The propagation of the catholic faith in Portuguese America, although formally the responsibility of Lusitanian kings and an attribute of ecclesiastical personnel, found in its brotherhoods, confraternities and third orders effective supporters and promoters. As spaces of religious experiences and sociability, those lay associations spread throughout the colonial territory. Although inspired by their counterparts in the Metropolis, they kept marked traces of originality, especially those organized and maintained by the majority black population of African origin. The brotherhoods of “colored men”, which were the most numerous, by reinterpreting Catholicism were an expression of the incorporation of those social segments into the white world and, at the same time, vehicles of cultural resistance.
Black catholicism; Brotherhoods; Ancien Régime; Regalism; Cultural resistance