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Guide Entry to 82.05.07:

The History of the Catholic Church in Latin America and Liberation Theology, by Gary Paul Smith

This unit contains a course outline divided into three areas: the history of the Catholic Church and the Conquest, the effects of independence on the Church in various republics, and the theological aspects of the liberation movements of the twentieth century. Each of three sections is broken down into at least two sub-sections. The section on the Church and the Conquest stresses the close relationship between the history of the Church and the history of the Conquest. This part of the unit contains an analysis of the relations among the Church in America, the Spanish Monarchy and the Papacy. Section II of the outline considers the independence movement and the Church’s struggle to retain its traditional rights and privileges and its eventual accommodation to the new governments. The third section outlines the Catholic Church’s reactions to the problems and movements of the twentieth century. The effects of Catholic Action organizations are analyzed and the general reactions of the Church to the modern world are discussed. The section concludes with a discussion of Vatican II and how the Church addressed directly the problem of theology and the reconciliation of theology and revolutionary ideology. The narrative which delves into the history of the Jesuits in Paraguay, discusses the European background of the order, its arrival in the New World, its treatment of the Indians, its conflicts with other orders as well as the Portuguese and the Spanish authorities. The eventual expulsion of the Jesuit order from the New World, and an evaluation of its successes and failures completes the narrative. At the end of the unit there are suggested questions, activities and a vocabulary list to aid the teacher in evaluating the unit.

(Recommended for 8-12 grades Social Studies)

Key Words

Catholic Church Latin American History America Liberation Theology

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