Crossing Swords: Politics and Religion in Mexico

By Roderic Ai Camp | Go to book overview

a critical conscience for the state and society, not to confront it, but because it is part of its natural, institutional responsibilities. However, acting maturely and creating bridges for dialogue with the State are included in this responsibility. 135

The actual results, in a political sense, in the period since the implementation of the reforms have been mixed, as anticipated by Arturo Núnez Jiménez, who concluded that the law would encourage clergy who wished to exert greater influence politically over laity, whereas others would moderate their efforts in this direction. Those who expected increased politization among the clergy could point to their involvement in the Chiapas rebellion in early January 1994 and in the subsequent mediation efforts as evidence of greater involvement, but San Cristóbal de las Casas, the primary diocese where the rebellion took place, has long maintained an active, aggressive posture in defense of Indian rights. Nevertheless, individual cases of clerical involvement in politics led the otherwise reserved former president in 1994, Miguel de la Madrid, to break his silence and express concern with Church intervention in politics. 136


NOTES
1.
Margaret E. Crahan, "Church and State in Latin America: Assassinating Some Old and New Stereotypes," Daedalus 120, no. 3 (Summer 1991): 131.
2.
Ivan Vallier, Catholicism, Social Control, and Modernization in Latin America ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1970), 46.
3.
This is a point made by Soledad Loaeza, "La iglesia y la democracia en México," Revista Mexicana de Sociología 47, no. 1 ( January-March 1985): 161-168, but of course, this justification has always been a factor in Mexican church-state relations.
4.
Anne Staples, "Clerics as Politicians: Church, State, and Political Power in Independent Mexico," in Mexico in the Age of Democratic Revolutions, 1750-1850, Jaime Rodríguez , ed. ( Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1994), 240. Benito Juárez, believing Protestants could help them, actually invited representatives to Mexico. Personal interview with César Pérez, Methodist Church of Mexico, Mexico City, July 14, 1993.
5.
Miguel Concha Malo, "Tensiones entre la religión del pueblo y las CEB's en México con sectores de la jearquía: implicaciones eclesiológicas," Ciencia Tomista 114 ( May- August 1987): 20.
6.
Oscar Hinojosa, "La misión evangélica ordena dejar la sacristía, afirma Obeso Rivera," Proceso, September 8, 1986, 12. Obeso also admits in the same interview that the activities of the Church in Mexican history have been unfortunate, but that the attitudes of the past cannot be judged by the criteria of the present.
7.
For evidence of this, see Jean-Pierre Bastian's excellent Los disidentes, sociedades protestantes y revolución en México, 1872-1911 ( Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1989).
8.
Philip E. Hammond, "The Conditions for Civil Religion: a Comparison of the United States and Mexico," in Varieties of Civil Religion, Robert W. Bella and Philip E. Hammond , eds. ( New York: Harper and Row, 1980), 71. Hammond also argues that in the separation of church and state in the United States, the Church lost its monopoly on religious symbols, sharing them with civil agencies, therefore allowing the government to use religious symbols. Varieties of Civil Religion, 68.

-41-

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