The Catholic Afro Mass and the Dance of Eurocentrism in Brazil

John Burdick

in Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195149180
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835386 | DOI:
The Catholic Afro Mass and the Dance of Eurocentrism in Brazil

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Since the late 1970s, the progressive wing of the Catholic Church in Brazil has worked in solidarity with that country's black movement to formulate practices to advance the cause of anti-racism. In particular, the Church has sought to dismantle white supremacy and Eurocentrism by creating an inculturated liturgy, known as the “Afro-Mass,”inspired by the Afro-Brazilian religion of candomble. This chapter assesses this effort at cultural politics and concludes that it unwittingly reproduces the very structures of Eurocentrism it seeks to destabilize. The essay thus contributes to the literature that evaluates the outcomes of social movements.

Keywords: Catholic Church; Brazil; Black movement; anti-racism; white supremacy; Eurocentrism; Afro-Mass; inculturated mass; Afro-Brazilian; candomble; cultural politics; social movements

Chapter.  9527 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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