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The Brazilian Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Europe: the phenomenon of reverse mission

Grant number: 13/08604-2
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: August 05, 2013 - August 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Antônio Mendes da Costa Braga
Grantee:Antônio Mendes da Costa Braga
Visiting researcher: Donizete Rodrigues
Visiting researcher institution: Universidade da Beira Interior (UBI), Portugal
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências (FFC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Marília. Marília , SP, Brazil


The phenomenon of the international migration, especially in the last three decades, is extremely important in the creation, globalization, and expansion of the new religious movements, with a strong emphasis on the Neo-Pentecostal churches, covering important and complex relationship between United States, Brazil, and Europe. The process of globalization and the enormous transcontinental migration flows provoke significant social, cultural, identity, and religious changes. The main consequence of this phenomenon is that contemporary societies are increasingly plural, from the ethnic, cultural, and religious points of view. The sociological and anthropological analysis of the religious phenomenon, in the context of globalization, and the re-configuration of the economic and socio-cultural influences, corroborate the great importance that religion, through the massive migration of people, occupies in contemporary societies. Religion is particularly important when people/groups migrate. The unfavorable diaspora circumstances reinforce the sense of belonging and religion plays, in this context, a very important role in the maintenance of cultural, identity, linguistic, and religious singularities of the immigrants groups. Religion is also an important part of many flows and counter-flows of values, ideas, and social experiences that circulate between contemporary societies. In the worldwide and broader context of the contemporary religious phenomena, the Pentecostalism occupied an important position. Since the beginning, the Pentecostalism is characterized by geographical mobility: of believers, churches, and missionaries. From this religious movement emerged in Latin America, Brazil in particular, hundreds (or even thousands) of new Protestant evangelical churches and groups/communities related to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement. Regarding the current model of Pentecostal expansion, this occurs in line with migration diasporas (often following the same), starting from the emerging regions to the more advanced capitalist societies, constituting an important and contemporary global religious phenomenon. In this scenario, since the late 1980s, Brazil is one of the most important (if not the first one) 'exporting' country of the Pentecostal missionaries (Catholics and Evangelicals) to Europe, where, beyond the 'Brazilian ethnic boundary', develop proselytizing work with other immigrants and also national people. Our anthropological project aims precisely to study the dynamics and characteristics of this religious particular geographic mobility, a Pentecostal 'divine migration' from South to North, which is resulting in significant changes in the global religious landscape, creating thereby new 'spiritual geographies'. A common collaborative approach that aligns this international researchers' group is to study the religious similarities and differences between the exportation's cases of the Pentecostalism, Evangelical and Catholic, and how they are insert into the analytical perspective of 'reverse mission'; i.e., previously exporter of institutions and religious doctrines, Europe today is a fertile territory for missionary work. Arising from the evangelization work of the European Protestantism and the North American Pentecostalism, today the Latin American and Brazilian (neo)Pentecostal churches considered themselves as responsible for the important 'divine mission' of the (re)Christianization of Europe, which suffer a strong process of secularization/secularism. In relation to European Catholic context, with similar proselytizing strategy, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement has the mission of the spiritual revival of the Catholicism in the secularized Europe, where the Catholic Church has showed clear evidence of loss of followers and relative reduction of its social and religious influence. (AU)

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