Religion: Taking on The Vatican

Latin America's bishops fight a shift toward conservatism

Until 1968 the Roman Catholic bishops of Latin America were seen by many as friends of the rich, supporters of the status quo and allies of oppressive regimes. Then, in a general conference convened that year in the Colombian city of Medellin, they declared their independence, denouncing "institutionalized violence" in Latin American society and vowing to campaign against "injustices and excesses of power." Medellin swiftly became a synonym for progressive action−and frequently radicalism−in the Latin American church. Under the banner of the "theology of liberation," many priests, nuns and lay people used an unusual...

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