New Argentine Pope: Brazil’s Reaction

Upon the Catholic Church selecting it’s first Latin American pope on the 13th they made world history. However, many Brazilian residents were a little surprised that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen over Brazil’s Sao Paulo Cardinal Odilo Scherer.

The tweet “’The pope is Argentinian, but I am Brazilian’ – God” gained popularity as thousands of Brazilians tweeted it after the selection of the new pope. Some Brazilians were also a little upset by losing to Argentina, who is a major rival for Brazil from trade to Sports. One congresswoman, Manoela D’Ávila, tweeted “To lose to Argentina makes me laugh.”

Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world, and they were sure that Cardinal Scherer, who has close ties with the Vatican, was a shoe-in. A Vatican expert, John Allen Jr. stated before the election “I would say that Scherer is the best bet. He has a good reputation and is admired here (in the Vatican).”

Some Brazilians are stating they are not upset, however, and are just happy that someone from Latin America was finally put in the position.Father Mauricio Cop from the Lady Guadaloupe Church in Brasilia told the Rio Times “No, [I am not disappointed], because the pope will not just be a father to Argentina or to Latin America, but to the whole world. However, while he could have been from Europe and I would still be happy, that God chose for the first time a pope from another continent expresses the universality of the church.”

While the new Pope Francis is not the most progressive choice, openly speaking out against gay marriage, Father Cop still sees him as a good choice “I see a man of great humility, who is a blesser of the people,” “When he worked in Buenos Aires he was known as helping the poorest people, of kissing the feet of people suffering with AIDS, and of caring for the sick.”

Brazil’s Reaction to Pope Benedict XVI’s Resignation

Pope Benedict XVI visiting in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was announced this week, causing speculation of who would be his successor and shocking Catholic communities worldwide. Brazil has the largest Catholic population worldwide, an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics. Estimates say that Brazil’s population is 65% Catholic and 22% Protestant, however, which is indicating change in the prominence of the Catholic church. Many Brazilians do not agree with the churches opinions on women, homosexuality, and birth control, causing some conversion to the Protestant faith that has a more open stance on these subjects.

Brazil currently has 5 eligible cardinals, out of 9, in the College of Cardinals that could be placed as the new Pope. The favorites are Archbishop of São Paulo Odilo Scherer and Archbishop of Brasília João Braz de Aviz. Archbishop Gerhard Müller told the media: “I know a lot of bishops and cardinals from Latin America who could take responsibility for the Church.”

There are analysts that say the Vatican is not at a point yet where they will accept a non-European Pope. Their current favorite is Archbishop of Milan Angelo Scola. A professor of theology, Paulo Fernando Carneiro de Andrade, says the choice doesn’t always come down to the size of a country’s Catholic population. He states “The profile sought has more to do with the [candidate’s] ability to bring together the interests of the Curia and thus guarantee the proper functioning of the Catholic Church.”

A life-long Catholic and festival organizer told the Rio Times of her reaction recently “He was too traditional and didn’t fit into our new world, for example by embracing gay marriage and science. I hope the new pope will find a way to connect with younger people: being more liberal would help.” Her opinion doesn’t stand alone.

Pope Benedict XVI was supposed to open World Youth Day 2013 in Rio at the end of July, however since stepping down, Brazil should see the new Papacy attend their event in his stead. Arrangements for the event have continued as per usual.