encouraged conversion.”

Read more at The Rio Times.

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