Relationship between church and state in colonial latin america

Catholic Church in Latin America - Wikipedia

relationship between church and state in colonial latin america

economy of colonial Latin America does not simply give insight into Church . 14 ; Anthony Gill, “A Brief History of Church-State Relations,” Rendering Unto. colonial rule and since independence—the real objective of the state in its relationship to the Catholic Church in Latin America has been much the same, namely. References to other non-Christian religions in Latin America are also scarce, and the Christianity in Latin America and the intersection of the Church with colonial and . of the book's central theme, the relationship between Church and state.

In his political tract A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, he described the conquest as the sadistic brutality, torture, enslavement, or murder of indigenous peoples. He called on the king to restrain the conquest, reverse Indian slavery, and regulate Spanish-Indian relations. Spain's colonial rivals e. As Protestant northern Europe gained ascendancy over the Catholic south in global geopolitics, the influence of this text continued to grow, and its negative portrait of Spaniards and the church still colors popular perceptions in the twenty-first century.

relationship between church and state in colonial latin america

Religious leaders undertook efforts to restrain the conquistadors and colonists and to impose religious orthodoxy by instituting the Inquisition in Spain's possessions.

Because they were felt to have an incomplete understanding of religious doctrine, Indians, except in cases of bigamy and cannibalism, were not subject to the Inquisition. In its efforts to evangelize the Indians, and the arriving African slaves, the church utilized its most powerful symbols, frequently announcing new martyrs, saintly behavior, and miracles.

Catholic Church in Latin America

The most famous of these, the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, created an indigenously Mexican mythology in which an Indian, Juan Diego, was chosen by the Virgin to carry her message to a Spanish bishop. Doubters saw in this tale a ploy by church leaders to assist the evangelization process.

Albeit initially violent and only intermittently successful, these conversion strategies aimed at African and Indian populations, and the partially successful campaign for orthodoxy among the settlers did result in a continent that was, for the most part, fervently Catholic—although Catholicism itself was transformed in the process, as it integrated symbols, rituals, and imagery from pre-Colombian and African sources, and from New World ecologies.

Church-state relations in Latin America changed fundamentally under Spanish King Charles V —an enlightened monarchy who intended to establish a secular, efficient empire.

relationship between church and state in colonial latin america

The best-organized and funded challenge to his authority was led by members of the Jesuit order. In response, the king acted decisively to expel all Jesuits from Spain and its possessions in This provided a preview of the often-bitter anticlerical policies of government leaders influenced by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution over the next century. The Latin American colonies for the most part had achieved independence byand nearly all new regimes, whether republics or monarchies, attempted to restrict church influence in secular life by deamortizing church properties, limiting religious holidays, and abolishing clerical control of the civil registry, cemeteries, and separate courts.

Until the last decade of the century, Popes especially Leo IX — urged Catholics to reject these secular campaigns as threats to the church. In each of the Latin American nations, efforts to separate church and state resulted in civil strife, and often civil war.

Warfare continued from towhen Juarez's armies defeated the French, executed the emperor, and separated the church and state. Similar if less violent struggles took place throughout the region. Understanding the global context of the Catholic Church also facilitates deeper understanding of its politics, particularly for complex problems such as the Theology of Liberation movement 6which is explored in the final chapter of this book.

The examples given demonstrate the complexity of this tumultuous relationship. Lynch describes how the Church had to re-negotiate its position within the newly formed nations of Latin America, and how it had to act delicately within increasingly secular states.

The complexity of this 19th-century transformation provides an important historical backdrop to but by no means an apology for to the complicated Church-state relationship within the dictatorships and revolutions of the 20th century. If this book had been published months later it may have included the background of Francis I as a case study for religion in Argentina in the 20th century.

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Fortuitously, Lynch provides an exploration of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the state in Argentina during the Peron and post-Peron years, devoting most of chapter nine to this subject. Lynch then describes the disunion of these Catholics who were split between Conservative Catholics, Social Christians, and Progressive Catholics, reminding readers that the views of Catholics were as differentiated as the political context in which they found themselves.

Thus he surmises that the Argentinean Church was conflicted internally as well as externally on the eve of the military dictatorship. Diligently respecting variations across different national contexts, Lynch notes that in Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, and less consistently Bolivia, the Church did defend human rights and the progressive option for the poor.

The Church in Colonial Latin America - Latin American Studies - Oxford Bibliographies

This issue has now entered the global Catholic discourse, since it cast a shadow over the election of Francis I, even as he selected a name that demonstrated his commitment to the poor.

Lynch delineates the specific context which generated the unfortunate muteness of the Catholic Church during the dirty war in Argentina. He explains that one reason for the historic silence of the Church in Argentina in the wake of the sequester, torture, exile, and assassination of bishops, priests, religious, and laypeople, could be the role of the military chaplains, which further complicated the relationship between the Church and the military dictatorship. The strength of New Worlds lies in its historicisation of the complex relationship between Church and state, and the variations of this relationship in different times and across different regions of Latin America.

The attention paid to the Argentinean context, will doubtless be of increased interest to Church historians today.

relationship between church and state in colonial latin america

The book does not specifically provide an intellectual history of the varieties of beliefs which met and mixed in the Latin American context, and nor does it attempt to construct genealogies of belief across this time frame. Instead it provides a broad contextualisation of the Catholic Church in Latin America, in order to depict the religious cultures it established amongst the Latin American populations, and to consider the challenges it faced historically. Examples of these challenges are provided across the subject period, including the struggles against Amerindian religious practices in the 16th century, the entanglement of the Church with the colonial state, the expulsion of the Jesuits in the Early Modern period, and the struggle for the Church to negotiate its position during independence and in the context of dictatorships and revolution.

Its strength lies in its case-study approach to Church-state relations and its ability to illustrate the differentiation of these relations across the political regions of Latin America within this broad timeframe. The book provides an important introduction to Latin America and its religious history, and provides a framework for future studies.

Notes The Church in Latin America, —, ed.

relationship between church and state in colonial latin america

Enrique Dussel Tunbridge Wells, It was perhaps more complex than the early Spanish Conquistadors realized. Where the indigenous people were weak, was in their inability to physically combat exposure to European disease, or the sheer numbers of Spanish who continue to pour onto the continent from Europe.

In this way, the Spanish colonization of Latin America was not so different than that experienced by Native Americans in North America. However, unlike the Native Americans of North America, South American indigenous people were not aware of one another as social groupslargely because of the vast space between them, and the nature of the terrain that made becoming aware of one another much more unlikely than did the terrain of the plains and more open spaces of North America Lockhart and Schwartz, Therefore, when the Spanish began arriving in South America in large numbers, the individual indigenous societies were poorly numbered to deal with the overwhelming presence of the Spanish Lockhart and Schwartz, Immediately upon successful conquest of the indigenous peoples, the Spanish set about establishing cities and especially ports that could receive goods, and, of course, more people Lockhart and Schwartz, Certainly the Catholic Church, which was intricately woven into the Spanish society, was transferred to the new cities.

Building churches were a priority, because it was necessary to indoctrinate the indigenous peoples as rapidly as possible into the Spanish culture. Catholicism replaced the indigenous people's belief in monotheism and paganism. The expansion of the Spanish cities and social areas of influence spread with the discovery of natural resources that helped create interest in specific locations Lockhart and Schwartz, Into the Spanish cities of the central areas, the moment their wealth was evident, there began to pour hundreds and then thousands of immigrants, including all the elements of Spanish civil society: Except for the women, the immigrants were types similar to those who had carried out the conquests, and in fact the newcomers were primarily the conquerors' relatives and fellow townsmen, drawn by promises of help and tales of opportunity.

Like immigrants of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, both the conquerors and those who came after them wrote letters home, telling an attractive mixture of lies and truth about available jobs and wealth. Some of the richest of the conquerors and early migrants returned home to Spain, where their stories and ostentatious displays convinced those around them to follow their example. This transatlantic movement of nephew following uncle, townsman following townsman, continued across the entire span of the colonial period Lockhart and Schwartz, However, the Church spread more out into the rural areas in a way that the appointed official's network of control did not.

The Church took on an increasingly political role in the colonization of South America Turner, Frederich,3. This, historian Frederich Turner says, would come as a surprise to people whose understanding of the Catholic Church as a political body as synonymous with its Christian mission is disjointed, and who perceived the Church as a religious body without political affiliation Turner, 3.