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Pope and Brazilian bishops begin meetings

Brazil is the country with the most Catholics in the world. One hundred and fifty five million people there are baptized, about 85% of the total population.But some give up their faith because of lack of information, personal problems like drug abuse, or influence from religious sects.For some forty years, many Catholic groups in Brazil are working so that faith is kept alive and well. Cesar Augusto dos SantosResponsible for Brazilian program, Vatican RadioMany liturgical movements are making it possible for the situation to change so there can ; be a deep rapport with religion, that gives meaning to baptism. For example, there are courses available on baptism or marriage for anyone interested."One of Brazil’s more serious problems, especially among young people, is the high consumption of drugs and alcohol. Many of them go back to live normal lives with the help of Catholic groups. But other go back to join religious sects, who promise them prosperity with little effort.Cesar Augusto dos SantosResponsible for Brazilian program, Vatican RadioThe presence of these sects can be linked to socioeconomic factors and the lack of vocations in the Church, because we have no one to offer pastoral care to these people."Brazil’s 155 million Catholics feel very tied to the pope. John Paul II visited the country four times and Benedict XVI made his first visit in 2007. Cesar Augusto dos SantosResponsible for Brazilian program, Vatican RadioSince the pope came, the Angelus has been broadcast on television every Sunday, something that was never done before.”Another characteristic of religious faith in Brazil is the good rapport among Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and Muslims. Cesar Augusto dos SantosResponsible for Brazilian program, Vatican RadioThe reality for Christians in Brazil is good. Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans all live together peacefully. We don’t have problems, thanks to our formation.”All this year, more than 400 Brazilian bishops, consisting of 13 groups, will continue meeting in person and together in groups to study the Church reality in the country. These meetings aim to come up with concrete ways to help the poor, to deal with the influence of sects, and to promote better formation of the nation’s Catholics.PV/JMB/RS