The Holy See (Vatican City State)
Being home to the largest catholic population in the world, Brazil has always maintained a close relationship with the Holy See. Considering that the first Brazilian envoy to the papal court arrived in Rome in 1826, the Brazilian Embassy to the Holy See is certainly among the oldest Brazilian legations abroad.
More recently, dialogue between Brazil and the Holy See has focused in themes such as fighting hunger and poverty, promotion of Human Rights, development aid, the environment, international peace and security, disarmament, non-proliferation and refugees. In many of those themes, there is a significant convergence of positions between the Brazilian Government and the Vatican.
In 2008, an Agreement on the Legal Statute of the Catholic Church in Brazil was signed, consolidating rules for the actions of the Church in the country. The main objective of the Agreement is to confer to the relations between Brazil and the Holy See reinforced legal security, always in compliance with the secular nature of the Brazilian state and Constitution . The agreement has been in force since 2010.
Brazil has already received five visits from Popes: three from John Paul II (1980, 1991 and 1997), one from Benedict XVI (2007) and, in july 2013, the first travel outside Italy of Pope Francis, on the occasion of the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian Presidents have regularly visited the Vatican. Over the last twenty years, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso did so three times (1997, 1999 and 2002); President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, twice (2005 and 2008); and President Dilma Rousseff attended the inaugural Mass of the pontificate of Francis, in March, 2013, and the Consistory for the creation of new cardinals, in 2014.
Chronology of Bilateral Relations
1824 – The first Brazilian Constitution formalizes the system of Patronage, according to which Catholicism becomes the official religion of the Brazilian Empire.
1826 – Monsignor Francisco Corrêa Vidigal, Plenipotentiary sent by Dom Pedro I, presents credential letters to Pope Leo XII
1862 – Agreement on Apostolic Missions between Indigenous peoples, by exchange of notes, dated October 28th.
1872-1875 – The "Religious Question”, regarding the power of appointing bishops, affects the relationship between the Church and the Empire
1891 – The first republican Constitution establishes the separation between the State and the Church and the freedom of worship
1919 – The Brazilian representation before the Holy See is elevated to the status of Embassy
1934 – First visit of a State Secretary of the Vatican to the country, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, future Pope Pius XII
1980 – John Paul II is the first Pope to visit Brazil
1985 –President-elect Tancredo Neves visits Pope John Paul II
1986 – Visit of President José Sarney to Pope John Paul II
1990 – Visit of President Fernando Collor to Pope John Paul II
1991 – Second travel of John Paul II to Brazil
1997 – President Fernando Henrique Cardoso makes the first State visit of a Brazilian President to the Holy See.
1997 – Third travel of John Paul II to Brazil, in the context of the 2nd World Meeting for Families, in Rio de Janeiro
2005 – First visit of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the Vatican, to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II
2007 – Pope Benedict XVI visits Brazil and opens the 5th Latin American Episcopal Conference
2008 – Visit of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the Vatican. Signature of the Agreement on the Legal Statute of the Catholic Church in Brazil (November)
2013 – First visit of President Dilma Rousseff to the Vatican, to participate in the Inaugural Mass of Pope Francis I (March)
2013 – First visit of Pope Francis I to Brazil, on the occasion of the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro (July)
2014 – President Dilma Rousseff attends, at the Vatican, the Consistory for the creation of new cardinals, including the Brazilian Dom Orani Tempesta. (February)
2014 – Visit of Vice-President Michel Temer and President of Congress Renan Calheiros to Rome for the canonization mass of Father José de Anchieta, presided by Pope Francis (April)