A Populist Shift Confronts the U.S. Catholic Church

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Fernanda Santos

04/20/2008 - To say she was a practicing Catholic would be an understatement. For years, Maria Aparecida Calazans was a mainstay at her Long Island church, joining dozens of fellow Brazilian immigrants for the Portuguese language Mass on Sunday mornings. She and her husband, Ramon, were married at the church. Their two daughters were baptized there, and every Friday she attended a prayer meeting that she had helped organize.

But six years ago, her husband went to a relative's baptism at a Pentecostal church in a warehouse in Astoria, Queens, and came home smitten.

The couple made a deal. ''We would go to the Pentecostal service on Thursdays and to Mass on Sundays, and then we would decide which one we felt most comfortable with,'' Mrs. Calazans said.

Within 40 days, they had given up Roman Catholicism and embraced Pentecostalism, following the path of the estimated 1.3 million Latino Catholics who have joined Pentecostal congregations since immigrating to the United States, according to a survey released in February by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Read the full article A Populist Shift Confronts the U.S. Catholic Church on the New York Times Web site.

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