According to a recent news story, Pentecostalism […] is more dominant in South America than Catholicism.
No, it is not.
It’s just growing.
Protestantism is 15% on average and pentecostalism is a subset.
Arguably the terms religion and South America are oxymorons!
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco discusses the wondrous mixtures of catholicism, pentecostalism, African and Caribbean religions that are very common!
CHRISTIANITY IN AFRICA
Jesus in the Morning, Voodoo in the Evening
By Thilo Thielke
The old natural religions continue to thrive in Africa. While Christianity and Islam vie for supremacy in many countries, they have failed to banish the rain gods and spirits south of the Sahara. Frequently the pagan rites have fused with a faith in Jesus Christ.
Do you realize how great the second and third centuries after Christ were? Not because of the pomp of the empire in its sunset but because of what was burgeoning in the Mediterranean basin then. In Rome the Praetorians were slaughtering their emperors, but in the Mediterranean area there flourished the epoch of Apuleius, the mysteries of Isis, and the great return to spirituality: Neoplatonism, gnosis. Blissful times, before the Christians seized power and began to put heretics to death. A splendid epoch, in which dwelled the nous, a time dazzled by ecstasies and peopled with presences, emanations, demons and angelic hosts….
Our meeting with the abbess of the terrario was calm, cordial, civilised and rich in folklore. She was a big black woman with a dazzling smile. At first you would have said she was a housewife, but when she began talking I understood how women like this could rule the cultural life of Salvador.
“Are the orixas people or forces.” The mae de santo answered that they were forces….but how did she prevent ordinary people from seeing them as warriors, women, saints of the Catholic Church? ….”Its even more complicated in an umbanda. saint Anthony and Saints Cosmas and Damian are part of the Oxala line. Sirens, water nymhs, caboclas of the sea and the rivers, sailors and guiding stars are par of the Yemanja line.