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Latin American Religions Essay

What are some major attributes of Latin American Catholicism? Identify and describe at least two distinctions and include how they are distinct from Catholicism elsewhere.

The Central American War had changed the priorities of the Catholic Church in Latin America. In the 1980’s, the clergy’s had decided to go against the Catholic Church mainly the Vatican despite the various threats, and began to help the poor which were struggling for their equality and their rights. The Catholic activism was in support of the change; however, it did influence guerilla movements in certain parts of Latin America such as Nicaragua, Salvador, Guatemala. This had introduced moral and spiritual justification. “Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, a wing of the church surfaced as a powerful ideological force in the struggle to end authoritarian regimes,” (Meade, T., 2010).

In what ways have African religions influenced Latin American Catholicism?

“Latinos are comprised of a great conglomeration of ethnicities, traditions, and customs, which are traditionally, expressed by a common language (Spanish) and religion (Catholocism). For instance, Latin American values and traditions received a great influence from Catholicism and indigenous beliefs. Similarly, African traditions also permeated the Latin American culture, especially in the Caribbean region. This unique syncretism between Catholicism, and indigenous and African traditions allowed the survival of folk traditions, which led to the creation of several healing approaches,” (www.egochicagoschools.com, 2012).

Should Latin American Catholicism be considered polytheistic? Why or why not?

There are various polytheistic religions that are practiced today. Many of the religions today outside of Catholicism believe in more than one God. However, the Catholics believe in one God and one God only. I do think the Catholicism needs to be consistent meaning the Catholicism that is being practices within Latin American needs to be the same everywhere else. Once others start to deviate from Catholicism then it begins to start a new religion and moves away from the beliefs of the Catholicism. Only the Vatican may assess and make changes within the Catholic Religions. How have churches fostered or hindered social changes in Latin America? After the civil war, Latin Americans had turned to other religions. For over 500 years, many Latin Americans were considered loyal to the Catholic religions.

However, it quickly turned to be a stronghold to Protestants. In the Liberation area other religions had developed such as Evangelical and Pentecostal. These religions are very different from the Catholicism. These religions speak in tongue, rely on baptism, accept the Holy Spirit, and emotional rituals. With these new religions developing the social changes in Latin America does provide a much broader outlook on their beliefs. There are various groups or community gatherings within the particular religion. Each religion unites and brings together their faith and social aspects within their own community. How has Protestantism spread in Latin America in the past? Is it different than the factors that are promoting the current growth in Protestantism in this region? How and why?

The Protestantism had spread in Latin America in the past due to the fact of various discrepancies within the Catholic Religion. For instance, in 1980’s, the Guatemalan’s had begun to change their beliefs and lean more to the Protestants. This was proven in 2005, when a massive amount of members of the Catholic Church had begun to leave the church as rapid growth. The new leading religion was the Pentecostal church. Many of the new religions were still created by using the Catholic religion as their foundation.

Reference:
A History of Modern Latin America. 1800 to the Present, Meade, T., 2010 http://ego.thechicagoschool.edu/s/843/index.aspx?sid=843&gid=3&pgid=760


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