In this paper we explore data on Catholicism from the 2010 census in Brazil, as well as other data from the Center for Religious Statistics and Social Investigation. Using these statistics, we question those arguments that explain the reduction in the number of Catholics in Brazilian society as a problem in the institution’s adaptation in response to the challenges of evangelization, or as a lack of ministerial vocations to meet the religious demands of the people. Pursuing an alternative argument, we consider the weakening of the relationship between the Catholic institution and traditional popular Catholicism to be a fundamental aspect of this decline.



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