Religious elites and political regime change: The Latin American conferences of Roman Catholic bishops during the 1990s
The study analyzes the role of the Catholic Bishops in processes of political regime change by looking at collective pastoral letters issued by the National Conferences of Bishops of Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela during the 1990s. The study has a cross-disciplinary approach, incorporating insights and analyses from different disciplines. The study seeks to provide answers to broader questions about the relation between politics and religion at large, and more precisely about such relation in the Latin American contexts of simultaneous economic and political change. The study seeks to address the lack of systematic historic and comparative analyses of the role of the Latin American religious elites. The study tests and confirms Eisenstadt's hypothesis about the performance of religious elites as critics of the political elites. However, the behavior of the religious elites is contingent upon the institutional design of the Church-State relation. To address the role of such relation, the study tests and confirms Anthony Gill's hypothesis about the key role that the Church-State relation has in shaping the performance of the Church's leaders. A systematic historical and comparative analysis of the role of the Catholic bishops in Latin American politics is relevant to understanding the ways in which religious leaders seek to perform their role and exert their influence in the region. The study relies on theories and methods developed by sociology, political science, linguistics, and historical analysis. The study provides empirical support for an argument about the performance of religious leaders when confronted with processes of political regime change in Latin America. The bishops' documents CPLs considered are those issued in Argentina during the 1989, 1995, and 1999 presidential elections; in Mexico during the 1994 and 2000 presidential elections; and in Venezuela in the 1993 and 1998 presidential elections.
Social structure|Political science|Latin American history|Religious congregations
Soriano-Nunez, Rodolfo, "Religious elites and political regime change: The Latin American conferences of Roman Catholic bishops during the 1990s" (2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3201138.