Religion in Latin America – Essay Example

The paper "Religion in Latin America" is an outstanding example of an essay on religion and theology.  In an analysis of the origins of sources provided (historiography), we find that the Murray article was an address delivered to highlight the role and mission of the Catholic Church in Mexico whereas the Sigmund article was delivered at the International Coalition for Religious Freedom Conference on ‘Religious Freedom in Latin America and the New Millennium’. As both these articles are written from the Catholic perspective of history, their perspectives can be greatly prejudiced. Analyzing the major points made Murray article, it becomes lucid that the Mexican clergy supported Iturbide because he was proclaimed Emperor and there was the crucial lack of a strong Mexican church leader when Archbishop Fonte, the titular leader of the Mexican Church, left for Spain and never returned. This proved to be the roots of many of the disasters to come. During 1824-1830, the US government encouraged the Masonic groups to work on definite plans to remove the Church from its preeminent position in Mexican life. The period from 1828 to 1857 was one of continuous revolution, barracks revolts, and bandit raids which made establishing a more stable Catholic Church in Mexico difficult. The rise of the Liberals altered the position and power of the Catholic Church through a convention in 1856 and the Constitution in 1857 which abolished clerical privileges, forbade the acquisition of income-producing property, abolished the compulsory observance of religious vows, etc. Porfirio Díaz found ways to allow the Church to exercise its functions and restore its former eminence and his philosophy of Positivism began to give the country an entirely new intellectual orientation. The major points made in the Sigmund article include ‘black legend’, which was spawned by earlier religious rivalries between Catholics and Protestants. The image of the “authoritarian” Catholic Church was the Protestant view of Catholicism according to which all power is concentrated in its “infallible pope”. In conclusion, the two authors share general agreements with regard to the Church and Independence Movements and the major differences of interpretation in their arguments seem to be the result of their focal points in the respective article.