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Religious Politics in Latin America, Pentecostal vs. Catholic
     

Religious Politics in Latin America, Pentecostal vs. Catholic

by Brian H. Smith
 

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Brian H. Smith's book surveys recent religious and political developments in Latin American Christianity, especially in the rapidly growing Pentecostal churches and in Catholicism.  He finds that despite efforts by the Vatican to make the Latin American Church less involved in politics (in the wake of liberation theology) by the papal appointment of a

Overview


Brian H. Smith's book surveys recent religious and political developments in Latin American Christianity, especially in the rapidly growing Pentecostal churches and in Catholicism.  He finds that despite efforts by the Vatican to make the Latin American Church less involved in politics (in the wake of liberation theology) by the papal appointment of a whole new generation of conservative bishops since 1980, Catholicism is still very much a political force throughout the region.
 
Catholic bishops, in spite of their conservative religious ideology, have felt obligated to preach the social doctrine of the Church and have vigorously denounced new economic models for enriching a minority of the population at the cost of the majority who are poor. Bishops also have denounced corruption in governments that has grown to epidemic proportions in recent years, and have strongly opposed legislative proposals that are anti-Catholic. Regardless of these efforts by Catholic prelates to maintain government support for the Church's institutions and its traditional moral concerns in law, Protestantism—especially in Pentecostal denominations among low-income sectors—has grown at a significant rate in the past twenty years.

Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs

“An excellent introduction to one of the most important but understudied aspects of contemporary Latin American life.”
Christian Century

“Smith’s deft and judicious study covers a remarkable breadth of recent research on this topic.”
Religious Studies Review

“A compact yet very competent summary and critical evaluation of recent literature on religion, society, and politics in [Latin America], highlighting competing explanations of Protestant growth and Catholic retrenchment. This book is highly recommended for undergraduate and graduate students seeking a solid introduction to the subject.”
Booknews
The author surveys the literature on the reasons for Pentecostal growth and Catholic retrenchment in Latin America and assesses the socioeconomic and political implications of these religious changes for democratic governments, many of which follow upon a decade or more of military rule in their respective societies. He argues that although a coalition between the two groups could have a strong impact on public policy, the differences in their political agendas could complicate the debate in the years ahead. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780268016623
Publisher:
University of Notre Dame Press
Publication date:
10/28/1998
Series:
Kellogg Institute for International Studies
Pages:
126
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author


Brian H. Smith holds the Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Chair in Religion, Ethics, and Values at Ripon College, Wisconsin.  He is the author of More Than Altruism: The Politics of Private Foreign Aid   (1990) and is co-author of The Catholic Church and Democracy in Chile and Peru (Notre Dame Press, 1997).

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