Skip to content

Proclaiming Christ in the Amazon

Interview With Bishop Castriani

TEFE, Brazil, JULY 27, 2006 (Zenit) - Sergio Eduardo Castriani is no stranger to the jungle.

He is the bishop of the Tefe Prelature, which extends over an area the size of mainland Italy and is located in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon region.

In this excerpt of his interview with us, Bishop Castriani, 52, speaks of the beauty and challenges of being the head of this jurisdiction.

In general, the population lives on the banks of the rivers that flood during the rainy season. They are descendants of the rubber workers and chestnut sellers. About three-quarters of the 215,000 inhabitants are Catholic, served by 14 priests.

Q: How is Jesus Christ and the Church's message presented to the natives?

Bishop Castriani: Virtually all the native groups already have or have had for centuries contact with the Church; that is, the Church is not just arriving there now.

With very rare exceptions, these native groups, including the nomads, who are also the most isolated, have already had contact with the Church. This contact has come about through an evangelization which at times has been a bit hasty, through sacramentalization and through devotions.

Because of this, the majority of the native groups are Catholic in the sense that they have been baptized. They have Catholic devotions and feel themselves part of the Church. A work of evangelization is being carried out with them, taking into account their identity and history, but it is an endeavor of evangelization to deepen the faith, that is, to believe in Jesus Christ and at the same time to continue to be natives, preserving their culture.

It is different with those who still have their traditional religion. They are groups in which people approach the Church with respect but with an attitude of dialogue. And dialogue presupposes that I am truly very convinced of what I believe, but that I respect that which the other believes.

It is, in the first place, a dialogue of life, that is, of coexistence, of humanly respecting one another and then, little by little, of revealing their own interior, creed, and of not having papers written ahead of time.

That is, when one enters into dialogue, one does not know what point will be reached, because if dialogue is to convince the other to adhere to one's own faith, then it isn't dialogue, it is proselytism. Only God knows where dialogue will end, and it is he who knows how much time will be necessary.

Q: What is the situation of sects in the Amazon? Is there concern?

Bishop Castriani: It is a concern as it is in the rest of Brazil. I think that in the Amazon the presence is less compared to other areas of Brazil. Although many have abandoned the Church, not all have; they are not the majority.

Moreover, our communities and churches are full; we have much work in the Amazon, the Church is very alive, with many young people, many guides; people want to study, to learn, to participate.

There is also a vocational movement that is beginning to work very well. It is a paradoxical situation, in the sense that there is an invasion of these religious movements but there is also a great rebirth in the Catholic Church.

It is difficult to know where it will end, but I don't believe in a conquest of the Amazon by Protestant churches and Pentecostalism, I believe this has a limit. However, all the Pentecostal churches look to the Amazon; they invest, send people and have a plan to conquer the area.


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Christ, Amazon, Castriani, Brazil

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.