As colonialism in Latin America declined, church and government readjusted in a rather quick and often chaotic manner. The interactions between local governments and international Church organizations were necessarily challenging. Where do we really find stability after all is said and done?
Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present Day. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 2. New York: HarperCollins, 2010b. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 29, “A Shifting Landscape: Latin America” Loc. 5680-5841.
In the 19th century with the fall of Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in Latin America, governmental restructuring was unavoidable (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5702). Former colonies, which had essentially governed themselves for years, established their own structures. Large Latin American countries fragmented into multiple smaller countries (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5709). Gonzalez gives a number of examples of the reshuffling after the Napoleonic Wars. As in Europe, Latin America saw economic growth as resources were accessed and exported (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5741).
Latin America’s ideological debate was between landed, rural conservatives and more urban liberals (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5748). Both groups were primarily wealthy. Neither was open to the lower classes becoming wealthy or powerful. This ultimately led to revolution (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5756).
The Church in Latin America had been governed by colonial powers (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5756). The bishops were mostly supportive of the Royal oversight (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5763). Because of the change in government the Catholic Church had to recognize each as a rightful nation and make sure bishops were duly appointed (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5771). The lack of bishops and priests resulted in a lower level of catechesis and an increase of syncretistic beliefs and practices (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5787). Gonzalez identifies a growing anti-Catholic mood among liberals in the later 19th century (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5799). Following Auguste Comte, many considered a scientific age based on testable and measurable outcomes to be the pinnacle of society (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 5806). States thus became less supportive of the Church in general. While the population remained involved in the Church, involvement tended to be superficial.
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