Brazil : Roman Catholics

sduncan post on January 28th, 2013
Posted in South America Tags: ,

By Jacqueline Davis

Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again
LUKE 6:30 (Catholic Giving and Titling Guide)
There are many historically events that contributed to the philanthropic sector in Brazil. However, in this brief article, it will only focus on the religion and traditions in Brazil that have shaped philanthropic culture in Brazil. As well, lists some things that Brazil must do to improve in this sector. When looking at the present, you must look into the past to make changes for the future. Within the article, “The Future of Philanthropy in Brazil: Creating a More Diverse Sector,” it outlines the historically influences and barriers that Brazil has and continues to face within philanthropy. Firstly, the history of Brazilian philanthropy is closely linked to Roman Catholic faith and church. “Catholic societies, confrarias (brotherhoods), established voluntary organizations such as hospitals, orphanages and asylums, supported by endowments and donations.” (The Future of Philanthropy in Brazil: Creating a More Diverse Sector) The support from the church had been triggered during Brazil’s independence from Portugal. This independence created a required change in the government, military power and state control. This control and increase military power lead to abuse of power and human rights issues. Therefore, this prompted the church to react and create networks of support. This support network encouraged the Brazilian to create their own networks, like citizen organizations which essential lead to creating philanthropic organizations.

Brazil is no longer an underdeveloped country and has one of ten largest economies in the world however, the social inequalities and gap between the wealthy and poor has increased. “Brazil has amongst the highest income inequality in the world – with the richest 10% of Brazilians receiving 50% of the nation’s income, while the poorest 10% receive less than 1%. Brazilians also suffer from inequitable access to services like social welfare, and assets, particularly land.” (SubstainAbility) This gap makes it extremely difficult to find individuals who can be involved in the philanthropic sector. The inequality between the Brazilians is not however the only limitation in this sector.

Traditionally and presently, two ways in which Brazilians participate in giving and philanthropy would be through their religion as well as their traditions. Most Brazilians would agree that one of the best symbols that best characterizes their nation is “Carnival”. Carnival is a four-day long event full of music, dancing, costumes, bright colours, food and people from all around the world. “Carnival is symbolic of the national ethos because it plays to many of the dualities in Brazilian life: wealth and poverty, African and European, female and male. The key to carnival’s popularity is its break with and reversal of the everyday reality…Class hierarchies based on wealth and power are briefly set aside, poverty is forgotten, men may dress as women, leisure supplants work, and the disparate components of Brazilian society blend in a dizzying blaze of color and music.” (Countries and Their Cultures: Culture of Brazil) This tradition has allowed Brazilians to come together as one, regardless of status or class. Carnival breaks down the barriers and inequalities with the country and gives everyone an opportunity for fun. Carnival can also be concerned a form of philanthropy as it is a time for companionate and humanity.
“Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world even though the percentage of Brazilians who belong to the Catholic Church has declined in recent years, down from 95 percent in the 1950s. Today about 73 percent of Brazilians identify themselves as Catholic but an unknown number are Catholics by tradition, not by faith.”(Countries and Their Cultures: Culture of Brazil) Catholics believe that, “it is important for all parishioners to understand that giving is not optional (it is actually one of the six precepts of the Church)” (Catholic Giving and Titling Guide) Therefore, Catholic Brazilians would be providing to a huge part of private sector, due to the Catholics having a large role in the organizations through the country.

The problem areas within the countries sector would be within the remainder of the organizations. For the remainder of the population that is not Catholic or even other organizations other than the religious ones, they are limited to corporate donations. These corporate organizations usually donate within its organization, which would benefit its own resources. Consequently, non-religious organizations are not getting enough support. Another barrier could be that there is no tax incentive for families and individuals to donate. Therefore, for Brazil to be more successful and enhance the philanthropic/private sector, it must determine what influences individuals to donate, provide a wide range of resources and organizations that will provide the diversity and strengthen the future of the sector.

There is much growth required throughout the Country of Brazil to progress forward and continue to develop and improve in the philanthropic sector. Historically, there were only a few organizations now there are millions. Here is a link to look at some; resources/brazil-organizations.html

Works Cited

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