Crossing Swords: Politics and Religion in Mexico

By Roderic Ai Camp | Go to book overview

and political position in the constitution and in the minds of ordinary Mexicans. But if the president and his advisers believed they could co-opt the Church into their new political alliance, they were mistaken. The Church, like all well- established institutions, has its own agenda and responsibilities, formed within Mexico's historical and cultural context. If the clergy has learned anything in the liberal 20th century, it is that it must remain independent of the state, it must not ally with any political faction, and it must support the majority of the population. Mexico's bishops will continue to pursue their civic obligations, while maintaining a fine balance between responsible exercise of political rights and partisan, political favoritism. 147 It will be an increasingly difficult tightrope for the Church to tread, as Mexico encounters numerous obstacles on the path to political development.


NOTES
1.
Daniel H. Levine, Religion and Politics in Latin America: The Catholic Church in Venezuela and Colombia ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 13.
2.
Daniel H. Levine, Religion and Politics in Latin America, 26.
3.
Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano, Compromiso cristiano ante las opciones sociales y la política ( Mexico City: Edición Senal, 1973), 23.
4.
Adolfo Suárez Rivera, "Instrucción pastoral sobre la dimensión política de la fe," Monterrey Archdiocese, Monterrey, Nuevo León, March, 1987, 6.
5.
A typical example can be found in Pablo González Casanova, Democracy in Mexico ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), 40.
6.
For example, the Mexican episcopate also stated in 1973 that both bishops and priests have the responsibility to defend liberty and rights and denounce their abuse whenever they are present. Conferencia de Episcopado Mexicano, Compromiso cristiano ante las opciones sociales y la política, 24-26. This pastoral letter also refers to the earlier episcopal statement on "Development and Integration of the Country," which criticized internal colonialism and unequal development, statements that would have brought it into direct confrontation with political elites had it been publicized. The traditional point of view was expressed by Luis Reynoso Cervantes, later bishop of Cuernavaca, who stated unequivocally that politics is excluded from the Church's responsibilities. Sociedad Teológica Mexicana, La evangelización en México, sexta semana de estudios teológicos ( Mexico City: Ediciones Paulinas, 1975), 209.
7.
Soledad Loaeza, "La Iglesia católica mexicana y el reformismo autoritario," Foro Internacional 25, no. 2 ( October-December 1984): 147.
8.
Dennis Goulet, "The Mexican Church: Into the Public Arena," America 160, no. 13 ( April 8, 1989): 320, quoting Jirolamo Prigione. Prigione further stated that "[t]he Church does not take political positions. It only defends principles, orients moral sentiments; but it does not take sides in favor or against anyone. It never says: this is the truth [in political matters]." Unomásuno, August 7, 1982, 18.
9.
Soledad Loaeza, "La iglesia y la democracia en México," Revista Mexicana de Sociología 47, no. 1 ( January-March 1985): 166.
10.
Personal interview with César Pérez, Mexican Methodist Church, Mexico City, July 14, 1993.
11.
See Enrique Luengo, "Los párrocos: una visión," Ibero-American University, un-

-70-

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Crossing Swords: Politics and Religion in Mexico
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • 1 - Church and State Foundations of Analysis 3
  • Notes 19
  • 2 - Historical Underpinnings and Reform Two Decades in Brief Repose 24
  • Notes 41
  • Issues Facing the Church Politics, Partisanship, and Development 50
  • Notes 70
  • 4 - Issues Facing the Church Moral and Spiritual Challenges 79
  • Notes 99
  • 5 - Religion, Politics, and the Laity 109
  • Notes 126
  • 6 - Becoming a Priest Why Mexicans Enter the Clergy 135
  • Notes 150
  • Educating the Clergy from Priest to Bishop 154
  • Notes 174
  • 8 - Who Are the Bishops? Consequences of Family and Place 180
  • Notes 199
  • 9 - Church-State Interlocks Informal Relations 202
  • Notes 222
  • 10 - Structure and Decision Making 228
  • Notes 251
  • 11 - Structure and Decision Making the Bishop in His Diocese 259
  • Notes 276
  • 12 - The Church Viewed through Political and Clerical Lenses 283
  • Notes 302
  • Appendix - Mexican Bishops 309
  • Bibliographic Essay 319
  • Index 327
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