Papes, Saints et Concurrence religieuse

CAMBRIDGE – L'élection du premier pape non-européen était attendue depuis longtemps. Après tout, la région natale du Pape François, l’Amérique latine, abrite actuellement près de la moitié (44%) des catholiques du monde entier. Mais l'Eglise catholique perd de plus en plus de terrain sur la concurrence protestante, dans ce continent comme ailleurs.

Il suffit de regarder les statistiques. L'évangélisme est la religion qui connait la plus forte croissance dans le monde en terme de conversions – une tendance qui sous-tend la forte expansion du protestantisme en Amérique latine, de tradition catholique. Les protestants en Amérique latine ne représentaient que 2,2% de la population en 1900, mais 16,4% en 2010 ; leur croissance se faisant essentiellement au détriment des catholiques, dont la part dans la population est passée de 90,4% à 82,3%.

L'Eglise catholique comprend cette concurrence, mais est confrontée à une pénurie chronique de prêtres. En conséquence, la création de saints est devenue un moyen important pour conserver les fidèles.

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