The Catholic Church in Haiti: Political and Social Change

By McCoy, Floyd | The Catholic Historical Review, October 1997 | Go to article overview

The Catholic Church in Haiti: Political and Social Change


McCoy, Floyd, The Catholic Historical Review


The Catholic Church in Haiti: Political and Social Change. By Anne Greene. (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. 1993. Pp. vii, 312. $28.95.)

Paradoxically Haiti's history is richer than the country itself. Not much is scientificaly known about its religious history, aside from myths created by Hollywood through the distortion of what Voodoo really is. But this poor country is more than this African religion. And that is what Greene shows the reader through this book. I would call this a ground-breaking study of an important part of Haiti's religious history.

Since the time when the whole of Hispaniola was under Spanish control, the official religion of the colony was Catholicism. This situation did not change after the French took over. One of the main tasks of Catholicism was to bring into the flock through conversion the substantial slave population of the colony. But for many this was only done in part, since they didn't give up their African beliefs. What we know today as Voodoo is a syncretism of African and European religious traditions, Protestantism included. This book presents the presence of the Catholic Church and Voodoo as the two main religions and how they affected and were affected themselves by the political situation of the country through different time periods.The author also studies the Protestant presence and its influence in this struggle. …

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