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Despite the overwhelming Catholic majorities in most countries in South America, the populations across the continent maintain adherence to a variety of alternative religious traditions, including Amerindian, African, Spiritualist, and folk traditions. Brazil, for instance, besides being the world's largest Catholic country, is the world's most Kardecist country (it has the most followers of spiritual doctrines promulgated in the 19th century by Allan Kardec). In the decades at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st, the religious map of South America has been further enriched by the presence of new religions. The novel aspect of such groups is the way in which they expand rapidly or suddenly attain visibility; in addition, many of these groups have a major presence in the ...

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