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"Brotherhoods Throw More Weight around Than the Pope": Catholic Traditionalism and the Lay Brotherhoods of Brazil

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Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, lay brotherhoods have played a vital role in the local community of São João del-Rei (Minas Gerais, Brazil). Today twelve irmandades, confrarias, and ordens terceiras continue to organize their own feasts, Masses, processions, and novenas. Most of them have private churches and cemeteries. Every catholic — man, woman or child — may become a member of one or more brotherhoods. If fact, almost everyone is. Not all the brotherhoods' members are equally devoted to their sodality, but the funerals and big religious feasts attract nearly everyone. In this descriptive article it will be shown that, owing to the meaning people attach to these events, the local brotherhoods have become strong opponents of the reformist tendencies of the clergy. Albeit with a changed meaning, the religious traditions represented by the lay associations still play an important role in the community of today.
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... É claro que o poder econômico das elites influenciou o espaço urbano muito mais do que as pessoas pobres o fizeram: as primeiras vêm construindo igrejas católicas desde os tempos coloniais, estando ainda predominantemente conectadas ao catolicismo. A classe média emergente nas cidades brasileiras na primeira metade do século XX aliou-se ao catolicismo (Owensby, 1999), e de 1930 em diante a Igreja buscou a participação das classes média e alta no movimento Ação Católica, organizando eventos tais como Congressos Eucarísticos (Theije, 1999a(Theije, , 2002. Entre muitas outras coisas, a religião pode ser entendida como oferecendo identidade às pessoas na cidade. ...
... Há uma ligação estreita entre os desenvolvimentos religiosos no Brasil e na vida citadina. No desenvolvimento histórico da vida religiosa no Brasil, as confrarias urbanas foram de grande importância, uma vez que a Igreja Católica institucional era parcamente organizada por volta dos séculos XVI e XVII (Theije, 1990). Na época da ocupação holandesa no nordeste do Brasil, o catolicismo no Recife e em tantas outras cidades brasileiras estava largamente organizado em confrarias religiosas que estruturavam não apenas o calendário das festas de seus santos padroeiros, mas também a paisagem urbana através da construção de igrejas (Mello, 1987Boxer, 1993. ...
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