RIO DE JANEIRO —
"I saw people who I know are evangelicals, people from my own church out there waiting for the pope and screaming and crying when the pope came by. I must say I was a bit surprised," said Matos, who has struggled to provide for her two children since the sudden death of her husband two years ago. "But for however charismatic the pope is, I don't think you're going to see a lot of people going back to the fold. Anyone who does end up leaving the evangelical churches was probably having doubts and would probably have left anyway."
A self-defined "lapsed evangelical," Edna Idarrah Correa said she would be shocked to learn that even a single member of any of Varginha's evangelical congregations left because of the pope.
"I know from experience, having broken with the church, just how hard it is to leave," said the 25-year-old makeup artist, who shares her narrow cement-block home with her non-practicing Catholic husband. "At the end of the day, the fact that you find the pope nice is just not going to be enough motivation for anyone to go through the work of leaving the church."
The visit might not even have sufficed to get Catholics back to Mass regularly.
Retired construction worker Cinesio Francisco said that though it was exciting to see the pope in person, he wasn't planning on going to church for anything more than the odd family baptism, first communion or wedding.
"Seeing the pope is something I'll always remember," said the 63-year-old, pausing to sell a homemade kite to boys in flip-flops and shorts. "But that's really about it."