The Catholic church and politics in Colombia: a shifting foundation
Estrem, David J.
Bruneau, Thomas C.
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Recent research reveals a precipitous decrease in Catholic adherents across Latin America. Since 1970, numerous Latin Americans have professed a shift to Protestantism. Scholars have analyzed this trend within certain countries and as a regional tendency, but have not comprehensively addressed the Colombian case. Colombia is often considered the most Catholic of Latin American countries, with the Church historically much enmeshed in national politics. This thesis evaluates shifts in identified Colombian Catholics, the emergence of Protestantism, and other religious phenomena during three key historical epochs since 1930. Given Catholicism’s historical bond with politics and society, these trends are meaningful for the future of Colombian politics. While this thesis reaches some conclusions regarding future Colombian religious-political dynamics, its major contribution is its synthesis of the history and literature covering the chief religious-political themes in Colombian history since 1930 and revealing patterns of religious-political interaction, where such an endeavor has not been accomplished elsewhere. Aiming to integrate sufficiently detailed historical accounts and statistics with diverse published academic analyses, this thesis lays the groundwork for more detailed prognostic studies on the future of the Colombian political system as it relates to a changing, yet in some respects incongruously stationary religious environment.
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