Pope Francis arrived in Brazil on Monday, ahead of World Youth Day events where as many as 2.5 million people are expected to participate. The Roman Catholic Church's leader began his first trip abroad with an open-air drive through Rio Janeiro's historic center.
"It's so exciting to see the pope in our country," said Antonio Dantas, a 24-year-old seminary student from northeastern Brazil, as reported by Bloomberg. "I hope he brings a message of peace to all of us who make up the Catholic religion, but also people of other religions."
Pope Francis' visit takes the initial enthusiasm expressed by Latin Americans about having the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years to the next level. He is visiting the world's most Catholic region. His visit occurs on the first World Youth Day to be held in Latin America since the first World Youth Day, which was held in Latin America 26 years ago, according to Vatican Radio. more >>
The Brazilian edition of Playboy magazine recently announced that a model who claims to be evangelical will be on the cover of its September issue.
Aline Franzoi, who belongs to National Mission Evangelical Church in Brazil, was already under fire for being a ring girl for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competitions, which some consider to be a violent sport. But now news of her upcoming Playboy cover adds additional oil to the heat she has received over her career choices.
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is getting ready to host the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day, which begins on July 23 and is expected to attract 2.5 million people. Pope Francis has, meanwhile, promised indulgences to Twitter followers for that day.
"I joyfully look forward to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well, prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world," the Vatican leader said in March of the upcoming trip.
The event will also mark Pope Francis' first international trip, as he is set to visit his home continent and participate in a number of events. The Vatican noted that the location for this year's celebrations was chosen by his predecessor Benedict XVI. more >>
Two million Christians from all over Brazil trekked the streets of Sao Paulo over the weekend to join in on the country's largest religious gathering, "March for Jesus." The annual event, organized by Pastor Estevam Hernandes of Renascer em Cristo, or Reborn in Christ Church, and other Pentecostal churches, included speeches and prayers from pastors, political figures, and entertainment from various Brazilian gospel artists.
"After so many years, the event continues to have an impact," Pastor Estevam Hernandes told Brazilian press outlets, adding that the success of the event was due to years of "work and prayer."
This year's theme was "New Time," which describes the nation's hope for change as it faces its worst social turmoil in over 20 years. During the past two weeks, millions of Brazilians have taken to the streets to demand the government find solutions to provides citizens with better quality of life. Protests that were initially started by students, sparked by a rise in bus fares, has now widened in scope to include professionals, the middle class, and residents of the favelas, or slums, all joining in to voice their dissatisfaction over larger social and political concerns. Primary concerns ranging from government corruption to the substandard state of public services, particularly health, education and lack of security within communities. In addition, the costs of hosting the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics are part of the myriad of key issues. more >>
The Roman Catholic Church has excommunicated the popular Brazilian priest Father Roberto Francisco Daniel for teaching that same-sex marriage is OK.
Reuters reported that the church decided to impose on Daniel the rare punishment because he has "injured the Church with grave statements counter to the dogma of Catholic faith and morality."
Excommunication, or expulsion from the church, bars a believer from participating in the liturgy in a ministerial capacity, but encourages the guilty party to work toward restoring their relationship with the church. more >>
The son of charismatic Christian evangelist Benny Hinn was detained along with two bodyguards employed by the ministry for allegedly assaulting a deaf and dumb man during an evangelistic event in Manaus, Brazil.
The Daily Mail reported Monday that 21-year-old Joshua Hinn, Caleb Shirk, 26, and Konstantins Konstantinovs, 34, apprehended Hestephenson Araujo as he approached minister Hinn during his sermon with a bottle of water. Araujo had reportedly attended the miracle healing crusade on Saturday at the Provos da Amazonia arena in hopes of getting a blessing from Hinn, who claims to have an "anointing," or special power from God, that gives him the supernatural ability to heal people.
Hinn, Shirk and Konstantins allegedly grabbed Araujo, 21, whom they thought was going to throw water at the minister. They are accused of taking the deaf and dumb man to a trailer where they interrogated and beat him, the Daily Mail reports. Araujo was eventually rescued by police, who had been called to the arena by "concerned members of the public." more >>