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Religion and Politics in Latin America

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Medellin Conference, 1968 (Pope Paul 6) Bishops conference to apply Vatican II to Latin America ... Medellin II Developments: Social injustice and structural ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Religion and Politics in Latin America


1
Religion and Politics in Latin America
2
Historical Role of Church
  • Conquest of the Americas
  • Reconquista as backdrop for conquest of
    Americas
  • Cross and sword

Archangel with a Matchlock Gun, Cuzco School,
17th c.
3
Excerpts from a requirimiento
4
  • Colonial Era
  • Religious instruction for native peoples on
    encomiendas
  • Jesuit missions (reducciones) to protect and
    educate indigenous groups, 1609-1767

5
  • Post-Colonial Era
  • Owned 50 of arable land at time of independence
  • Very conservative political force

6
Church Modernization, 1960s
  • Vatican II, 1962-65 (Pope John 23rd, Pope Paul
    VI)
  • Background to Vatican II

7
  • Response to new conditions
  • Ecumenism
  • Religious pluralism (esp. relationship with
    Judaism)
  • Church as a Pilgrim People of God
  • Rethinking of
  • Relations within Church
  • Churchs relationship with other institutions
  • Importance of lived experiences

8
  • Medellin Conference, 1968 (Pope Paul 6)
  • Bishops conference to apply Vatican II to Latin
    America
  • Background to Conference

José Chencho Alas, priest in Suchitoto, El
Salvador in 1970s (right)
9
  • Medellin II Developments
  • Social injustice and structural violence declared
    sinful
  • Liberation Theology (content and method)
  • --Liberation through education, questioning
  • --Consciousness-raising techniques of educator
    Paulo Freire

10
  • Puebla Conference, 1979 (John Paul II)
  • Background to meeting
  • Preferential option for the poor action to
    end injustice
  • Positive emphasis on Christian Base Communities
    (ecclesiastical base communities, CEBs)

11
Kireye (Carlos Mejia Godoy)
  • Christ, Jesus Christ
  • Identify yourself with us
  • Lord, Lord my God
  • Identify yourself with us
  • Christ, Jesus Christ
  • Show your solidarity
  • Not with the oppressing class
  • That now squeezes the community
  • But with the oppressed
  • With my people working for peace
  • Cristo, Cristo Jesús
  • Identifícate con nosotros
  • Señor, Señor mi dios
  • Identifícate con nosotros
  • Cristo, Cristo Jesús
  • Solidarízate
  • No con la clase opresora
  • Que exprime de hora la comunidad
  • Sino con el oprimido
  • Con el pueblo mío dentro de paz

12
Progressive Church in El Salvador
  • Archbishop
  • Oscar Romero,
  • 1977

13
Violence Against Salvadoran Church
  • Paramilitary Organizations
  • White Warriors Union (UGB)
  • ORDEN

14
State Violence Against Church
15
Investigation of crime scene (left)
  • 6 Jesuit priests and 2 other workers killed at
    University of Central America in San Salvador,
    1989 (right)

16
Contemporary Religion and Politics
  • Changes for role of religion in politics
  • Shift in Church leadership under John Paul II
  • Restoration of civilian rule throughout Latin
    America
  • Rise of protestantism in Latin America

17
Papacy of John Paul II, 1978-2005
  • More traditional and politically conservative
    Church
  • Staunch anti-communist

18
  • Redefining Church
  • At Vatican II, opposed definition of Church as
    Pilgrim People of God
  • For John Paul II, Church is an institution in
    which laity work under direction of hierarchy to
    achieve truth.
  • More traditional institutional authority patterns

19
  • Vatican Appointments
  • Cardinal Ratzinger, head of Vatican Congregation
    for the Doctrine of Faith, has critiqued
    liberation theology
  • Latin American hierarchies filled with
    traditionalists and conservatives (members of
    proto-fascist Opus Dei organization)
  • Seminaries preaching liberation theology closed

20
Demise of Military Regimes
  • 1970s-1980s
  • Advocate of human rights and social justice
  • Mediator between opposition parties and military
    governments
  • 1990s-present
  • Progressive stance on issues of poverty
    (charity), international debt, immigration
  • Church should limit itself to restoring faith

21
Rise of Protestantism
  • 15 of Latin American population
  • Greatest growth has been in Pentecostal and
    neo-Pentecostal groups,

22
Explanations for growth of Pentecostalism in LA
  • Evangelicals provide an ideology of personal
    improvement.
  • North American resources invested in Latin
    American missions

23
Impact of Pentecostalism on LA politics
  • Some will promote right-wing politics
  • Others not interested in political involvement
    Emphasis on salvation not matched with awareness
    of earthly responsibilities
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