Date: Thursday, March 8, 2018
Location: Boardroom, St. Joseph's College
Presenter: Dr. Andrew Chesnut
One of the major reasons why a Latin American was elected the first pope from the New World almost five years ago is the long-term decline of the flock in the most Catholic region on earth. Just five decades ago, in 1970, Latin America was 92% Catholic. Mexicans, Argentines and Brazilians, for example, were born into the Church and lived out their lives as Catholics, although most of them were not regular churchgoers. However, after a half-century of precipitous decline, Latin America, home to 39% of the world’s 1.3 billion faithful, will no longer be majority Catholic by 2030. A new survey by the Chilean polling firm Latinobarómetro finds Latin America now to be only 59 per cent Catholic, down from 80 per cent in 1995. Professor Chesnut will explore the rapidly shifting Latin American religious landscape and analyze the major trends of pentecostalization, pluralization, and the rise of the religious nones.
Dr. Andrew Chesnut earned his Ph.D degree in Latin American History from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1995 and joined the History Department at the University of Houston in 1997. He quickly became an internationally recognized expert on Latin American religious history. Professor Chesnut was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Bishop Walter Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008.
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Light refreshments will be available.