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Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America

Edited by Frances Hagopian

Publication Year: 2009

The Roman Catholic Church in Latin America faces significant and unprecedented challenges. Most prominent among them are secularization, globalizing cultural trends, intensifying religious competition, and pluralism of many kinds within what were once hegemonic Catholic societies. The substantial and original essays in this volume assess the ways in which the Catholic Church in Latin America is dealing with these political, religious, and social changes. Most importantly, they explore how democracy has changed the Catholic Church and, in turn, how religious changes have influenced democratic politics in Latin America. Drawing on the experiences of several countries to illustrate broad themes and explain divergent religious responses to common challenges, the contributors advance the notion that the Catholic Church's effectiveness in the public sphere and even its long-term viability as a religious institution depend on the nature and extent of the relationship between the hierarchy and the faithful. The essays address the context of pluralist challenges, the ideational, institutional, and policy responses of the Catholic hierarchy, and the nature of both religious beliefs and democratic values at the individual level in Latin America today.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. viii-x

List of Figures

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pp. xi-xii

List of Tables

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pp. xiv-xvi

List of Acronyms

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pp. xvii-xxi

Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xxiii-xxviii

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1 Introduction The New Landscape

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pp. 1-64

As the Roman Catholic Church enters its third millennium, its claims to universalism are both broader and shallower than at any time in recent history. On the one hand, the church has extended its reach from a...

Part I Pluralist Challenges to the Contemporary Catholic Church in Latin America: Institutions and Beliefs in a Context of Religious and Social Change

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pp. 65

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2 Cultural Change, Religion, Subjective Well-Being, and Democracy in Latin America

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pp. 67-95

This chapter argues that Latin America constitutes a distinctive global cultural region, characterized by strong emphasis on traditional values such as religion as well as free choice and self-expression, which is normally found in high-income societies. These attributes are conducive to...

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3 Cultural Change in Mexico atthe Turn of the Century The Secularization of Women’s Identity and the Erosion of the Authority of the Catholic Church

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pp. 127-161

In the last thirty years of the twentieth century Mexican society underwent a process of change that transformed the knowledge, attitudes, and values concerning social norms and hierarchies, the economy, political...

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4 Education and Increasing Religious Pluralism in Latin America

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pp. 131-182

At the end of the 1980s, according to some scholars, Latin America was becoming Protestant (Martin 1990; Stoll 1990). However, in the first decade of the twenty-first century the growth of evangelical churches has stopped, or at least their rate of growth has slowed. At the same time, it...

Part II Church Responses to Democratic and Religious Pluralism

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pp. 183

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5 With or Without the People The Catholic Church and Land-Related Conflicts in Brazil and Chile

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pp. 185-224

Land redistribution has been one of the most well-known and controversial popular causes embraced by the progressive wing within the Catholic Church in several Latin American countries since the 1950s.1 Although struggles over land concentration and rural poverty were muffled...

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6 The Changing Face of Religion in the Democratization of Mexico

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pp. 226-256

What is the role of different religions, churches, and individual believers in the long process of democratization in Mexico? How have relatively recent events changed the relationship between the secular state and religious institutions? In what manner has the process of democratization...

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7 Social Justice, Moral Values, or Institutional Interests? Church Responses to the Democratic Challenge in Latin America

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pp. 257-332

This chapter returns to the question posed in chapter 1: How is the Latin American Roman Catholic Church responding to the challenges of secularism and eroding religious hegemony in a context of democratic politics? Its aim is to propose a framework for understanding the responses of...

Part III The Church, Public Policy, and Democracy

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pp. 333

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8 Life, Liberty, and Family Values Church and State in the Struggle over Latin America’s Social Agenda

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pp. 335-364

Abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and HIV/AIDS pose challenges to the Roman Catholic Church and to the efforts of Latin American democracies to protect citizen rights. Ecclesiastical doctrine on these...

9 Religion and Public Spaces Catholicism and Civil Society in Peru

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pp. 396-402

Part IV Conclusions: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

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pp. 403

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10 Pluralism as Challenge and Opportunity

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pp. 405-428

The public face of religion in Latin America, and, in more general terms, the presence of religion in the public sphere and the social and political life of the continent, has changed beyond recognition over the last...

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11 The Catholic Church ina Plural Latin America Toward a New Research Agenda

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pp. 429-466

In May 2007 bishops and Vatican representatives gathered in Aparecida, Brazil, for the Fifth General Meeting of the Latin American Bishops’ Conference (Conferencia General del Episcopado Latinoamericano...

About the Contributors

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pp. 467-471


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pp. 472-498

E-ISBN-13: 9780268081614
E-ISBN-10: 0268081611
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268030872
Print-ISBN-10: 0268030871

Page Count: 536
Illustrations: Images removed; no digital rights
Publication Year: 2009