Category : Brazil

(BBC) Coronavirus: Brazil overtakes Spain and Italy as new cases grow

Brazil has overtaken Spain and Italy to become the country with the fourth-largest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the world.

Officials on Saturday reported 14,919 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 233,142. Only the US, Russia and the UK have higher numbers.

The death toll in Brazil over 24 hours was 816, bringing the total to 15,633 – the world’s fifth-highest figure.

Experts warn that the real figure may be far higher due to a lack of testing.

The mayor of the country’s most populous city, São Paulo, warned on Sunday that the city’s health system could collapse. Bruno Covas said the public hospitals in the city reached 90% capacity for emergency beds, with demand still growing.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Brazil, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(NYT) The Covid19 Outbreak’s Untold Devastation of Latin America

When Aldenor Basques Félix, an Indigenous leader and teacher, fell ill in Manaus [Brazil] with coronavirus symptoms in late April, he was treated at home — he had no money for the bus ride to the closest hospital. As his condition deteriorated, his friends spent five hours trying to reach an ambulance, but couldn’t get through.

When his impoverished community finally got together the money for a taxi, Mr. Basques Félix, 49, was dead. At the hospital, attendants refused to take the body, saying the morgue was full. His friends had to wait with the corpse in an evangelical church until they could find undertakers to take it away.

“They refused to take his body away, they refused to do the tests,” said Mr. Tikuna said of the hospital workers.

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Posted in Brazil, Chile, Economy, Ecuador, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Peru, Politics in General

Gafcon Moment & Prayer for 30 April 2020–The Anglican Church in Brazil

Archbishop Miguel and his wife, Juliane, report that lockdown has provided opportunities for the gospel. Their church’s online service has had 2.8k views on YouTube, which is a big increase on the normal number. They have also started a daily online devotional and many have appreciated this, and some are coming to faith.

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Posted in Brazil, GAFCON, Spirituality/Prayer

(EF) Brazilian churches start to introduce facial recognition in their worship services

At the end of last year, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo hosted the so-called ExpoCristiana, a commercial event which offers concerts of Christian music, samples of evangelical publishers and even virtual simulations of episodes of the Bible. One of the most striking products was the one offered by the artificial intelligence company Kuzzma under the slogan “Change the way you manage your church”. The company presented a facial recognition service especially aimed at churches. On the first day of ExpoCristiana, Marcelo Scharan, executive director of Kuzzma, gave a conference entitled Personalization, data and churches.

“Data such as gender, age, attendance, arrival time, likely reasons for being late, and many others are analyzed and presented in reports. We can even define if someone needs a pastoral visit”, Scharan said. According to the Kuzzma website, facial recognition works from a high-resolution panoramic camera installed in the churches, that identifies both personal data and the attendance to the worship service. Then, with all that data, they make reports of each person, which include statistics on their behavior and even warnings if there is any abnormal activity. The Brazilian company Igreja Mobile was also selling the facial recognition service at the fair.

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Posted in Brazil, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(FT) Some of Brazil’s evangelical church preach the Bolsonaro revolution

Paulo Guedes, Mr Bolsonaro’s economy minister, was spotted in Congress recently wearing a bracelet with a Bible verse given to him by an evangelical pastor. “These guys support the president,” he beamed. Mr Guedes is leading his own crusade to bring the free-market economics he learnt from Milton Friedman in Chicago to his homeland. The Universal Church’s message that state handouts are no way to live is music to his ears.

The Sunday service featured on its giant screens the story of a believer who raised himself from scavenging on a rubbish dump at the age of 17 to the ranks of the bourgeoisie. Now a successful lawyer and the proud owner of three apartments, he was invited on stage by Mr Macedo to explain how his devotion to the church had transformed his life. His strict adherence to a rule that believers tithe one-tenth of their income to the church — even when eking out an existence on a rubbish dump — was emphasised repeatedly.

Mr Mendonça says the message is an entrepreneurial one. “The same things you hear at a seminar for people starting their own business — the need to believe in your potential and in what you do, to be creative and to take risks — are exactly the same” as the advice in church, he says.

The formula has worked for Mr Macedo. His personal wealth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $1.1bn, making him one of the world’s richest religious leaders.

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Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(FT) Opponents fear ‘wrecking ball’ Bolsonaro poses threat to Brazilian democracy

The seven-time congressman is known as an apologist for the 1964-85 military dictatorship, for endorsing torture and for making disparaging remarks about homosexuals, women and black people.

But the majority of voters do not appear to care about these threats. They want to use him as a wrecking ball to demolish what they see as a hopelessly corrupt and incompetent political establishment, starting with the PT. Many view his less savoury remarks as a refreshing change from the fussy political correctness associated with the left.

“He has become a point of convergence for innumerable and diverse points of dissatisfaction with a political system that is rotten to the core,” says Daniel Aarão Reis, a professor of contemporary history at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niterói.

Whatever the reasons for his likely victory, observers are divided over whether a Bolsonaro presidency will threaten one of Brazil’s most hard-won achievements — its democracy. In style at least, Mr Bolsonaro echoes many of the traits of the populists who have prospered around the world in recent years, from Turkey and Russia to the Philippines.

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Posted in Brazil, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(ACNS) Brazil’s Anglican Episcopal Church changes its canons to permit same-sex marriage

The General Synod of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil – (IEAB) has approved changes to its canons to permit same-sex marriages. Civil same-sex marriages have been legal in Brazil since 2012. In a statement, the Province said that the move would not require liturgical changes, because gender neutral language had already been introduced into its service for the solemnization of marriage in the 2015 Book of Common Prayer.

The move was overwhelmingly carried by the Synod members with 57 voting in favour and three against. There were two abstentions.

“Canonical changes were approved in an environment filled by the Holy Spirit and with mutual love and respect,” the Province said in a statement. “It was preceded by long, deep and spiritual dialogue. This dialogue formally started in 1997, but had been going on much earlier, and reached the whole Province since then through indabas, conferences, consultations, prayers, biblical and theological publications.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Mark Strange, and the Bishop of Huron from the Anglican Church of Canada, Linda Nichols, were amongst international guests present at the Synod.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anthropology, Brazil, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Statement by Archbishop Peter Jensen, Gafcon General Secretary on the Anglican Situation in Brazil

In the London Church Times (18th May 2018), Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council claimed that Gafcon had been ‘inaccurate’ in describing the newly formed Anglican Church in Brazil as part of the Anglican Communion and claimed that “To be part of the Anglican Communion requires being in communion with the see of Canterbury, which this Church is not.”

Here lies the difference between mere institutionalism and spiritual reality.

The basic reason why there is a division amongst the Anglicans of Brazil is because the Episcopal Church of Brazil has departed from the teaching of Scripture, and hence from Anglican teaching, concerning sex and marriage. The division is not over a matter of church politics or personal ambition. It is a matter of the fundamentals of the faith, of what makes a true church, of the authority of God’s word.

In 2005, the Diocese of Recife withdrew from the existing Church body over this issue. In so doing it was being true to Scripture and to the overwhelming majority view of the Communion’s Bishops as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 of 1998. In 2016, after court cases, it had to surrender much of its property. And yet, under God, the Diocese continues, grows and is now in a position to become a Province, with several Dioceses.

Throughout this period, orthodox Bishops (such as Archbishop Greg Venables of South America) upheld the Diocese and supported it and ministered within it. Because this was an issue of basic theology, the Gafcon movement recognised the Diocese and arranged for the consecration of the present Archbishop. Gafcon held on to faithful Anglican Christians whose ‘fault’ was merely that they were accepting biblical and Anglican teaching. Gafcon holds the Communion together while we wait to see if other instruments of the Communion will do what is right.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Brazil, GAFCON

(Gafcon) Gafcon Installs Primate of Anglican Church in Brazil

On Saturday, 12 May 2018, Brazilians packed the Paróquia Anglicana do Espírito Santo (Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit) to celebrate the launch of the Anglican Church in Brazil and the installation of The Most Rev. Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti as their first Archbishop and Primate.

In 2005, the Bishop of Recife, The Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti, and ninety percent of the clergy of the diocese were excommunicated by the liberal Episcopal Church of Brazil. Though they lost some of their buildings, the Diocese carried on with a robust program of social action, evangelism, church planting, and discipleship. From 2005 to 2009, the Diocese doubled in size. In succeeding years, despite the tragic murder of Bishop Robinson, the Diocese continued to grow, and their leaders worked with the Gafcon Primates to organize the election of a new Bishop. On December 8, 2012, The Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchoa was consecrated as Diocesan Bishop.

Over the next years, the regions of the Diocese of Recife developed into Dioceses. This has led to the formation of a new Biblically orthodox Province which has been recognized by the Gafcon Primates Council not only as part of Gafcon, but also as a Province of the Anglican Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Brazil, GAFCON

(WSJ) Roman Catholic Church Considers Married Priests to Ease Amazon Clergy Shortage

In the remote Brazilian town of Tabatinga, João Souza da Silva helped construct the Roman Catholic church where he got married 31 years ago, a wedding that officially ended his boyhood dream of becoming a priest.

He may get a second chance, as Catholic leaders in the vast Amazon basin consider whether the church should let married men become priests in certain cases. The issue is likely to be discussed at a gathering of bishops Pope Francis has called for next year about the church in the Amazon.

The Vatican is contending with a shortage of clergy to serve isolated communities in the region, as well as a growing challenge from evangelical Protestantism, which allows married ministers. Pope Francis has said the “door is always open” to married priests, though recent predecessors have rejected the idea.

Mr. da Silva, a 53-year-old teacher and father of three, said the change would make it easier to serve people in communities around the Amazon, some of which priests only visit two or three times a year.

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Posted in Brazil, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, South America