The Church and Politics in Chile

The Church and Politics in Chile: Challenges to Modern Catholicism

Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 386
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  • Book Info
    The Church and Politics in Chile
    Book Description:

    Clarifying the growing role of the Latin American Catholic Church as an agent of social change, Brian H. Smith discusses the prophetic function of the Chilean Church during the country's metamorphosis from Conservative to Christian Democratic to Marxist to repressive military regime.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5697-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. PART I: Ideological and Institutional Dynamics of the Roman Catholic Church
    • 1 Changes and Challenges in Post-Vatican II Catholicism
      (pp. 3-15)

      Classical theorieson the role of religion in Western society elaborated in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by Spencer, Durkheim, Marx, Weber, and Malinowski all concluded that religion, while sometimes a revolutionary element, is normally a conservative force in the process of social change.¹ The Roman Catholic Church at the time these theories were being articulated provided much evidence to justify their conclusion. Since the sixteenth century, the Church had fought against the erosion of its spiritual and temporal power precipitated by the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French and Industrial Revolutions, Marxism, and the emergence of the secular nation-state....

    • 2 The Church as a Complex Religious Organization
      (pp. 16-64)

      Since 1960,major changes have occurred at the official level of the Roman Catholic Church. The successive papacies of John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II, the convocation of the first ecumenical council in nearly a century, and several international meetings of bishops, all have produced a series of documents signalling a new direction for the Church.

      Unlike the First Vatican Council (1869-1870) which was preoccupied with protecting the Church’s authority and property against rising tides of nationalism, anticlericalism, and revolutionary ferment sweeping through mid-nineteenth century Europe, Vatican II (1962-1965) met in the context of a very different world....

  6. PART II: The Church and Socioeconomic Reform
    • 3 Separation of the Church from Traditional Structural Alliances: Chile, 1920–1935
      (pp. 67-85)

      Until this centurythe Catholic Church officially opposed the separation of Church and state. From the time of Constantine through the Reformation period, Catholicism was the officially established religion in all of Europe. Close union between spiritual and temporal authority was legitimized in official Church teaching throughout the Middle Ages as part of God’s plan.¹ Even after the breakdown of unity in Christendom in the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church continued to espouse the doctrine of union as a protection for itself against the antireligious sentiments and objectives of liberal movements. As late as 1885 Pope Leo XIII in his...

    • 4 The Incubation of Social Catholicism: Chile, 1935–1958
      (pp. 86-105)

      Official extricationof the Church from traditional alliances is only a starting point. New challenges emerge, however, in shifting ecclesiastical resources to a position of support for movements espousing wider social participation and more equitable distribution of income. The next three chapters will focus on these challenges, using the Chilean experience to analyze the interactions between Church and society that can resolve them. The following questions of theoretical and practical import will be addressed:

      (1) How do new combinations of religious values favoring political and economic reforms actually emerge? Under what conditions can they have a significant impact for change...

    • 5 The Rise of Christian Reformism: Chile, 1958–1964
      (pp. 106-125)

      Between 1958 and 1964there were dramatic shifts in the Chilean political system. During this six-year period there was growing dissatisfaction among salary and wage earners with the economic policies of the Alessandri government. These imposed cuts in public expenditures, provided incentives for private domestic and foreign investors, and prevented wage increases from keeping pace with inflation. Such policies pleased industrialists and financiers, but damaged the purchasing power of middle and low income sectors. As a result opposition parties on the Left and Center made considerable electoral gains in the 1961 congressional and 1963 municipal elections. The Communists and Socialists...

    • 6 The Apex and Decline of Christian Democracy: Chile, 1964–1970
      (pp. 126-162)

      The literatureon the Frei Administration is substantial, and interpretations on the extent of reform vary according to the ideological perspective of the authors. Most critics, however, are in agreement that during the first three years significant advances were made in lowering inflation and unemployment, expanding agrarian reform and unionization, increasing tax collections and public ownership of basic resources, improving services in health, education, and housing, and encouraging wider participation in social and political organizations among the poor.¹

      All of these programs, however, created serious problems for the administration in Congress on both the Right and the Left. Conservatives and...

  7. PART III: Christian-Marxist Rapprochement
    • 7 Church-State Coexistence during the Chilean Popular Unity Government
      (pp. 165-229)

      Thus farwe have focused on challenges to modern Catholicism in political situations where the religious mission of the Church is respected and where it is permitted to play a formative role in public policy. Very different problems face the Church in Marxist-dominated political systems. Where the ideology of government calls into question the validity of religion, Catholicism historically has been a significant source of opposition to the regime rather than a positive force contributing to socialist objectives.

      Since mid-nineteenth century, both Marxism and Catholicism have ruled out the possibility of long-term coexistence. Marx denied the validity of religion’s transcendent...

    • 8 Christian-Marxist Synthesis: Internal Church Dynamics during the Allende Years
      (pp. 230-280)

      The other challengeof rapprochement is a synthesis between the values and strategies proper to each system. For Marxists this is not a critical question since they do not accept the transcendental claims of religious faith. They believe religion will pass away when the classless society is established and the reasons that give rise to religion have disappeared. Christians, however, whose religious faith motivates them to combine a belief in a life after death with a desire to make life on earth more humane, have shown considerable interest in this issue. In fact, some have made efforts to use aspects...

  8. PART IV: The Prophetic Role of the Church under Authoritarianism
    • 9 The Church and the Chilean Military Regime, 1973–1980
      (pp. 283-356)

      The final majorreligiopolitical challenge facing Catholicism that needs to be analyzed in order to complete the assessment of the range of the Church’s adaptive capacities in a modern context is its recently announced commitment to oppose abuses of public power by repressive governments. This perhaps is the most difficult and complex of the problems confronting the post-Vatican II Church, given the ambiguous historical relationships the institution has traditionally maintained with authoritarian and totalitarian states.

      Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Catholic Church forged alliances with several authoritarian governments in Europe, and identified with many of their values and...

  9. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 357-376)
  10. Index
    (pp. 377-383)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 384-384)