90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Pope Francis In Brazil

Is this the pope of the poor? Can he help mend Brazil’s ragged edges?

Pope Francis rides in his popemobile in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday July 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Pope Francis rides in his popemobile in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. (Victor R. Caivano/AP)

They mobbed Pope Francis in Rio this week, as the first Latin American pope in history came to Brazil.

But the fact is the Catholic Church has been losing ground in Brazil for decades. Brazilians were 99 percent Catholic. But the latest number is 57 percent.

Francis comes as “the pope of the poor,” and his timing is good with that. Huge protests in Brazil in the last month over corruption and inequality, in spite of famous years of boom.

Can the pope pull it all together? Can Brazil?

This hour, On Point: The “pope of the poor,” a “must-win” country for Catholics and time of challenge for Brazil.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Philip Pullella, covers Italy and the Vatican for Reuters. (@PhilipPullella)

Andrew Chesnut, chair of Catholic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of World Studies and author of “Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy” and “Born Again in Brazil: The Pentecostal Boom and the Pathogens of Poverty.” (@AndrewChestnut1)

Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Adjunct lecturer on Brazil in the global arena at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs and former Washington correspondent for O Estado de S.Paulo.

From Tom’s Reading List

KCUR: Brazil’s Evangelicals A Growing Force In Prayer, Politics: “Pope Francis arrives Monday evening in Rio de Janeiro for a weeklong visit celebrating World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics have made the pilgrimage to see the Argentine-born pontiff, and he is expected to receive a rapturous welcome. Still, Pope Francis’s visit comes at a delicate time for the church in Brazil. Catholicism — the nation’s main religion — is facing a huge challenge from evangelicals.”

The Washington Post: Pope Francis Tries To Bolster Church In Brazil: “With 200 million people, the vast majority of whom profess some faith, Brazil is a huge battleground for souls. It has one in 10 of all the world’s Catholics, making it enormously important to the Vatican. But for years now, Catholicism has been on the losing end of a pitched struggle with increasingly influential evangelical churches.”

The Guardian: Thousands On Streets In Brazil Protests: “Violence broke out in central Rio de Janeiro at rush hour following a march by trade unionists estimated at up to 20,000 people. The protest was part of a union-organised national day of action in which demonstrations were held and roads blocked in all 27 Brazilian states.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 27, 2015
Rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, Thursday, March 26, 2015. The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. (AP)

The co-pilot and the plane in the Alps? Ted Cruz announces 2016 bid. Heinz buys Kraft. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Mar 27, 2015
Members of  a November Project 'tribe' pause during a November 2014 workout. (Brogan Graham / Instagram)

Spring training. From easy-access yoga to outdoor exercise meet-ups, exercise plans you’ll want to do.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 26, 2015
A child walks through a forest landscape. (Rudolf Vlček / Flickr)

American kids today spend only four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors. We hear a new call to raise the “wild child.”

 
Mar 26, 2015
In this file photo, protesters sit at the intersection of Wall St. and Broad St. in New York, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. The protesters, many who were affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, were trying to draw attention to the connection between capitalism and environmental destruction. (AP)

In our age of hyper-inequality, historian Steve Fraser asks when the little guy stands up and says “enough.” He’s with us.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: March 27, 2015
Friday, Mar 27, 2015

More on the incessant email debate, plus some goats living their best lives and the sad allure of Manhattan’s shuttered Pommes Frites.

More »
Comment
 
Mobile Payments Offer Convenience If You Keep Your Email Safe
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Thinking about moving your wallet to your phone? You can! And maybe you should? But TechCrunch senior writer Josh Constine has a few things to tell you before you do.

More »
1 Comment
 
Using Technology To Get Your Kids Outside
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

The latest and greatest — using apps to make natural exploration more fun for your kids.

More »
Comment