Roman Catholic "CHURCH" losing market share

From ............. National Catholic Reporter

October 20, 1995

page 7

The Brazilian bishops plan to expand their television network, Rede Vida Television, to counteract the rapid growth and influence of evangelical sects in the country.

Bishop Ivo Lorscheider of Santa Maria was assigned to garner support and investments for the expansion.

Lorscheider is to meet with bishops across the country to convince them to collect funds for purchasing transmission relay equipment for their dioceses. The plan is for the dioceses to recoup their investments with revenue from advertisers.

The bishops' move is largely due to the growth of evangelical denominations, particularly the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus - Universal Church of God's Kingdom founded in 1993, which owns Record TV, a television network, 16 radio stations and a weekly newspaper with 1 million subscribers. Joao Batista Ramo da Silva, head of the evangelical church, said "if Jesus was among us today, he would not wear a robe and would not ride a donkey. .... He would have his own Boeing and purchase radio and television stations to spread his word as quickly as possible."

Some estimates say that in the past decade the Brazilian [Roman] Catholic Church lost one third of its followers to evangelical churches.

The Catholic Almanac shows a 2 percent decrease in the percentage of the Brazilians who are Catholic since 1985.