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Augras, Monique (2009)
Publisher: Association française des anthropologues
Languages: French
Types: Article
Subjects: âmes du purgatoire, cultes brésiliens, dévotions populaires, magie, rapports avec l'au-del, Brazilian cults, magic, popular religious devotions, relations with the beyond, souls of purgatory
La dévotion aux âmes du purgatoire est particulièrement vive à Rio de Janeiro. A peu près tolérée par l’Église catholique, elle réunit, chaque lundi, un nombre assez considérable de personnes qui viennent prier, allumer un cierge et déposer diverses offrandes afin de se ménager l’appui des « âmes » pour résoudre les problèmes les plus pressants. A la différence des saints du paradis, dont les vertus les éloignent peut-être du commun des gens, la dévotion aux âmes semble s’appuyer sur une nette identification: elles souffrent ou ont souffert comme tout un chacun, ce qui, en principe, doit les amener à aider leurs dévots. Cette proximité, toutefois, n’empêche pas qu’elles soient perçues comme dépositaires de pouvoirs ténébreux qui font que les dévots, tout en demandant leur appui, multiplient les moyens magiques de s’en protéger. Religious devotion to the souls of purgatory is particularly strong in Rio de Janeiro. More or less tolerated by the Catholic Church, it brings together every Monday a quite considerable number of people who come to pray, light a candle and leave various offerings in order to receive the support of the « souls » for the resolution of their most urgent problems. Unlike the Heavenly saints, whose virtues perhaps distance them from ordinary people, religious devotion to the souls appears to be based on a clear identification: they are suffering or have suffered like everyone else, something which, in principle, should lead them to help their devotees. This proximity, however, does not prevent them from being perceived as the possessors of dark powers which means that at the same time as they ask for their support, the devotees repeatedly resort to magical means to protect themselves against them.
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