In This Review

The Progressive Church In Latin America
The Progressive Church In Latin America
Edited by Scott Mainwaring and Alexander Wilde
University of Notre Dame Press, 1989, 352 pp

Nine scholars, four of them from Latin America, apply the insights of anthropology, history, sociology, law and political science in this superb symposium on the emergence of important sectors of the Catholic Church committed to social, economic and political reform. Focusing on Brazil, Peru, Nicaragua and El Salvador, the authors analyze the nature, causes and consequences of progressive change within the church, the relationship of religious and theological currents to politics and society, and the relative importance of national context and broad international and institutional forces. In a major interpretive essay, the editors argue that progressive church forces have grown most under dictatorship, provided they had hierarchical leadership or support, and have been more divided and weaker in regimes of even limited democratic competition.