In his first visit to South America since becoming pontiff, Pope Francis faces high expectations and civil unrest in Brazil, a country that has seen a marked decline in its numbers of Catholics. In light of the Pope’s visit, we’ll discuss the current economic, political, and social landscape of Brazil.

Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Juanita Darling, assistant professor of international relations at San Francisco State University
Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press reporter based in Brazil
Philip Pullella, Vatican correspondent for Reuters

  • Denarius

    Now that the Vatican made it a crime to report sex crimes against children, I should think the Pope would be running for cover, not exposing himself in public. Catholicism is really turning out to be the religious equivalent to NAMBLA — the man-boy love association. If the Vatican were not considered a country, which provides them some immunity, I should think their leadership would all be in jail. The only people who love these crooks are social conservatives, who are themselves hypocritical disturbed people.

    • thucy

      I’m hardly conservative, and not a big fan of the troubled RCC, but… I am holding out hope that this dysfunctional, human institution can right its course and provide a counterbalance to the immensely more dysfunctional military industrial complex of the American empire.
      In the last decade, my tax dollars funded the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis, while civil liberties at home were trashed.
      It’s a hard sell in the group-think of San Francisco, but the US Senate, including soi-disant “feminist” Senator Dianne Feinstein, is orders of magnitude more destructive than the Pope.

      • Denarius

        Forgive me if I conflate the military and the CIA, but haven’t the RCC and the US military industrial complex collaborated in the past, making them less than adversarial? Operation Condor comes to mind. (By which I mean the Kissinger project to kill off leftists in South America, not the Jackie Chan movie.)

        • thucy

          An excellent point. One sees a similar trend in Russia with the Orthodox Church. Then again, buying candles is voluntary; taxes ain’t.

  • geraldfnord

    I’m glad that the man seems to remember that the Church has a beef with unregulated capitalism and especial interest in the lot of the poor, but at the same time I’m tired of hearing him described as ‘humble’. No man who believes that the Creator of the Universe ensures that he is infallible (even if only when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith or morals), and that whatsoever he might bind on Earth would stick eternally in Heaven, and particularly to be an expert on which consensual juxtapositions of body parts will make your Loving Father acquiesce in your eternal torment…can rightfully be described as ‘humble’ regardless of his aspect or mien.

    There is the usual cant in which one says that he were ‘humble because he knows that these are gifts, and undeserved’ but I hold with the notion that arrogant is as arrogant does (e.g., my criticising the Pope, or any Pope—but my arrogance is toothless, and his is not).

    (And then the cantor whispers to the rabbi, ‘NOW look who’s “…as nothing in Your sight!,”.’)

  • Ellis

    The basic problems of Brazil are similar to the United States, and
    this is the rule by a corrupt and entrenched oligarchy – their 1%.

    Having lived and visited Brazil many times over the last 40 years,
    the first thing one notices is the appalling housing conditions of
    the average Brazilian. Rio alone has more then 2,000 Favelas or
    slums. These are neighborhoods that have been built by the residents
    that live there and meet no construction regulations or building
    codes. Most of these communities have been organically created with
    no planning with streets so narrow that emergency fire and police
    vehicles cannot enter.

    The other most obvious negative condition is that of Race. With
    more than 50% of the population being Afro-Brazilian – there is not
    one governor who is Afro-Brazilian. The repression and
    disenfranchisement of this majority is a huge problem that is the
    elephant in the room.

    For anyone who want’s to get a good understanding of the many
    issues facing Brazil see the following two articles recently
    published in the United States:

    Thank you.

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