On Tuesday, May 21, Brazil's conservative President Jair Bolsonaro participated in a ceremony at the presidential palace where government officials, clergy, and two bishops consecrated Brazil -- the largest country in South America with 135 million Catholics and 46 million Protestants -- to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to ask for divine protection. The ceremony was also held as an act of reparation, a public call for God's forgiveness and mercy.
A proclamation of the national consecration was signed by President Bolsonaro, Cabinet Minister Floriano Peixoto, National Deputy Eros Biondini, Bishop Fernando Areas Rifa, and Bishop emeritus Joao Evangelista Martins Terra of Brasilia, reported LifeSiteNews.
Druing the ceremony at the presidential palace, attendees prayed, sang, and followed along as the consecration was read aloud.
"Brazil recognizes the presence of God," said Bishop Areas.
National Deputy Biodini said, "We are doing this for Brazil, for our love of our nation." This is a "simple gesture of faith and love," he added, "which is of great importance not only for Catholics but for all of Brazil."
Pro-life advocates at the ceremony held signs that read, "Brazil is Alive: No Abortion," reported LifeSiteNews.
Bishop Areas heads the Personal Apostolic Administration of St. Jean Marie Vianney, based in Campos, Brazil. It is a traditional center that offers the Mass in the (Latin) Tridentine Rite, which the Catholic Church offered prior to 1965. The Apostolic Administration was established by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
Cabinet Minister Peixoto said, "This space and all our public buildings are places in which the Christian faith is professed. ... May God illuminate everyone so that we can achieve our goals of lifting up fellow citizens and bringing to our children, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and cousins, a better and more just condition for everyone.”
President Bolsonaro is Catholic and his wife is an evangelical Protestant. Conservative Catholics and Protestants were vital to Bolsonaro's election in 2018; he took office in January of this year.
In a speech in 2017, Bolsonaro said, "God above everything. There is no such thing as a secular state. The state is Christian, and any minority that is against this has to change, if they can."