Citation
The Role of the Catholic Church in Colombian Social Development Post World War II

Material Information

Title:
The Role of the Catholic Church in Colombian Social Development Post World War II
Creator:
Gonzalez, Jessica Joy
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Florida
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
english
Physical Description:
1 online resource (99 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.A.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Latin American Studies
Committee Chair:
Peterson, Anna L.
Committee Members:
Williams, Philip J.
Wood, Charles H.
Graduation Date:
8/11/2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Catholicism ( jstor )
Conservatism ( jstor )
Liberalism ( jstor )
Peace ( jstor )
Political parties ( jstor )
Popes ( jstor )
Poverty ( jstor )
Priests ( jstor )
Society of Jesus ( jstor )
Violence ( jstor )
Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
catholic, church, cinep, colombia, development, social
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.

Notes

Abstract:
The Colombian Catholic Church has been known since the colonial time period to be highly conservative and has always sided with the conservative political party. With the meeting of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) in Medelli acuten, liberal thinkers began to write and promote social development activity. In Colombia during 1960 s there were examples of priests and organizations that spoke out against the social order, but the examples of a move to the left in the Colombian Catholic Church were few and often fought against by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The research question that I pose is how did Vatican II affect the Catholic Church in Colombia? And how has the Catholic Church aided in Social development since Vatican II? The hypotheses put forth are that although there have been moves by certain orders and members of the Catholic Church to progress to the left, overall the hierarchy in the country has kept the Catholic Church predominantly conservative and made social development through the Catholic Church difficult. The interact ties between Church and State in Colombia cannot be ignored when researching the religious history and progression of the nation. It helped immensely to be resident in Colombia and gain a basic understanding of not only the history but also the people and their culture. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local:
Adviser: Peterson, Anna L.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jessica Joy Gonzalez.

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Copyright Gonzalez, Jessica Joy. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
662635541 ( OCLC )
Classification:
LD1780 2007 ( lcc )

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Full Text





Conservative or Liberal party. The connection was needed to attain any sort of responsibility in

the Colombian government (Martz 1992, 99).

The Catholic Church had taken an active role in La Violencia. Though the hierarchy had

said the church did not participate in politics, many priests and bishops denounced the liberals

and supported the violence against them. Because of the bipartisan support the Catholic Church

did not escape the violence that occurred throughout the country. During La Violencia "churches

were burned and priests and nuns killed or assaulted both in urban riots that followed the

assassination of Gaitan in 1948, and in occasional incidents in rural areas during the violent years

of the late 1940s and early 1950s"(Dix 1980, 315). Because of the destruction that La Violencia

caused, the Catholic Church was eager for peace and safety. Though the church had often spoken

out against the Liberal party they acknowledged and supported the National Front. In return the

Liberal party acknowledged the Catholic Church as the main religion in Colombia and agreed

not to threaten their religious supremacy (Dix 1980, 315). The Liberals and Conservatives knew

that by gaining the Catholic Church's support they would be legitimizing their coalition. The

Catholic Church also benefited from the National Front because they were guaranteed safety for

priests and nuns as well as security in their position of religious power.

The main problem with the National Front, however, was its alienation of the mass

populace of Colombia. By having a joint agreement to continue switching sides every term the

people in Colombia were not able to have a say in their government. In many ways it was the

same as having a dictator run the country. The people were not able to voice their concerns or

vote for change because the two political parties had already made the decision for them (Martz

1992, 104). Violence was also a main concern during this period. The violence of La Violencia









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

When I started my thesis research in the summer of 2006 I had decided to research

education in Colombia. Yet, after living in Colombia for six weeks I realized that education was

not my true passion. Every Sunday I attended mass at a Catholic Church with my host family and

looked around the church to see who attended. While in Bogota we attended a church in a middle

class neighborhood where all the parishioners came from the same financial and social

background. Outside of the church a man waited every Sunday for handouts. After several weeks

in Bogota I moved to the more rural area of Duitama which is in the department (equivalent to a

state) of Boyaca. Here the church was more diverse. People came from all different social

backgrounds and parts of the city. Driving through either of these cities there were definite class

divisions. The shanty towns that surrounded Bogota backed up onto wealthy gated communities.

While I was in Cartagena, the major tourist destination in Colombia, I also found it interesting

that while visiting the monastery of La Popa, that the priests had posted signs asking that tourists

not give money to the children begging. The signs stated that these children had chosen to beg

instead of attend school and by giving them money we were only promoting a cycle of

dependency.

In a country that is supposedly losing its faith in the Catholic Church there was still a

visible devotion and even those who I visited that did not attend mass had whole walls or even

rooms devoted to the Virgin Mary and Jesus. After experiencing these disparities I knew I

wanted to study the role of the Catholic Church in the lives of Colombians. Colombia is a

religiously conservative country. The bishops of Colombia have been known to ignore liberal

encyclicals from the Vatican. Yet Vatican II and the meeting of the Latin American Episcopal

Conference (CELAM) in Medellin demanded recognition of poverty. My thesis is that though









(Martin 1976, 136). "...Now Fr. Garcia has been joined by top-notch experts in sociology and

psychology, and by architects, engineers, lawyers, and accountants" (Martin 1976, 136).

According to the Minuto de Dios website in 2004, the community had over 50,000 residents and

was starting other projects outside their community.

The organizational members of El Minuto de Dios have laid out criteria that must be

followed to become a member of the barrio. "In order to live in the barrio, a family must first of

all be in desperate need. Secondly, they must be willing to cooperate with their neighbors...

Thirdly, a family must be willing to improve their lives physically, intellectually and morally"

(Martin 1976, 137). The barrio has neighborhood rules that all members must follow. They must

contribute one Saturday a month to community service projects, if they are alcoholics they must

join Alcoholics Anonymous and they must keep their house up to standard (Martin 1976, 137).

The houses that the families live in are rented to them, once the have paid rent for five years and

follow the rules of the barrio they become owners of the house. There is also the possibility of

upgrading homes for those families who are considered upstanding members of the community

(Martin 1976, 138).

Fr. Garcia has created a community that can stand on its own. Through El Minuto de

Dios, Fr. Garcia has created a Christian Base Community (CEB). The members of the barrio

meet weekly to discuss issues in the community and safety. Fr. Garcia wanted the community to

be able to run without him. The community has established a democratic system and elects

officials at their meetings (Martin 1976, 138). By giving the members of the barrio responsibility

over their community, Fr. Garcia is teaching them leadership skills. The members of the

community are also forced to rely on themselves and each other instead of Fr. Garcia.









Colombia has been consumed by violence in the country and the politicians for the most part

have put the needs of the people last (Thoumi 2002, 108).

In the 1980s the illegal drug industry was seeing a boom. The two major drug cartels

were located in Cali and Medellin. The members of these drug cartels played to the people and to

the politicians. The leader of the Medellin drug cartel was Pablo Escobar. Some called Escobar a

type of Robin Hood because he spent money on public works projects around Medellin. Escobar

also funded a politician and made sure he had a position in the Colombian Congress. The Cali

cartel also bought politicians and funded prominent candidates (Thoumi 2002, 111).

Violence was the normal way of accomplishing goals in the drug cartel world. Both the

Cali and Medellin Cartels were known for their violent forms of punishing their enemies and

when the guerrillas also became a part of the movement of illegal drugs even more violence

occurred. Because the Cocaa" is worth so much more when it is turned into cocaine, the drug

lords find it in their best interest to keep the product safe. In the 1980's and 1990's drug cartels

were allowed to flourish because the government was so weak. Everyone had their price and the

cartels were willing to use big bribes in order to ensure their agendas were the main concern of

politicians and other officials (Thoumi 2002, 112).

One reason that Thoumi gives for the drug eradication being such a low priority for the

Colombian government is that they felt the blame should go to the end user. For the most part

drugs are shipped outside of Colombia, especially to the U.S. It is the mindset of Colombia that it

is the user who should take final responsibility. If there was no market there would be no product

(Thoumi 2002, 113). Countries such as the U.S disagree with this mindset.

Since the mid-1990s there has been a more severe resistance to the illegal drug industry.

Most major players in the drug industry have either been captured by the military or killed. Pablo









Conservative party was not and has dominated much of Colombian politics. The Catholic ties to

the Conservative party have been historically strong though post Vatican II they have waned.

In the 1930s Colombia was one of the few countries that did not experience any severe

loss from the Great Depression because its coffee market continued to boom. The coffee market

allowed Colombia to experience moderate economic success. After World War II however,

Colombia experienced a re-emergence of the civil unrest that had plagued the country in the

1880s. Historically Colombia has been divided into two political parties, the Liberals and the

Conservatives. This has been true since it became an independent republic. The Liberals have

been anticlerical from their inception and the Conservatives were formed from former Catholic

political parties.

Vatican II and the CELAM meetings in Medellin, Colombia (1968) also have affected the

Catholic Church in Colombia. These meetings set forth rules and ideas that the clergy were

supposed to follow. In Latin America the most important aspect of these meetings dealt with the

treatment of the poor in developing countries. The relationship of the Colombian Catholic

Church to the citizens who are not in the upper class is weak. Though a mass majority of the

population is Catholic they distrust the organization because of her former political ties. CELAM

and Vatican II promoted a movement of missionaries into the countryside to help the people. The

Catholic Church did form new churches in Colombia during the National Front period, but the

social activism that was promoted by CELAM was not seen by the people.

To understand the Catholic Church in Colombia today one must understand its

connection to the politics of the country. "Politics is seen in terms of the structures of power,

which favor some interests at the expense of others. In this sense, politics pervades all social

relations, since all are permeated with power" (Levine and Wilde 1977, 225). Relationships









which is used by the US State department and other countries and, "it determines, in a large part,

the way the war is perceived internally and abroad" (Howe 2004, 2).

The journal Solidaridad, published by CINEP, is vocal in its distrust and dislike for the

policies of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. According to one issue an anonymous author

states that the bishops' form of CEBS "amounts to evasion of the real problems," if true base

communities are formed (according to the author) real goals of elevating poverty can be

accomplished (Levine 1985, 312). The anonymous authors of Solidaridad are much more vocal

than the members of CINEP. The authors have the ability to voice their distrust of the hierarchy

of the Catholic Church anonymously and make public the problems they see inside the church

structure. One author states that the church should fear losing Catholics because "a hierarchy

which doggedly turns its back on the people, in the long run creates a people which turns its back

on the hierarchy"(Levine 1985, 312).

The writers and members of CINEP and Solidaridad are not looking for a break with the

Catholic Church nor are they demanding a drastic restructuring of the church. They wish for

support and understanding and a reworking of important themes. "Leaders and activists alike fear

being forced out of the Church, and thereby losing the cover of its moral authority and the

symbolic legitimacy membership provides" (Levine 1985, 313). Priests and lay workers often

have to work secretly to build base communities and often in fear of the church hierarchy. The

only way the laity gains support from the hierarchy is if they are taught and follow the strict

instruction laid out by the local bishops. Priests, nuns and brothers are expected to follow the

same criteria. Trade unions and other organizations started by priests in the early 1960's have

chosen to part ways with the church in order to be able to gain autonomy (Levine 1985, 308).









hindrance to development. It was seen that though the Catholic Church did not play a major role

in social development there were moments where initiatives were formed to help Catholics living

below the poverty line. Specifically, after Vatican II dioceses throughout Colombia formed

CEBs to help alleviate the strain of civil conflict and poverty. The radical Catholic priests did not

get the revolution that they had hoped for, but Catholics in Colombia did try to change the

situation for the better. The Catholic Church has always recognized that poverty was an issue to

be dealt with in Colombia yet the actions of the Church have been slow, hindered by popes

fearful of chaos. Hands-on social development in Colombia is conducted by the Catholic

Church's practitioners, to be read as priests, nuns and laity financially backed by their own

religious orders or outside Catholic organizations, not by the native Colombian Catholic

hierarchy.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my supervisory committee chair, Dr. Anna Peterson, for her support,

guidance and encouragement throughout the writing process and the numerous topic changes. I

would also like to thank my committee members, Dr. Charles Wood and Dr. Phillip Williams for

their support and flexibility. All three members of my committee reflect the commitment to

intelligent dialogue that made my University of Florida education an exciting and memorable

experience.

I would like to thank my family for their unwavering support and constant companionship.

I would like to especially thank my mother for encouraging me to pursue my master's degree and

my dreams. Without her guidance I would not be where I am today. I would like to thank my

father for being my silent strength and always waiting with open arms.









followers, "If they kill me, avenge me" (Palacios 2006, 141). The populace followed his

directions. After the assassination the capital of Bogota burned for a week. Gaitin's death set off

mass demonstrations and La Violencia began again. Gaitin was the first political figure who was

able to organize the mass populace in Colombia. As a politician Gaitin was able to capitalize on

his working class background in order to make a connection with those living below the poverty

line in Colombia. His popularity with the people scared both Liberals and Conservatives. His

political ideas were too progressive for either political party and for that reason he was

assassinated by other politicians.

The new round of La Violencia began with demonstrations lead by Gaitin's supporters.

The violence spread to rural departments (the Colombian equivalent to states in the U.S.A.) that

surrounded the capital. There are no clear records of how many people were killed during this

period, but according to the data hundreds of thousands were murdered (Bailey 1967, 564).

During the 1940s period of La Violencia, guerrilla groups were formed which tried to take

control by attacking small communities. The military and the police were sent to control the

situation, but only made it worse because it was a mass attack on anyone who they might

consider subversive.

The Catholic Church in Colombia also has ties to the events that took place during this

period. In a country that is predominantly Catholic, ties between politics and religion are

unavoidable. The Catholic Church was known to side with the Conservatives and in small

outlying communities they would condemn the Liberals. The Catholic Church whose official

stance is to stay out of politics was vocal in their support for the Conservative party during this

period. The Conservatives used this tie to their advantage because they knew that the peasants in

the countryside would follow the instructions of the Catholic Church (Bailey 1967, 572). Though









has been CINEP. Jesuits priests started the group in 1972, in order to raise awareness of the

humanitarian violations caused by both the guerrillas and the government. The group looks to

"construct a more humane and equitable society through the promotion of comprehensive and

sustainable development" (CINEP 2007, cinep.org). CINEP works on development projects

throughout Colombia and also conducts research on development in the county. They have ties

to other non-profit organizations both in Colombia and around the world. "During the 1970's the

focus of CINEP's research and action was on developing information with the community"

(Gamboa and Zackrison 2001, 95). CINEP seeks to connect with the people. They want to help

create an infrastructure and teach those living below the poverty line how to survive. "... The

idea became developing information to be read with the community.., a resurgence of interest in

themes dealing with public finance, Keynesianism, and a more heterodoxx' Marxism that

provided for a more realistic scrutiny of capitalist crises"(Gamboa and Zackrison 2001, 95). The

work that is conducted by CINEP involves critiquing and working with the government. This

relationship has been opposed by the Catholic Church that wishes to stay out of the political

arena.

Organizations such as CINEP gain the trust of the people because of their ties to the

Church. Many of CINEP's leaders are Jesuit priests who are working to educate and aid the

people. CINEP also has journal called Solidaridad. Both organizations have been outspoken

about situations facing Colombians. Because of their views and their willingness to include the

Catholic Church as part of the problem, the organization has faced conflict with the church. Part

of the repercussions was the forced replacement of several CINEP leaders by priests who were

more conservative. The Jesuit led group does not have total autonomy from the hierarchy of the

Catholic Church and therefore must follow certain guidelines.









Even after the Medellin conference the Catholic bishops in Colombia were making highly

conservative statements. The bishops in Colombia recognized that both Vatican II and Medellin

were calling for action, but after the violence that occurred in the 1940's they were unwilling to

take action. One bishop stated:

The most important thing is to spread ideas, I do not give out money for food, for houses,
or for welfare projects. Because if I can provide ideas to the rich, I create in them
awareness of the need to create new sources of employment. Thus I get more out of giving
ideas to the rich. No, no, no. Not a single piece of bread. Man does not live on bread alone
(Levine and Wilde 1977, 236).

This mentality was shared throughout the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. They took the ideas

of Vatican II and Medellin and hoped to spread it throughout Colombia by their teachings.

Violence and politics were a threat to the supremacy of the Catholic Church. "Many bishops

have vivid memories of the Violencia, and fear that renewed clerical activism in politics (indeed,

almost any large-scale activism) will lead to massive bloodshed again"(Levine and Wilde 1977,

237).

Programs that were set in motion were built slowly and methodically so as not to upset

the natural order of hieratical practice in the church or the country. The hierarchy of the Catholic

Church opened offices to discuss what Colombia needed. After La Violencia began the church

recognized the need for more dioceses and a more active role in the lives of Catholics. While

they did not promote CEBs to the extent that was seen in other Latin American countries, they

did promote their own programs. "The majority thus rejects the notion that the church as an

institution is required by its religious commitment to take direct active roles in the promotion of

temporal change" (Levine and Wilde 1977, 235). The bishops did not feel that it was their duty

to enter the rural areas of Colombia, but they did agree that the laity should. The bishops of

Colombia agreed that if trained right, the laity of the Catholic Church could be a great asset, as

long as they did not pose a threat (Levine and Wilde 1977, 237).









Camilo Torres traveled throughout Colombia promoting his political agenda in the early

1960s. In 1964, a political movement emerged with the name of the Frente Unido. Frente Unido

was a radical political organization that Torres helped develop. Through the organization's

journal and political platform, Torres was able to express his liberal ideas for Colombia. The

organization "experienced phenomenal growth within months and shook the power structure of

Colombia" (Drekonja 1971, 59). Frente Unido suffered a major blow when Cardinal Concha

defrocked Torres. After Torres' defrocking he decided to join the ELN. Torres left his peaceful

ideals with the priesthood and became the head chaplain for the ELN as well as a guerrilla

fighter. Torres believed that "All patriotic Colombians must be ready for war... What is

important is that the revolution find us ready at all times" (Garcia and Calle 1968, 127). He

would die soon after in a military struggle in 1966 fighting for the ELN (Levine 1977 234-235).

Golconda and SAL

Camilo Torres was not the only example of radicalization inside the Catholic Church in

Colombia. The Grupo de Golconda was also formed there. The radical priests who organized this

movement took a liberal interpretation of the CELAM meeting in Medellin. In 1968, fifty priests

met on a farm in Viota, Cundinamarca. The group drew on the writings of the CELAM meeting

in Medellin to form their own doctrine. They wanted radical social reform in Colombia and felt

that the hierarchy was moving too slowly (Schoultz 1973, 247). As Daniel Levine states in

"Continuities and Change," the Catholic Church in Colombia is slow moving and has close ties

to a conservative Vatican in Rome. The Golconda group wanted immediate social action. The

group was looking for the organization of the peasants. In other regions of Latin America this

social action was also taking place. Christian base communities (CEBs) were being formed in

Brazil and in Central America. Golconda wanted the same for Colombia.




























To my parents, Jorge and Helen. Thank you for you love, support and strength. To my Aunts
Mary and Martha. Thank you for your love and encouragement









majority of the Colombian population lives in poverty and also professes to be Catholic. My

objective is to see how the Catholic Church helps or hinders social development in Colombia.

Currently, groups such as CINEP work on development projects throughout Colombia.

I plan to divide my work into three sections. The first will be the history of Colombia and

the Catholic Church. The chapter will investigate the links between politics and religion and how

they affect the social order of Colombia. It will also discuss how the church reacted during

certain key periods in Colombia's history such as La Violencia, the National Front and the

dictatorship of Rojas Pinilla. Chapter Three will investigate the Catholic Church in Colombia

and how she has progressed since Vatican II. The formation of new social organizations through

the Catholic Church will be discussed as well as the impact of the Colombian Catholic hierarchy

on the Conference of bishops in Medellin, Colombia and Puebla, Mexico. The first part of the

chapter will address the important documents of Vatican II, the Medellin conference and Puebla.

The second half of the chapter will discuss how these documents were followed or how they

disregarded the documents. Finally, the fourth chapter will focus on programs that were started

by Catholic priests and nuns yet have faced problems with the hierarchy of the church.

First, the strengths and weaknesses of groups such as SAL and Gloconda will be

discussed. Modem Catholic organizations such as CINEP and Solidaridadwill also be discussed

including their successes and failures with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The chapter will

discuss their roles in Colombia and their relationship with the Catholic hierarchy. The chapter

will also examine groups such as Minuto de Dios who are supported by the hierarchy for their

conservative nature. The relationship of the Charismatic Catholic movement with the Vatican

will also be discussed. It is my goal to discuss the major players in Catholic social development

and how they hinder or promote helping the majority of Colombians living in poverty.









International Monetary Fund suggested economic reforms for Colombia which Pinilla rejected

saying it would only hurt the poor. By 1957, however, the Liberals and Conservatives had won

and Pinilla was out of the government. It was the end of his social reforms.

The Catholic Church was uncomfortable supporting the dictatorship of Pinilla. The

Conservative party had pushed for his rise to power and because of the relationship between the

party and the church they did not vocally oppose any issues with the new dictator. Pinilla

however, wanted sincere support because he felt it helped to legitimize his rule (Hartlyn 1984,

249). There were mixed opinions about Rojas Pinilla inside the church hierarchy. Some

supported the previous president Laureano Gomez Castro, who was both part of the Conservative

party and a staunch Catholic. Gomez was president of Colombia from 1950 to 1953 when Rojas

Pinilla took power. "Throughout Colombia, Gomez was known until his death in 1965 to be

'more Catholic than the Pope'"(Schoultz 1973, 235). During the Gomez regime, however, the

violence of La Violencia grew and Protestants were specifically targeted. If the Church wanted

to promote peace they could not back Gomez's regime (Schoultz 1973, 235).

When the Catholic hierarchy and the Conservative party refused to back the Gomez

regime he was forced into exile. While in exile Gomez stated that the Catholic hierarchy, "had

deserted him in his hour of greatest need" and without their support Gomez was not able to

regain power or legitimacy in Colombia (Schoultz 1973, 236).

The Conservative party never saw Pinilla's rule as a long standing plan to fix the

problems with La Violencia. As soon as Pinilla took office, however, it was clear that he planned

to be there for as long as possible. Pinilla courted the Catholic Church's support in order for

legitimacy. "At the end of his first full year as President the Church felt that it had in Rojas 'a

man convinced that the principles of the Gospel are the ones which must give life to our









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts

THE ROLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN COLOMBIAN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
POST WORLD WAR II

By


Jessica Joy Gonzalez

August 2007

Chair: Anna Peterson
Major: Latin American Studies

The Colombian Catholic Church has been known since the colonial time period to be

highly conservative and has always sided with the conservative political party. With the meeting

of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) in Medellin, liberal thinkers began to

write and promote social development activity. In Colombia during 1960's there were examples

of priests and organizations that spoke out against the social order, but the examples of a move to

the left in the Colombian Catholic Church were few and often fought against by the hierarchy of

the Catholic Church. The research question that I pose is how did Vatican II affect the Catholic

Church in Colombia? And how has the Catholic Church aided in Social development since

Vatican II? The hypotheses put forth are that although there have been moves by certain orders

and members of the Catholic Church to progress to the left, overall the hierarchy in the country

has kept the Catholic Church predominantly conservative and made social development through

the Catholic Church difficult. The interact ties between Church and State in Colombia cannot be

ignored when researching the religious history and progression of the nation. It helped

immensely to be resident in Colombia and gain a basic understanding of not only the history but

also the people and their culture.









Catholic doctrine helped to gain their acceptance by Pope Paul VI. Once the Vatican gave its

approval of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, it began to spread rapidly throughout the Catholic

Church (Hitchcock and Berdanarski 1980, 55).

The Catholic Charismatic movement in Latin America tries to join the spiritual side of

Christianity to the side that is socially committed to the problems that face Christians worldwide

(Suenens and Camara 1979, 22). The Charismatic Catholics are trying to connect the spirituality

of Catholicism with the social teachings of Vatican II. They feel that they must let Jesus live

through them, not only connecting to the Holy Spirit, but also being an active Christian (Suenens

and Camara 1979, 25). "No Christian can live in a vacuum, a private world of his own. Every

baptized person must accept responsibility for the social consequences of his Christian way of

life" (Suenens and Camara 1979, 29). The movement calls Catholics to act as directed by

Gaudium et Spes. It tells practitioners that it is their duty as Christians to act and in their every

day lives they should strive to make a difference. The Charismatic Catholics, however, do not

threaten the hierarchy of the Church because they hold true to Catholic doctrine. They say that

they are trying to emulate Christ and his teachings. The Catholic Church still is at the center of

their activities and still has control.

Catholic movements, such as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, have had more success

working within the church structure. Because the movement is based on Catholic teaching and is

conservative in their rhetoric they have received the approval of the bishops in Colombia and at

the Vatican. Even though the Charismatic Renewal is centered in religious education they also

run programs in social development. The group El Minuto de Dios, which falls under the

Catholic Charismatic Renewal, helps funds small business loans. The group has also created its









LIST OF REFERENCES


Amnesty International. "Amnesty International Report 2007". 2007. June 23, 2007
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Aviles, William. 2001. "Institutions, Military Policy, and Human Rights in Colombia." Latin
America Perspectives 28,1 (January): 31-55.

Bailey, Norman, A. 1967. "La Violencia in Colombia" Journal ofInter-American Studies 9:4
(Oct.): 561-575.

Catholic News Agency. 2005. "Church in Colombia target of violence in last 20 years."
CatholicNewsAgency.com. Mar. 10: 1.

-2005. "Bishop confirms Church in Colombia mediating in negotiations with rebels."
CatholicNewsAgency.com. Nov. 3: 1.

2007. "Colombian bishops will not contribute to hiding the truth, conference president
warns." CatholicNewsAgency.com. May 14:1.

Centro de Investigaci6n y Educaci6n Popular. 2007. May 24, 2007
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Cleary, Edward L., O.P (ed.). 1990. Born of the Poor. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame
Press.

Dix, Robert H. 1980. "Consociational Democracy: The Case of Colombia." Comparative
Politics, Vol. 12, No. 3. (Apr.): 303-321.

Dodson, Michael. 1986. "The Politics of Religion in Revolutionary Nicaragua". Annals of the
American Academy of Political and Social Science, Religion and the State: The Struggle
for Legitimacy and Power Vol. 483.

Drekonja Gerhard. 1971. "Religion and Social Change in Latin America." Latin American
Research Review 6, 1 (Spring): 53-72.

Eagleson, John and Phillip Scharper (eds.). 1979. Puebla and Beyond. Documentation and
Commentary. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.

El Minuto de Dios. 2007. June 3, 2007

Gamboa, Miguel and James W. Zackrison. 2001. "Democratic Discourse and the Conflict in
Colombia." Latin American Perspectives, Colombia: The Forgotten War 28, 1 (Jan.): 93-
109.

Garcia, John Alvarez and Christian Restrepo Calle (eds.). 1968. Camilo Torres his life and his
message. Springfield: Templegate Publishers.









Church. Those who participate in organizations are free to come and go as they please and there

is a less controlled structure from the church (Levine 1990, 739).

Like Facatativa, Cali experienced the mass violence of La Violencia. The city of Cali,

however, has continued to experience violence but in the 1970's the violence was due to the

growing drug trade in the city. It was during the 1980's that the Cali drug cartel drew world

notoriety for their violence and large scale drug trafficking (Thoumi 2002, 108). The violence

and drug trade in Colombia was not an issue the Catholic Church wanted to play an active role

in. The memory of La Violencia is still a vivid reminder for both citizens and bishops and the

fear of renewed violence through the drug trade has scared the bishops. They preferred to focus

on the spiritual side of citizens' lives. In Cali the focus remained on the programs that were

already in progress. Little was done to raise awareness on the drug issue, in order to protect the

priests, nuns and laity working in the archdioceses of Cali. Concurrently with the drug industry's

rise came the call for CELAM to meet. The bishops of Latin America were called to Puebla,

Mexico for a meeting. Puebla was meant to be a reassessment of the Medellin documents and

how they were working and could work better in Latin America. The meeting in Puebla would

prove to be a hindrance to progress in Colombia because of the conservative nature of the

conference and the new Pope, John Paul II.

Puebla and an Unlikely Retreat

On January 28th 1979, CELAM convened in Puebla, Mexico. Pope John Paul II, who had

been at the head of the Catholic Church for four months, opened the Puebla meeting of CELAM.

The tone of the documents that emerged from Puebla followed along the lines of the Medellin

documents. Puebla promoted a preferential option for the poor and continued the theme that it

was the Catholic Church's duty to help those in need. Puebla, however, has a mixed legacy.

Some felt that John Paul II's visit had a direct effect on the meetings of CELAM. The ideology









CHAPTER 2
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND POST WORLD WAR II POLITICS

The End of World War II and the Build up to Vatican II

Violence has plagued Colombia ever since its independence from Spain. Small periods of

peace have ensued, but since the 1940s the country has faced a consistent fight between the

government and the home grown guerrillas. The Catholic Church and the Colombian

government have had close ties from the inception of the nation. The violence that has played out

through the history of the country has inadvertently involved the church and hurt her image.

Rural priests and nuns were put to the test during the height of violence and forced to take sides.

Finally, the church hierarchy was forced to break ties with the government because of the lack of

trust it caused. When the church realized the damage siding with the Conservative party was

causing to their image they looked for ways to remove themselves from the secular world. The

ties between the Catholic Church and Colombian government originally stemmed from family

connections within the upper class (who rule the country) and a concordat between the

government and the Vatican. In the following pages the history of the country and the role the

Catholic Church played will be discussed.

The 1886 Constitution made a secure place for the Catholic Church in Colombia. The

political Conservatives in Colombia guaranteed the Catholic Church its security by signing a

concordat3 with the Vatican. The concordat guaranteed protection to the Catholic Church and

promised she would not be expelled from Colombia. The church received more freedom to

function than any other religious organization. While the Liberal party was anti-Church, the


3 The definition of a Concordat is an agreement between the Vatican and a government (in this case Colombia) on
religious matters. This often included both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country.
Privileges may include influence on the structure and direction of state education, exemptions from certain legal
matters and processes, and issues such as taxation and government funding directed to the Church, as well as the
ability of a state to influence the selection of bishops within the country.









between Catholic development movements and the Church hierarchy are strained at best. In a

country where chaos leads to distrust of the government and at times the Catholic Church, it is

hard for social development to occur. The Colombian class structure has also had a negative

effect on the relationship between the people and the Catholic Church. Because the Catholic

leaders choose to avoid dialogue concerning class structure, they have a problem deciding which

programs are most suited to development in Colombia. Further consternation is caused by the

connection to the hierarchy in Rome.

La Violencia

The tumultuous recent history of Colombia has its beginning in the 1930's. The Liberal

and Conservative parties have fought over control of the Colombian government from the time

of independence from Spain. At times the two parties would share the government and there

would be a period of tense peace. Politics is a blood game in Colombia and in the mid-1930s the

Liberal party won what could be considered an open election (Bailey 1967, 565). The Liberal

party, however, could not stay organized and by the 1940s control of the government was

available to either party. The radical part of the Liberal party was lead by Jorge Eliecer Gaitin,

who was known for going into rural areas in order to gather the support of the populace.

Jorge Eliecer Gaitin set in motion a change of events that would promote the voting of

the populace. Before Gaitin began to travel around Colombia, voting was at an all time low.

Gaitan, however, was charismatic and promoted socialist ideals. He understood that a majority of

the people in rural areas were mainly concerned with government initiatives that would affect

them specifically. Though Gaitin first ran under his own newly formed party he soon learned he

would not be elected unless he was part of the Liberal party.

In 1948, Gaitin was assassinated though it is still unclear who did it. Gaitan knew

however that an assassination attempt was possible and on several occasions he told his









society"'(Schoultz 1973, 236). The relationship between Pinilla and the Catholic Church was not

strong however, and waned throughout his dictatorship. The lack of confidence from the church

did not cause Pinilla's downfall, but it did contribute to the end of his regime (Schoultz 1973,

236). Because the Liberals also disliked the dictatorship of Pinilla both parties began to look for

ways to remove him from power. The hierarchy of the church had one goal in mind during this

period and that was to keep power and legitimacy. As goals were drafted by the opposing parties

the role of the church was always made secure (Hartlyn 1984, 254). In the end the Liberals were

willing to support the centrality of the Catholic Church and in turn the church was willing to

support the National Front.

Uncomfortable Peace

Following the end of La Violencia and the Rojas Pinilla dictatorship the Liberal and

Conservative parties developed an agreement called the National Front. The agreement stated

that the two political parties would share power equally, exchanging the presidency with each

term. The congress would also be divided equally between the Liberals and the Conservatives.

This coalition between the two parties lasted until 1974. The formation of the National Front

guaranteed that there would be no challenges to the two party system in Colombia and that the

politicians had both job security and financial security for themselves and their supporters (Martz

1992, 93).

As John Martz argues in his article, "Party Elites and Leadership in Colombia and

Venezuela", the Colombia two party system is really just one party. The Conservatives and

Liberals in Colombia come from the same upper class families and attend the same schools. The

politicians who are inside the Colombian government usually have familial ties; there are

generations of the same family on each side of the party system. During the National Front it was

impossible to be part of the political society if one did not align themselves with either the









in no way condoned any rebellions, especially any dealing with Marxism. The bishops wanted

social, economic, political and structural change, but only within the law.

The First Document of the Bishops in Medellin was on Justice. The document stressed

the need for justice for not only the poor, but for women and those who were part of the newly

forming middle class. The opening paragraph of this document states,

The young demand their right to enter universities or centers of higher learning for both
intellectual and technical training; the women, their right to legitimate equality with men;
the peasants better conditions of life; or if they are workers better prices and security in
buying and selling; the growing middle class feels frustrated by the lack of expectations
(O'Brien 1977, 549).

The bishops felt that the people should begin to form organizations that could help form a new

society. It is also important to note that the bishops did discuss in this document that political

change was necessary; however, they felt it must be conducted within legal norms. The bishops

wanted the workers' and peasants' unions to have sufficient rights.

The Council of Latin American Bishops felt that in order for there to be progress in Latin

American communities, political change had to come first. "Public authority has the duty of

facilitating and supporting the creation of means of participation and legitimate representation of

the people, or if necessary the creation of new ways to achieve it" (O'Brien 1977, 556). The

bishops felt that at the current time those in power were only concerned with their own needs and

the needs of the people who had close ties to them. As history has shown, Latin American

governments were severely corrupt and nepotism has always been a great problem. It was at the

conference in Medellin that the Bishops of Latin America said that they supported the majority

who lived in poverty. If this was true it would be a drastic turn around from the Church that was

in place pre-Vatican II (Dodson 1986, 39).

Document two of the bishops' council deals with Peace. The bishops felt that peace and

justice were dependent upon each other. The bishops felt that development would lead to peace










and El Minuto de Dios have done the most to support the people who seem to be forgotten by the

government.









these groups of priests made the impact that Camilo Torres did, they were liberal thinkers. SAL

and Golconda housed priests who wrote and fought against the rigid structure of the Catholic

Church (Schoultz 1973, 247).

The 1960s was a decade of change for the Catholic Church. In Latin America, Camilo

Torres had begun to write about revolution and political upheaval changing the way the world

viewed politics and religion. Communism had affected not only Latin America, but also Europe.

Pope John XXIII and the bishops began to fear the chaos that could come with massive political

change. The Pope began to write messages that were openly political asking the governments of

the world to recognize the change that was occurring among the people. In these documents he

expresses the need for progressive social change. It is during Pope John XXIII's period in power

that Vatican II started the drastic changes made in the Catholic Church.

The end of Vatican II and the CELAM meeting in Medellin called for changes in the

Catholic Church in Latin America. In Colombia the changes where met with excitement from the

priests and laity. However, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church did not view the changes in the

same light. The Catholic Church's hierarchy in Colombia wanted to make order out of chaos in

the country by promoting organization which they believed would keep the people safe (Palacios

2006, 180). In a country where civil conflict has taken center stage for over forty years the

church values peace more than social equality.

Camilo Torres

Camilo Torres Restrepo was born in Bogota, Colombia on February 3, 1929. In the early

stages of his priesthood, Torres was willing to accept the discipline of the Catholic Church, but

as his work and studies progressed he found it more difficult to be part of the Catholic Church.

Torres first started his career as a priest as the chaplain at the National University in Bogota,

Colombia (Drekonja 1971, 59). His liberal ideas fit in well with the school that is highly









Goodman, Joshua. 2007. "Colombia to honor Bill Clinton amid growing Democrat Scrutiny."
Associated Press May 25:1.

Hanratty, Dennis M. and Sandra W. Meditz (eds.). 1988. Colombia a Country Study. Washington
D.C.: Federal Research Division Library of Congress.

Hartlyn, Jonathan. 1984. "Military Governments and the Transition to Civilain Rule: The
Colombian Experience of 1957-1958)." Journal ofInteramerican Studies and World
Affairs, 26, 2 (May): 245-281.

Hitchcock, James and Sr. Gloriana Bednarski. 1980. Catholic Perspectives: Charismatics.
Chicago: The Thomas Moore Press.

Howe, Ben. 2004. "Visions of Peace." Ford Foundation Report (Summer). New York: Ford
Foundation.

Kearney, Michael. 1986."Religion, Ideology, and Revolution in Latin America" Latin American
Perspectives 13, 3 (Summer): 3-12.

Levine, Daniel. 1979. "Church Elites in Venezuela and Colombia: Context, Background, and
Beliefs" Latin American Research Review 14, 1 (51-79).

-1978. "Authority in the Church and Society: Latin American Models." Comparative
Studies andHistory 20, 4 (Oct.): 517-544.

-1984. "Popular Organizations and the Church: Thoughts from Colombia" Journal of
Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 26, 1 (Feb.): 137-142.

-1985. "Continuities in Colombia" Journal of Latin American Studies 17, 2 (Nov.): 295-
317.

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Society andHistory, 32, 4. (Oct., 1990): 718-764.

-1992. Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism. Princeton: Princeton University
Press.

Levine, Daniel H. and Alexander W. Wilde. 1977. "The Catholic Church, 'Politics', and
Violence: The Colombian Case." The Review of Politics 39, 2 (Apr.): 220-249.

Lipset, Seymour Martin and Aldo Solari (eds.). 1967. London: Oxford University Press.

Mainwaring, Scott. 1984. "The Catholic Church, Popular Education, and Political Change in
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From the beginning the Golconda group faced organizational problems. The original

members held different views of their mission. Liberal members of the organization demanded

revolution; while the more conservative members called for a strict adherence to the Medellin

documents (Schoultz 1973, 247). Because of their radical leadership in Golconda, the members

faced a harsh reaction from the Catholic hierarchy in Colombia. The hierarchy closely watched

many Colombian priests who were members. Four of their Spanish members were expelled from

the country (Schoultz 1973, 247). The ultimate blow to the organization occurred when two of its

leaders where killed in separate plane crashes. It was a continuous uphill battle with the

hierarchy of the Catholic Church and without a united front it was impossible for the Golconda

group to produce more than just a document calling for change (Schoultz 248).

A second movement of radical clergy was the Priests for Latin America (SAL). SAL was

formed at the same time as the Golconda group and had the same goals. Like Golconda and

Camilo Torres, SAL promoted social justice and drastic change of the Catholic Church (Levine

1992, 82). SAL, however, suffered the same fate that Golconda met. The Golconda group was

too radical to make any real progress. The group also had the same problem they faulted the

Catholic Church with. SAL was a top down organization and was formed much like the Catholic

hierarchy with the governing priests at the top and the peasants at the bottom. There was little

connection between the governing priests of SAL and those they were trying to help. SAL was a

top down organization and though they preached social justice there was no mass movement to

participate in communal activities. Many of the members of SAL left the priesthood in the late

1960s and found other alternatives. Some members of SAL and Golconda joined the ELN while

others worked to serve social causes in different ways. "Urban Colombia is now littered with

small foundations, bookstores, and the like run by clerics who left the priesthood..." (Levine









conscience and a sense of duty to advance the real interests of human society" (John XXIII Sept.

1959, 4). The Pope states that his hopes are for equality, justice and peace. As he will state in

other encyclicals, prayer is very important. The first encyclical promotes prayer of the rosary for

the leaders and citizens of the world as well as for the priests who are getting ready for

missionary work.

The second encyclical of 1959 came in November when Pope John XXIII wrote

Encyclical on the Missions, Native Clergy, and Lay Participation. This encyclical shares some

themes with the previous ones, but it also has ideas that would resurface in Gaudium et Spes. In

the November encyclical the Pope discusses the importance of missionary work and the job that

the priests going abroad have to do. In the September encyclical he says it is necessary to pray

for them and that he is pleased and hopeful in the work they are about to do. The November

encyclical goes into much more detail about the work they will be doing. John XXIII promoted

the movement of priests into rural areas. He felt that it was the duty of religious orders to be

more active in the lives of the millions of Catholics worldwide.

Pope John the XXIII states the importance not only of conversion but of evangelization,

development and education (John XXIII Nov. 1959, 4). Though the Pope makes it clear that

religion is the most important work of the missionaries, he also wants them to teach the people

how to be self sufficient. In his encyclical he discusses the necessity of the people working

together in order to form a community. This can be seen as the seed for the idea of Christian

Based Communities that would later develop in Latin America. Catholic Action which was

mentioned in Pope John XXIII's first encyclical is mentioned again in the November encyclical.

These organizations can also be seen as the early forms of Christian Based Communities. The

Pope, however, pleads for organization and for obedience to bishops in the region where each









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American Studies 24, 1 (Feb.): 87-121.

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Durham: Duke University Press.

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Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 21, 1, Special Issue: The Church and Politics in
Latin America (Feb.): 31-44.

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June.

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Pope Paul VI (promulgated by). 1965. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern
World: Gaudium et Spes. Rome: Vatican Press (Dec.).

Pope Paul VI. 1967. Populorum Progressio Encyclica lofPope Paul VI on the Development of
Peoples. Rome: Vatican Press (Mar).

Schoultz, Lars. 1973. "Reformation and Reaction in the Colombian Catholic Church" The
Americas 30, 2 (Oct.): 229-250.

Schwan, Hubert and Antonio Ugalde. 1974. "Orientations of the Bishops of Colombia toward
Social Development, 1930-1970." Journal of Church and State 16, 1 (Winter): 473-492.

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Gadium et Spes. Rome, December.

Suenens, Leon Joseph and Helder Camara. 1979. Charismatic Renewal and SocialAction: a
dialogue. Ann Arbor: Servant Books.









did not end with the dictatorship ofRojas Pinilla and it did not end with the development of the

National Front. The violence in each of these time periods simply changed locations.

It was during the period of the National Front that Colombia would first feel the effects of

the guerrilla organizations that currently plague the country. The guerilla groups that developed

during La Violencia were dismantled with the beginning of the National Front. A forced peace

followed the dismantling of the first Liberal guerrillas (Palacios 2006, 162).

Following the Cuban Revolution and the Maoist Revolution in China, guerilla

organizations in the same vein began to form in Colombia. The National Liberation Army (ELN)

and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are the two most recognized guerilla

groups developed during this period. These two guerrilla organizations are dominating current

discourse about civil unrest in Colombia and the ELN is a direct formation from the Cuban

revolution and Che Guevara's writings. The ELN looked for more long term changes in the

Colombian government and wanted socialist change. The FARC, however, developed directly

from La Violencia. It was developed during the mobilizations of the agrarian and indigenous

movements of the 1920s and 1930s. FARC would not come to prominence until the National

Front lifted the ban on Communist parties that Pinilla had set up during his dictatorship (Palacios

2006, 191-192).

The end of the National Front period occurred in 1974. The accord that had been signed

in Spain by the two parties allowed for an extension, but the groups agreed not to renew the

document. Though the National Front had allowed a sharing of the government the two parties

still had their share of conflicts inside the government. Peace was still elusive for Colombia and

the politicians knew the period of the National Front had come to an end.









priests settled into the same mindset. The Basque priests believed that "... religious values could

not be taken in isolation but rather had to emerge as part of an integral project of liberation

undertaken in and by the community" (Levine 1992, 119).

The four Basque priests, who arrived in 1970, live in a modest rented home in the barrio.

They have never tried to improve their standings in their Basque order or in the Catholic Church

and they have worked inside the barrio at the parish center and with several institutes they have

promoted over the years. "Grouped around the parish center are some of the institutions

promoted over the years: a center of popular culture, a small lending library (now in disuse), a

school and a health post, including a nutrition center and a group of low-costing housing

units"(Levine 1992, 119). Though the group still resides in the community, they have suffered

several setbacks. In the beginning the Basque priests promoted organization of any kind. But in

the 1980's they began to feel used by the different political organizations that were developing in

the barrio. Because of this disillusionment the priests changed their stance from liberation to

forming a religious based community. Currently, they work more on spiritual growth and shy

away from political activism (Levine 1992, 120).

Barrio Melendez was another barrio affected by the arrival of Spanish priests. In 1977

four Spanish priests arrived in the barrio and they began to carefully develop programs to aid in

community involvement in politics and church activity. "The four cultivated an easygoing,

informal style and made themselves familiar and trusted figures in the barrio. They soon

recruited a core of people (mostly women) to serve as founders and multipliers of groups"

(Levine 1992, 121). The priests were committed to getting the members of the community

involved and bringing them back into the church. Soon after the priests' arrival a group of









During the National Front the Catholic Church worked to stay out of politics. While it

cannot be denied that priests will use the pulpit for their own purposes, the bishops' conference

and the hierarchy of the church promoted a focus on the practitioners of the faith. The Church set

forth to make new dioceses during this period and a new bureaucratic office to study the church

and society. "The church also expanded its social and pastoral outreach through a variety of

initiatives, notably the radio schools of Accion Cultural Popular and a range of Catholic Action

groups including Jesuit inspired trade unions"(Levine 1977 231). By taking the initiative to form

organizations with the people and breaking their ties with the political order the church felt that it

was becoming more self reliant. The bishops' conference realized, during La Violencia, that the

Colombian society had very violent tendencies and that the political order was not capable of

controlling itself. The conference felt it was their job to support the people and give them the

structure that they needed through the church (Levine 1977 231). Millions of Colombians have

been displaced by the violence that is taking place in the country. They have had to start refugee

communities in cities such as Cartagena and Medellin. This mass movement of people has also

contributed workers to the illegal drug trade. Because Colombia does not have the necessary

amount of jobs for all citizens people have had to look for other options.

Drugs, Guerillas and Religion

Thousands of peasant farmers have been displaced due to the violence in Colombia.

According to Francisco E. Thoumi in his article, "Illegal Drugs in Colombia: From Illegal

Economic Boom to Social Crisis", it is in these rural regions that most of the coca crops are

grown. These regions of displaced peasants also have weak connections with the government.

The political chaos of the country has made it easy for the illegal drug trade to take place as well

as trafficking in arms and chemicals. The guerrilla organizations have also taken part in the drug

industry. The other options to make a living for those living below the poverty line are small.









document that the governments were facing uprisings if they did not fix their corruption and seek

equality for all citizens. The bishops, however, went one step further than Pope John XXIII did,

because they told the people that they had rights. They asked that they first exhaust all powers of

negotiation, but that they did not have to continue to bear unjust situations. The bishops were

looking for ways to support the people whereas Pope John XXIII asked them to be patient while

he pleaded with the governments. Pope John XXIII was cautious because he feared the

possibility of war and chaos that could result from a mass uprising.

On September 8th, 1961 Pope John the XXIII gave his Encyclical on Christianity and

Social Progress. Five months earlier he had released his Message for Peace. These two

documents were important because they recognized the need for social change in not only

developing regions but also developed nations. The documents laid the responsibility for this

change in the hands of those in power. Though both documents call for peace and change

Gaudium et Spes takes a more forceful tone.

Pope John the XXIII 's writings in both his encyclicals on Christianity and Social

Progress and Message for Peace stress the need for change within the system. He states in his

encyclical that wealth is accumulated by a few in developing countries while the larger working

class suffers almost unbearable working and living conditions. This situation, according to the

Pope causes "...a spirit of indignation and open protest on the part of the workingman, and a

widespread tendency to subscribe to extremist theories far worse in their effects than the evils

they purported"( John XXIII May 1961, 3). The Pope is adamant throughout the document that

the only possible way to change the situation is from within the system. He lays the

responsibility and the blame in the hands of the powerful. The Pope states that it is their

Christian duty to alleviate the pressures that are placed upon the poor.









leading scholar on Catholicism in Colombia and has conducted extensive field research in the

country. Levine examines in his extensive body of work the successes and failures of the

Catholic Church and other Catholic organizations that have taken a leading role in social

development. He has worked in rural and urban dioceses as well as investigated outside Catholic

organizations. Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism focuses on Catholicism in

Venezuela and Colombia. In the book Levine discusses the role of the Catholic Church's

hierarchy, how they have helped or hindered development in Colombia. Levine also examines

the importance of priests in the everyday lives of Catholics in Colombia. He notes the successes

of priests who belong to orders instead of the dioceses.

Priests are able to conduct their work not only through the Catholic Church but through

their own initiatives. Organizations with only tenuous ties to the Catholic Church have been

started to fill in the void that the church has left in development. These organizations have the

Catholic Church at their base but promote self sufficiency and community growth. Sadly the

news from Colombia does not report these projects. Colombia has been at the center of world

news because of the persistent violence and drug trade. These two factors have kept social

development in the country at a minimum. By gaining access to the literature of both the

Catholic Church and her role in development I was able to see the possibility for growth inside

the society. Currently the Colombian population has religious freedom, but a majority of the

citizens still consider themselves Catholic. Protestantism is growing in Colombia along with the

idea of considering oneself "culturally" Catholic. The current president of the country, Alvaro

Uribe, is also a Catholic, but the Church maintains that it has no ties to politics.

Significance

The Catholic Church has always been a dominate part of people's lives in Colombia. The

Church has also been very vocal on the need for peace and social development inside countries









The members of CINEP and other Catholic organizations fear the repercussions of

speaking too critically of the Catholic Church. Those who are too vocal are often silenced or

forced out of the Church. Many of these organizations, according to Levine, feel that they need

the legitimacy that the Catholic Church affords them (Levine 1985, 313). A major issue that

Palacios points out in his book is distrust. The rural peasants have felt the affects of violence and

have seen its forms in both government and religion. Many of the people who live at "the

bottom" do not know whom to trust. To them organizations such as CINEP could lead to more

violence, which does not alleviate their poverty. Palacios also points out the time constraints that

the poor have to face. Being a member of a CEB takes time, which many of these people do not

have. When putting food on the table is a struggle in itself, it is hard to convince people to make

changes (Palacios 2006, 181).

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Working within the Boundaries of the Catholic Hierarchy

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal

"'Renew Your wonders in our time, as though for a new Pentecost,' Pope John XXIII

prayed in Humanae Salutis and that is how it all started" (Hitchcock and Berdnarski 1980, 52).

With the teachings of John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council, new forms of Catholic

worship began. The pope and the bishops promoted the spread of Catholicism among the people

and though the importance of the hierarchy remained in tact, prayer groups and community

spirituality were promoted. In January 1967 a theology instructor from Duquesne University

attended a Pentecostal prayer meeting at the home of a Presbyterian. The communal spirituality

he felt at the meeting carried over at a retreat held by his university a few weeks later. The style

of the Pentecostal prayer meeting took hold in his methodology of Catholic teaching and began

to spread from Duquesne to the University of Notre Dame (Hitchcock and Berdanarski 1980, 52-

53). Though the Catholic Church initially met the group with some hesitation, their adherence to









Thoumi, Francisco E. 2002. "Illegal Drugs in Colombia: From Illegal Economic Boom to Social
Crisis" Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 582 (July):
pp102-116.

The Society of Jesus-Colombia. 1965. Espiritu de Servicio- Jesuitas Colombia. Bogota:
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 1994. The Catechism of the Catholic Church. New Hope,
KY: Urbi et Orbi.

Van Hove, A. 1910. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. New York: Robert Appleton
Company.

Vellinga, Menno (ed.). 2004. The Political Economy of the Drug Industry: Latin American and
the International System. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Wallace, W. Stewart (ed.). 1948 The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II. Toronto: University
Associates of Canada.

Wilde, Alexander. 1979. "Ten Years of Change in the Church: Puebla and the Future." Journal
of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 21, 3 (Aug.): 299-312.

Williams, Raymond Leslie and Kevin G. Guerrieri (eds.). 1999. Culture and Customs of
Colombia. London: Greenwood Press.

Williams, Rhys H. 1996. "Religion as a Political Resource: Culture or Ideology?" Journal for the
Scientific Study of Religion 35, 4 (Dec.): 368-378









own community in the suburbs of Bogota. This barrio is specifically for those who are living

below the poverty line (Martin 1976, 135).

El Minuto de Dios

A group which is part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is El Minuto de Dios.

Following the lines of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, people began to look for ways to

evangelize. Though the main issue was the spread of Catholicism, many felt that part of that

commitment included giving every person the chance for a better life. In 1956, Father Rafael

Garcia-Herreros started El Minuto de Dios. Father Garcia-Herreros would appear on television

for one minute with a family that was in need; his program was called El Minuto de Dios. He

hoped that the people watching television would feel compelled to give back to those in need. As

people began to respond to his one-minute television show, Father Garcia looked for other ways

to expand his project. Because of the shows moderate success Father Garcia wanted to expand

his project to help more people (Martin 1976, 135).

Father Garcia decided to start a barrio, "based on Christian principles, where poor

families would live in dignity" (Martin 1976, 135). The barrio was placed on the outskirts of

Bogota. With no support from his Eudist4 community, the priest built the first house in the barrio

on his own. He then moved a poor family into the house and taught them how to cook, sew and

clean. He wanted them to be able to subsist on their own. When other people in poverty

expressed interest in the program, he used funds accrued from his television program to build

new houses. The prospective members of the community were also expected to contribute in any

way they could. Some helped with the building of houses while others helped with clean up



4 The Eudist priests are an order that was founded by St. John Eudes in Caen, France. Though the Eudist priests
focus on the education of men in seminary they also promote evangelization and missionary work. (Wallace 1948,
303).









In Colombia, over 95% of the people are baptized in the Catholic Church. Politics and

career choices do not affect the religion that the citizens of Colombia practice. In Colombia even

the drug lords claim to be practicing Catholics (Williams and Guerrieri 1999, 15). Though the

drug lords consider themselves Catholic it does not mean that the Catholic Church condones

their activities. When it comes to conflict between the government and the people the church has

chosen to withdraw and focus on spiritual guidance. "The bishops are well aware of the charge

that, after all, talk is cheap, and the church does little actually to implement its many advanced

documents. This accusation is indeed often accepted, with the caveat that the hierarchy as a

whole has not wanted to go beyond general documents" because they do not want to fail at

programs they are not sure will succeed (Levine 1977, 236).

Conclusion

The ties between the Catholic Church and the politics of Colombia have been entrenched

from the first arrival of the Spanish on the shores of Latin America. These long standing ties are

still felt in both organizations. The violent history of politics in Colombia involved the Catholic

Church and, because of this distrust, is still felt among those who are most adversely affected.

The violence is not over guerillas that are still a relevant threat to all cities in Colombia. The

FARC have control of several rural areas and Colombia has one of the highest displaced

populations, ranking it among African nations who are also facing civil war.

The Church has tried to break her ties to politics, but the influence is still felt. Vatican II

and CELAM promoted a move back into the church and a focus on the poor. In Colombia these

moves have gone too slow. The Catholic hierarchy has promoted a move back to the church and

a focus on the spiritual life of Colombians. Though this has occurred they still face the problem

of mass poverty. The government of Colombia has focused on the drug war and fighting the

guerillas instead of working on social development. Humanitarian groups, such as Amnesty









When the Catholic Church became afraid of political repercussions which might come

with that social development they retreated behind church walls. The void in social development

was filled by Catholic organizations with tenuous ties to the Catholic hierarchy. This thesis also

explored the relationship with organizations that fell under the umbrella of the protection of the

Catholic Church. Though certain organizations such as CINEP have been considered too radical

they are still able to promote their social development programs. El Minuto de Dios takes a more

conservative approach to social development in Colombia and has a stronger relationship with

the Catholic hierarchy. The major problem that both these organizations have faced is violence

from outside groups. In Colombia, rebels have violently threatened the church and these

organizations because they promote peaceful solutions. The final result is the Catholic Church

has promoted social development, but on their own schedule and much too slowly. Without the

guarantee of safety from the government it is hard for priests, nuns and lay members to enter

regions of the country that are most highly affected by the war. As a result the overall progress of

social development in Colombia has been slow.

Future Research

With the government's lack of interest in the people, it has fallen to the religious

organizations and humanitarian workers to work on social development. Future research on

Colombia's social development could include the Protestants. Future research could be done on

what other aspects of social development the Protestants promote. Have they formed new

communities and do Colombians welcome them? It would also be important to see if different

Protestants work together or would even work with the Catholic Church on social development

plans.

Another issue to research would be international organizations that enter Colombia to

assist. Much of the European funding that enters Colombia is through non-profit organizations









respected and which has a clear liberal orientation. Torres felt that the Catholic Church in

Colombia was afforded too many privileges and did not share its wealth with the people. The

rebel priest did not see a conflict between his Catholic faith and his Marxist beliefs. "According

to Camilo violent revolution in Latin America is probable. Christians should take part in it: they

should enter coalitions with the Marxists... for the love of the Christians will overcome the hate

of the Marxists" (Drekonja 1971, 59). Currently, there is a bust of Torres at the university and on

the walls are spray-painted quotations attributed to Torres.

Torres wanted to see progressive social change in Latin America. In the early stages of

his career he believed social change could be made through the Catholic Church. Torres said

"[he] would follow the directions of the Pontiffs of the Church any day rather than those of the

pontiffs of our ruling class" (Garcia and Calle 1968, 510). Torres was educated in Europe at the

Louvain where he studied sociology. It was during his time at the Louvain and through his

studies that Torres began to realize the great class inequalities that plagued Colombia (Drekonja

1971, 59). "Camilo Torres came to believe that as a Christian he was obliged to be political and

to promote revolutionary change. His argument for political action rested on making the

"Christian obligation to [be charitable and to love your] neighbor effective" (Levine 1977, 232).

Whereas the Catholic hierarchy wanted to step back from politics, Torres wanted to enter

politics, but on the side of the masses living in poverty. The Catholic Church was threatened by

Torres' political actions. His beliefs were extreme for the Catholic hierarchy. "Camilo began to

understand that the traditional elite of Colombia, despite its intellectual brilliance, was not

capable of comprehending the social question" (Drekonja 1971, 59). Camilo Torres was looking

for a peaceful revolution along the same lines of the Christian Democrats in Chile. This idea was

threatening not only to the hierarchy of the church, but also to the Colombian politicians.


































2007 Jessica Gonzalez









According to the Amnesty International Report for 2006, human rights abuses are at high

levels (Amnesty International 2007, thereport.amnesty.org). Though the government claims that

over 300 paramilitaries have been demobilized, many of the same fighters have regrouped to

form criminal gangs. More than 80 mass graves were found at the beginning of the year and

more than 770 civilians were killed or forcibly disappeared in 2006 (Amnesty International 2007,

thereport.amnesty.org). The government has issued plans to protect the citizens and seek other

opportunities for work. The programs, however, are flawed according to the Amnesty report

(Amnesty International 2007, thereport.amnesty.org). The US has funneled over 200 million

dollars into Colombia but most of the money was funding for the police and military. The US

government is now in the process of re-working its aid bill for Colombia. The fear of losing

extensive US aid has caused Colombia to spend over 100,000 US dollars to lobby US Democrats

to continue funding Colombian trade agreements (Goodman 2007, 2).

Women have been the violent target of the military, paramilitaries and guerrillas. The

military has been reprimanded for violence against people both inside and outside their ranks.

There is no "clean" party in Colombia. The guerrillas, paramilitaries and government have all

been involved in illegal dealings. The lack of trust has made it difficult to end the civil conflict.

The Catholic Church has had to step in and house freed guerrilla fighters to guarantee their safety

so the government does not lose them.

According to the Catholic News Agency, the role of the Catholic Church has grown since

the beginning of 2000. The church has held guerrilla fighters, who were released from prison to

ensure their safety and participation in the peace talks. The church has also tried to open

gateways for peace talks and work as the mediator. The protection of Catholic workers, however,

is not always guaranteed. Those who do not want peace in Colombia have threatened bishops,









growing and there were not enough priests to support the growth. By incorporating the laity the

Catholic Church could make sure, with proper education, the Catholic doctrine was being taught

in Colombia (Levine 1978, 530).

Why the Urgency

The urgency that was felt in the previous documents was because of the change that was

occurring throughout the world in politics. The Cuban Dictator, Fidel Castro, came to power in

1959 and promoted his communist regime. Before Castro another dictator, Bautista, had run the

country forcing a majority of the people to live in poverty. Juan Peron came to power in

Argentina in 1946. He would serve three terms as president with his second and third terms

divided by a military coup. Peron's government was the center of scandal and corruption and,

like most of Latin America, poverty was rampant. In Europe the bishops felt the hardship of

reconstruction. After World War II half of Europe fell under the Soviet Block. Because of the

anti-religious nature of Marxism, the Catholic Church feared the effects of Communism. In

Europe many of the future Popes such as John Paul II and Benedict XVI saw first hand what they

thought were the destructive tendencies of communism. Pope John XXIII's writings did not

favor the massive political shifts that were occurring throughout the world. He, along with the

other bishops, wrote with a sense of urgency in hopes that governments would recognize the

destruction they were causing not only for their people, but also for their future in power.

Colombia had not seen many forms of government. The Conservatives and Liberals

continuously exchanged power. The Rojas Pinilla dictatorship was short-lived and not similar to

any other dictatorships in Latin America. The nature of Colombian politics and the close ties of

the hierarchy to the elite in the country made the Colombian Catholic Church lack the urgency

that was building in the rest of Latin America and the world. The bishops in Colombia felt that

being active in social activity was another form of politicking (Levine and Wilde 1977, 235).









to contribute to the work done with those living in poverty. Colombia, however, is not known for

its progressive bishops, though there have been a few.

Other countries in South America also felt the liberal effects of Medellin. In Paraguay

bishops such as Bishop Ram6n Bogarin, promoted the "preferential option for the poor" by

defending those who lived in poverty. Bishop Bogarin was a vocal opponent of the Stroessner

regime and chose, though from an aristocratic family, to live in a small simplistic apartment.

When Bogarin died five thousand peasants broke police barricades in order to attend his funeral

(Cleary 1990, 47). The Pinochet government in Chile also felt the effects of a vocal church

hierarchy. Though this lead to the persecution of priests and bishops, religious orders were still

resolved to "be the voice of the voiceless, the poor and oppressed"(Cleary 1990, 49).

In Colombia bishops tend to come from the same departments, seminaries and financial

backgrounds. The missionary priests who first arrived in what is now Colombia had as their main

interest the conversion of the indigenous people of South America and also the acquisition of

new wealth for the Spanish throne. As time progressed these missionaries were forced to choose

between working in the colonies that wanted their freedom and loyalty to the Spanish throne.

Once Colombia had its independence from Spain priests were dispersed throughout the country

and seminaries were opened. A majority of priests in Colombia are native born and stay in their

respective departments. This allows a familial bond between priests and parishes. The hierarchy

of the Catholic Church in Colombia is also homogeneous. The come from the same seminaries

and the same departments. Antioquia was the birthplace of most bishops in Colombia during the

1970s. Departments that were considered conservative also had a majority representation in the

hierarchy of the Catholic Church (Schwan and Ugalde 1974, 478-479). Bishops are groomed for

their position from high school in Colombia. The future bishops are "not only educated but also









communities and help each other (Levine 1992, 98). These activities were the desires of Vatican

II coming to fruition. The people were given the tools to succeed by the church and then were

able to grow on their own. The most important factor relating to the church, however, was the

fact that people were attending mass and actively taking part in their religion. Not only were the

documents of Vatican II and Medellin being followed but the hierarchy of the Catholic Church

was not endangered. For this reason Facatativa was able to develop.

The Cali Project

Facatativa was not the only diocese that was able to prosper during the time of Vatican II

and Medellin. Other dioceses were able to enact initiatives to help support the people. Facatativa

is considered to be part of rural Colombia. It is located in the mountainous region outside of

Colombia and has extreme poverty. Other large cities were also able to make a change. Though

Catholicism may look different throughout Colombia it is still visible in all cities major or minor.

The city of Cali is one of the largest cities in Colombia. Cali, officially known as Santiago de

Cali, is the capital of the department of Valle del Cauca. It has a recognizable name to outsiders

because of its role in the drug trade. In the early 1960's, however, the Catholic Church took the

initiative in recognizing the need for change. Because of the mass amount of poverty in the city

"... the Archdiocese of Cali tried to respond by reorganizing its programs and mobilizing fresh

resources, especially from business elite" (Levine 1992, 116-117). By 1982 no new initiative

had taken hold and the rapid growth of the city proved to be too much for the archdiocese to

support. Each parish had to take their own action and priests and nuns had to step into action.

Cali's rapid growth, without planning, caused barrios to spread out past the original

boundaries of the city. Poorer barrios began growing because of the mass migration to the city

from rural areas. A set of Basque priests arrived in the popular barrio of El Rodeo not long after

the barrio came into existence (Levine 1992, 118). El Rodeo is known for its radicalism and the









La Violencia did not weaken during the Rojas Pinilla regime; it just took on new forms.

During the Rojas Pinilla years the department of Tolima suffered the most from La Violencia.

There was tension between immigrants from other departments who came looking for work and

to escape the violence in their departments and the natives of Tolima. There was also unrest due

to ethnic conflict in the southern portion of the region. And finally, there was still hostility

between landowners and the landless peasants who were often on different sides of the political

spectrum. According to Palacios the lack of elections during the Rojas Pinilla years lead to local

business owners taking over their own direction and allowed them to rule over their own cities

(Palacios 2006, 160).

The violence included police, the army, paramilitaries and guerrillas. Each of the guerilla

organizations was defending something different. The Rovira guerillas were defending their right

to be Protestant in Tolima while Juan de la Cruz Varela and Jacobo Prias defended their right to

be communist in Cundinamarca and southern Tolima respectively (Palacios 2006, 161). Because

the mass majority had no voice in government, violence broke out and dominated society.

However, the violence was still dominated by the wealthy and the poor suffered the

consequences of warring ideologies (Palacios 2006, 162). In mid-1951 the Liberals and

Conservatives began to design a plan to disarm the guerrillas and develop a peaceful end to La

Violencia (Palacios 2006, 162).

The true fall of Pinilla, however, came with the collapse of coffee prices on the world

market. When Colombia entered an economic crisis the opponents of Pinilla in both the

Conservative and Liberal parties blamed him for the coffee crash. The two main parties did not

like Pinilla's idea that the two party system in Colombia was inadequate. The two parties became

more vocal in their disputes with Pinilla by the time of the crisis. The World Bank and









Colombian sisters from the Javerian Institute arrived to help. These women were "committed to

identify with the poor and immerse themselves in popular milieus" (Levine 1992, 120).

The sisters arrived with the intention of working with the base communities that the

Spanish priests had formed. The sisters organized the Center for Popular Culture in Barrio

Melendez. The Center offers classes in topics such as Colombian history, cooperatives, liberation

theology, Bible study, sewing and hairdressing. "The Javerian sisters are less devoted to action

per se than were the priests in Barrio El Rodeo and are more concerned with providing a cultural

foundation that can inform any action and give it meaning"(Levine 1992, 122). Because the

sisters are independent of the archdiocese they are granted more freedom than the Spanish priests

who had begun the work in Barrio Melendez. The nuns are part of a religious order from which

they receive money for food and housing and are not financially dependent on the diocese. This

fact guarantees a certain autonomy. The Spanish priests did not have the same autonomy and

when their contracts were abruptly terminated with the diocese they were forced to return to

Spain.

Most priests in Colombia are Colombian by birth. If they join orders such as the Jesuits,

they have more freedom than those priests who belong to the dioceses. The Spanish priests were

forced out of the country because they did not have citizenship and the hierarchy of the church

felt threatened by them. Colombian priests who belong to orders such as the Jesuits have the

freedom to be more liberal and be supported by their congregation or their order. In Cali this is

how many priests succeed (Levine 1990, 744). Because of the large size of Cali and the large

number of religious orders, separate from diocesan priests, the community has several distinct

differences from Facatativa. The style in Cali is more liberal but not as well organized. The area

is much more developed than Facatativa and is less controlled by the hierarchy of the Catholic









martyrs is Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Archbishop Romero was a promoter of

social development programs for the poor and an opponent of the "elitist" government. In 1980,

Archbishop Romero was shot and killed while celebrating Sunday Mass.

The Catholic Church is divided in Latin America. While the CELAM in Medellin

promoted the movement of Liberation Theology, Pope Paul VI and his successors have worked

to stop what they considered the radical movement to the left of the clergy. Many of the Church

hierarchy still have ties to the wealthy minority in Latin America. Others, such as many Jesuits,

have chosen to break these same ties and move out into rural areas to promote social

development. Though many Catholics have made a move to the left in their political attitude, this

friction inside the Catholic clergy has lead to a more moderate Catholic political attitude.

Brazil, like most South American countries had ties to the Catholic Church that dated

back to the colonization of the country. Brazilian bishops, however, were much more willing to

take action after Vatican II and after the meeting of CELAM in Medellin. In Brazil, the Catholic

Church became more progressive. The meetings of Medellin occurred during a time of

oppression in Brazil. There was a military coup in 1964 and the church was the only organization

capable of speaking out against repression without serious consequences (Mainwaring 1984, 97-

98). The Catholic Church in Brazil made an effort to include the popular classes after the

meetings in Medellin. They helped to form base communities that allowed the members to have

control and they help to create community among those living in poverty (Mainwaring 1984,

100). The Catholic Church in Brazil was much more active than they were in other locations,

such as Colombia. This has to do with the bishops and their dioceses. Bishops have control over

their diocese and can choose to participate or not in initiatives set forth by the country's

conference of bishops. From the 1960's, Brazil has had many progressive bishops who were able









a testing ground for other projects. One program was called Procampesinos and "looked to

implement a practical option for the poor by sponsoring numerous small-scale programs of

immediate material benefit" (Levine 1992, 102). The Procampesinos program promoted the

development of infrastructure first and then the implementation of projects. Money was given by

CRS for site visits and the formation of contacts and the attendance at courses given in

development. CRS wanted to make sure there was a strong base to support all projects to

guarantee sustainability (Levine 1992, 102-103).

The Procampesinos program is an example of the bishops working with outside

organizations to help fund development in Colombia. This is not something that occurs often

because the Catholic Church has to make sure that the values of Catholicism are always at the

root of the project. It is a fact that the Catholic Church in Colombia will break ties with other

Catholic organizations if it feels they are too liberal. Another problem with the Colombian

Catholic hierarchy is that they kept all their development projects in one region. There were

other development projects that occurred throughout the country, but it was Factativa that

received the most support. The important fact remains that, though the diocese had progressive

leadership, they were still able to make progress without endangering their relationship with the

Catholic hierarchy in the country.

The diocese of Facatativa was started in 1962 (Levine 1992, 94). This was before the

document of Gaudium et Spes was released by Vatican II. The 1970's were when the major

changes occurred in the diocese. The arrival of Father Cortes helped to foster change in the area.

The activities did follow along the lines of the teachings of John XXIII. The people were being

educated in their religion, but also learning other necessary skills. The people in the communities

that Cortes worked were renewed not only in faith but in energy. They began to work as









there have been moves inside the Catholic Church of Colombia to be more involved in social

development1 the church remains conservative and slow moving. This thesis further suggests

that in order to help those living below the poverty line in Colombia, Catholic organizations with

only tenuous ties to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church2 have had to do most of the work.

Ironically, as I pursued my thesis research I found that I was again studying education because

these organizations were promoting education for all Colombians. The two main groups that I

focus on are CINEP and El Minuto de Dios. These groups promote education in order to gain

self sufficiency. This is in contrast to the Catholic hierarchy who promoted dependency on the

church.

My study draws on key issues dealing with the Colombian state. The Catholic Church has

long been associated with politics in Colombia and even after a respite they have returned to the

role in the ongoing peace talks between the government and the guerrillas. The church has also

vocally criticized the Colombian government's decision to legalize abortion. There is a lack of

vocalization and action, however, on important issues such as poverty and wealth distribution.

This thesis looks at the relationship not only between the Catholic Church and the government

but also the Catholic Church and the citizens of Colombia. Research has been done on the on-

going civil conflict in Colombia, on politics and on the ever growing Protestant population.

Those who remain Catholic and follow the ideals of Vatican II, however, have rarely been the


1 Social development, according to the Catholic Church, concerns the whole man. It is concerned with increasing
each person's ability to respond to his vocation and hence to God's call. Second, the common good requires the
social well-being and development of the group itself. Development is the epitome of all social duties. Certainly, it is
the proper function of authority to arbitrate, in the name of the common good, between various particular interests;
but it should make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health, work,
education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish a family, and so on. (Catholic Catechist, paragraphs
2461 and 1908)

2 For this thesis the terms 'the hierarchy of the Catholic Church' and 'Catholic hierarchy' will be defined as the
upper echelon leaders of the Catholic Church. Those included in the Catholic hierarchy are the Pope, Cardinals,
Archbishops and Bishops (Van Hove 1910).









One of the most important documents that CINEP has created since 1987 documents the

amount of political violence that occurs in Colombia. CINEP was aware that the judicial system

in Colombia is flawed and because of bribery and lack of security justice is rarely served.

Because of the lack of political or judicial support for victims of violence, CINEP worked to help

the people and gain recognition of the crimes. The database documents disappearances of people,

torture, and other acts that have occurred during the conflict that has raged in the country since

the 1940's. "Over time, though, the organization broadened its survey not only to track the broad

spectrum of political violence, but also to adapt to the constantly changing cast to violent

groups"(Howe 2004, 2). CINEP's research adapts to the new forms of violence and groups that

may participate in the war, for example they acknowledge the inception of the paramilitaries.

The first few years were spent documenting what they call Colombia's "dirty war" which

focused on exterminating leftist groups in the country and they received support from the

Colombian military (Howe 2004, 2).

CINEP's programs are not based just on research. The group also takes a hands on

approach to social development in Colombia. According to CINEP's website:

In order for this to be done, our work is undertaken through the following four
complementary lines of action: regional analysis and participation (with projects directly
involving local communities), national analysis and participation (incorporating research
concerned with structural issues of national interest), a peace program (which attempts to
bring about conditions that forge a culture for peace), and administrative and financial
management (which allows for the operational management of the institution's different
program and projects) (CINEP 2007, cinep.org).


CINEP works to organize people in different regions of Colombia and gain their trust. The trust

that CINEP builds is not only for their organization or the Catholic Church but also for the

government and economy. With their Peace Program initiative CINEP volunteers have been

working with displaced Colombians on the coast of the country. In this region they set up









Literature Review

The literature on Catholicism in Latin America is vast and deals with all the roles the

Catholic Church has played. In each country in Latin America Catholicism has been a major

player in the political world and after Vatican II a more predominant player in the social lives of

Catholics whether wealthy or poor. This literature review will focus on Catholicism in Latin

America, the role the Catholic Church plays in politics and key documents from the hierarchy of

the Catholic Church. More specifically, the literature review will focus on Catholicism in

Colombia. Latin America's history is tied to the Catholic Church.

Catholicism in Latin America has taken on many shapes and forms. In the early colonial

period Catholic priests were sent to Latin America to keep checks on the Spanish conquistadors.

The royalty in Spain wanted to make sure that the interests of the crown were pursued instead of

the conquistadors' personal interests. According to Michael Kearney in his article, Religion,

Ideology, and Revolution in Latin America", the Catholic Church in Latin America held close

ties to the Spanish crown until independence and was not trusted by many of the criollos who

considered the priests spies (Keamey 1986, 5). When independence was won, the Catholic

Church had to regain the trust of the ruling hacienda owners in Latin America. The Catholic

Church aligned themselves with the elite in order to maintain their power in the new world. The

Catholic hierarchy in Latin America tended to come from wealthy families and therefore aligned

themselves with the rich (Williams 1973, 263).

The Catholic Church in Latin America has maintained its ties to the political and landed

elites in Latin America in order to guarantee its place in society. By promoting the status quo in

politics and society they also guaranteed that they would have a secure position. The Catholic

Church's hierarchy was selected from wealthy families (Lipset and Solari 1967, 194). This tie to

the elite in Latin America faced several obstacles when encyclicals such as Pope John XXIII's









pope states in his encyclical that, "The progressive development of the peoples is an object of

deep interest and concern to the Church" (Populorum Progressio 1967, 1). The encyclical goes

on to say that is the duty of the Catholic Church to help those who are suffering for inequality

and those who should be educated on how to help alleviate the problem. The documents of

Medellin would follow along similar lines stating,

The Latin American church encourages the formation of national communities that reflect
a global organization, where all of the peoples, but more especially the lower classes have,
by means of territorial and functional structures, an active and receptive, creative and
decisive participation in the construction of a new society. Those intermediary structures--
between the person and the state--should be freely organized, without any unwarranted
interference from authority or from dominant groups, in view of their development and
concrete participation in the accomplishment of the total common good. They constitute
the vital network of society. They are also the true expression of the citizens' liberty and
unity (CELAM 1968 document on peace).

These statements promote the bishops, priests and nuns to be active in their community. It also

promotes a relationship between all classes and a unification of those in poverty. Medellin

helped to lay the foundation for base communities. The development of base communities

allowed people living in poverty to organize and take control of their communities (Cleary 1990,

50).

After the conference in Medellin, the bishops began to work with governments and

communities around Latin America, Central America and Mexico in order to understand and

connect with the people. Soup kitchens and development projects were started in both rural and

urban areas and social development was promoted by the clergy (Williams 1973, 269). Because

of the Catholic Church's renewed interest in the people, bishops began to write "Pastoral

Letters" on national development (Williams 1973, 270). The Catholic clergy has taken action by

developing labor unions, developing literacy campaigns, peasant leagues and becoming guerrilla

fighters. Some priests joined revolutionary movements and others were martyred because of their

vocal opposition to repressive regimes (Williams 1973, 271). One of the Church's most famous









At the opening of the encyclical, however, it would seem that his adamant desire for

peace is more important than the economic and social problems facing the poor. The Pope states,

"Christianity is the meeting-point of earth and heaven...inducing him to raise his mind above the

changing conditions of this earthly existence and reach upwards for the eternal life of heaven,"

(John XXIII May 1961,1). The Pope also states, towards the end of his encyclical that through

social equity, peace and prosperity is available for all.

The violence that faced Colombians was vivid in the minds of priests and bishops as they

started development projects. Politics was not a subject that the bishops wanted to be part of their

dialogue. The priests who went into rural communities had to first gain the trust of the people.

The history of La Violencia left a scar on the population of Colombia. The Catholic Church had

been involved in that part of the political history of the country and was forced, through their

actions, to regain the trust of the people.

The Encyclical on Christianity and Social Progress looks for options to change the

corruption in developing nations. It gives governments the option to change their ways and to

promote structural change. As with his previous encyclicals John XXIII is looking for peaceful

options. The Pope states several times in his encyclicals that revolt can only lead to and cause

extreme disorder. The Pope puts the burden of social change in the hands of the government. It is

important to note that this encyclical was written at the time of the Cuban Revolution when Fidel

Castro had taken over power in Cuba, and the United States and the Soviet Union were still

embroiled in the middle of the Cold War. Pope John XXIII saw a world on the brink of another

war and fear of dictators coming to power. He sought peaceful options.

The Message for Peace is also very adamant that peace should be upheld, above all. The

Pope states in this message that even though the Apostle Paul promotes the use of military









church. The Cuban revolution weighed heavy on the minds of the bishops of Latin America.

Communism was more of a possibility than they had realized and in order to stop its spread

something had to be done.

Though Colombia has been known as a conservative stronghold there have been a few

exceptions. After the peak of La Violencia the bishops of Colombia began to promote the

formation of new dioceses. One of the new dioceses was Facatativi, which was founded in 1962.

This new diocese was made up of a majority of small rural communities. Facatativa is 28 miles

outside of Bogota and in the department of Cundinamarca; (the country of Colombia is divided

into departments which can be compared to the division of states in the United States ). The first

two bishops of this diocese were considered progressive. Though Facatativa was a new diocese

the population was rapidly expanding. The number of priests and nuns in the community stayed

stagnant and the bishops were forced to look for other alternatives for assistance. The bishops

promoted the use of laity because of the rapid expansion. They were forced to be innovative and

use the resources they had (Levine 1992, 95). The bishops of Facatativa promoted the move of

nuns and priests into rural areas. Some communities had only seen a priest for church services

and the new bishops felt that a more stable presence was necessary.

Facatativa is used as a case study because of its ability to use priests, nuns and laity to

conduct diocesan projects. In Colombia Facatativa was one of several dioceses that were chosen

for a pilot program to develop Christian Base Communities (CEBs). "Analysis of Facatativa thus

reveals what 'official' CEBs can look like in practice and shows their implications for popular

culture (Levine 1990, 730).With the small amount of resources that the diocese had they were

able to build programs for people in rural communities that were not always considered by the

hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The liberal bishops of the diocese of Facatativa used their









back away from the radical calls in Gaudium et Spes, but the recognition of poverty and the

masses living in poverty was a giant step for a conservative and hierarchical church.

In a region where most of the population lives in poverty Gaudium et Spes

acknowledged their standing. The document was considered radical and a call to action. The

Colombian Catholic Church was forced to acknowledge the situation that faces a majority of the

citizens. The first priests to arrive in what would become Colombia were Jesuits. In the Colonial

period the Jesuits were Catholic hardliners, known for their piety, orthodoxy and devotion to the

Pope. After Colombia gained its independence from Spain, the Catholic Church would assume a

political role. The Church in Colombia helped to found or establish the Conservative party.

During political disruptions before Vatican II, the church would often side with the Conservative

leaders and priests would be instructed to give homilies that sided with the Conservative party.

Acknowledging the social issues that faced Colombia was difficult for the Colombian

Catholic Church's hierarchy. They had been a player in the violence that had overtaken many of

the cities and were known to side with the Conservative party. To acknowledge the document of

Gaudium et Spes was almost an acknowledgement of guilt for the hierarchy. During Vatican II

the bishops in Colombia had been promoting the status quo. They were against passing a bill in

1961 for equal legal rights for women stating that it was threat to familial unity (Schoultz 1973,

243). The conservative nature of the Catholic Church was also felt when Colombia became the

first country in Latin America to legally adopt policy regarding population control. In the late

1960's the Colombian government felt in order to grow economically they had to control their

population (Ott 1977, 2). Though the Catholic Church was against the use of birth control they

understood the problem that the government faced. The government worked on legislature for

population control throughout the 1960s and the Catholic hierarchy attended both Vatican II and









in Latin America and to have development there had to be equality. Each part of the problems

they laid out in their document was linked to another grievance they had in their article on peace.

The bishops went into greater depth on the problems of inequality between the classes and the

corruption that was going on in both politics and business. The bishops were directing the

document on peace towards the rich who played the leading role in corruption. The main fear of

the bishops was that the poor were becoming more and more aware of their situation and

therefore more prone to rebellion (O'Brien 1977, 562-563).

The document on peace was important to Colombia because it is a nation that has severe

corruption issues. The government was run during the National Front without the voice of the

people. And "throughout most of the twentieth century the Liberal and Conservative parties

employed violent and/or institutional mechanisms to exclude popular opposition and dominate

Colombia's political system"(Aviles 2001, 35).Those who have power in Colombia are the few

who hold the money. The strongest economic players are the large scale coffee growers. The

Colombian government has done little to thwart their monopoly on the industry and countries

such as the US who trade with Colombia have not voiced concerns with this lack of justice

(Aviles 2001, 35). The bishops were writing the Medellin documents in hope that those involved

in the rampant corruption throughout Latin America would listen and change their scandalous

ways.

The bishops voiced their concern over the possibility of rebellion coming from those

living in poverty. Even Pope Paul the VI noticed the massive separation between the rich and the

poor when he visited Colombia saying,

...social and economic development has not been equitable in the great continent of Latin
America; and while it has favored those who helped establish it in the beginning, it has neglected
the masses of native population, which are almost always left at a subsistence level and at times
are mistreated and exploited harshly (O'Brien 1977, 562).









Escobar was shot by police and since his death the Medellin drug cartel has fallen into dispute

over who should rule. The end of the large drug cartels does not mean the end of the drug trade.

Smaller organizations have come into play and the FARC have also taken an active role in the

drug industry. The drug cartels that have been imprisoned also have the ability to run their

organizations from prison. The jails are understaffed and the staff that does work is underpaid

(Vellinga 2004, 81).

The United States has also become involved in eradicating the drugs with the signing of

Plan Colombia. More troops are being trained to fight the guerrillas and aerial spraying occurs

which is supposed to kill the crops. Though the Colombian government continues to promote

Plan Colombia as a success, Cocaa" is still being produced and illegal drugs continue to make

their way into the U.S. Many members of the 2007 U.S. congress think a change needs to be

made in Plan Colombia as the present one does not give coca farmers any other feasible option

for making a living. The families who plant the coca find a lucrative position in the farming of

coca and it is hard to give that job up when it is the only way to survive

The Colombian government is faced with the problem of a rigid social structure and

failed attempts to eradicate coca. The corruption in government and the money that is made in

the drug trade make it hard to stop farmers from growing coca and leaders from turning a blind

eye. The role of the Catholic Church in this fight seems elusive. Even though Catholic bishops

speak out against the drug trade and verbally support social change for the farmers, little is being

done. After Vatican II and the meeting of CELAM in Medellin the Catholic bishops of Colombia

promoted a retreat back into the Church. The hierarchy of the Colombian church feared the

return of violence to the country and promoted a more spiritual path for the priests (Levine 1977,

237).









Trust is hard to attain in rural areas because of links to the elite and corrupt politics.

Deciding how to take action has slowed the Catholic hierarchy down and caused friction between

the Catholic hierarchy and other religious orders that enjoy certain autonomy. The Colombian

Catholic Church has taken a long time to find the correct tone for their message. In order to keep

with the conservative nature of the Catholic Church they take hard line stances on topics such as

abortion and violence. They are vocal on issues that, though not easily solved, are easy to convey

a "universal Catholic opinion". Topics such as poverty have not been discussed as openly and as

the years have progressed no longer seem to be a major concern of the hierarchy.

The Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII and the Church's Acknowledgement of Poverty

When Pope John XXIII came to power a liberal tide turned in the Catholic Church. Pope

John XXIII's most important encyclicals were on the sanctity of all human life. Though he did

not coin the phrase, he believed in a preferential option for the poor. In his encyclicals,

Christianity and Social Progress and Message for Peace, the pope discusses the need for change

in developing countries. He did not condemn the social structure of developing nations, but he

stated it was the duty of those at the top to hear those at the bottom. Pope John XXIII warned

that ignoring the masses of poor would only lead to unrest and massive upheavals.

At the end of 1959, Pope John XXIII wrote two encyclicals in the span of three months.

The first was the Encyclical on the Rosary: Prayer for the Church, Missions, International and

SocialProblems. This encyclical was short in comparison to the others he wrote, but it also

carried a hopeful tone. The Pope was consistent, however, in his warnings to world leaders that

inequality would lead to destruction. He differs from his first encyclical with his hope for the

future. According to the Pope, "We see all mankind striving for a better future. We see the

awakening of a mysterious force, and this permits us to hope that men will be drawn by a right









The bishops felt that the inequality that divided the rich and the other classes had to be resolved,

but without bloodshed. According to Gaudium et Spes, this was not the Christian way to resolve

the conflict and violence could not be condoned. It is also important to note that the bishops were

aware of violence being used by those in power to uphold their own positions and keep the poor

in poverty. The bishops said blatantly in their document on peace that violence on the part of

those in power was wrong and only promoted more violence. The more that violence occurred

the harder it would be to gain the trust of the people. A majority of Catholics suffered under

violent political regimes and the injustices that befell those who live at or below the poverty line.

The documents of Medellin came at a time when Colombia was facing political changes.

The National Front was coming to an end and the political divisions in the country were being

reworked. The church, however, did not have to fear its place in society because in 1973,

President Misael Pastrana signed a Concordat with the Vatican. This document did not call

Catholicism the state religion but the religion of the majority. It also allowed the pope to pick the

bishops in Colombia. The ability of the pope to pick the bishops in Colombia strengthened the

ties between Colombia and the Vatican and guaranteed that bishops would be conservative or

liberal in nature based on the pope (Williams and Guerrieri 1999, 19).

In Daniel Levine's article, "Authority in Church and Society: Latin American Models",

the author looks at the mentality of bishops after Vatican II and Medellin. The bishops' main

concerns were always on authority, the laity's role in Catholicism and its participation. After

Vatican II, however, the Colombian bishops began to rank their social commitment higher. The

importance of authority was always a main concern but now their commitment to social progress

also became important (Levine 1978, 529). As with most progress not all bishops are happy to

include the laity, but many understood it as a necessity. In Colombia the population was rapidly









Diocesan Development in Action

According to the Library of Congress' country study on Colombia "the bishop's inability

to agree on an approach to social reform and to implement it through strong effective leadership

increase' the fragmentation with the church in Colombia and the controversy surrounding the

latter's role" (Hanratty and Meditz 1988). The Catholic Church, according to the country study,

has significant influence in education, social welfare, and union organizations. The church also

has research institutions in order to conduct studies on the socioeconomic condition of

Colombians. Though education seems to rank highest on the bishops agenda there are several

programs that the conference developed including Colombian Charities and Communal Action

(Hanratty and Meditz 1988). The groups, however, do not promote self-sufficiency. They

provide clothing to the homeless and priests are also key-organizers refusing to give power to the

laity (Hanratty and Meditz 1988). For in-depth look at diocesan initiatives research conducted by

Daniel Levine is used. The leading scholar on diocesan development in Colombia is Daniel

Levine. His work focuses on the development of social activism in Colombia through the church

and in other Catholic programs. Levine is critical of the Catholic Church and her lack of

initiative but does give good examples of diocesan projects that were developed and

strengthened post Vatican II.

The Diocese of Facatativa


The documents of John XXIII and the start of Vatican II promoted change in the Catholic

Church. John XXIII feared the rise of the masses in bloodshed. He saw the persecution, the

poverty and the injustice and realized that left unchecked it could spiral out of control. The

church has always promoted order and stability. If the masses living in poverty fought against

their injustices it could, in the pope's mind, lead to chaos. Communism was not an option for the









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CK N O W LED G M EN T S ................................................................. ........... ............. .....

ABSTRAC T .......................................................................... 7

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............... ................. ........... ................................ .8

Research Question .................. ........... ............ ...... ............. 10
O b j e c tiv e s ............................................................... ................................................1 1
L iteratu re R ev iew .............................................................................13
S ig n ifican ce .........................................................................2 0

2 THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND POST WORLD WAR II POLITICS .............................22

The End of World War II and the Build up to Vatican II ............ .. ... ...............22
L a V iolen cia ............................... .. ......................................2 4
Dictatorship, Violence and Social Construction....................... .............. 27
Uncomfortable Peace ...................... ................... .................. 30
D rugs, G uerillas and R religion ............................................................33
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................3...................6..........

3 THE COLOMBIAN CHURCH FROM POPE JOHN XXIII TO PUEBLA ..........................38

A Preferential O option for the Poor ............... .......... .... ................................. 38
The Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII ........................................................40
Pope John XXIII and the Church's Acknowledgement of Poverty ..............................40
The Second Vatican Council and Gaudium et Spes ................................ ................. 46
The Latin American Episcopal Conference in Medellin ..................... .........................48
The D ocum ents of M edellin ............................. ......... ............... ............... 48
W hy the U urgency ......... .. ....... .....................................................................52
D iocesan D evelopm ent in A action ......... ... ............ ... ........... ................. ... ............54
T he D iocese of F acatativ .......................................................................... .............. 54
T h e C ali P project ......................................................................................... ......59
Puebla and an U likely R retreat ........................................................................ ..................62

4 CATHOLIC REBELS AND GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS .............. .......................66

R eb els in C a sso ck s .....................................................................................................6 7
Cam ilo Torres ................................................. .....................68
G olconda and SA L .................... ...................................... ......70
T he Jesuits and C olom bia........................................................................... ...............72
Catholic Based N on-Profit Organizations ........................................................................ 75









presidents the power was revoked. Because of the conservative nature of the Catholic Church

and support from the Conservative party, the church was against liberal leadership.

During the 1940s the role of the Catholic Church in politics became clear. La Violencia,

Colombia's major civil war began with the death of Jorge Eleicer Gaitan. Though a political

divide in Colombia has always been hard to cross, the death of Gaitan sparked massive rioting

and the violence quickly spread throughout the country (Palacios 2006, 141).The Catholic

Church sided with the conservative party and promoted violence towards liberals during this

period. Priests used their homilies to condone the violence of the conservatives and speak out

against the liberals (Bailey 1967, 565). The active participation of the Catholic Church in La

Violencia had a negative affect on the church and its legitimacy.

During the National Front period (1958-1974) the Liberal party agreed to support the

Catholic Church's power in the country in order to form a mutual peace between the two parties.

The Catholic Church agreed to the National Front because it guaranteed their legitimacy in

Colombia. During the National Front the Catholic Church removed itself from politics in

Colombia and resolved itself to focus on the spirituality of the people (Dix 1980, 315). During

the National Front the Catholic Church launched small scale initiatives in the development of

base communities. They tried in the rural and urban areas to promote community with the

Catholic Church at the center. These communities, however, gave little power to the people and

so they were not able to take ownership of the projects. Priests remained at the head of the

projects (Levine 1990, 739).

From the 1960s the Catholic Church in Colombia has had to decide how significant a role

they would play in the quotidian lives of the Colombian people. The literature on social

development and Catholicism in Colombia is mainly conducted by Daniel Levine. Levine is a









CHAPTER 4
CATHOLIC REBELS AND GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS

The legitimacy of the Catholic Church comes at a high cost. This chapter will explore the

grassroots movements with tenuous ties to the Catholic Church. I investigated how they work

within and rebel against the Catholic Church. First the rebel priests and their ideology will be

discussed. The failures of these priests will be documented as well. Next I will discuss the ideas

of the Jesuits. The order is known for its education and liberal thinking. Following the discussion

of the Jesuits, the discussion will move to the role of grassroots movements. This section will

focus on two powerful organizations that fall under the Catholic Church's protection; first the

more liberal Centro de Investigaci6n y Educaci6n Popular (CINEP) and then the conservative El

Minuto de Dios. The importance of these movements can be found in the progression of social

development in Colombia. The radical priests in the early years spoke in liberal and radical

terms, but in the end there was no action. The action in social development has occurred through

organizations such as CINEP and El Minuto de Dios.

When the Catholic Church in Colombia retreated from the political arena after the Puebla

Conference, other organizations with Catholic ties began to emerge. The church supported an

end to violence, but the hierarchy's fear of chaos prevented the adoption of drastic changes. Pope

John Paul II wanted the priests to focus on the spirituality of the Catholics worldwide and back

away from highly politicized activities (Levine 1985, 302). The Catholic Church hierarchy's

main concern was organizational and focused on top down initiatives. CELAM, which is based

in Bogota, has vocally criticized the Progressive Catholic Church. The fear of becoming too

liberal and Marxist resonates for the bishops in Colombia and so they have stepped back from

social development because it seems too political (Levine 1985, 300).









CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION

The main goal of my thesis was to see what the Catholic Church was doing in Colombia

to aid social development. Though the church is slow moving there have been initiatives to aid

those living in poverty. Mainly, though, the church's hierarchy is more talk than action. The

main concerns of the country revolve around the illegal drug trade and ending the ongoing civil

conflict. Yet if poverty is to be alleviated and people given another viable option they may stop

farming illegal drugs or participating in the violence. CINEP aims for reconciliation and peace in

their community projects. As seen in my thesis these organizations and their programs are an

obvious threat to the guerrillas because they give people another option and a chance at life that

does not include living in fear. CINEP and El Minuto de Dios have both been targeted by the

guerrillas because of their peaceful initiatives.

Other Catholic charities have also entered the country, but there must be more effort on

the part of the Catholic Church. Through my research I have found that the Catholic Church in

Colombia is not proactive. They embrace the current Pope's conservative agenda. They talk a

good game but the action is done by others outside the hierarchy. What I found most important

is that recently the Catholic Church is becoming more vocal. They have begun to issue

statements on the civil conflict and on the peace initiative. They are willing to work with both the

guerrillas and the government in order to end the civil conflict. This is a good first step for the

church. They are reentering society albeit tentatively. Other programs such as CINEP and El

Minuto de Dios continue to grow and foreign branches of Catholic Charities are becoming active

in the country, such as Catholic Relief Services and Caritas International. In the end, these

findings are hopeful that initiative is being take, but also fearful that the hierarchy of the church

is not fully involved.









guided along a path of election"(Schwan and Ugalde 1974, 481). The bishops are usually elected

to their position at a young age, usually 45, almost guaranteeing that they will hold the position

for a significant amount of time (Schwan and Ugalde 1974, 481). This move ensures the

hierarchy has trained its successors to follow the same rhetorical path as their predecessors.

Colombian bishops, for the most part, have refused to enter the world of the poor. They live in

middle- and upper-class homes and have little contact to the majority in poverty (Cleary 1990,

52).

According to Lars Schoultz, the history of the Colombian Catholic Church can be divided

into seven periods. In his article "Reform and Reaction in the Colombian Catholic Church,"

Schoultz describes the relationship between the Catholic Church and the government of

Colombia. The first period, which spanned from 1509 to 1849, was marked by a dominant

Catholic Church which had extreme control in politics. For example, the Archbishop of Bogota

was the head of the provisional government when the president elect was in Europe. According

to Schoultz, the development of the conservative party in Colombia was the joining of several

political parties formed by the Catholic Church (Schoultz 1973, 230).

The Catholic Church has not always had clear domination in Colombia. During several

periods of liberal governmental rule, religious orders, such as the Jesuits, were expelled from the

country. In 1849 a liberal president expelled the Jesuits and took away power from the Catholic

Church which resulted in mandatory civil unions and the secularization of schools and

cemeteries. These acts were always repealed with the instatement of new presidents and then

usually more power was given to the Catholic Church (Schoultz 1973, 232). With each

succeeding Conservative president the Catholic Church gained support and power. Under liberal









1992, 83). Because of the failures of SAL and Golconda, social organizations that work through

the Catholic Church must be cautious. These two organizations of priests had strongly worded

documents but did little to deliver on their ideas.

The Jesuits and Colombia

Some of the most highly respected religious orders inside the Catholic Church have also

been seen as threats to the Roman hierarchy. The Jesuit order places importance on education

and social justice. Recently, because of their active work in social development and their liberal

style of education, Jesuits have been removed from positions of power inside the Catholic

Church. The Catholic hierarchy has removed members of the Jesuit order from positions of

power in the office of education and social justice (Levine 1985, 308). Unlike grassroots

organizations, the Jesuits have more freedom to conduct their work because they have legitimacy

through their order. The Jesuits have been in Colombia since Colombia's independence from

Spain. They also have funding through their order and are able to have some autonomy. With

help from the Jesuit order worldwide, these priests are able to run programs without the consent

of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Colombia.

The Jesuits have been a part of Colombia since the Spanish colonized the country. The

first role that the order dominated was the mass conversion of the indigenous people in the

country. Next came the conversion of the slaves who later entered Colombia via slave ships and

became a large industry for Colombia during the colonial period. The order is known as

educators and missionaries and they have fulfilled that role in Colombia. The Jesuits are known

not only for their prestigious schools but also for their education of the masses living in poverty.

The Jesuits host radio shows for educational purposes that are broadcast throughout the country.

They also helped to organize some of the oldest and largest trade unions in Colombia. Because

of their prominent position throughout the country and in the poorer communities, the Jesuits









will live and work. The bishops in Colombia heeded the Pope's warning. In developing CEBs in

Colombia they started with small projects and focused their efforts on rural communities. The

Colombian bishops kept a strict watch on the foreign priests. They enforced a strict code on how

social change should occur and anyone who pushed their boundaries had their contract

terminated. This was the case with several priests working in Cali, Colombia.

The November encyclical has an important message about culture and the need for the

foreign priests to understand and accept their new surroundings. Pope John XXIII also states that

cultural norms for each region are important and should be held intact. He believes that well

instructed priests who are born in the home country can be a great asset. The Pope states that

these priests have a connection to all the people and often relate better to the "educated citizens

of their own countries ..." (John XXIII Nov. 1959, 7). Culture will also be of great importance in

Gaudium et Spes. The Bishops will also build off of Pope John XXIII's documents by

recognizing the need to keep and work within the cultural norms of the host country.

Culture, "flows immediately from the spiritual and social character of man" and "has

constant need of a just liberty in order to develop" (Gaudium et Spes, 38). The bishops felt that to

try and change man too drastically or force him to conform would mean a loss of freedom and

identity. They felt that both priests going abroad to work with different regions and governments

in different regions had to recognize man's need for liberty. This document promoted the

liberation of man. The bishops saw the inequality of the world and the oppression that was taking

place at the time and were looking for ways to verbally denounce oppression.

As Pope John XXIII did before them, the bishops who wrote Gaudium et Spes were

vocalizing their sadness and hope for a better future. The tone of the bishops was one of

disappointment towards governments, but also of hope for man. They stated, repeatedly, in the









Colombian Catholicism is an intricate mix of conservative action with progressive

dialogue. The Catholic Church in Colombia has tried to stay true to its conservative roots while

facing a dangerous situation in Colombia. The politics of Colombia are violent; the people have

little or no trust in the government, and the poverty rate is increasing. The role of the Catholic

Church has always been to provide spiritual guidance for the practitioners. In 2007 spiritual

guidance is not enough. The Church has released a series of statements since the 1960s voicing

their concern about the lack of social progress in Colombia. The role of social development,

however, has been left up to organizations with tenuous ties to the conservative hierarchy of the

church. Yes, the Catholic Church has helped in short-term social development, but it has not

been long-term. Programs run by CINEP and El Minuto de Dios educate the people to be self-

sufficient.

Colombia Today

In 2007 Colombia faces many of the same issues that have plagued the country for over

forty years. The country is a haven for drug dealers, guerrillas and paramilitaries. Safety is a

major issue for anyone who wishes to visit the country. Tourism could be a major revenue

booster but, until tourists can be guaranteed their safety, foreign countries warn against travel to

Colombia.

The lack of opportunity to accrue wealth only leads to a higher involvement in illegal

activities. The current president is the first two-term president in the constitutional history of

Colombia. Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's President, won both elections based on a hard-line stance

against the guerrillas. He has promoted the destruction of all coca fields and has issued swift

punishment to members of the drug trade and guerrilla movements. The Catholic Church has

supported the destruction of the coca fields and the end to the civil conflict that has affected the

lives of all Colombians.









International, rank Colombia as one of the poorest in human rights. The Catholic Church, as a

unit, has done little to combat this problem. There have been separate cells that have been put to

work, but overall the Catholic Church has left the social reform to the government. Any work

within the church has had to follow the rigid rules and structure of the church hierarchy.

In order to understand religious movements and their small amounts of success in

Colombia one must first understand Colombia. The country has developed distrust for any large

organization and it is hard to organize the working class. While the Catholic Church has stepped

in to help in other countries, it has not in Colombia. The fear of a loss of power is too great to the

Colombian Catholic hierarchy. Daniel Levine hopes that the process is simply slow moving and

it is the hope of many that more priests will take the initiative to work more closely with the

people. The church, however, fears a return to violence and prefers the status quo. Programs that

are supported by the Catholic Church in Colombia must first be supported by the church

hierarchy. All programs need to prove they are true to Catholic doctrine. Since Vatican II, the

Colombian Church would prefer to stay in the spiritual realm rather than move out into the

communities and risk herself in the here and now which is not being true to the promises of the

Medillin Conference.









In the last document of the conference, the bishops affirm that it is the role of the church

to establish organization of social action and to promote human growth and development. The

document, however, goes on to say "in so far as it can, it steps in where public authorities and

social organizations are absent or missing" (Eaglson 1979, 281). The bishops are promoting a

divide between politics and the church. This divide is not hard for the Catholic Church in

Colombia to accept because they have promoted such a divide since the end of La Violencia.

Like Sobrino, Renato Pobleto felt that the pope missed out on the fact that the Latin American

Catholic Church is diverse. In his article, "From Medellin to Puebla: Notes for Reflection",

Pobleto affirms that the Latin American Church is diverse (Pobleto 1979, 32). "Each local

church has its own characteristics derived from the richness of its particular history and varied

local challenges. Consequently, our reflection must never ignore this dual character-the union of

history and destiny..." (Pobleto 1979, 32).

The concerns of Latin America are the concerns of the bishops of CELAM. The people

throughout Latin America have faced revolution, dictatorship and war. Each country reacted

differently to their individual situations. The Colombian Catholic Church of the 1970's promoted

movements such as trade unions and political parties with Christianity at their base. It also

promoted social growth with Christianity at its base (Pobleto 1979, 33). The end of the active

participation, however, came at the end of Puebla. The bishops promoted a move behind church

walls and John Paul II elected highly conservative Cardinals. His move to focus on spirituality

can be seen in the projects that were then started throughout Colombia. The priests who were

considered too liberal were removed from their positions and replaced by those who had a more

conservative religious agenda. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church currently focuses on the

spirituality of Catholics. The fact that there has been a conversion to Protestants occurring more









CHAPTER 3
THE COLOMBIAN CHURCH FROM POPE JOHN XXIII TO PUEBLA

A Preferential Option for the Poor

In 1958 Pope John the XXIII took his seat at the head of the Catholic Church. He was seen

by some as an interim pope. Because of his age not many in the College of Cardinals thought he

would live very long. John XXIII did not live long and died of cancer in 1963, but his short

papacy did not stop him from setting in motion some of the most dramatic changes the Catholic

Church has ever seen. Pope John XXIII wrote several encyclicals and opened the Second

Vatican Council in order to discuss drastic changes that needed to occur within the church. Many

of the changes coming out of Vatican II are based on the liturgy, however the document

Gaudium et Spes focuses on the state of Catholics worldwide. Following along the lines of

several of John XXIII's encyclicals before the council, the final document of Vatican II centered

on the poverty that faced a majority of the Catholic Church.

Bishops from all around the world presented themselves for Vatican II. When it was over

they went home to discuss the changes that needed to be made. In Latin America the bishops

were already aware of the damage caused by dictatorships, poverty and hunger. In order to set in

motion the changes promoted by Vatican II the cardinals met in Medellin, Colombia in 1968. At

the meeting in Medellin cardinals and bishops worked together to look for solutions to the

problems that faced the majority of Catholics. Poverty, hunger, and humanitarian issues were at

the top of the agenda. The members of the Medellin Council agreed that the citizens of Latin

America faced too many injustices and it was their duty to speak out against them. For the first

time the cardinals and bishops publicly recognized poverty and that there were options for the

poor people. Liberation Theology emerged from the meetings in Medellin and it still remains a

highly contested topic in Latin American Catholicism.









Ten years after Medellin the cardinals and bishops met again to discuss the progression of

the Latin American Catholic Church in Puebla, Mexico. The first meeting was opened by Pope

Paul VI and Puebla was opened by Pope John Paul II. It was at Puebla that the term "preferential

option for the poor" was coined. By using this term the Bishops were announcing yet again that

the poor were the main concern of the Catholic Church. Since John XXIII, however, the popes

have progressively become more conservative. Though the documents of the Catholic Church

have promoted extensive development for the poor the actions of the hierarchy of the church,

since the election of Pope John Paul II, have been contradictory.

Because of a lack of unity inside the church on how to handle issues such as poverty and

class division, each country in Latin America has taken a different approach to the documents of

John XXIII and Vatican II. Bishops have taken a much more liberal and active approach to these

documents in countries that were affected by dictatorship, such as Chile and Brazil. They

promote Christian Base Communities (CEBs) and have an active presence in their communities.

Countries, such as Colombia, which did not face the censorship of violent dictators, have been

much slower and more conservative in their actions towards poverty. There have been examples,

however, of base communities in action.

Colombia has taken a much slower approach to development, but from the 1960s to the

1980s there was a small development in CEBs in rural areas. The diocese of Facatativa was the

shining example of the Colombian bishops trying to alleviate the poverty in the country. In other

dioceses such as Cali, Jesuit priests developed programs that resembled CEBs. Because of a lack

of priests in rural areas, laity were trained to help with the problems of everyday poverty (Levine

1992, 96). A major problem that the church faces is the on going war with the guerillas. The

people of Colombia have been faced with a forty plus year war with the guerillas.









Sadly, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has lost confidence in the Jesuits because of

ideological and generational differences between the Jesuit order and the leaders of the church.

"Management of groups and training programs were taken away from the Jesuits and given to a

new department of the Bishops' Conference" (Levine 1985, 308). The Jesuits have not lost the

respect of the people in Colombia. Their schools are still strongly funded by the people and their

religious order. They are considered too liberal by the hierarchy of the church but they have the

legitimacy of their past history in the country to continue their work.

Catholic Based Non-Profit Organizations

The Catholic Church has retreated behind its Church walls. This does not mean that

Catholics in Colombia are not trying to promote needed social development. Both the liberal and

conservative groups have grown up and out from Catholic doctrine in order to help with the

country's poor. Groups such as CINEP are considered liberal because most of their writings

focus on breaking the class divide and supplying the needed infrastructure for those living below

the poverty line or in rural areas. On the conservative side, through its connections to the

Catholic Charismatic Renewal, are organizations such as El Minuto de Dios started out as a short

prayer service on Colombian radio. The group has grown and helps those living in poverty with

loans and low-income housing. These programs demand that the recipients do not receive free

handouts. They must work to help develop the community and work for their rent. Each

organization has grown out of what they think are the most important tenets of the Catholic faith.

The more conservative groups have been met with far less hostility than the liberal groups

because they do not question the hieratical system that is in place not only in the Catholic Church

but also in Colombian society.

Through education about social development and social justice work organizations can

make people more aware. One successful organization in raising social awareness in Colombia









the bishop's conference of Colombia had long condemned the participation of clergy in politics it

was still known that bishops and priests participated in Conservative conferences.

The extreme cases of violence that occurred during La Violencia were not completely

secularized. The Catholic Church's hierarchy urged priests to vocalize their conservative views

during the celebration of the daily mass (Levine 1977, 229). During La Violencia it was difficult

to travel through Colombia safely. Violence was rampant in the country and there was little

protection for any person, however, priests in rural regions would guarantee safe passage to

Conservatives. They vocalized their dislike for the Liberal party and condoned violence against

them. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church condemned the Liberal party as "atheists and

communists" (Levine 1977, 229). The intense scrutiny of the Liberal party by the Catholic

hierarchy made the rift between Liberals and Catholic priests grow. The Liberals refused any sort

of association with the Catholic Church and when in power they were critical of the church and

her teachings (Levine1977, 229).

During this period members of the bishop's conference began to see the problems that

were caused by condoning violence. The Catholic Church's role in politics had only increased

the violence. The church's role also created distrust towards the church. In order to regain trust

the leadership felt it was necessary to retreat into the church and focus on their spiritual role. The

Archbishop of Bogota during the 1940's was Monsignor Ismael Perdomo. He promoted unity

inside politics and "forbade clerical support of one party over another or even mention of a party

in sermons" (Levine 1977, 230). During the National Front the new archbishop of Bogota,

Monsignor Luis Concha Cordoba would carry out the same ideals of the removal of the Catholic

Church from politics. The Catholic Church saw La Violencia as a hereditary hatred and did not

feel blame for the violence could be put on one party or another. Bishops, such as Monsignor









of the new pope had a conservative feel and promoted a deepening of spirituality and a retreat

from the political arena. While some saw Puebla as a continuation of Medellin others who were

more radical saw the documents as a call to action.

There were attendees at Puebla who felt that John Paul II had too much influence on the

Puebla documents and they felt that his influence was a step in the wrong direction for the Latin

American Catholic Church. Father Jon Sobrino felt that John Paul II did not understand the Latin

American Church. Sobrino wrote that John Paul II left a definite mark on the Puebla documents.

John Paul II's mark on Puebla was to condemn Liberation Theology and call for religious people

to stay in the spiritual realm. "More his own seems to be his admonition to priests and religious

men and women, urging them to deepen their spirituality rather than dedicating themselves to

sociopolitical "radicalisms", or displaying an "exaggerated" interest in the temporal world, or

becoming victims of ideological "radicalizations"(Eaglson 1979, 293).

Even though Sobrino was a skeptic of John Paul II's influence on the Puebla documents

he also felt that there were certain ties to liberation that could not be broken.

Particularly noteworthy is the endorsement to "liberation". The sense of that term is
spelled out and dangers warned against, to be sure, but in substance the reality is stoutly
affirmed. There can be no evangelization without integral liberation, and the latter includes
liberation from historical misery (Eaglson 1979, 302).

Alexander Wilde saw hope in the Puebla documents. In his article, "Ten years of Change in the

Church: Puebla and the Future" Wilde says that the documents of Puebla are a call to action just

as the Medellin documents were. According to Wilde, Puebla departs from Medellin in the fact

that they went beyond the earlier positions of Medellin (Wilde 1979, 300). The problem with

social progress in Colombia, in Wilde's opinion, is that there was never an institutionalized

military government. Those Catholic Churches that faced severe oppression under the military

are much more progressive in their social stance (Wilde 1979, 301).









THE ROLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN COLOMBIAN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
POST WORLD WAR II




















By

JESSICA JOY GONZALEZ


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007









the CELAM meeting in Medellin. Because of the liberal nature of these meetings the Catholic

hierarchy in Colombia, though not willing to accept contraceptives, opened its own office of the

National Population Council (Ott 1977, 6).

Vatican II was meant to discuss the meaning of the Catholic Church and how she should

progress in the modern world. The Document Gaudium et Spes recognized that a majority of the

Catholic Church's followers lived in poverty. It also stated that the Catholic Church recognized

their struggle. This recognition was important for Latin America, especially Colombia, because

the Catholic Church's hierarchy had aligned itself with the wealthy for so long. Unlike other

Latin American countries, the majority of priests in Colombia were Colombian by birth. This

meant that they had allegiance to certain families and political orders. Colombia also faced the

problem that their native priests often had an inferior education when compared to the foreign

priests (Levine 1979, 56). In order to fully understand how Vatican II would affect Latin

America, the Latin American Bishops Conference (CELAM) called for a meeting of all Latin

American Bishops in Medellin, Colombia.

The Latin American Episcopal Conference in Medellin

The Documents of Medellin

In 1968 the Council of Latin American Bishops met in Medellin, Colombia. At this

meeting the focus of the Latin American Bishops was the condition of poverty that encompassed

the mass majority of Latin Americans. The documents that were produced from this meeting

focused on social justice and peace. The bishops felt that Latin America was severely lacking in

these two elements and that Latin America was dominated by a small minority of wealthy land

and business owners. The bishops stated in both documents on peace and justice that the rich

needed to be more understanding and compassionate towards the poor. They also stated that they









weapons in his Letter to the Ephesians, in the end he promotes prayer above all (John XXIII

Sept. 1961, 3). His adamant call for peace in a world on the brink of war had a tone that was

almost pleading with the world's leaders.

Pope John XXIII recognizes in his message, like in his encyclicals, the need for social

change. The Pope states that, "The Church by her vary nature cannot remain indifferent to

human suffering, even were it no more than anxiety and anguish" (John XXIII Sept. 1961, 1). In

this quote the early roots of Gaudium et Spes are evidenced. The Pope is stating that the poor

cannot be ignored and the Catholic Church will not stand idly by while governments ignore

them. This statement is one of the more proactive statements seen in his documents. Gaudium et

Spes follows a similar path with its tone which is also proactive. The authors of the document are

proactive bishops and priests looking for ways to alleviate the social and economic pressures

accumulated by those living below the poverty line.

The Colombian Catholic Church is divided in many ways. Though the Catholic Church in

Colombia is known to have strong ties to the Vatican they are far enough away to ignore certain

teachings. The hierarchy of the Colombian Catholic Church is highly conservative while many of

the priests who work in rural areas are much more liberal. During the late 1950s and early 1960s

the Catholic hierarchy in Colombia chose to, for the most part, ignore the encyclicals of John

XXIII (Williams and Guerrieri 1999, 20). The encyclicals of John XXIII were an

acknowledgment of poverty and injustice in the world. In Colombia poverty and the social divide

are ignored. The conservatism that is felt in the hierarchy and the ties to the Conservative party

all contributed to the refusal to actively acknowledge the writings of John XXIII. Because many

of the members of the Catholic hierarchy are related or have close ties to the elite in Colombia it









have faced criticism from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Colombia. Much of their

power has been striped away from them, but they do have the luxury of autonomy because they

have a respected and old relationship with the people in Colombia. The Jesuits also have

autonomy when it comes to their teaching styles. The schools and universities that fall under the

Jesuit order are still controlled by Jesuit priests.

The Catholic Church in Colombia has a stronghold on education. The three main male

Catholic orders in the country are the Christian Brothers, the Jesuits and the Salesians. Though

all the orders, male and female, contribute to the education system, the Jesuits are known

worldwide for their contributions to education, and in Colombia this is no exception.

In practice Church control over education is even greater than its official powers would
suggest. With more than 3,000 schools and 275,000 pupils, the Catholic educational
system in Colombia is the strongest and Largest in Latin America. It is estimated that 25%
of primary, 75-80% of secondary and 30% of university enrolment is in Catholic
institutions. Three Church institutions of higher education-Colgeio del Rosario and
Universidad Javeriana in Bogota and the Universidad Bolivariana in Medellin- are among
the most highly respected in the nation. (Schoultz 1973, 240-241)

The Jesuits have been in Colombia since the establishment of the nation. They have traveled

throughout the country working on education, evangelization, and social justice. During the

colonial period the Jesuits were based in Cartagena and focused on educating and converting the

slaves. The most famous of the Jesuits was Saint Peter Claver who worked until his death to

make sure that the slaves who arrived in Colombia were fed, clothed and treated as fairly as

possible. Because of the Jesuits' vocal nature, they were expelled several times from Colombia,

but always were allowed back in. Before their first expulsion the Jesuits founded La Pontificia

Javeriana. The school was shut down after the first expulsion, but reopened several years later

when the political order changed and they were allowed re-entry.

Two of the key tenets of the Order of Jesuits are education and social justice. The Jesuit

University in Bogota is vocal in promoting the idea of social justice to their students. The school









minimal resources to create some of the most progressive programs that the Colombian Catholic

Church has supported (Levine 1992, 96). The work in the diocese of Facatativa is interesting, not

because it is radical or conservative, but rather that it is moderate. The bishops were able to

create activities that did not threaten the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, yet they were still able

to aid the people and help the rural communities grow (Levine 1992, 94).

Unlike other dioceses in Colombia those priests and nuns working in the center of the

diocese were more willing to make the move to the rural areas. The shift helped to develop

Catholicism in more rural regions of the country. "One high-ranking prelate stated that 'from the

beginning, the diocese has been a pillar of base communities in Colombia, and was chosen for

pilot programs in the area" (Levine 1992, 96). As development progressed in the diocese the

high-ranking officials began to push past the conservative nature of the hierarchy. "By the late

1960's, diocesan documents emphasized the need to promote base communities. The first formal

plan for base communities dates from 1972 ..." (Levine 1992, 96). The major goals for the

diocese in 1972 were to create base communities, educate the clergy on the trends of the church

and to focus on the development of the peasant population. The development that the documents

promote is not only spiritual, but also economic and cultural.

In 1970 a Spanish priest, Roman Cortes, arrived in the diocese with the agenda of

developing base communities. Cortes came as part of the bishops' special envoy and worked for

the National Advisory Team on base Communities and Lay Ministries of the Colombian Bishops

Conference. The organization was supposed to promote Christian base communities in rural

areas in Colombia. The program, however, focused more on spirituality than the everyday needs

of the people. Cortes worked to develop a relationship with the people and to form a network of

base communities. These base communities were first Cursillos de Cristiandad. They were









focus of research. Colombia has a high poverty rate and I wanted to see if the Catholic Church

was working to alleviate that in anyway. Since Catholicism plays such an important cultural role

in Colombia it would seem that the church would want to give something back to the people. Or

at least protect their role in society when other religions are beginning to enter the country. Yet

they have left most of the work up to other organizations. I am not trying to portray the Catholic

Church in a bad light in this thesis. I am, however, trying to raise awareness. Poverty is an

epidemic and a more large scale initiative needs to take place through the church.

Research Question

In 1962, Pope John XXIII called the bishops of the Catholic Church to Rome in order to

discuss the progress and place of the Catholic Church in the modem world. Out of the numerous

documents that emerged from Vatican II, the most important for Latin America was Gaudium et

Spes. Gaudium et Spes was the first explicit ecclesiastical acknowledgement that a majority of

practitioners of Catholicism lived in poverty. After the close of Vatican II the cardinals, bishops,

and priests in Latin America met in Medellin, Colombia to discuss the fruits of Vatican II.

Since CELAM is headquartered in Colombia, and because the progressive meeting of

bishops was also held in Colombia one would expect that progressive Catholicism should have

had a major impact on the country. It did not. It is the thesis of this paper that though there have

been moves inside the Catholic Church of Colombia to be more involved in social development

in Colombia, the church there remains conservative and slow moving. The thesis further suggests

that in order to help the vast majority of people living below the poverty line in Colombia,

Catholic organizations with only tenuous ties to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church have had to

step in to do the work. The Catholic hierarchy prefers to emphasize perceived spiritual concerns

over socio-political maladies.









Catholic Charismatic Renewal Working within the Boundaries of the Catholic
H hierarchy .................. ........... ..... ..................................................................... ............... 8 1
The Catholic Charism atic Renew al ........................................ ........................... 81
E l M into de D io s ......................................................................83
W working Outside the Church W alls............................................... ............................. 85

5 CON CLU SION .... .................................................87

C o lo m b ia T o d ay ............................................................................................................... 8 8
F in al T h ou g hts ......... ...... ............ ..................................... ............................9 1
Future Research ............. ............................................................... 92
C o n c lu sio n ................................................................................................................. 9 3

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ......... .. ............. ....................................... .....................................95

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H .............................................................................. .....................99






































6









developed in Spain and meant to be bible study classes (Levine 1992, 99). Though Cortes did

develop other programs in the region and was an active member in the community, his main goal

was the spiritual development of the people and not their economic growth. In 1978 he moved

the guerilla stronghold of Caparrapi in order to foster a relationship with Catholics in the region.

After seeing the peoples' lack of trust, it became one of Cortes' main goals to rebuild the

relationship between the parishioners and the church.

Because of Cortes' charisma the bishops of Colombia took notice. Cortes did not create a

divide with the bishops because he promoted cursillos, which were courses on Christianity. The

classes on Christianity were Cortes' main project. He promoted a Christian education and along

with it came the small base communities. People would gather for class and then form

communities. Cortes' success encouraged other dioceses to try similar projects in areas such as

home schooling. Young women who were from rural areas were brought to small schools and

given a basic education by the Catholic Church. When they completed their coursework they

went back to their communities to be teachers. Hogar-Escuela was the name of the program and

was formed in 1975 by Dominican sisters. Hogar-Escuela fit into the goals promoted by the

Catholic Church in Colombia. "So it is clear, then, that the entire Christian community, united

around its legitimate pastors and guided by them, constitute the responsible subject of its own

liberation and human promotion"(Levine 1992, 101). The nuns state clearly that their goal is to

promote the Catholic Church's ideals and are not a threat to the hierarchy of the church.

The success of the projects in Facatativa encouraged the bishops of Colombia to develop

a program with the American charity, Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The project was

developed on a small scale in order to guarantee longevity. Since Factativa had been so

successful in the development of base communities, the bishops of Colombia used the diocese as









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Jessica Joy Gonzalez was born in Los Angeles, California in 1982. The first three years of

her life, however, were spent in Tokyo, Japan before moving to Florida. After 7 years in Miami,

she moved to Orlando where her parents currently reside. Jessica traveled extensively as a child.

Her many trips included most of Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. Because of her desire

to see and understand the world and its myriad cultures Jessica decided to pursue her bachelor's

degree in international relations. In 2004 Jessica received her B.A. from Wellesley College with

a major in international relations and a minor in religion.

After a gap year which included travels to Brazil and 3 months in Colombia to study

Spanish, Jessica decided to pursue her master's degree in Latin American studies with a

concentration in religion and society.









encyclical Mater etMagistra recalled the teachings in Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum

Novarum. These encyclicals focused on social matters and called the attention of the bishops to

the plight of the poor. When John XXIII assumed the position of pope he set in motion a social

agenda that promoted change inside the Catholic Church. His legacy includes calling the Second

Vatican Council.

In 1962, the Second Vatican Council was opened by Pope John XXIII. One of the most

important documents to come out of this meeting of the leaders of the Catholic Church came out

in the Council's final year. The document was called Gaudium et Spes and it promotes social

justice issues. According to Gaudium et Spes:

God intended the earth with everything contained in it for the use of all human beings and
peoples. Since there are so many people prostrate with hunger in the world, this sacred
council urges all, both individuals and governments, to remember the aphorism of the
Fathers, "Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed
him," and really to share and employ their earthly goods, according to the ability of each,
especially by supporting individuals or peoples with the aid by which they may be able to
help and develop themselves. (Pope Paul VI 1965, 45)

The Catholic Church recognized that a majority of her practitioners lived in poverty and that they

needed to be recognized. Gaudium et Spes is worded in a more aggressive tone than the

documents of John XXIII. It calls for the governments and the people of the world to recognize

and act on the wealth disparity. It states that those who do not acknowledge the poverty are

accountable for the deaths of those who are starving. As a result, the Vatican promoted the

organization of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM). In 1968 CELAM met in

Medellin, Colombia to discuss how the fruits of Vatican II would work within Latin America

(Williams 1973, 269).

Pope Paul VI opened the meeting of CELAM in Medellin in August of 1968. The previous

year Paul VI issued an encyclical entitled Populorum Progressio. The encyclical was the most

liberal of Paul VI's encyclicals and revolved around the same ideals of Gaudium et Spes. The









The leaders of the Catholic Church in Colombia have always sided with the rich and

those in government. The rare exceptions began to emerge in the 1960's with the opening of

Vatican II, the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Medellin and the development of Liberation

Theology. Priests and other religious leaders began work with those living in poverty and they

began to teach that there was a possibility for a better life. CINEP has met harsh criticisms from

the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The organization is considered Marxist and too political for

many of the Colombian Bishops.

They challenge the bishops on all fronts, giving particular weight to four elements: class
unity as the basis of popular religious organization; the utility of Marxist analysis; the need
for new structures of authority in Church and society; the primary role of political action in
religious organization and commitment. (Levine 1985, 312)

CINEP, however, refuses to take any sides in the war or politics of the country. They believe by

choosing a side they bring their legitimacy into question and will not succumb even if it threatens

their ties to the Church. CINEP's main concern is gaining recognition for the problems that face

Colombians.

The violence that still prevails in the country also affects the citizens. CINEP seeks viable

forms of sustainable development throughout Colombia. The creation of more infrastructure and

more social development in order to help the people is the main concern. But CINEP realizes

that a major part of development is peace. Of the organization's value system, accepting

diversity and acting transparently ranks among their top goals. CINEP acknowledges the

problems that the people and the need for trust as well as unity. CINEP has also been victimized

by the war in Colombia, losing two of its investigators when they were murdered by

paramilitaries. "It is of the utmost importance that we not take sides... all the warring parties are

guilty of human rights abuses" (Howe 2004, 2). Though all participants in the conflict have

threatened CINEP they still possess, "the most influential database of human-rights violations"









and grassroots movements. Though their safety is always a major issue, a topic that could be

researched is how "hands on" the European Union is and how their money is used. One group

that does receive money from foreign organizations is CINEP. Another research project could be

done solely on CINEP and their development projects throughout the country. CINEP has offices

on the coast and in the interior where field research could be done on site. Safety would be a

concern, but it is possible to see their education initiatives in action. Field research could also be

done on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and El Minuto de Dios. Since the community of El

Minuto de Dios is continually growing, field research could be done in Bogota to track their

progress.

Conclusion

The future of social development in Colombia is still to be determined. Many members of

the political parties who run the country are facing criminal charges because of illegal activities

that include perjury, drug trafficking, and involvement in violence. The recent crack down on the

government has also affected the president and his cabinet. No one is left blameless in Colombia.

The Catholic Church has tried to stay out of the political arena, but in the end she has had to

enter the peace talks between guerrillas and the government. While the Catholic Church mediates

between warring factions in the country other organizations have had to enter in to take care of

the poverty and humanitarian aid. Groups such as CINEP and El Minuto de Dios have worked to

educate the Colombians living below the poverty line on how to subsist on their own. Both

groups' long-term goals include the breaking down of the age-old class structure. They work on

projects that teach people how to farm, read and protect themselves.

The objective of this paper was to look at the role of the Catholic Church in the social

development of Colombia. The original thesis was that the Catholic Church did not play a

significant role in social development and that the Catholic hierarchy of Colombia was a









rapidly throughout Latin America may make the Catholic hierarchy take notice because it has

fallen onto orders such as the Jesuits to promote social change and activism. Other grassroots

movements have also developed under the allegiance to the Catholic Church and have taken up

the social work that was left by the church at the end of Puebla.

The Catholic Church in Colombia retreated behind church walls after Puebla. Like the

Universal Catholic Church, Colombia's Catholic Church moved out of the social world with the

election of Pope John Paul II. Since, the election of John Paul II the Catholic Church around the

world has been forced to take a much more conservative stance on issues such as politics and

social development. John Paul II lived through Communism in Poland and felt that it was not a

viable option. John Paul II strongly opposed moves to the left in society and politics. He also felt

that the Church should stay in the spiritual world and focus on the morality of the people rather

than the living situations of the people. Because of Colombia's close ties to the hierarchy of the

church in Rome, the bishops stood by the ideals of the pope. They continue to enforce strict

Catholic doctrine and fight any groups that they consider too liberal. In Colombia, grassroots

organizations which fall under the Catholic umbrella need the support of the church for

legitimacy. If they do not follow the strict rules of the Catholic hierarchy they could lose the

support of the church and any trust the people have in them.









Ismael Perdomo, saw that if the Catholic Church supported the Conservative party they were

running the risk of dividing the practitioners. In the end the hierarchy realized that the Catholic

Church was more important than participating in political games. The Catholic Church believed

that with the National Front was a peaceful agreement that would allow the two parties to coexist

without violence. The peace agreement protected not only the people, but allowed the Church to

pull itself out from politics a little (Levine 1977, 231).

Dictatorship, Violence and Social Construction

In 1953, a military coup occurred in Colombia under General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. The

new dictator had the support of part of the Conservative party. Initially the new leadership was

met with the hope of stability and order in a country that had become violent and chaotic.

Between the years of 1953 and 1956, Pinilla began to implement his plans for social reforms.

He planned on using excess revenue from coffee sales for these projects; however those plans

were quickly rejected (Bailey 1967, 565). Projects that began during the Pinilla era included

public education, health programs, low income housing and the giving of land titles to those who

had been most adversely affected by La Violencia (Palacios 2006, 133). Pinilla also began

programs that allowed the guerrilla fighters to rejoin society without punishment. His main goal

was to reinstate a civil society in Colombia which had been torn apart by the civil war.

The government of Rojas Pinilla had close ties to industrialists inside of Colombia and

the Peron government in Argentina. The political tie to Juan Peron would prove to be a bad

connection because the Peron regime was nearing its end and had accumulated many enemies,

including the Catholic Church and the U.S. government. Neither the Catholic Church nor the

U.S. government wanted more dictatorships in Latin America. The Catholic Church feared a loss

of power to the new regime run by Pinilla. The U.S. government also feared a loss of control in

the region and did not like the idea of their financial interests being at risk (Palacios 2006, 133).









workshops on mobilizing civilian initiatives in the peace process. CINEP also hosts radio shows

and has established post baccalaureate programs.

The organization stresses work on the regional level, recognizing that each region of

Colombia has suffered a different fate due to the ongoing civil conflict in the country. By

acknowledging that no region is the same, they can see what is needed and how they can help.

According to their website their regional analysis includes seven steps which are:

1. Creating long-term regional commitments, and coordinating short- and medium-term
programs and projects, in order to contribute to the construction of regional development
and peace alternatives in the midst of the present social and armed conflict in Colombia.

2. Constructing inclusive alternatives, agreed upon by the actors in the local and regional
development, which implies strengthening and appropriating the regional processes,
organizations and institutions.

3. Preparing and consolidating regional settings in order to re-construct the social fabric
heading into a post-conflict period.

4. Identifying regional needs, as well as analyzing the relevance and sustainability of
CINEP's work in the different regions. In this sense, strategic alliances must be created
with local, regional, national and international actors in order to strengthen the processes
undertaken in the regions.

5. Creating and participating in political debate, and in advocacy work, as a part of
regional, national and international networks dedicated to development and peace.

6. Carrying out the applicable research for regional processes by maintaining a national
and global perspective that lets regional analysis be updated in relation to the national
context, as well as for research to be carried out on the theoretical evolution of concepts,
which helps in understanding the regional social construction.

7. Formulating and carrying out fund-raising projects in order to facilitate the financial
sustainability of the regional processes. (CINEP 2007, cinep.org)

From the 1970's until the present CINEP has continued to grow. They are one of the most

respected organizations in Colombia. With their growth they have also taken a more hands on

approach to social development in the country.









Religion is at the core of the El Minuto de Dios community. Before there was a church in

the barrio Fr Garcia would say mass in the streets. Fr Garcia took these ideals from John XXIII

and Vatican II and made a community that is still growing. When Fr Garcia first started building

his ideal community it was not supported by many. His order was not willing to fund it and the

Communists did not like a utopia being built outside their guidelines. The conservatives also felt

that the program was too liberal. There were several attempts on Fr Garcia's life, but in the end,

the benefits of the community quieted the naysayers. "Members of El Minuto de Dios are

seeking a lifestyle that overcomes the injustice built into both Capitalism and Communism. 'El

Minuto de Dios is not seeking richness, but just that people have enough,' says Fr Garcia"

(Martin 1976, 144).

Working Outside the Church Walls

Organization and activism is hard in Colombia. Social progression is feared by both the

government and the guerrillas. Ending the long standing war in Colombia is at the top of the

national agenda and the Catholic Church's agenda. The Catholic Church speaks out against the

war and has formed small scale CEBs. The problem with the Catholic Church's organization,

however, is that they do not promote self-sufficiency. Reliance on the church and adoration of

the church is important in protecting the supremacy of the Catholic Church.

A re-education must occur. For some it is just receiving an education for the first time.

By teaching the people in Colombia who have been displaced by the war or have not had the

opportunities afforded to the middle and upper classes self sufficiency is possible. The radical

priests of the 1960s called for revolution but could not organize themselves. Camilo Torres

joined a rebel group in order to accomplish his beliefs, which never came to fruition. The actions

of grassroots organizations have been the most successful. The education of the Jesuits, CINEP,









Colombia has suffered turmoil because of political violence that began in the 1940's. The

Catholic Church has been involved in the political wars and their image in the country has been

sullied because of their relationship with the Conservative party. At the end of the 1950's the

Catholic Church tried to remove itself from the politics of Colombia. Vatican II asked the

Catholic Churches around the world to take a more active role in practitioners' quotidian lives.

The church in Colombia was reticent to take such decisive action given the rampant violence and

political corruption. How did Vatican II affect the Catholic Church in Colombia as it was trying

to remove itself from the social world of Colombia? Has the Catholic Church remained

predominately conservative in Colombia? What social reforms have occurred through the

Catholic Church? How have independent Catholic groups been able to aid the people? Does the

hierarchy of the Catholic Church help or hinder the social efforts of the laity in Colombia? I

examine the programs in place to help the majority of Catholics who live below the poverty line

in Colombia. Has the assistance given to victims improved since Vatican II? It is also important

to address the relationship between the Vatican and the Colombian Catholic Church. All these

questions are discussed to support the thesis that Catholic organizations and not the hierarchy of

the Catholic Church in Colombia are the ones who helped move the social development,

especially for the people living below the poverty level.

Objectives

Little research has been done on the Catholic Church in Colombia. Prominent Catholic

figures such as Camilo Torres are rarely discussed and the importance of development through

the Church is not researched. Other regions, such as Brazil, (where Progressive Catholicism has

had a major influence) have been more thoroughly researched and have a more extensive body of

literature. With the headquarters of CELAM being located in Colombia and the population still

being predominately Catholic it is important to see if Catholic social teaching is taking place. A









For the Catholic Church to enter into the political arena in 2007 is also a drastic change

from their role throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The church, however, does not wish to

participate in any large-scale initiatives. Instead, they want to voice their opinion on the issues.

Their voice is strong in Colombia and by showing that they are on the side of the people they can

keep the trust of the people. The Colombian government has long faced the claims that they,

along with the guerrillas, have broken human rights laws.

Final Thoughts

Colombia is still looking for a peaceful solution to their social conflict, but if politicians

continue to participate in the violence there will be no trust on the part of the citizens. The lack

of political openness in the country has contributed to the current state of war. The people of

Colombia have been caught in the crossfire of the civil conflict. When looking for help with

development the people do not turn to the government because they have rarely helped. Religion

seems like the next logical option. The Catholic Church is the largest and strongest religious

group inside Colombia.

This thesis investigated what the Catholic Church had done to help in Colombia's social

development by exploring the relationship between the Catholic Church and the government of

Colombia. The findings were that this relationship was a hindrance to Catholic social

development. It was not until the Church retreated from the political conflict that they were able

to commit to social progress. Vatican II and the CELAM meeting at Medellin promoted social

change. The Colombian Catholic hierarchy was slow to make these changes. But, from the 1960s

until the 1980s the Church did form CEBs throughout dioceses in Colombia. These programs

looked to help Colombians living in poverty. The error of the Church was refusing to educate the

people on how to be self sufficient.









priests and lay members of the church (Catholic News Agency 2005, catholicnewagency.com).

The lack of safety in Colombia has made it hard for international groups to work on

humanitarian projects. Guerilla fighters who were against the peace initiative killed members of

CINEP in their own apartments. The founding members of El Minuto de Dios were also

threatened because of their desire to help those in need. Because the guerrillas are trying to

promote their own form of government they do not want those promoting peaceful social

development to win. In the same respect the government does not want to be criticized for its

own crimes against humanity and refuses to protect those who are not supportive of their

program.

Though the Catholic Church has tried to stay out of the political arena, it is impossible.

The church in 2007 has issued several statements attesting to their support of the peace efforts.

The church must also provide safety for humanitarian workers who fall under their protection.

According to the Catholic News Agency, the Catholic Church is calling for peace in Colombia.

In a February, 2007 article the bishops of Colombia called for an end of conflict. The church also

acknowledges that it is the job of both the guerrillas and the government to end the conflict

(Catholic News Agency 2005, catholicnewsagency.com). As recently as May of 2007 the Church

stated its views on the deceit and on the war in the country. The Colombian Catholic Church has

stated that it will not take part in any peace talks unless the whole truth is revealed. The drug

trade, murders, and kidnapping by all parties involved is totally unacceptable to the church

(Catholic News Agency 2007, catholicnewsagency.com). The church stated in February, 2007

that they would not remain silent on human rights issues that face Colombia. This is a change

from the church in the 1950s, which decided to stay out of politics because of the violence that

plagued the country.









The Catholic Church has worked on minor social development projects but has not

engaged in large scale initiatives. Social development plans have been conducted by groups that

were started by Catholics who have tenuous ties to the Catholic hierarchy. These groups are not

nearly as liberal or as radical as Camilo Torres, but have progressive Catholicism at the base of

their doctrine. In the wake of Vatican II, the Medellin Conference, the Puebla Conference and

Liberation Theology groups and organizations began to form and they covered the spectrum

from liberal to conservative. The most important of these organizations has been CINEP on the

liberal side and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the conservatives. Each group has taken a

different stance on social development, but both have been much more active in social

development compared to Catholic hierarchy since the 1980s. All groups involved in social

development agree that education is a priority. They are trying to build a society where those

who live in poverty have the knowledge to survive and subsist on their own. In the long run the

goal is to break the long-standing social class structure.

Rebels in Cassocks

The 1960s witnessed several attempts by Catholic priests in Latin America to liberalize

the Catholic Church. The most well known priest of the era was Camilo Torres, a man who had

his roots in the upper middle class, was educated in Belgium, and earned a degree in sociology.

After Camilo Torres became a priest, he first worked with students and later turned his interests

into the political arena. Father Torres was defrocked and died as a member of the guerilla group

Ejercito de Liberaci6n Nacional (ELN) (Drekonja 1971, 59).There were other priests who also

took steps to liberate the Catholic Church. Priests in the Grupo Sacerdotal de Golconda and

Sacerdotes Para America Latina (SAL) were all considered a threat to the Catholic hierarchy.

These two groups formed after the meeting of CELAM in Medellin. The organizations were

made up of priests who were considered radical by the Catholic hierarchy. Though neither of









was easier for the hierarchy to ignore the issue than fight family or friends (Williams and

Guerrieri 1999, 21).

The Second Vatican Council and Gaudium et Spes

One of the sixteen Vatican II documents, Gaudium et Spes, focuses on the need for

human dignity and social change. The tone is more forceful and almost more willing to promote

revolt. The Cardinals and Pope Paul the VI do not call for revolution. They do, however,

recognize that all men and women have worth. It is important to note that Gaudium et Spes

recognizes the plight of women much more than Pope John XXIII and many world leaders of the

time did. The bishops recognize the work being done by women and the struggle that they incur

on a day to day basis. The conditions in which many find themselves are not healthy, according

to the document, and human worth must be recognized. Though it would seem that these three

documents are stating similar ideas, their tone is not the same. The urgency in both cases is

directed towards the elite of the world, but while Pope John the XXIII is telling those living

below the poverty line to be patient, Gaudium et Spes is telling the same people to recognize that

they have rights.

There is positive energy in Gaudium et Spes. It is positive hope for change and the drive

to change the problems of the time. While Pope John the XXIII's documents seem to hint at fear

and caution, Gaudium et Spes pushes for change. It is interesting to note that Pope John the

XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council in order to promote change in the Catholic Church,

yet he seemed much more cautious in his writings than the writings that would follow from the

Second Vatican Council. However, Pope John XXIII opened the door. These documents are

considered some of the most influential and radical documents that the Vatican has produced.

Because of Gaudium et Spes, Liberation Theology could be formed. The Cardinals would later









is run by the Jesuits and has grown into one of the most important universities in the country.

Because of the prestige that is attached to going to Javeriana, many wealthier families enroll their

children in the university. The Jesuits in return demand that each student conduct community

service. According to Espiritu de Servicio-Jesuitas Colombia, the university is there to serve the

community. In the book's fourth chapter the Jesuits write that one student who enters Javeriana

represents 100 Colombians who do not have the financial ability to attend any university. They

demand that the students recognize it is a privilege to attend school. At the university and when

they have completed university they should complete community service and help those

Colombians who live in poverty (Jesuits 1965, chapter 4). To help promote the idea of service,

all medical students are expected to volunteer in the school clinic. The clinic serves all people

who go for treatment, no matter their social standing.

Service is an important tenet in Jesuit living. The Jesuits do not just dominate the

education system. The Jesuits started the first trade unions established in Colombia. "As early as

the 1840's the Jesuits had established a series of Congregaciones de Obreros to act as economic

and political pressure groups" (Schoultz 1973, 242). The clergy started the first official trade

union in 1909. Because of their liberal ideas the Jesuits are at times considered a threat to the

Catholic Church, yet they are also prominent in Colombia. The church acknowledges the

presence and the help the Jesuits have contributed. "In 1946 the Uni6n de Trabajadores de

Colombia (UTC) was formed by the Reverend Vicente Andrade Valderrama, S.J., and other

Jesuits in an attempt by the Colombian Church to counteract the growing influence of

communism among the working class"(Schoultz 1973, 242). The Jesuits have also supported the

organization of agrarian workers.









such as Colombia. What measures need to be taken for this to occur? Is the Catholic Church

progressing in Colombia in order to accommodate all practitioners or is it following the

conservative status quo? By conducting research on this topic we can see the involvement of the

Catholic Church in every aspect of Colombian citizens' lives. Through this research we can

analyze the importance of the Catholic Church in people's lives. We will investigate certain

documents and historical events that have affected the church. We can also see the effects of

Vatican II and Liberation Theology in a country that is notorious for being loyal to conservative

principles. The Catholic Church is not only affected by the Vatican, but also her location. There

are special circumstances that have caused the church to act as she has in Colombia. In order for

development to occur the social structure of Colombia must be changed. If the priests and

hierarchy of the Catholic Church still have ties to the elite it will be hard to have any effective

change from the top down. The significance of this work is to see if social change is occurring

throughout the Catholic Church or if there is any possibility for change.




Full Text

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1 THE ROLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN COLOMBIAN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT POST WORLD WAR II By JESSICA JOY GONZALEZ A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Jessica Gonzalez

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3 To my parents, Jorge and Helen. Thank you fo r you love, support and strength. To my Aunts Mary and Martha. Thank you for your love and encouragement

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my supervisory committee chair, Dr. Anna Peterson, for her support, guidance and encouragement throughout the writi ng process and the numerous topic changes. I would also like to thank my committee members, Dr. Charles W ood and Dr. Phillip Williams for their support and flexibility. All three members of my committee reflect the commitment to intelligent dialogue that made my University of Florida education an exciting and memorable experience. I would like to thank my family for their unwavering support and constant companionship. I would like to especially thank my mother for encouraging me to pursue my masters degree and my dreams. Without her guidance I would not be where I am today. I would like to thank my father for being my silent strength and always waiting with open arms.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................... .8 Research Question.............................................................................................................. ....10 Objectives..................................................................................................................... ..........11 Literature Review.............................................................................................................. .....13 Significance................................................................................................................... .........20 2 THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND PO ST WORLD WAR II POLITICS.............................22 The End of World War II and the Build up to Vatican II.......................................................22 La Violencia................................................................................................................... .........24 Dictatorship, Violence and Social Construction.....................................................................27 Uncomfortable Peace............................................................................................................ ..30 Drugs, Guerillas and Religion................................................................................................33 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... .........36 3 THE COLOMBIAN CHURCH FROM POPE JOHN XXIII TO PUEBLA..........................38 A Preferential Option for the Poor..........................................................................................38 The Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII...............................................................40 Pope John XXIII and the Churchs Acknowledgement of Poverty................................40 The Second Vatican Council and Gaudium et Spes........................................................46 The Latin American Episcopal Conference in Medelln........................................................48 The Documents of Medelln............................................................................................48 Why the Urgency.............................................................................................................52 Diocesan Development in Action...........................................................................................54 The Diocese of Facatativ...............................................................................................54 The Cali Project...............................................................................................................59 Puebla and an Unlikely Retreat..............................................................................................62 4 CATHOLIC REBELS AND GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS.............................................66 Rebels in Cassocks............................................................................................................. ....67 Camilo Torres..................................................................................................................68 Golconda and SAL..........................................................................................................70 The Jesuits and Colombia................................................................................................72 Catholic Based Non-Profit Organizations..............................................................................75

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6 Catholic Charismatic Renewal Working within the Boundaries of the Catholic Hierarchy...................................................................................................................... .......81 The Catholic Charismatic Renewal.................................................................................81 El Minuto de Dios...........................................................................................................83 Working Outside the Church Walls........................................................................................85 5 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................... ..87 Colombia Today................................................................................................................. ....88 Final Thoughts................................................................................................................. .......91 Future Research...............................................................................................................92 Conclusion..................................................................................................................... ..93 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. ..95 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................99

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7 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts THE ROLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN COLOMBIAN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT POST WORLD WAR II By Jessica Joy Gonzalez August 2007 Chair: Anna Peterson Major: Latin American Studies The Colombian Catholic Church has been known since the colonial time period to be highly conservative and has always sided with the conservative pol itical party. With the meeting of the Latin American Episcopa l Conference (CELAM) in Medell n, liberal thinkers began to write and promote social development activity. In Colombia during 1960s there were examples of priests and organizations that spoke out against the social order, but the examples of a move to the left in the Colombian Catholic Church were few and often fought against by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The research question that I pose is how did Vatican II affect the Catholic Church in Colombia? And how has the Catholic Church aided in Social development since Vatican II? The hypotheses put fort h are that although there have been moves by certain orders and members of the Catholic Church to progress to the left, overall the hi erarchy in the country has kept the Catholic Church predominantly c onservative and made social development through the Catholic Church difficult. Th e interact ties between Church and State in Colombia cannot be ignored when researching the religious histor y and progression of the nation. It helped immensely to be resident in Colombia and gain a basic understanding of not only the history but also the people and their culture.

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8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION When I started my thesis research in th e summer of 2006 I had decided to research education in Colombia. Yet, after living in Colomb ia for six weeks I realized that education was not my true passion. Every Sunday I attended mass at a Catholic Church with my host family and looked around the church to see who attended. While in Bogota we attended a church in a middle class neighborhood where all the parishioners came from the same financial and social background. Outside of the church a man waited every Sunday for handouts. After several weeks in Bogot I moved to the more ru ral area of Duitama which is in the department (equivalent to a state) of Boyac. Here the church was more di verse. People came from all different social backgrounds and parts of the city. Driving through e ither of these cities there were definite class divisions. The shanty towns that surrounded B ogot backed up onto wealthy gated communities. While I was in Cartagena, the major tourist dest ination in Colombia, I also found it interesting that while visiting the monastery of La Popa, that the priests had posted signs asking that tourists not give money to the children begging. The signs stated that these children had chosen to beg instead of attend school and by giving them money we were only promoting a cycle of dependency. In a country that is supposedl y losing its faith in the Cathol ic Church there was still a visible devotion and even those who I visited that did not atte nd mass had whole walls or even rooms devoted to the Virgin Mary and Jesus. After experiencing these disparities I knew I wanted to study the role of the Catholic Church in the lives of Colombians. Colombia is a religiously conservative countr y. The bishops of Colombia have been known to ignore liberal encyclicals from the Vatican. Yet Vatican II a nd the meeting of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) in Medelln demanded rec ognition of poverty. My thesis is that though

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9 there have been moves inside the Catholic Church of Colombia to be more involved in social development1 the church remains conservative and sl ow moving. This thesis further suggests that in order to help those liv ing below the poverty line in Colomb ia, Catholic organizations with only tenuous ties to the hierar chy of the Catholic Church2 have had to do most of the work. Ironically, as I pursued my thesis research I found that I was again studying education because these organizations were promoting education fo r all Colombians. The two main groups that I focus on are CINEP and El Minuto de Dios. These groups promote education in order to gain self sufficiency. This is in contrast to the Catholic hierarchy who promoted dependency on the church. My study draws on key issues de aling with the Colombian stat e. The Catholic Church has long been associated with politics in Colombia and even after a resp ite they have re turned to the role in the ongoing peace talks between the government and the guerrillas. The church has also vocally criticized the Colombian government's de cision to legalize abortio n. There is a lack of vocalization and action, however, on important issues such as poverty and wealth distribution. This thesis looks at the relationship not only be tween the Catholic Church and the government but also the Catholic Church and the citizens of Colombia. Re search has been done on the ongoing civil conflict in Colombia on politics and on the ever growing Protestant population. Those who remain Catholic and follow the ideals of Vatican II, however, have rarely been the 1 Social development, according to the Catholic Church, concerns the whole ma n. It is concerned with increasing each person's ability to resp ond to his vocation and hence to God's ca ll. Second, the commo n good requires the social well-being and development of the group itself. Development is the epito me of all social duties. Certainly, it is the proper function of authority to arbitrate, in the name of the common good, between various particular interests; but it should make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health, work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to esta blish a family, and so on. (Catholic Catechist, paragraphs 2461 and 1908) 2 For this thesis the terms the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and Catholic hierar chy will be defined as the upper echelon leaders of the Catholic Church. Those includ ed in the Catholic hierarchy are the Pope, Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops (Van Hove 1910).

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10 focus of research. Colombia has a high poverty rate and I wanted to see if the Catholic Church was working to alleviate that in anyway. Since Ca tholicism plays such an important cultural role in Colombia it would seem that the church would want to give something back to the people. Or at least protect their role in society when othe r religions are beginning to enter the country. Yet they have left most of the work up to other orga nizations. I am not trying to portray the Catholic Church in a bad light in this thesis. I am, howe ver, trying to raise awareness. Poverty is an epidemic and a more large scale initiativ e needs to take place through the church. Research Question In 1962, Pope John XXIII called the bishops of th e Catholic Church to Rome in order to discuss the progress and place of the Catholic Ch urch in the modern world. Out of the numerous documents that emerged from Vatican II, the most important for Latin America was Gaudium et Spes Gaudium et Spes was the first explicit e cclesiastical acknowledgement that a majority of practitioners of Catholicism lived in poverty. Afte r the close of Vatican II the cardinals, bishops, and priests in Latin America met in Medellin, Co lombia to discuss the fruits of Vatican II. Since CELAM is headquartered in Colombia, and because the progressive meeting of bishops was also held in Colomb ia one would expect that progressive Catholicism should have had a major impact on the country. It did not. It is the thesis of this pa per that though there have been moves inside the Catholic Church of Colomb ia to be more involved in social development in Colombia, the church there remains conservati ve and slow moving. The thesis further suggests that in order to help the vast majority of people living below the poverty line in Colombia, Catholic organizations with only tenuous ties to th e hierarchy of the Catholic Church have had to step in to do the work. The Ca tholic hierarchy prefers to empha size perceived spiritual concerns over socio-political maladies.

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11 Colombia has suffered turmoil because of poli tical violence that began in the 1940s. The Catholic Church has been involved in the politica l wars and their image in the country has been sullied because of their relati onship with the Conservative pa rty. At the end of the 1950s the Catholic Church tried to remove itself from the politics of Colombia. Vatican II asked the Catholic Churches around the world to take a more active role in practiti oners quotidian lives. The church in Colombia was reticent to take su ch decisive action given the rampant violence and political corruption. How did Vatican II affect the Catholic Church in Colombia as it was trying to remove itself from the social world of Colombia? Has the Catholic Church remained predominately conservative in Colombia? What social reforms have occurred through the Catholic Church? How have independent Catholic groups been able to aid the people? Does the hierarchy of the Catholic Church help or hinder the social effo rts of the laity in Colombia? I examine the programs in place to help the major ity of Catholics who live below the poverty line in Colombia. Has the assistance given to victims im proved since Vatican II? It is also important to address the relationship between the Vatican and the Colombian Catholic Church. All these questions are discussed to support the thesis that Catholic organizations and not the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Colombia are the one s who helped move the social development, especially for the people liv ing below the poverty level. Objectives Little research has been done on the Catholic Church in Colombia. Prominent Catholic figures such as Camilo Torres are rarely disc ussed and the importance of development through the Church is not researched. Other regions, such as Brazil, (where Progr essive Catholicism has had a major influence) have been more thoroughly researched and have a more extensive body of literature. With the headquarters of CELAM bei ng located in Colombia and the population still being predominately Catholic it is important to see if Catholic social teaching is taking place. A

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12 majority of the Colombian population lives in po verty and also professes to be Catholic. My objective is to see how the Catholic Church help s or hinders social development in Colombia. Currently, groups such as CINEP work on de velopment projects throughout Colombia. I plan to divide my work into three sections. The first will be the hi story of Colombia and the Catholic Church. The chapter will investigate the links between politics and religion and how they affect the social order of Colombia. It will also discuss how the church reacted during certain key periods in Colombias history such as La Violencia, th e National Front and the dictatorship of Rojas Pinilla. Chapter Three will investigate th e Catholic Church in Colombia and how she has progressed since Vatican II. The formation of new social organizations through the Catholic Church will be discussed as well as the impact of the Colombian Catholic hierarchy on the Conference of bishops in Medellin, Colomb ia and Puebla, Mexico. The first part of the chapter will address the important documents of Vatican II, the Medellin conference and Puebla. The second half of the chapter will discuss how these documents were followed or how they disregarded the documents. Finally, the fourth ch apter will focus on programs that were started by Catholic priests and nuns yet have faced pr oblems with the hierarchy of the church. First, the strengths and weaknesses of groups such as SAL and Gloconda will be discussed. Modern Catholic or ganizations such as CINEP and Solidaridad will also be discussed including their successes and failures with the hi erarchy of the Catholic Church. The chapter will discuss their roles in Colombia and their relatio nship with the Catholic hierarchy. The chapter will also examine groups such as Minuto de Di os who are supported by the hierarchy for their conservative nature. The relationship of the Char ismatic Catholic movement with the Vatican will also be discussed. It is my goal to discuss the major players in Catholic social development and how they hinder or promote helping the majority of Colombians living in poverty.

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13 Literature Review The literature on Catholicism in Latin America is vast and deals with all the roles the Catholic Church has played. In each country in Latin America Catholicism has been a major player in the political world and after Vatican II a more predominant player in the social lives of Catholics whether wealthy or poor. This literatu re review will focus on Catholicism in Latin America, the role the Catholic Church plays in politics and key documents from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. More specifically, the lit erature review will focus on Catholicism in Colombia. Latin America's history is tied to the Catholic Church. Catholicism in Latin America has taken on many shapes and forms. In the early colonial period Catholic priests were sent to Latin Amer ica to keep checks on the Spanish conquistadors. The royalty in Spain wanted to ma ke sure that the interests of th e crown were pursued instead of the conquistadors personal intere sts. According to Michael Kear ney in his article, Religion, Ideology, and Revolution in Latin America, the Catholic Church in Latin America held close ties to the Spanish crown until independence and was not trusted by many of the criollos who considered the priests spies (Kearney 1986, 5) When independence was won, the Catholic Church had to regain the trust of the ruling hacienda owners in Latin America. The Catholic Church aligned themselves with the elite in orde r to maintain their power in the new world. The Catholic hierarchy in Latin America tended to co me from wealthy families and therefore aligned themselves with the rich (Williams 1973, 263). The Catholic Church in Latin America has main tained its ties to the political and landed elites in Latin America in order to guarantee it s place in society. By promoting the status quo in politics and society they also guaranteed that th ey would have a secure position. The Catholic Church's hierarchy was selected from wealthy families (Lipset and Solari 1967, 194). This tie to the elite in Latin America faced several obstacl es when encyclicals such as Pope John XXIIIs

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14 encyclical Mater et Magistra recalled the teachings in Pope Leo XIIIs encyclical Rerum Novarum These encyclicals focused on social matters and called the attenti on of the bishops to the plight of the poor. When John XXIII assumed th e position of pope he set in motion a social agenda that promoted change in side the Catholic Church. His le gacy includes calling the Second Vatican Council. In 1962, the Second Vatican Council was opene d by Pope John XXIII. One of the most important documents to come out of this meeting of the leaders of the Catholic Church came out in the Councils final year. The document was called Gaudium et Spes and it promotes social justice issues. According to Gaudium et Spes : God intended the earth with everything containe d in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Since there are so many people prostr ate with hunger in the world, this sacred council urges all, both indivi duals and governments, to remember the aphorism of the Fathers, Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him, and really to share and employ their ear thly goods, according to the ability of each, especially by supporting individu als or peoples with the aid by which they may be able to help and develop themselves. (Pope Paul VI 1965, 45) The Catholic Church recognized that a majority of her practitioners lived in poverty and that they needed to be recognized. Gaudium et Spes is worded in a more aggressive tone than the documents of John XXIII. It calls for the governme nts and the people of the world to recognize and act on the wealth disparity. It states th at those who do not ac knowledge the poverty are accountable for the deaths of those who are st arving. As a result, the Vatican promoted the organization of the Latin American Episc opal Conference (CELAM). In 1968 CELAM met in Medellin, Colombia to discuss how the fruits of Vatican II would work within Latin America (Williams 1973, 269). Pope Paul VI opened the meeting of CELAM in Medellin in August of 1968. The previous year Paul VI issued an encyclical entitled Populorum Progressio The encyclical was the most liberal of Paul VI's encyclicals a nd revolved around the same ideals of Gaudium et Spes The

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15 pope states in his encyclical that, The progressi ve development of the peoples is an object of deep interest and concern to the Church ( Populorum Progressio 1967, 1). The encyclical goes on to say that is the duty of the Catholic Church to help those who are suffering for inequality and those who should be educated on how to help alleviate the problem. The documents of Medellin would follow along similar lines stating, The Latin American church encourages the fo rmation of national communities that reflect a global organization, where all of the peoples, but more especially the lower classes have, by means of territorial and f unctional structures, an activ e and receptive, creative and decisive participation in the construction of a new society. T hose intermediary structures-between the person and the state--should be freely organized, wit hout any unwarranted interference from authority or from dominant groups, in view of their development and concrete participation in the accomplishment of the total common good. They constitute the vital network of society. They are also the true expression of the citizens' liberty and unity (CELAM 1968 document on peace). These statements promote the bishops, priests a nd nuns to be active in their community. It also promotes a relationship between all classes a nd a unification of those in poverty. Medellin helped to lay the foundation for base commun ities. The development of base communities allowed people living in poverty to organize a nd take control of their communities (Cleary 1990, 50). After the conference in Mede llin, the bishops began to work with governments and communities around Latin America, Central Amer ica and Mexico in order to understand and connect with the people. Soup kitchens and devel opment projects were star ted in both rural and urban areas and social development was prom oted by the clergy (Williams 1973, 269). Because of the Catholic Churchs rene wed interest in the people, bi shops began to write Pastoral Letters on national development (Williams 1973, 270) The Catholic clergy has taken action by developing labor unions, developi ng literacy campaigns, peasant leagues and becoming guerrilla fighters. Some priests joined revolutionary moveme nts and others were martyred because of their vocal opposition to repressive regimes (Williams 1973, 271). One of the Churchs most famous

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16 martyrs is Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Sa lvador. Archbishop Romero was a promoter of social development programs for the poor and an opponent of the elitist government. In 1980, Archbishop Romero was shot and kill ed while celebrating Sunday Mass. The Catholic Church is divided in Latin America. While the CELAM in Medellin promoted the movement of Liberation Theology, P ope Paul VI and his successors have worked to stop what they considered the radical movement to the left of the clergy. Many of the Church hierarchy still have ties to the wealthy minority in Latin America. Others, such as many Jesuits, have chosen to break these same ties and m ove out into rural areas to promote social development. Though many Catholics have made a move to the left in their political attitude, this friction inside the Catholic clergy has lead to a more moderate Catholic political attitude. Brazil, like most South American countries ha d ties to the Catholic Church that dated back to the colonization of the country. Brazilian bishops, however, were much more willing to take action after Vatican II and after the meeting of CELAM in Medellin. In Brazil, the Catholic Church became more progressive. The meetings of Medellin occurred during a time of oppression in Brazil. There was a military coup in 1964 and the church was the only organization capable of speaking out against repression w ithout serious consequences (Mainwaring 1984, 9798). The Catholic Church in Brazil made an e ffort to include the popul ar classes after the meetings in Medellin. They helped to form ba se communities that allowed the members to have control and they help to create community among those living in poverty (Mainwaring 1984, 100). The Catholic Church in Br azil was much more active than they were in other locations, such as Colombia. This has to do with the bishop s and their dioceses. Bishops have control over their diocese and can choose to participate or not in initiatives se t forth by the countrys conference of bishops. From the 1960s, Brazil has had many progr essive bishops who were able

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17 to contribute to the work done with those living in poverty. Colombia, however, is not known for its progressive bishops, though there have been a few. Other countries in South America also felt the liberal effects of Medellin. In Paraguay bishops such as Bishop Ramn Bogarn, promot ed the preferential option for the poor by defending those who lived in poverty. Bishop B ogarn was a vocal opponent of the Stroessner regime and chose, though from an aristocratic family, to live in a small simplistic apartment. When Bogarn died five thousand peasants broke police barricades in orde r to attend his funeral (Cleary 1990, 47). The Pinochet government in Ch ile also felt the effects of a vocal church hierarchy. Though this lead to the persecution of pr iests and bishops, religi ous orders were still resolved to "be the voice of the voiceless, the poor and oppressed"(Cleary 1990, 49). In Colombia bishops tend to come from the same departments, seminaries and financial backgrounds. The missionary priests who first arrived in what is now Colombia had as their main interest the conversion of the indigenous peopl e of South America and also the acquisition of new wealth for the Spanish throne. As time progr essed these missionaries were forced to choose between working in the colonies that wanted th eir freedom and loyalty to the Spanish throne. Once Colombia had its independence from Spain priests were dispersed throughout the country and seminaries were opened. A majority of priest s in Colombia are native born and stay in their respective departments. This allows a familial bond between priests and parishes. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Colombia is also homogeneous. The come from the same seminaries and the same departments. Antioquia was the birt hplace of most bishops in Colombia during the 1970s. Departments that were cons idered conservative also had a majority representation in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church (Schwan a nd Ugalde 1974, 478-479). Bishops are groomed for their position from high school in Colombia. The fu ture bishops are not only educated but also

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18 guided along a path of election"(Schwan and Ug alde 1974, 481). The bishops are usually elected to their position at a young age, usually 45, almo st guaranteeing that th ey will hold the position for a significant amount of time (Schwan a nd Ugalde 1974, 481). This move ensures the hierarchy has trained its successors to follow th e same rhetorical path as their predecessors. Colombian bishops, for the most part, have refuse d to enter the world of the poor. They live in middleand upper-class homes and have little co ntact to the majority in poverty (Cleary 1990, 52). According to Lars Schoultz, the history of th e Colombian Catholic Church can be divided into seven periods. In his article Reform and Reaction in the Colombian Catholic Church, Schoultz describes the relationship between th e Catholic Church and the government of Colombia. The first period, which spanned from 1509 to 1849, was marked by a dominant Catholic Church which had extr eme control in politics. For ex ample, the Archbishop of Bogot was the head of the provisional government when the president elect was in Europe. According to Schoultz, the development of the conservative party in Colombia was the joining of several political parties formed by the Ca tholic Church (Schoultz 1973, 230). The Catholic Church has not always had cl ear domination in Colombia. During several periods of liberal governmental rule religious orders, such as the Jesuits, were expelled from the country. In 1849 a liberal presiden t expelled the Jesuits and took away power from the Catholic Church which resulted in mandatory civil unions and the secularization of schools and cemeteries. These acts were always repealed with the instatement of new presidents and then usually more power was given to the Catholic Church (Schoultz 1973, 232). With each succeeding Conservative president the Catholic Church gained support and power. Under liberal

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19 presidents the power was revoked. Because of the conservative natu re of the Catholic Church and support from the Conservative party, th e church was against liberal leadership. During the 1940s the role of the Catholic Chur ch in politics became clear. La Violencia, Colombias major civil war began with the d eath of Jorge Eleicer Gaitn. Though a political divide in Colombia has always been hard to cr oss, the death of Gaitn sparked massive rioting and the violence quickly spr ead throughout the country (Pal acios 2006, 141).The Catholic Church sided with the conservative party and promoted violence toward s liberals during this period. Priests used their homilies to condone the violence of the conservatives and speak out against the liberals (B ailey 1967, 565). The active pa rticipation of the Catholic Church in La Violencia had a negative affect on the church and its legitimacy. During the National Front period (1958-1974) the Liberal party agreed to support the Catholic Church's power in the country in order to form a mutual peace between the two parties. The Catholic Church agreed to the National Fr ont because it guaranteed their legitimacy in Colombia. During the National Front the Catho lic Church removed itself from politics in Colombia and resolved itself to focus on the spirituality of the people (Dix 1980, 315). During the National Front the Catholic Church launched small scale initiatives in the development of base communities. They tried in the rural a nd urban areas to promote community with the Catholic Church at the center. These communities, however, gave little power to the people and so they were not able to take ownership of th e projects. Priests remain ed at the head of the projects (Levine 1990, 739). From the 1960s the Catholic Church in Colomb ia has had to decide how significant a role they would play in the quotid ian lives of the Colombian peopl e. The literature on social development and Catholicism in Colombia is ma inly conducted by Daniel Levine. Levine is a

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20 leading scholar on Catho licism in Colombia and has conducted extensive field research in the country. Levine examines in his extensive body of work the successes and failures of the Catholic Church and other Cathol ic organizations that have ta ken a leading role in social development. He has worked in rural and urban di oceses as well as invest igated outside Catholic organizations. Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism focuses on Catholicism in Venezuela and Colombia. In the book Levine di scusses the role of the Catholic Churchs hierarchy, how they have helped or hindered development in Co lombia. Levine also examines the importance of priests in the everyday lives of Catholics in Colombia. He notes the successes of priests who belong to orders instead of the dioceses. Priests are able to conduct their work not only through the Catholic Church but through their own initiatives. Organizati ons with only tenuous ties to th e Catholic Church have been started to fill in the void that the church has left in developm ent. These organizations have the Catholic Church at their base but promote self sufficiency and community growth. Sadly the news from Colombia does not report these project s. Colombia has been at the center of world news because of the persistent violence and dr ug trade. These two factors have kept social development in the country at a minimum. By gaining access to the literature of both the Catholic Church and her role in development I wa s able to see the possibility for growth inside the society. Currently the Colombian population ha s religious freedom, but a majority of the citizens still consider themselves Catholic. Protestantism is growing in Colombia along with the idea of considering oneself culturally Catholic. The current president of the country, lvaro Uribe, is also a Catholic, but the Church maintains that it has no ties to politics. Significance The Catholic Church has always been a dominat e part of peoples lives in Colombia. The Church has also been very vocal on the need fo r peace and social development inside countries

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21 such as Colombia. What measures need to be ta ken for this to occur? Is the Catholic Church progressing in Colombia in order to accommoda te all practitioners or is it following the conservative status quo? By conduc ting research on this topic we can see the involvement of the Catholic Church in every aspect of Colombian citizens lives. Through this research we can analyze the importance of the Catholic Church in peoples lives. We will investigate certain documents and historical events that have affect ed the church. We can also see the effects of Vatican II and Liberation Theology in a country that is notorious fo r being loyal to conservative principles. The Catholic Church is not only affected by the Vati can, but also her location. There are special circumstances that have caused the chur ch to act as she has in Colombia. In order for development to occur the social structure of Colombia must be changed. If the priests and hierarchy of the Catholic Church st ill have ties to the elite it wi ll be hard to have any effective change from the top down. The significance of this work is to see if social change is occurring throughout the Catholic Chur ch or if there is any possibility for change.

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22 CHAPTER 2 THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND PO ST WORLD WAR II POLITICS The End of World War II and the Build up to Vatican II Violence has plagued Colombia ever since it s independence from Spain. Small periods of peace have ensued, but since the 1940s the countr y has faced a consiste nt fight between the government and the home grown guerrillas. Th e Catholic Church and the Colombian government have had close ties from the inceptio n of the nation. The violence that has played out through the history of the country has inadvertently involved th e church and hurt her image. Rural priests and nuns were put to the test during th e height of violence and forced to take sides. Finally, the church hierarchy was forced to break ties with the gove rnment because of the lack of trust it caused. When the church realized the damage siding with the Conservative party was causing to their image they looked for ways to remove themselves from the secular world. The ties between the Catholic Church and Colombia n government originally stemmed from family connections within the upper class (who rule the country) and a concorda t between the government and the Vatican. In the following pages the history of the country and the role the Catholic Church played will be discussed. The 1886 Constitution made a secure place for the Catholic Church in Colombia. The political Conservatives in Colombia guaranteed the Catholic Church its security by signing a concordat3 with the Vatican. The concordat guaranteed protection to the Catholic Church and promised she would not be expelled from Co lombia. The church received more freedom to function than any other religi ous organization. While the Libe ral party was anti-Church, the 3 The definition of a Concordat is an agreement between the Vatican and a government (in this case Colombia) on religious matters. This often included both recognition and pr ivileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country. Privileges may include influence on the structure and direction of state education, exemptions from certain legal matters and processes, and issues such as taxation and go vernment funding directed to the Church, as well as the ability of a state to influence the selection of bishops within the country.

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23 Conservative party was not and ha s dominated much of Colombian politics. The Catholic ties to the Conservative party have been historically strong though post Vatican II they have waned. In the 1930s Colombia was one of the few c ountries that did not experience any severe loss from the Great Depression because its coffee market continued to boom. The coffee market allowed Colombia to experience moderate ec onomic success. After World War II however, Colombia experienced a re-emergence of the civ il unrest that had plagued the country in the 1880s. Historically Colombia has been divided into two political parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives. This has been true since it became an independent republic. The Liberals have been anticlerical from their in ception and the Conservatives were formed from former Catholic political parties. Vatican II and the CELAM meetings in Medelli n, Colombia (1968) also have affected the Catholic Church in Colombia. These meetings se t forth rules and ideas that the clergy were supposed to follow. In Latin America the most impor tant aspect of these m eetings dealt with the treatment of the poor in deve loping countries. The relationshi p of the Colombian Catholic Church to the citizens who are not in the uppe r class is weak. Though a mass majority of the population is Catholic they distrust the organizat ion because of her former political ties. CELAM and Vatican II promoted a movement of missionaries into the countryside to help the people. The Catholic Church did form new churches in Co lombia during the Nationa l Front period, but the social activism that was promoted by CELAM was not seen by the people. To understand the Catholic Church in Colombia today one must understand its connection to the politics of the country. Politics is seen in terms of the structures of power, which favor some interests at the expense of othe rs. In this sense, poli tics pervades all social relations, since all ar e permeated with power (Levine and Wilde 1977, 225). Relationships

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24 between Catholic development movements and the Church hierarchy are st rained at best. In a country where chaos leads to distrust of the gove rnment and at times the Catholic Church, it is hard for social development to occur. The Co lombian class structure has also had a negative effect on the relationship between the people a nd the Catholic Church. Because the Catholic leaders choose to avoid dialogue concerning class structure, they have a problem deciding which programs are most suited to development in Co lombia. Further consternation is caused by the connection to the hierarchy in Rome. La Violencia The tumultuous recent history of Colombia has its beginning in the 1930s. The Liberal and Conservative parties have fought over contro l of the Colombian government from the time of independence from Spain. At times the two parties would share the government and there would be a period of tense peace. Politics is a blood game in Colombia and in the mid-1930s the Liberal party won what could be considered an open election (Baile y 1967, 565). The Liberal party, however, could not stay organized and by the 1940s control of the government was available to either party. The ra dical part of the Liberal party was lead by Jorge Eliecer Gaitn, who was known for going into rural areas in or der to gather the support of the populace. Jorge Eliecer Gaitn set in motion a change of events that would promote the voting of the populace. Before Gaitn began to travel aroun d Colombia, voting was at an all time low. Gaitan, however, was charismatic and promoted soci alist ideals. He underst ood that a majority of the people in rural areas were mainly concerne d with government initiati ves that would affect them specifically. Though Gaitn first ran under hi s own newly formed party he soon learned he would not be elected unless he wa s part of the Liberal party. In 1948, Gaitn was assassinated though it is still unclear who did it. Gaitn knew however that an assassination attempt was po ssible and on several occasions he told his

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25 followers, If they kill me, avenge me (Palacios 2006, 141). The populace followed his directions. After the assassinati on the capital of Bogot burned fo r a week. Gaitns death set off mass demonstrations and La Violencia began agai n. Gaitn was the first political figure who was able to organize the mass populace in Colombia. As a politician Gaitn wa s able to capitalize on his working class background in order to make a connection with those living below the poverty line in Colombia. His popularity wi th the people scared both Li berals and Conservatives. His political ideas were too progres sive for either political part y and for that reason he was assassinated by ot her politicians. The new round of La Violencia began with demonstrations lead by Gaitns supporters. The violence spread to rural depa rtments (the Colombian equivalent to states in the U.S.A.) that surrounded the capital. There are no clear record s of how many people we re killed during this period, but according to the da ta hundreds of thousands were murdered (Bailey 1967, 564). During the 1940s period of La Violencia, guerri lla groups were formed which tried to take control by attacking small communities. The milit ary and the police were sent to control the situation, but only made it worse because it was a mass attack on anyone who they might consider subversive. The Catholic Church in Colombia also has ti es to the events that took place during this period. In a country that is predominantly Ca tholic, ties between pol itics and religion are unavoidable. The Catholic Church was known to side with the Conservatives and in small outlying communities they would condemn the Libe rals. The Catholic Church whose official stance is to stay out of politic s was vocal in their support for th e Conservative party during this period. The Conservatives used this tie to their advantage because th ey knew that the peasants in the countryside would follow the instructions of the Catholic Church (Bailey 1967, 572). Though

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26 the bishops conference of Colomb ia had long condemned the partic ipation of cler gy in politics it was still known that bishops and priests pa rticipated in Conservative conferences. The extreme cases of violence that occurred during La Violencia were not completely secularized. The Catholic Church s hierarchy urged priests to vocalize their conservative views during the celebration of the daily mass (Levin e 1977, 229). During La Viol encia it was difficult to travel through Colombia safely. Violence wa s rampant in the country and there was little protection for any person, however, priests in rural regions would guarantee safe passage to Conservatives. They vocalized th eir dislike for the Liberal part y and condoned violence against them. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church condemned the Liberal party as atheists and communists (Levine 1977, 229). The intense scru tiny of the Liberal party by the Catholic hierarchy made the rift between Li berals and Catholic priests grow The Liberals refused any sort of association with the Catholic Church and when in power they we re critical of the church and her teachings (Levine1977, 229). During this period members of the bishops conference began to see the problems that were caused by condoning violence. The Catholic C hurchs role in politics had only increased the violence. The churchs role also created distru st towards the church. In order to regain trust the leadership felt it was necessary to retreat into the church and focus on their spiritual role. The Archbishop of Bogot during the 1940s was Monsignor Ismael Perdomo. He promoted unity inside politics and forbade cler ical support of one party over anot her or even mention of a party in sermons (Levine 1977, 230). During the Nati onal Front the new archbishop of Bogot, Monsignor Luis Concha Cordoba would carry out th e same ideals of the removal of the Catholic Church from politics. The Catholic Church saw La Violencia as a hereditary hatred and did not feel blame for the violence could be put on one party or another. Bis hops, such as Monsignor

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27 Ismael Perdomo, saw that if the Catholic Chur ch supported the Conservative party they were running the risk of dividing the practitioners. In th e end the hierarchy realized that the Catholic Church was more important than participating in political games. The Catholic Church believed that with the National Front was a peaceful agreem ent that would allow the two parties to coexist without violence. The peace agreem ent protected not only the people, but allowed the Church to pull itself out from politic s a little (Levine 1977, 231). Dictatorship, Violence a nd Social Construction In 1953, a military coup occurred in Colomb ia under General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. The new dictator had the support of pa rt of the Conservative party. Initially the new leadership was met with the hope of stability and order in a country that had become violent and chaotic. Between the years of 1953 and 1956, Pinilla began to implement his plans for social reforms. He planned on using excess revenue from coffee sales for these projects; however those plans were quickly rejected (Bailey 1967, 565). Projects that began during the Pinilla era included public education, health programs, low income hous ing and the giving of la nd titles to those who had been most adversely affected by La Viol encia (Palacios 2006, 133). Pinilla also began programs that allowed the guerrilla fighters to rejoin society without punishment. His main goal was to reinstate a civil society in Colombia which had been torn apart by the civil war. The government of Rojas Pinilla had close ties to industrialists inside of Colombia and the Peron government in Argentina. The political tie to Juan Peron would prove to be a bad connection because the Peron regime was near ing its end and had accumulated many enemies, including the Catholic Church and the U.S. gove rnment. Neither the Cath olic Church nor the U.S. government wanted more dictatorships in La tin America. The Catholic Church feared a loss of power to the new regime run by Pinilla. The U. S. government also feared a loss of control in the region and did not like the idea of their fina ncial interests being at risk (Palacios 2006, 133).

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28 La Violencia did not weaken during the Roja s Pinilla regime; it just took on new forms. During the Rojas Pinilla years the department of Tolima suffered the most from La Violencia. There was tension between immigrants from ot her departments who came looking for work and to escape the violence in their departments and th e natives of Tolima. There was also unrest due to ethnic conflict in the southern portion of the region. And finally, there was still hostility between landowners and the landless peasants wh o were often on different sides of the political spectrum. According to Palacios the lack of elec tions during the Rojas Pinilla years lead to local business owners taking over their own direction and allowed them to rule over their own cities (Palacios 2006, 160). The violence included police, the army, param ilitaries and guerrillas. Each of the guerilla organizations was defending something different. Th e Rovira guerillas were defending their right to be Protestant in Tolima while Juan de la Cr uz Varela and Jacobo Pria s defended their right to be communist in Cundinamarca and southern Tolima respectively (Palacios 2006, 161). Because the mass majority had no voice in government violence broke out and dominated society. However, the violence was still dominated by the wealthy and the poor suffered the consequences of warring ideologies (Palaci os 2006, 162). In mid-1951 the Liberals and Conservatives began to design a plan to disarm the guerrillas and develop a peaceful end to La Violencia (Palacios 2006, 162). The true fall of Pinilla, however, came with the collapse of coffee prices on the world market. When Colombia entered an economic crisis the opponents of Pinilla in both the Conservative and Liberal partie s blamed him for the coffee cras h. The two main parties did not like Pinillas idea that the two party system in Colombia was inadequate. The two parties became more vocal in their disputes with Pinilla by the time of the crisis. The World Bank and

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29 International Monetary Fund suggested economic reforms for Colombia which Pinilla rejected saying it would only hurt the poor. By 1957, howev er, the Liberals and Conservatives had won and Pinilla was out of the government. It was the end of his social reforms. The Catholic Church was uncomfortable s upporting the dictatorship of Pinilla. The Conservative party had pushed for his rise to po wer and because of the relationship between the party and the church they did not vocally oppose any issues w ith the new dictator. Pinilla however, wanted sincere support because he felt it helped to legitimize his rule (Hartlyn 1984, 249). There were mixed opinions about Rojas Pi nilla inside the church hierarchy. Some supported the previous president Laureano Gomz Ca stro, who was both part of the Conservative party and a staunch Catholic. Gomz was presid ent of Colombia from 1950 to 1953 when Rojas Pinilla took power. Throughout Co lombia, Gomz was known until his death in 1965 to be 'more Catholic than the Pope'"(Schoultz 1973, 235). During the Gomz regime, however, the violence of La Violencia grew a nd Protestants were specifically targeted. If the Church wanted to promote peace they could not back Gomzs regime (Schoultz 1973, 235). When the Catholic hierarchy and the Cons ervative party refuse d to back the Gomz regime he was forced into exile. While in exile Gomz stated that the Catholic hierarchy, "had deserted him in his hour of greatest need" a nd without their support Gomz was not able to regain power or legitimacy in Colombia (Schoultz 1973, 236). The Conservative party never saw Pinilla's rule as a long standing plan to fix the problems with La Violencia. As soon as Pinilla took office, however, it was clear that he planned to be there for as long as possible. Pinilla c ourted the Catholic Churchs support in order for legitimacy. At the end of his first full year as Pr esident the Church felt that it had in Rojas a man convinced that the principles of the Gosp el are the ones which mu st give life to our

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30 society(Schoultz 1973, 236). The re lationship between Pinilla and the Catholic Church was not strong however, and waned throughout his dictatorship. The lack of confidence from the church did not cause Pinillas downfall, but it did contribute to the e nd of his regime (Schoultz 1973, 236). Because the Liberals also disliked the dictat orship of Pinilla both parties began to look for ways to remove him from power. The hierarchy of the church had one goal in mind during this period and that was to keep pow er and legitimacy. As goals were drafted by the opposing parties the role of the church was always made secure (Hartlyn 1984, 254). In the end the Liberals were willing to support the centra lity of the Catholic Church and in turn the church was willing to support the National Front. Uncomfortable Peace Following the end of La Violencia and the Rojas Pinilla dictator ship the Liberal and Conservative parties developed an agreement cal led the National Front. The agreement stated that the two political parties would share power equally, exchanging the presidency with each term. The congress would also be divided equally between the Liberals and the Conservatives. This coalition between the two parties lasted until 1974. Th e formation of the National Front guaranteed that there would be no challenges to the two party system in Colombia and that the politicians had both job security and financial security for themse lves and their supporters (Martz 1992, 93). As John Martz argues in his article, Party Elites and Leadership in Colombia and Venezuela, the Colombia two party system is really just one party. The Conservatives and Liberals in Colombia come from the same upper class families and attend the same schools. The politicians who are inside the Colombian govern ment usually have familial ties; there are generations of the same family on each side of the party system. During the National Front it was impossible to be part of the political society if one did not align themse lves with either the

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31 Conservative or Liberal party. The connection was n eeded to attain any sort of responsibility in the Colombian government (Martz 1992, 99). The Catholic Church had taken an active ro le in La Violencia. Though the hierarchy had said the church did not partic ipate in politics, many priests and bishops denounced the liberals and supported the violence against them. Because of the bipartisan support the Catholic Church did not escape the violence that occurred throug hout the country. During La Violencia churches were burned and priests and nuns killed or assaulted both in urban riots that followed the assassination of Gaitn in 1948, and in occasional incidents in rura l areas during the violent years of the late 1940s and early 1950s"(Dix 1980, 315). B ecause of the destruction that La Violencia caused, the Catholic Church was eager for peace and safety. T hough the church had often spoken out against the Liberal party they acknowledged a nd supported the National Front. In return the Liberal party acknowledged the Catholic Church as the main religion in Colombia and agreed not to threaten their religious supremacy (Dix 1980, 315). Th e Liberals and C onservatives knew that by gaining the Catholic Church's support th ey would be legitimizing their coalition. The Catholic Church also benefited from the Nationa l Front because they were guaranteed safety for priests and nuns as well as security in their position of religious power. The main problem with the National Front however, was its alienation of the mass populace of Colombia. By having a joint agreement to continue switching sides every term the people in Colombia were not able to have a say in their government. In many ways it was the same as having a dictator run the country. The pe ople were not able to voice their concerns or vote for change because the two pol itical parties had already made the decision for them (Martz 1992, 104). Violence was also a main concern during this period. The violen ce of La Violencia

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32 did not end with the dictatorship of Rojas Pinilla and it did not end with the development of the National Front. The violence in each of thes e time periods simply changed locations. It was during the period of the National Front that Colombia w ould first feel the effects of the guerrilla organizations that currently plague the country. Th e guerilla groups that developed during La Violencia were dismantled with the beginning of the National Front. A forced peace followed the dismantling of the first Liberal guerrillas (Palacios 2006, 162). Following the Cuban Revolution and the Ma oist Revolution in China, guerilla organizations in the same vein began to form in Colombia. The Nationa l Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are the two most recognized guerilla groups developed during this period. These two guerrilla organizations are dominating current discourse about civil unrest in Colombia and th e ELN is a direct formation from the Cuban revolution and Che Guevaras writings. The ELN looked for more long term changes in the Colombian government and wanted socialist ch ange. The FARC, however, developed directly from La Violencia. It was developed during th e mobilizations of the agrarian and indigenous movements of the 1920s and 1930s. FARC would not come to prominence until the National Front lifted the ban on Communist parties that Pin illa had set up during his dictatorship (Palacios 2006, 191-192). The end of the National Front period occurr ed in 1974. The accord that had been signed in Spain by the two parties allowed for an exte nsion, but the groups agreed not to renew the document. Though the National Front had allowed a sharing of the government the two parties still had their share of conflicts inside the government. Peace was still elusive for Colombia and the politicians knew the period of the National Front had come to an end.

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33 During the National Front the Catholic Church worked to stay out of politics. While it cannot be denied that priests will use the pulp it for their own purposes, the bishops' conference and the hierarchy of the church promoted a focus on the practitioners of th e faith. The Church set forth to make new dioceses during this period and a new bureaucratic o ffice to study the church and society. "The church also expanded its so cial and pastoral outre ach through a variety of initiatives, notably the radio schools of Accion Cultural Popular and a range of Catholic Action groups including Jesuit inspired trade unions"(Levine 1977 231). By taking the initiative to form organizations with the people and breaking their ties with the political order the church felt that it was becoming more self reliant. The bishops conf erence realized, during La Violencia, that the Colombian society had very viol ent tendencies and that the polit ical order was not capable of controlling itself. The co nference felt it was their job to s upport the people and give them the structure that they needed through the church (Levine 1977 231). Millions of Colombians have been displaced by the violence that is taking place in the country. They have had to start refugee communities in cities such as Cartagena and Mede llin. This mass movement of people has also contributed workers to the illegal drug trade. Because Colombia does no t have the necessary amount of jobs for all citizens people have had to look for other options. Drugs, Guerillas and Religion Thousands of peasant farmers have been di splaced due to the violence in Colombia. According to Francisco E. Thoumi in his artic le, Illegal Drugs in Colombia: From Illegal Economic Boom to Social Crisis, it is in these rural regions th at most of the coca crops are grown. These regions of displaced peasants also have weak connections with the government. The political chaos of the country has made it easy for the illegal drug trade to take place as well as trafficking in arms and chemicals. The guerrill a organizations have also taken part in the drug industry. The other options to make a living for those living below the pov erty line are small.

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34 Colombia has been consumed by violence in the country and the politicians for the most part have put the needs of the people last (Thoumi 2002, 108). In the 1980s the illegal drug industry was s eeing a boom. The two major drug cartels were located in Cali and Medellin. The members of these drug cartels played to the people and to the politicians. The leader of th e Medellin drug cartel was Pablo Escobar. Some called Escobar a type of Robin Hood because he spent money on public works projects around Medellin. Escobar also funded a politician and made sure he had a position in the Colombian Congress. The Cali cartel also bought politicians and funde d prominent candidates (Thoumi 2002, 111). Violence was the normal way of accomplishing goals in the drug cartel world. Both the Cali and Medellin Cartels were known for their violent forms of punishing their enemies and when the guerrillas also became a part of the movement of illegal drugs even more violence occurred. Because the coca is worth so much mo re when it is turned into cocaine, the drug lords find it in their best inte rest to keep the product safe. In the 1980s and 1990s drug cartels were allowed to flourish because the government was so weak. Everyone had their price and the cartels were willing to use big bribes in order to ensure their agendas were the main concern of politicians and other officials (Thoumi 2002, 112). One reason that Thoumi gives for the drug erad ication being such a low priority for the Colombian government is that they felt the blam e should go to the end user. For the most part drugs are shipped outside of Colomb ia, especially to the U.S. It is the mindset of Colombia that it is the user who should take fina l responsibility. If th ere was no market there would be no product (Thoumi 2002, 113). Countries such as the U.S disagree with this mindset. Since the mid-1990s there has been a more seve re resistance to the illegal drug industry. Most major players in the drug industry have either been captured by the military or killed. Pablo

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35 Escobar was shot by police and since his death th e Medellin drug cartel has fallen into dispute over who should rule. The end of the large drug car tels does not mean the end of the drug trade. Smaller organizations have come into play and the FARC have also taken an active role in the drug industry. The drug cartels that have been im prisoned also have the ability to run their organizations from prison. The jails are understaffe d and the staff that does work is underpaid (Vellinga 2004, 81). The United States has also become involved in eradicating the drugs with the signing of Plan Colombia. More troops are being trained to fight the guerrillas a nd aerial spraying occurs which is supposed to kill the crops. Though the Colombian government continues to promote Plan Colombia as a success, coca is still be ing produced and illegal drugs continue to make their way into the U.S. Many members of the 2007 U.S. congress think a change needs to be made in Plan Colombia as the present one does not give coca farmers any other feasible option for making a living. The families who plant the co ca find a lucrative position in the farming of coca and it is hard to give that job up when it is the only way to survive The Colombian government is faced with the problem of a rigid social structure and failed attempts to eradicate coca. The corruption in government and the money that is made in the drug trade make it hard to stop farmers from growing coca and leaders from turning a blind eye. The role of the Catholic Church in this fight seems elusive. Even though Catholic bishops speak out against the drug trade a nd verbally support social change for the farmers, little is being done. After Vatican II and the meeting of CELAM in Medellin the Catholic bishops of Colombia promoted a retreat back into the Church. The hierarchy of the Colombian church feared the return of violence to the country and promoted a more spiritual path for the priests (Levine 1977, 237).

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36 In Colombia, over 95% of the people are bap tized in the Catholic Church. Politics and career choices do not affect the re ligion that the citizens of Colomb ia practice. In Colombia even the drug lords claim to be practicing Cat holics (Williams and Guerrieri 1999, 15). Though the drug lords consider themselves Catholic it doe s not mean that the Catholic Church condones their activities. When it comes to conflict betw een the government and the people the church has chosen to withdraw and focus on spiritual guidan ce. The bishops are well aware of the charge that, after all, talk is cheap, and the church doe s little actually to implement its many advanced documents. This accusation is indeed often accepte d, with the caveat that the hierarchy as a whole has not wanted to go beyond general documen ts because they do not want to fail at programs they are not sure wi ll succeed (Levine 1977, 236). Conclusion The ties between the Catholic Church and the politics of Colombia have been entrenched from the first arrival of the Spanish on the shor es of Latin America. Th ese long standing ties are still felt in both organizations. The violent histor y of politics in Colombia involved the Catholic Church and, because of this distrust, is still felt among those who are most adversely affected. The violence is not over guerillas that are still a relevant threat to all cities in Colombia. The FARC have control of several rural areas and Colombia has one of the highest displaced populations, ranking it among African nations who are also facing civil war. The Church has tried to break her ties to polit ics, but the influence is still felt. Vatican II and CELAM promoted a move back into the chur ch and a focus on the poor. In Colombia these moves have gone too slow. The Catholic hierarchy has promoted a move back to the church and a focus on the spiritual life of Colombians. Though this has occurred they still face the problem of mass poverty. The government of Colombia has focused on the drug war and fighting the guerillas instead of working on social developm ent. Humanitarian groups, such as Amnesty

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37 International, rank Colombia as one of the poores t in human rights. The Catholic Church, as a unit, has done little to combat this problem. There have been separate cells that have been put to work, but overall the Catholic Church has left the social reform to the government. Any work within the church has had to follow the rigid rules and structure of the church hierarchy. In order to understand religious moveme nts and their small amounts of success in Colombia one must first understand Colombia. The country has developed distrust for any large organization and it is hard to organize the workin g class. While the Catholic Church has stepped in to help in other countries, it has not in Colombia. The fear of a loss of power is too great to the Colombian Catholic hierarchy. Dani el Levine hopes that the proce ss is simply slow moving and it is the hope of many that more priests will take the initiative to work more closely with the people. The church, however, fears a return to violence and prefers the status quo. Programs that are supported by the Catholic Church in Colo mbia must first be supported by the church hierarchy. All programs need to prove they are tr ue to Catholic doctrine. Since Vatican II, the Colombian Church would prefer to stay in the spiritual realm rather than move out into the communities and risk herself in the here and now wh ich is not being true to the promises of the Medillin Conference.

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38 CHAPTER 3 THE COLOMBIAN CHURCH FROM POPE JOHN XXIII TO PUEBLA A Preferential Option for the Poor In 1958 Pope John the XXIII took his seat at the head of the Catholic Church. He was seen by some as an interim pope. Because of his age not many in the College of Cardinals thought he would live very long. John XXIII did not live lo ng and died of cancer in 1963, but his short papacy did not stop him from setting in motion some of the most dramatic changes the Catholic Church has ever seen. Pope John XXIII wrote several encyclicals and opened the Second Vatican Council in order to discuss drastic change s that needed to occur within the church. Many of the changes coming out of Vatican II ar e based on the liturgy, however the document Gaudium et Spes focuses on the state of Catholics wo rldwide. Following along the lines of several of John XXIIIs encyclicals before the co uncil, the final document of Vatican II centered on the poverty that faced a majority of the Catholic Church. Bishops from all around the world presented themselves for Vatican II. When it was over they went home to discuss the changes that n eeded to be made. In Latin America the bishops were already aware of the damage caused by dictator ships, poverty and hunger. In order to set in motion the changes promoted by Vatican II the car dinals met in Medelln, Colombia in 1968. At the meeting in Medelln cardinals and bishops wo rked together to look for solutions to the problems that faced the majority of Catholics. Poverty, hunger, and humanitarian issues were at the top of the agenda. The members of the Medel ln Council agreed that the citizens of Latin America faced too many injustices and it was thei r duty to speak out against them. For the first time the cardinals and bishops pub licly recognized poverty and that there were options for the poor people. Liberation Theology emerged from th e meetings in Medelln and it still remains a highly contested topic in Latin American Catholicism.

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39 Ten years after Medelln the cardinals and bis hops met again to discuss the progression of the Latin American Catholic Church in Puebla Mexico. The first meeting was opened by Pope Paul VI and Puebla was opened by Pope John Paul II. It was at Puebla that the term preferential option for the poor was coined. By using this te rm the Bishops were announcing yet again that the poor were the main concern of the Catholic Church. Since John XXIII, however, the popes have progressively beco me more conservative. Though the doc uments of the Catholic Church have promoted extensive development for the poor the actions of the hierarchy of the church, since the election of Pope John Paul II, have been contradictory. Because of a lack of unity inside the church on how to handle issues such as poverty and class division, each country in Latin America has taken a different approach to the documents of John XXIII and Vatican II. Bishops have taken a much more liberal and active approach to these documents in countries that were affected by dictatorship, such as Chile and Brazil. They promote Christian Base Communitie s (CEBs) and have an active presence in their communities. Countries, such as Colombia, which did not face the censorship of violent dictators, have been much slower and more conservative in their ac tions towards poverty. There have been examples, however, of base communities in action. Colombia has taken a much slower approach to development, but from the 1960s to the 1980s there was a small development in CEBs in rural areas. The diocese of Facatativ was the shining example of the Colombian bishops trying to alleviate the poverty in the country. In other dioceses such as Cali, Jesuit priests developed programs that resembled CEBs. Because of a lack of priests in rural areas, laity were trained to help with the problems of everyday poverty (Levine 1992, 96). A major problem that the church faces is the on going war with the guerillas. The people of Colombia have been faced with a forty plus year war with the guerillas.

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40 Trust is hard to attain in rural areas because of links to the elite and corrupt politics. Deciding how to take action has slowed the Cath olic hierarchy down and caused friction between the Catholic hierarchy and othe r religious orders that enjoy certain autonomy. The Colombian Catholic Church has taken a long time to find the co rrect tone for their message. In order to keep with the conservative nature of the Catholic Church they take hard line stances on topics such as abortion and violence. They are vocal on issues that, though not easily solv ed, are easy to convey a universal Catholic opinion. Topics such as poverty have not been discussed as openly and as the years have progressed no longer seem to be a major concern of the hierarchy. The Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII Pope John XXIII and the Churchs Acknowledgement of Poverty When Pope John XXIII came to power a liberal tide turned in the Catholic Church. Pope John XXIIIs most important encyclicals were on the sanctity of all hum an life. Though he did not coin the phrase, he believed in a preferen tial option for the poor. In his encyclicals, Christianity and Social Progress and Message for Peace the pope discusses the need for change in developing countries. He did not condemn the social structure of developing nations, but he stated it was the duty of those at the top to h ear those at the bottom. Pope John XXIII warned that ignoring the masses of poor would only lead to unrest and massive upheavals. At the end of 1959, Pope John XXIII wrote two en cyclicals in the span of three months. The first was the Encyclical on the Rosary: Prayer for th e Church, Missions, International and Social Problems This encyclical was short in comparison to the others he wrote, but it also carried a hopeful tone. The Pope was consistent, however, in his warnings to world leaders that inequality would lead to destruc tion. He differs from his first en cyclical with his hope for the future. According to the Pope, We see all mankind striving for a better future. We see the awakening of a mysterious force, and this permits us to hope that men will be drawn by a right

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41 conscience and a sense of duty to advance the re al interests of human society (John XXIII Sept. 1959, 4). The Pope states that his hopes are for e quality, justice and peace. As he will state in other encyclicals, prayer is very important. The fi rst encyclical promotes prayer of the rosary for the leaders and citizens of the world as well as for the priests who are getting ready for missionary work. The second encyclical of 1959 came in November when Pope John XXIII wrote Encyclical on the Missions, Native Clergy, and Lay Participation This encyclical shares some themes with the previous ones, but it also has ideas that would resurface in Gaudium et Spes In the November encyclical the Pope discusses the importance of mi ssionary work and the job that the priests going abroad have to do. In the Septem ber encyclical he says it is necessary to pray for them and that he is pleased and hopeful in the work they are about to do. The November encyclical goes into much more detail about the work they will be doing. John XXIII promoted the movement of priests into rura l areas. He felt that it was the duty of religious orders to be more active in the lives of the millions of Catholics worldwide. Pope John the XXIII states the importance not only of conversion but of evangelization, development and education (John XXIII Nov. 1959, 4). Though the Pope makes it clear that religion is the most important work of the missi onaries, he also wants them to teach the people how to be self sufficient. In his encyclical he discusses the necessity of the people working together in order to form a community. This can be seen as the seed for the idea of Christian Based Communities that would later develop in Latin America. Catholic Action which was mentioned in Pope John XXIIIs first encyclical is mentioned again in the November encyclical. These organizations can also be seen as the early forms of Christian Based Communities. The Pope, however, pleads for organization and for obedience to bishops in the region where each

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42 will live and work. The bishops in Colombia heeded the Popes warning. In developing CEBs in Colombia they started with small projects and focused their efforts on rural communities. The Colombian bishops kept a strict watch on the forei gn priests. They enforced a strict code on how social change should occur and anyone who pushed their boundaries had their contract terminated. This was the case with seve ral priests working in Cali, Colombia. The November encyclical has an important message about culture and the need for the foreign priests to understand and accept their ne w surroundings. Pope John XXIII also states that cultural norms for each region are important and s hould be held intact. He believes that well instructed priests who are born in the home country can be a great asset. The Pope states that these priests have a connection to all the people and often relate better to th e educated citizens of their own countries (John XXIII Nov. 1959 7). Culture will also be of great importance in Gaudium et Spes The Bishops will also build off of Pope John XXIIIs documents by recognizing the need to keep and work with in the cultural norms of the host country. Culture, flows immediately from the spiritu al and social character of man and has constant need of a just liberty in order to develop ( Gaudium et Spes, 38). The bishops felt that to try and change man too drastically or force hi m to conform would mean a loss of freedom and identity. They felt that both priests going abroad to work with different regions and governments in different regions had to recognize mans need for libert y. This document promoted the liberation of man. The bishops saw the inequality of the world and the oppression that was taking place at the time and were looking for ways to verbally denounce oppression. As Pope John XXIII did before them, the bishops who wrote Gaudium et Spes were vocalizing their sadness and hope for a better future. The tone of the bishops was one of disappointment towards governments, but also of hope for man. They stated, repeatedly, in the

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43 document that the governments were facing uprisings if they did not fix their corruption and seek equality for all citizens. The bishops, however, went one step further than Pope John XXIII did, because they told the people that they had rights. They asked that they fi rst exhaust all powers of negotiation, but that they did not have to contin ue to bear unjust situations. The bishops were looking for ways to support the people whereas Pope John XXIII asked them to be patient while he pleaded with the governments. Pope John XXIII was cautious because he feared the possibility of war and chaos that c ould result from a mass uprising. On September 8th, 1961 Pope John the XXIII gave his Encyclical on Christianity and Social Progress Five months earlier he had released his Message for Peace These two documents were important because they recogni zed the need for social change in not only developing regions but also deve loped nations. The documents laid the responsibility for this change in the hands of those in power. Though both documents call for peace and change Gaudium et Spes takes a more forceful tone. Pope John the XXIII s writings in both his encyclicals on Christianity and Social Progress and Message for Peace stress the need for change within the system. He states in his encyclical that wealth is accumulated by a few in developing countries while the larger working class suffers almost unbearable working and liv ing conditions. This situation, according to the Pope causes a spirit of indignation and open pr otest on the part of the workingman, and a widespread tendency to subscribe to extremist theo ries far worse in their effects than the evils they purported( John XXIII May 1961, 3). The Pope is adamant throughout the document that the only possible way to change the situation is from within the system. He lays the responsibility and the blame in the hands of th e powerful. The Pope states that it is their Christian duty to alleviate the pressures that are placed upon the poor.

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44 At the opening of the encyclical, however, it would seem that his adamant desire for peace is more important than the economic and so cial problems facing the poor. The Pope states, Christianity is the meeting-point of earth a nd heaveninducing him to raise his mind above the changing conditions of this earthly existence and reach upwards for the eternal life of heaven, (John XXIII May 1961 1). The Pope also states, towards th e end of his encyclical that through social equity, peace and prosper ity is available for all. The violence that faced Colombians was vivid in the minds of priests and bishops as they started development projects. Politi cs was not a subject that the bis hops wanted to be part of their dialogue. The priests who went into rural communiti es had to first gain th e trust of the people. The history of La Violencia left a scar on the population of Colo mbia. The Catholic Church had been involved in that part of the political hist ory of the country and wa s forced, through their actions, to regain the trust of the people. The Encyclical on Christianity and Social Progress looks for options to change the corruption in developing nations It gives governments the option to change their ways and to promote structural change. As with his previ ous encyclicals John XXIII is looking for peaceful options. The Pope states several times in his ency clicals that revolt can only lead to and cause extreme disorder. The Pope puts the burden of social change in the hands of the government. It is important to note that this encyclical was writte n at the time of the Cuban Revolution when Fidel Castro had taken over power in Cuba, and the Un ited States and the Soviet Union were still embroiled in the middle of the Cold War. Pope John XXIII saw a world on the brink of another war and fear of dictators coming to power. He sought peaceful options. The Message for Peace is also very adamant that peace should be upheld, above all. The Pope states in this message that even though the Apostle Paul promotes the use of military

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45 weapons in his Letter to the Ephesians, in th e end he promotes prayer above all (John XXIII Sept. 1961, 3). His adamant call for peace in a worl d on the brink of war had a tone that was almost pleading with the worlds leaders. Pope John XXIII recognizes in his message, like in his encyclicals, the need for social change. The Pope states that, The Church by her vary nature cannot remain indifferent to human suffering, even were it no more than a nxiety and anguish (John XXIII Sept. 1961, 1). In this quote the early roots of Gaudium et Spes are evidenced. The Pope is stating that the poor cannot be ignored and the Cathol ic Church will not stand id ly by while governments ignore them. This statement is one of the more proa ctive statements seen in his documents. Gaudium et Spes follows a similar path with its tone which is also proactive. The authors of the document are proactive bishops and priests looking for ways to alleviate the social and economic pressures accumulated by those living below the poverty line. The Colombian Catholic Church is divided in many ways. Though the Catholic Church in Colombia is known to have strong ties to the Va tican they are far enough away to ignore certain teachings. The hierarchy of the Colombian Catholic Church is highly conservative while many of the priests who work in rural areas are much more liberal. During the late 1950s and early 1960s the Catholic hierarchy in Colomb ia chose to, for the most part ignore the encyclicals of John XXIII (Williams and Guerrieri 1999, 20). Th e encyclicals of John XXIII were an acknowledgment of poverty and inju stice in the world. In Colombia poverty and the social divide are ignored. The conservatism that is felt in the hierarchy and the ties to the Conservative party all contributed to the refusal to actively acknow ledge the writings of John XXIII. Because many of the members of the Catholic hi erarchy are related or have close ties to the elite in Colombia it

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46 was easier for the hierarchy to ignore the issue than fight family or friends (Williams and Guerrieri 1999, 21). The Second Vatican Council and Gaudium et Spes One of the sixteen Vatican II documents, Gaudium et Spes, focuses on the need for human dignity and social change. The tone is more forceful and almost more willing to promote revolt. The Cardinals and Pope Paul the VI do not call for revolution. They do, however, recognize that all men and women have worth. It is important to note that Gaudium et Spes recognizes the plight of women much more than Pope John XXIII and many world leaders of the time did. The bishops recognize the work being done by women and the struggle that they incur on a day to day basis. The conditions in which many find themselves are not healthy, according to the document, and human worth must be r ecognized. Though it would seem that these three documents are stating similar id eas, their tone is not the same The urgency in both cases is directed towards the elite of the world, but wh ile Pope John the XXIII is telling those living below the poverty lin e to be patient, Gaudium et Spes is telling the same people to recognize that they have rights. There is positive energy in Gaudium et Spes It is positive hope for change and the drive to change the problems of the time. While Pope J ohn the XXIIIs documents seem to hint at fear and caution, Gaudium et Spes pushes for change. It is interest ing to note that Pope John the XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council in order to promote change in the Catholic Church, yet he seemed much more cautious in his writings than the writ ings that would follow from the Second Vatican Council. However, Pope John XXIII opened the door. These documents are considered some of the most influential and radical documents that the Vatican has produced. Because of Gaudium et Spes, Liberation Theology could be fo rmed. The Cardinals would later

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47 back away from the radical calls in Gaudium et Spes, but the recognition of poverty and the masses living in poverty was a giant step for a conservative and hierarchical church. In a region where most of the population lives in poverty Gaudium et Spe s acknowledged their standing. The document was considered radi cal and a call to action. The Colombian Catholic Church was forced to acknowle dge the situation that faces a majority of the citizens. The first priests to arri ve in what would become Colombia were Jesuits. In the Colonial period the Jesuits were Catholic hardliners, know n for their piety, orthodoxy and devotion to the Pope. After Colombia gained its independence fr om Spain, the Catholic Church would assume a political role. The Church in Colombia helped to found or establish the Conservative party. During political disruptions before Vatican II, the church would ofte n side with the Conservative leaders and priests would be instructed to give homilies that sided with the Conservative party. Acknowledging the social issues that faced Colombia was difficult for the Colombian Catholic Churchs hierarchy. They had been a play er in the violence that had overtaken many of the cities and were known to side with the Conservative party. To acknowledge the document of Gaudium et Spes was almost an acknowledgement of guilt for the hierarchy. During Vatican II the bishops in Colombia had been promoting the status quo. They were against passing a bill in 1961 for equal legal rights for women stating that it was threat to familial unity (Schoultz 1973, 243). The conservative nature of the Catholic Church was also felt when Colombia became the first country in Latin America to legally adopt policy regarding population control. In the late 1960s the Colombian government felt in order to grow economically they had to control their population (Ott 1977, 2). Though the Catholic Church was against the use of birth control they understood the problem that the government face d. The government worked on legislature for population control throughout the 19 60s and the Catholic hierarc hy attended both Vatican II and

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48 the CELAM meeting in Medelln. Because of the lib eral nature of these meetings the Catholic hierarchy in Colombia, though not w illing to accept contraceptives opened its own office of the National Population Council (Ott 1977, 6). Vatican II was meant to discuss the meaning of the Catholic Church and how she should progress in the modern world. The Document Gaudium et Spes recognized that a majority of the Catholic Churchs followers lived in poverty. It al so stated that the Cath olic Church recognized their struggle. This recognition was important fo r Latin America, especially Colombia, because the Catholic Churchs hierarc hy had aligned itself with the w ealthy for so long. Unlike other Latin American countries, the majority of prie sts in Colombia were Colombian by birth. This meant that they had allegiance to certain familie s and political orders. Colombia also faced the problem that their native priests often had an in ferior education when co mpared to the foreign priests (Levine 1979, 56). In order to fully unde rstand how Vatican II would affect Latin America, the Latin American Bishops Conferen ce (CELAM) called for a meeting of all Latin American Bishops in Medelln, Colombia. The Latin American Episcopal Conference in Medelln The Documents of Medelln In 1968 the Council of Latin American Bishops met in Medelln, Colombia. At this meeting the focus of the Latin American Bishops was the condition of poverty that encompassed the mass majority of Latin Americans. The docum ents that were produced from this meeting focused on social justice and peace. The bishops fe lt that Latin America wa s severely lacking in these two elements and that Latin America was dominated by a small minority of wealthy land and business owners. The bishops stated in both documents on peace and justice that the rich needed to be more understanding and compassionate towards the poor. They also stated that they

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49 in no way condoned any rebellions, especially a ny dealing with Marxism. The bishops wanted social, economic, political and structur al change, but only within the law. The First Document of the Bishops in Mede lln was on Justice. The document stressed the need for justice for not only the poor, but fo r women and those who were part of the newly forming middle class. The opening para graph of this document states, The young demand their right to enter universi ties or centers of higher learning for both intellectual and technical training; the women, th eir right to legitimate equality with men; the peasants better conditions of life; or if they are workers better prices and security in buying and selling; the growing mi ddle class feels frustrated by the lack of expectations (OBrien 1977, 549). The bishops felt that the people should begin to form organizations that could help form a new society. It is also important to note that the bishops did discuss in this document that political change was necessary; however, they felt it must be conducted within legal norms. The bishops wanted the workers and peasants unions to have sufficient rights. The Council of Latin American Bishops felt that in order for there to be progress in Latin American communities, political change had to come first. Public authority has the duty of facilitating and supporting th e creation of mean s of participation and legi timate representation of the people, or if necessary th e creation of new ways to ach ieve it (OBrien 1977, 556). The bishops felt that at the current time those in power were only concerned with their own needs and the needs of the people who had close ties to them. As history has shown, Latin American governments were severely corrupt and nepotism ha s always been a great problem. It was at the conference in Medelln that the Bishops of Latin America said that they supported the majority who lived in poverty. If this was true it would be a drastic turn around from the Church that was in place pre-Vatican II (Dodson 1986, 39). Document two of the bishops council deals with Peace. The bishops felt that peace and justice were dependent upon each other. The bish ops felt that development would lead to peace

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50 in Latin America and to have development there had to be equality. Each part of the problems they laid out in their document was linked to anot her grievance they had in their article on peace. The bishops went into greater de pth on the problems of inequali ty between the classes and the corruption that was going on in both politics a nd business. The bishops were directing the document on peace towards the rich who played the leading role in corruption. The main fear of the bishops was that the poor were becoming more and more aware of their situation and therefore more prone to re bellion (OBrien 1977, 562-563). The document on peace was important to Colombia because it is a nation that has severe corruption issues. The government was run durin g the National Front without the voice of the people. And throughout most of the twentieth century the Libe ral and Conservative parties employed violent and/or institutional mechanis ms to exclude popular opposition and dominate Colombias political system(Aviles 2001, 35).Thos e who have power in Colombia are the few who hold the money. The strongest economic play ers are the large scal e coffee growers. The Colombian government has done little to thwart their monopoly on the industry and countries such as the US who trade with Colombia have not voiced concerns with this lack of justice (Aviles 2001, 35). The bishops were writing the Me delln documents in hope that those involved in the rampant corruption throughou t Latin America would listen and change their scandalous ways. The bishops voiced their concern over the possibility of rebellion coming from those living in poverty. Even Pope Paul the VI noticed the massive separation be tween the rich and the poor when he visited Colombia saying, social and economic development has not been equitable in the grea t continent of Latin America; and while it has favored those who help ed establish it in the beginning, it has neglected the masses of native population, which are almost al ways left at a subsiste nce level and at times are mistreated and exploited harshly (OBrien 1977, 562).

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51 The bishops felt that the inequality that divided the rich and the ot her classes had to be resolved, but without bloodshed. According to Gaudium et Spes this was not the Chri stian way to resolve the conflict and violen ce could not be condoned. It is also important to note that the bishops were aware of violence being used by those in power to uphold their own positions and keep the poor in poverty. The bishops said blatantly in their document on peace that violence on the part of those in power was wrong and only promoted more violence. The more that violence occurred the harder it would be to gain the trust of the people. A majo rity of Catholics suffered under violent political regimes and the in justices that befell those who live at or below the poverty line. The documents of Medelln came at a time when Colombia was f acing political changes. The National Front was coming to an end and the political divisions in the country were being reworked. The church, however, did not have to fear its place in society because in 1973, President Misael Pastrana signed a Concordat with the Vatican. This document did not call Catholicism the state religion but th e religion of the majority. It al so allowed the pope to pick the bishops in Colombia. The ability of the pope to pick the bishops in Colombia strengthened the ties between Colombia and the Vatican and guara nteed that bishops would be conservative or liberal in nature based on the pope (Williams and Guerrieri 1999, 19). In Daniel Levines article, Authority in C hurch and Society: Latin American Models, the author looks at the mentality of bishops after Vatican II and Mede lln. The bishops main concerns were always on authority, the laitys role in Catholicism and its participation. After Vatican II, however, the Colomb ian bishops began to rank their social commitment higher. The importance of authority was always a main concer n but now their commitment to social progress also became important (Levine 1978, 529). As w ith most progress not all bishops are happy to include the laity, but many unders tood it as a necessity. In Colo mbia the population was rapidly

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52 growing and there were not enough priests to support the growth. By incorporating the laity the Catholic Church could make sure, with proper education, the Catholic doctrine was being taught in Colombia (Levine 1978, 530). Why the Urgency The urgency that was felt in the previous doc uments was because of the change that was occurring throughout the world in politics. The Cuban Dictator, Fidel Castro, came to power in 1959 and promoted his communist regime. Before Ca stro another dictator, Bautista, had run the country forcing a majority of the people to live in poverty. Juan Per on came to power in Argentina in 1946. He would serve three terms as president with his second and third terms divided by a military coup. Perons government was the center of scandal and corruption and, like most of Latin America, poverty was rampant. In Europe the bishops felt the hardship of reconstruction. After World War II half of Europe fell under the Soviet Block. Because of the anti-religious nature of Marxism, the Catholic Church feared the e ffects of Communism. In Europe many of the future Popes such as John Pa ul II and Benedict XVI saw first hand what they thought were the destructive tendencies of co mmunism. Pope John XXIIIs writings did not favor the massive political shif ts that were occurring throughout the world. He, along with the other bishops, wrote with a sense of urgency in hopes that governments would recognize the destruction they were causing not only for thei r people, but also for their future in power. Colombia had not seen many forms of gove rnment. The Conservatives and Liberals continuously exchanged power. The Rojas Pinilla di ctatorship was short-lived and not similar to any other dictatorships in Latin America. The natu re of Colombian politics and the close ties of the hierarchy to the elite in the country made the Colombian Catholic Church lack the urgency that was building in the rest of Latin America and the world. The bishops in Colombia felt that being active in social activity was another form of po liticking (Levine and Wilde 1977, 235).

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53 Even after the Medelln conference the Cathol ic bishops in Colombia were making highly conservative statements. The bishops in Colombia recognized that both Vatican II and Medelln were calling for action, but after the violence that occurred in the 1940s they were unwilling to take action. One bishop stated: The most important thing is to spread ideas I do not give out money for food, for houses, or for welfare projects. Because if I can pr ovide ideas to the rich, I create in them awareness of the need to create new sources of employment. Thus I get more out of giving ideas to the rich. No, no, no. Not a single piece of bread. Man does not live on bread alone (Levine and Wilde 1977, 236). This mentality was shared throughout the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. They took the ideas of Vatican II and Medelln and hoped to sp read it throughout Colomb ia by their teachings. Violence and politics were a thre at to the supremacy of the Catholic Church. Many bishops have vivid memories of the Violen cia, and fear that renewed cleric al activism in politics (indeed, almost any large-scale activism) will lead to massive bloodshed again"(Levine and Wilde 1977, 237). Programs that were set in motion were built sl owly and methodically so as not to upset the natural order of hieratical pr actice in the church or the count ry. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church opened offices to discuss what Colombia needed. After La Violencia began the church recognized the need for more dioceses and a more active role in the lives of Catholics. While they did not promote CEBs to the extent that wa s seen in other Latin American countries, they did promote their own programs. The majority th us rejects the notion th at the church as an institution is required by its religi ous commitment to take direct active roles in the promotion of temporal change (Levine and Wilde 1977, 235). The bishops did not feel that it was their duty to enter the rural areas of Colombia, but they did agree that the lait y should. The bishops of Colombia agreed that if trained right, the laity of the Catholic Church coul d be a great asset, as long as they did not pose a thre at (Levine and Wilde 1977, 237).

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54 Diocesan Development in Action According to the Library of Congress count ry study on Colombia "the bishop's inability to agree on an approach to social reform and to implement it through stro ng effective leadership increase the fragmentation with the church in Colombia and the controversy surrounding the latters role (Hanratty and Meditz 1988). The Catholic Church, according to the country study, has significant influence in educ ation, social welfare, and uni on organizations. The church also has research institutions in order to conduct studies on th e socioeconomic condition of Colombians. Though education seems to rank high est on the bishops agen da there are several programs that the conference de veloped including Colombian Ch arities and Communal Action (Hanratty and Meditz 1988). The groups, howev er, do not promote self-sufficiency. They provide clothing to the homeless an d priests are also key-organizers refusing to give power to the laity (Hanratty and Meditz 1988). For in-depth look at diocesan initiatives research conducted by Daniel Levine is used. The leading scholar on diocesan development in Colombia is Daniel Levine. His work focuses on the development of so cial activism in Colombia through the church and in other Catholic programs. Levine is crit ical of the Catholic C hurch and her lack of initiative but does give good examples of di ocesan projects that were developed and strengthened post Vatican II. The Diocese of Facatativ The documents of John XXIII and the start of Vatican II promoted change in the Catholic Church. John XXIII feared the rise of the masses in bloodshed. He saw the persecution, the poverty and the injustice a nd realized that left unchecked it could spiral out of control. The church has always promoted or der and stability. If the masses living in poverty fought against their injustices it could, in the popes mind, lead to chaos. Communism was not an option for the

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55 church. The Cuban revolution weighed heavy on th e minds of the bishops of Latin America. Communism was more of a possibility than they had realized and in order to stop its spread something had to be done. Though Colombia has been known as a conser vative stronghold there have been a few exceptions. After the peak of La Violencia th e bishops of Colombia began to promote the formation of new dioceses. One of the new dioc eses was Facatativ, which was founded in 1962. This new diocese was made up of a majority of small rural communities. Facatativ is 28 miles outside of Bogot and in the department of Cundi namarca; (the country of Colombia is divided into departments which can be compared to the divi sion of states in the Unite d States ). The first two bishops of this diocese were considered progressive. Though Facatativ was a new diocese the population was rapidly expanding. The number of priests and nuns in the community stayed stagnant and the bishops were fo rced to look for other alternativ es for assistance. The bishops promoted the use of laity because of the rapid expansion. They were forced to be innovative and use the resources they had (Levine 1992, 95). The bishops of Facatativ promoted the move of nuns and priests into rural areas. Some communities had only seen a priest for church services and the new bishops felt that a mo re stable presence was necessary. Facatativ is used as a case study because of its ability to use priests, nuns and laity to conduct diocesan projects. In Colombia Facatativ was one of several dioces es that were chosen for a pilot program to develop Christian Base Communities (CEBs). Analysis of Facatativ thus reveals what official CEBs can look like in practice and shows their implications for popular culture (Levine 1990, 730).With the small amount of resources that the diocese had they were able to build programs for people in rural commun ities that were not always considered by the hierarchy of the Catholic Churc h. The liberal bishops of the dio cese of Facatativ used their

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56 minimal resources to create some of the most pr ogressive programs that the Colombian Catholic Church has supported (Levine 1992, 96). The work in the diocese of Facatativ is interesting, not because it is radical or conservati ve, but rather that it is mode rate. The bishops were able to create activities that did not threat en the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, yet they were still able to aid the people and help the ru ral communities grow (Levine 1992, 94). Unlike other dioceses in Colombia those prie sts and nuns working in the center of the diocese were more willing to make the move to the rural areas. The shift helped to develop Catholicism in more rural regions of the countr y. One high-ranking prelate stated that from the beginning, the diocese has been a pillar of base communities in Colombia, and was chosen for pilot programs in the area (Levine 1992, 96). As development progressed in the diocese the high-ranking officials began to push past the cons ervative nature of the hierarchy. By the late 1960s, diocesan documents emphasized the need to promote base communities. The first formal plan for base communities dates from 1972 (Levine 1992, 96). The major goals for the diocese in 1972 were to create base communities, educate the clergy on the trends of the church and to focus on the development of the peasant population. The development that the documents promote is not only spiritual, but also economic and cultural. In 1970 a Spanish priest, Roman Cortes, arri ved in the diocese w ith the agenda of developing base communities. Cortes came as part of the bishops specia l envoy and worked for the National Advisory Team on base Communities and Lay Ministries of the Colombian Bishops Conference. The organization was supposed to promote Christian base communities in rural areas in Colombia. The program, however, focuse d more on spirituality than the everyday needs of the people. Cortes worked to develop a relati onship with the people and to form a network of base communities. These base communities were first Cursillos de Cristiandad. They were

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57 developed in Spain and meant to be bible study classes (Levine 1992, 99). Though Cortes did develop other programs in the region and was an active member in the community, his main goal was the spiritual development of the people a nd not their economic growth. In 1978 he moved the guerilla stronghold of Caparrapi in order to foster a relationship with Catholics in the region. After seeing the peoples lack of trust, it beca me one of Cortes main goals to rebuild the relationship between the parish ioners and the church. Because of Cortes charisma the bishops of Colombia took notice. Co rtes did not create a divide with the bishops because he promoted cu rsillos, which were courses on Christianity. The classes on Christianity were Co rtes main project. He promoted a Christian education and along with it came the small base communities. Peop le would gather for class and then form communities. Cortes success encouraged other dioces es to try similar projects in areas such as home schooling. Young women who were from ru ral areas were brought to small schools and given a basic education by the Catholic Church. When they completed their coursework they went back to their communities to be teachers. Hogar-Escuela was the name of the program and was formed in 1975 by Dominican sisters. HogarEscuela fit into the goals promoted by the Catholic Church in Colombia. So it is clear, th en, that the entire Christian community, united around its legitimate pastors and guided by them, c onstitute the responsible subject of its own liberation and human promotion(Levine 1992, 101). The nuns state clearly th at their goal is to promote the Catholic Churchs id eals and are not a threat to the hierarchy of the church. The success of the projects in Facatativ encouraged the bishops of Colombia to develop a program with the American charity, Catho lic Relief Services (CRS). The project was developed on a small scale in order to guara ntee longevity. Since F actativa had been so successful in the development of base communities, the bishops of Colombia used the diocese as

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58 a testing ground for other projects. One progr am was called Procampesinos and looked to implement a practical option for the poor by sponsoring numerous small-scale programs of immediate material benefit (Levine 1992, 102) The Procampesinos program promoted the development of infrastructure first and then th e implementation of projects. Money was given by CRS for site visits and the formation of c ontacts and the attendance at courses given in development. CRS wanted to make sure there was a strong base to support all projects to guarantee sustainability (Levine 1992, 102-103). The Procampesinos program is an exampl e of the bishops working with outside organizations to help fund development in Colo mbia. This is not something that occurs often because the Catholic Church has to make sure th at the values of Catholicism are always at the root of the project. It is a fact that the Catho lic Church in Colombia will break ties with other Catholic organizations if it feels they are t oo liberal. Another problem with the Colombian Catholic hierarchy is that they kept all their development pr ojects in one region. There were other development projects th at occurred throughout the coun try, but it was Factativa that received the most support. The important fact remains that, though the diocese had progressive leadership, they were still able to make progr ess without endangering thei r relationship with the Catholic hierarchy in the country. The diocese of Facatativ was started in 1962 (Levine 1992, 94). This was before the document of Gaudium et Spes was released by Vatican II. The 1970s were when the major changes occurred in the diocese. The arrival of Fath er Cortes helped to foster change in the area. The activities did follow along the lines of the teachings of John XXIII. The people were being educated in their religion, but also learning ot her necessary skills. The people in the communities that Cortes worked were renewed not only in faith but in energy. They began to work as

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59 communities and help each other (Levine 1992, 98). These activities were the desires of Vatican II coming to fruition. The people were given the t ools to succeed by the church and then were able to grow on their own. The most important factor relating to the church, however, was the fact that people were attending mass and actively taking part in their re ligion. Not only were the documents of Vatican II and Medelln being follo wed but the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was not endangered. For this reason Facatativ was able to develop. The Cali Project Facatativ was not the only diocese that was able to prosper during the time of Vatican II and Medelln. Other dioceses were able to enact initiatives to he lp support the people. Facatativ is considered to be part of rural Colombia. It is located in the mount ainous region outside of Colombia and has extreme poverty. Other large citi es were also able to make a change. Though Catholicism may look different thro ughout Colombia it is still visibl e in all cities major or minor. The city of Cali is one of the largest cities in Colombia. Cali, officially known as Santiago de Cali, is the capital of the depart ment of Valle del Cauca. It has a recognizable name to outsiders because of its role in the drug trade. In the ea rly 1960s, however, the Catholic Church took the initiative in recognizing the need for change. Be cause of the mass amount of poverty in the city ... the Archdiocese of Cali tried to respond by reorganizing its programs and mobilizing fresh resources, especially from business elit e (Levine 1992, 116-117). By 1982 no new initiative had taken hold and the rapid grow th of the city proved to be too much for the archdiocese to support. Each parish had to take their own acti on and priests and nuns had to step into action. Calis rapid growth, without pl anning, caused barrios to spr ead out past the original boundaries of the city. Poorer barrios began growi ng because of the mass migration to the city from rural areas. A set of Basque priests arrived in the popular barrio of El Rodeo not long after the barrio came into existence (Levine 1992, 118). El Rodeo is known for its radicalism and the

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60 priests settled into the same mindset. The Basque priests believed that religious values could not be taken in isolation but rather had to emerge as part of an integr al project of liberation undertaken in and by the community (Levine 1992, 119). The four Basque priests, who arrived in 1970, live in a modest rented home in the barrio. They have never tried to improve their standings in their Basque order or in the Catholic Church and they have worked inside the barrio at the pa rish center and with severa l institutes they have promoted over the years. Grouped around the pa rish center are some of the institutions promoted over the years: a center of popular culture, a small lendi ng library (now in disuse), a school and a health post, incl uding a nutrition center and a group of low-costing housing units(Levine 1992, 119). Though the group still resi des in the community, they have suffered several setbacks. In th e beginning the Basque priests promot ed organization of any kind. But in the 1980s they began to feel used by the different political organizations that were developing in the barrio. Because of this disillusionment the priests changed their stance from liberation to forming a religious based community. Currently, they work more on spiritual growth and shy away from political activism (Levine 1992, 120). Barrio Melendez was another barr io affected by the arrival of Spanish priests. In 1977 four Spanish priests arrived in the barrio and th ey began to carefully develop programs to aid in community involvement in politics and church activity. The four cultivated an easygoing, informal style and made themselves familiar and trusted figures in the barrio. They soon recruited a core of people (mostly women) to serve as founders and multipliers of groups (Levine 1992, 121). The priests were committed to getting the members of the community involved and bringing them back into the chur ch. Soon after the priests arrival a group of

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61 Colombian sisters from the Javerian Institute arrived to help. These women were committed to identify with the poor and immerse themselves in popular milieus (Levine 1992, 120). The sisters arrived with the intention of working with the base communities that the Spanish priests had formed. The sisters organized the Center for Popular Culture in Barrio Melendez. The Center offers classes in topics such as Colombian histor y, cooperatives, liberation theology, Bible study, sewing and hairdressing. The Javerian sisters are less devoted to action per se than were the priests in Barrio El Rode o and are more concerned with providing a cultural foundation that can inform any action and gi ve it meaning(Levine 1992, 122). Because the sisters are independent of the archdiocese they ar e granted more freedom than the Spanish priests who had begun the work in Barrio Melendez. The nuns are part of a religious order from which they receive money for food and housing and are not financially dependent on the diocese. This fact guarantees a certain autonomy. The Spanish priests did not have th e same autonomy and when their contracts were abruptly terminated wi th the diocese they were forced to return to Spain. Most priests in Colombia are Colombian by birth. If they join orders such as the Jesuits, they have more freedom than those priests who belong to the dioceses. Th e Spanish priests were forced out of the country because they did not ha ve citizenship and the hierarchy of the church felt threatened by them. Colombian priests who be long to orders such as the Jesuits have the freedom to be more liberal and be supported by thei r congregation or their order. In Cali this is how many priests succeed (Levine 1990, 744). Becau se of the large size of Cali and the large number of religious orders, sepa rate from diocesan priests, th e community has several distinct differences from Facatativ. The style in Cali is more liberal but not as well organized. The area is much more developed than Facatativ and is less controlled by the hier archy of the Catholic

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62 Church. Those who participate in organizations ar e free to come and go as they please and there is a less controlled structure fr om the church (Levine 1990, 739). Like Facatativ, Cali experienced the mass viol ence of La Violencia. The city of Cali, however, has continued to experience violence but in the 1970s the vi olence was due to the growing drug trade in the cit y. It was during the 1980s that the Cali drug cartel drew world notoriety for their violence a nd large scale drug trafficking (Thoumi 2002, 108). The violence and drug trade in Colombia was not an issue the Ca tholic Church wanted to play an active role in. The memory of La Violencia is still a vivi d reminder for both citiz ens and bishops and the fear of renewed violence through the drug trade has scared the bi shops. They preferred to focus on the spiritual side of citizens lives. In Ca li the focus remained on the programs that were already in progress. Little was done to raise awar eness on the drug issue, in order to protect the priests, nuns and laity working in the archdioceses of Cali. Conc urrently with the drug industrys rise came the call for CELAM to meet. The bish ops of Latin America were called to Puebla, Mexico for a meeting. Puebla was meant to be a reassessment of the Me delln documents and how they were working and could work better in Latin America. The meeting in Puebla would prove to be a hindrance to progress in Colombia because of the conservative nature of the conference and the new Pope, John Paul II. Puebla and an Unlikely Retreat On January 28th 1979, CELAM convened in Puebla, Mexico. Pope John Paul II, who had been at the head of the Catholic Church for f our months, opened the Puebla meeting of CELAM. The tone of the documents that emerged from Puebla followed along the lines of the Medelln documents. Puebla promoted a preferential optio n for the poor and continued the theme that it was the Catholic Churchs duty to help those in need. Puebla, however, has a mixed legacy. Some felt that John Paul IIs visit had a direct effect on the meetings of CELAM. The ideology

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63 of the new pope had a conservative feel and prom oted a deepening of spirituality and a retreat from the political arena. While some saw Puebla as a continuation of Medelln others who were more radical saw the documen ts as a call to action. There were attendees at Puebla who felt that John Paul II had too much influence on the Puebla documents and they felt that his influenc e was a step in the wrong direction for the Latin American Catholic Church. Father Jon Sobrino fe lt that John Paul II di d not understand the Latin American Church. Sobrino wrote that John Paul II left a definite mark on the Puebla documents. John Paul IIs mark on Puebla was to condemn Liberation Theology and call for religious people to stay in the spiritual realm. More his own seems to be his admonition to priests and religious men and women, urging them to deepen their spir ituality rather than dedicating themselves to sociopolitical radicalisms, or displaying an exaggerated intere st in the temporal world, or becoming victims of ideological r adicalizations(Eaglson 1979, 293). Even though Sobrino was a skeptic of John Paul IIs influence on the Puebla documents he also felt that there were certain ties to liberation that could not be broken. Particularly noteworthy is the endorsement to liberation. The sense of that term is spelled out and dangers warned against, to be sure, but in substance the reality is stoutly affirmed. There can be no evangelization withou t integral liberation, a nd the latter includes liberation from historical misery (Eaglson 1979, 302). Alexander Wilde saw hope in the Puebla documents. In his article, Ten years of Change in the Church: Puebla and the Future Wilde says that th e documents of Puebla ar e a call to action just as the Medelln documents were. According to Wild e, Puebla departs from Medelln in the fact that they went beyond the earlier positions of Medelln (Wilde 1979, 300). The problem with social progress in Colombia, in Wildes opinion, is that there was never an institutionalized military government. Those Catholic Churches that faced severe oppression under the military are much more progressive in th eir social stance (Wilde 1979, 301).

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64 In the last document of the conference, the bish ops affirm that it is the role of the church to establish organization of so cial action and to promote human growth and development. The document, however, goes on to say in so far as it can, it steps in where public authorities and social organizations are abse nt or missing (Eaglson 1979, 281). The bishops are promoting a divide between politics and the church. This divi de is not hard for the Catholic Church in Colombia to accept because they have promoted su ch a divide since the end of La Violencia. Like Sobrino, Renato Pobleto felt that the pope missed out on the fact that the Latin American Catholic Church is diverse. In his article, From Medelln to Puebla: Notes for Reflection, Pobleto affirms that the Latin American Chur ch is diverse (Pobleto 1979, 32). Each local church has its own characteristics derived from th e richness of its particular history and varied local challenges. Consequently, our reflection must never ignore this dua l character-the union of history and destiny (Pobleto 1979, 32). The concerns of Latin America are the con cerns of the bishops of CELAM. The people throughout Latin America have faced revolution, dictatorship and war. Each country reacted differently to their individual situations. The Co lombian Catholic Church of the 1970s promoted movements such as trade unions and political par ties with Christianity at their base. It also promoted social growth with Christianity at its base (Pobleto 1979, 33). The end of the active participation, however, came at the end of Pueb la. The bishops promoted a move behind church walls and John Paul II elected highly conservative Cardinals. His move to focus on spirituality can be seen in the projects that were then started throughout Colombia The priests who were considered too liberal were removed from their positions and replaced by those who had a more conservative religious agenda. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church currently focuses on the spirituality of Catholics. The fact that there ha s been a conversion to Protestants occurring more

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65 rapidly throughout Latin America may make the Ca tholic hierarchy take notice because it has fallen onto orders such as the Jesuits to promot e social change and act ivism. Other grassroots movements have also developed under the allegi ance to the Catholic Church and have taken up the social work that was left by th e church at the end of Puebla. The Catholic Church in Colombia retreated behind church walls af ter Puebla. Like the Universal Catholic Church, Colombias Catholic Church moved out of the social world with the election of Pope John Paul II. Si nce, the election of John Paul II the Catholic Church around the world has been forced to take a much more c onservative stance on issues such as politics and social development. John Paul II lived through Communism in Poland and felt that it was not a viable option. John Paul II strongly opposed moves to the left in soci ety and politics. He also felt that the Church should stay in the spiritual wo rld and focus on the morality of the people rather than the living situations of the people. Because of Colombias cl ose ties to the hierarchy of the church in Rome, the bishops stood by the ideals of the pope. They continue to enforce strict Catholic doctrine and fight any groups that they consider too li beral. In Colombia, grassroots organizations which fall under the Catholic um brella need the support of the church for legitimacy. If they do not follow the strict rules of the Catholic hierarchy they could lose the support of the church and any trust the people have in them.

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66 CHAPTER 4 CATHOLIC REBELS AND GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS The legitimacy of the Catholic Church comes at a high cost. This chapter will explore the grassroots movements with tenuous ties to the Catholic Church. I investigated how they work within and rebel against the Catholic Church. Fi rst the rebel priests and their ideology will be discussed. The failures of these priests will be do cumented as well. Next I will discuss the ideas of the Jesuits. The order is known for its educat ion and liberal thinking. Following the discussion of the Jesuits, the discussion will move to the role of grassroots movements. This section will focus on two powerful organizations that fall under the Catholic Churchs protection; first the more liberal Centro de Investigacin y Educacin Popular (CINEP) and then the conservative El Minuto de Dios. The importance of these movements can be found in the progression of social development in Colombia. The radical priests in the early years spoke in liberal and radical terms, but in the end there was no action. The ac tion in social developm ent has occurred through organizations such as CINEP and El Minuto de Dios. When the Catholic Church in Colombia retrea ted from the political arena after the Puebla Conference, other organizations with Catholic ties began to emerge. The church supported an end to violence, but the hierarchys fear of chao s prevented the adoption of drastic changes. Pope John Paul II wanted the priests to focus on the sp irituality of the Cathol ics worldwide and back away from highly politicized activities (Levine 1985, 302). The Catholic Church hierarchys main concern was organizational and focused on top down initiatives. CELAM, which is based in Bogota, has vocally criticized the Progressive Catholic Church. The fear of becoming too liberal and Marxist resonates for the bishops in Colombia and so they have stepped back from social development because it seem s too political (Levine 1985, 300).

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67 The Catholic Church has worked on minor social development projects but has not engaged in large scale initiativ es. Social development plans ha ve been conducted by groups that were started by Catholics who have te nuous ties to the Catholic hierarchy. These groups are not nearly as liberal or as radical as Camilo Torres, but have progressive Catholicism at the base of their doctrine. In the wake of Vatican II, the Medelln Conference, th e Puebla Conference and Liberation Theology groups and organizations be gan to form and they covered the spectrum from liberal to conservative. The most important of these organizations has been CINEP on the liberal side and the Catholic Charismatic Renewa l for the conservatives. Each group has taken a different stance on social development, but bot h have been much more active in social development compared to Catholic hierarchy since the 1980s. All groups involved in social development agree that education is a priority. They are trying to build a society where those who live in poverty have the knowledge to surviv e and subsist on their own. In the long run the goal is to break the long-sta nding social class structure. Rebels in Cassocks The 1960s witnessed several attempts by Catho lic priests in Latin America to liberalize the Catholic Church. The most well known priest of the era was Camilo Torres, a man who had his roots in the upper middle class, was educated in Belgium, and earned a degree in sociology. After Camilo Torres became a priest, he first work ed with students and later turned his interests into the political arena. Father Torres was defrocked and died as a member of the guerilla group Ejrcito de Liberacin Naciona l (ELN) (Drekonja 1971, 59).There we re other priests who also took steps to liberate the Catholic Church. Pr iests in the Grupo Sacerdotal de Golconda and Sacerdotes Para America Latina (SAL) were all c onsidered a threat to the Catholic hierarchy. These two groups formed after the meeting of CELAM in Medelln. The organizations were made up of priests who were considered radica l by the Catholic hierarchy. Though neither of

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68 these groups of priests made the impact that Ca milo Torres did, they were liberal thinkers. SAL and Golconda housed priests who wrote and fought against the rigid structure of the Catholic Church (Schoultz 1973, 247). The 1960s was a decade of change for the Catholic Church. In Latin America, Camilo Torres had begun to write about revolution and political upheaval changing the way the world viewed politics and reli gion. Communism had affected not only Latin America, but also Europe. Pope John XXIII and the bishops began to fear the chaos that could come with massive political change. The Pope began to write messages that were openly political asking the governments of the world to recognize the change that was occurring among the people. In these documents he expresses the need for progressive social change It is during Pope John XXIIIs period in power that Vatican II started the drastic ch anges made in the Catholic Church. The end of Vatican II and the CELAM meeting in Medelln called for changes in the Catholic Church in Latin America. In Colombia the changes where met with excitement from the priests and laity. However, the hierarchy of the Ca tholic Church did not vi ew the changes in the same light. The Catholic Churchs hierarchy in Colombia wanted to make order out of chaos in the country by promoting organization which they believed would keep th e people safe (Palacios 2006, 180). In a country where civ il conflict has taken center stage for over forty years the church values peace more than social equality. Camilo Torres Camilo Torres Restrepo was born in Bogota, Colombia on February 3, 1929. In the early stages of his priesthood, Torres wa s willing to accept the discipline of the Catholic Church, but as his work and studies progresse d he found it more difficult to be part of the Catholic Church. Torres first started his career as a priest as the chaplain at th e National University in Bogot, Colombia (Drekonja 1971, 59). His liberal ideas fit in well with the school that is highly

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69 respected and which has a clear liberal orientation. Torres felt that the Catholic Church in Colombia was afforded too many privileges and di d not share its wealth with the people. The rebel priest did not see a conflic t between his Catholic faith and his Marxist beliefs. According to Camilo violent revolution in Latin America is pr obable. Christians should take part in it: they should enter coalitions with the Marxistsfor the love of the Christians will overcome the hate of the Marxists (Drekonja 1971, 59). Currently, ther e is a bust of Torres at the university and on the walls are spray-painted quotations attributed to Torres. Torres wanted to see progressive social change in Latin America. In the early stages of his career he believed social ch ange could be made through the Catholic Church. Torres said "[he] would follow the directions of the Pontiffs of the Church any day rather than those of the pontiffs of our ruling class (Garcia and Calle 1968, 510). Torres was educat ed in Europe at the Louvain where he studied sociology. It was dur ing his time at the L ouvain and through his studies that Torres began to rea lize the great class in equalities that plagued Colombia (Drekonja 1971, 59). Camilo Torres came to believe that as a Christian he was obliged to be political and to promote revolutionary change. His argumen t for political action rested on making the Christian obligation to [be charitable and to love your] neighbor effective (Levine 1977, 232). Whereas the Catholic hierarchy wanted to step back from politics, Torres wanted to enter politics, but on the side of the masses living in poverty. The Catholic Church was threatened by Torres political actions. His beli efs were extreme for the Catholic hierarchy. Camilo began to understand that the traditional el ite of Colombia, despite its in tellectual brilliance, was not capable of comprehending the social question (Drekonja 1971, 59). Camilo Torres was looking for a peaceful revolution along the same lines of th e Christian Democrats in Chile. This idea was threatening not only to the hier archy of the church, but also to the Colombian politicians.

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70 Camilo Torres traveled throughout Colombia pr omoting his political agenda in the early 1960s. In 1964, a political movement emerged with the name of the Frente Unido. Frente Unido was a radical political organi zation that Torres helped de velop. Through the organizations journal and political platform, Torres was able to express his liberal ideas for Colombia. The organization experienced phenomenal growth with in months and shook the power structure of Colombia (Drekonja 1971, 59). Frente Unido su ffered a major blow when Cardinal Concha defrocked Torres. After Torres defrocking he de cided to join the ELN. Torres left his peaceful ideals with the priesthood and became the head chaplain for the ELN as well as a guerrilla fighter. Torres believed that All patriotic Co lombians must be ready for war What is important is that the revolution find us rea dy at all times" (Garcia and Calle 1968, 127). He would die soon after in a military struggle in 1966 fighting for the ELN (Levine 1977 234-235). Golconda and SAL Camilo Torres was not the only example of ra dicalization inside the Catholic Church in Colombia. The Grupo de Golconda was also formed there. The radical priests who organized this movement took a liberal interpretation of the C ELAM meeting in Medelln. In 1968, fifty priests met on a farm in Viota, Cundinamarca. The grou p drew on the writings of the CELAM meeting in Medelln to form their own doctrine. They want ed radical social reform in Colombia and felt that the hierarchy was moving too slowly (Sc houltz 1973, 247). As Daniel Levine states in Continuities and Change, the Catholic Church in Colombia is slow moving and has close ties to a conservative Vatican in Rome. The Golc onda group wanted immediate social action. The group was looking for the organization of the peasan ts. In other regions of Latin America this social action was also taking place. Christian base communities (CEBs) were being formed in Brazil and in Central America. Golconda wanted the same for Colombia.

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71 From the beginning the Golconda group faced organizational problems. The original members held different views of their mission. Liberal members of the organization demanded revolution; while the more conservative members called for a strict adhe rence to the Medelln documents (Schoultz 1973, 247). Because of their radical leadership in Golconda, the members faced a harsh reaction from the Catholic hierarch y in Colombia. The hierarchy closely watched many Colombian priests who were members. Four of their Spanish members were expelled from the country (Schoultz 1973, 247). The ultimate blow to the organization occu rred when two of its leaders where killed in separate plane crashes. It was a continuous uphill battle with the hierarchy of the Catholic Chur ch and without a united front it was impossible for the Golconda group to produce more than just a docu ment calling for change (Schoultz 248). A second movement of radical clergy was th e Priests for Latin America (SAL). SAL was formed at the same time as the Golconda gr oup and had the same goals. Like Golconda and Camilo Torres, SAL promoted social justice and drastic change of the Catholic Church (Levine 1992, 82). SAL, however, suffered the same fate that Golconda met. The Golconda group was too radical to make any real pr ogress. The group also had the same problem they faulted the Catholic Church with. SAL was a top down organi zation and was formed much like the Catholic hierarchy with the governing priest s at the top and the peasants at the botto m. There was little connection between the governing priests of SAL a nd those they were trying to help. SAL was a top down organization and though they preached so cial justice there wa s no mass movement to participate in communal activities. Many of the members of SAL le ft the priesthood in the late 1960s and found other alternatives Some members of SAL and Go lconda joined the ELN while others worked to serve social causes in differe nt ways. Urban Colombia is now littered with small foundations, bookstores, and the like run by clerics who left the priesthood (Levine

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72 1992, 83). Because of the failures of SAL and Golc onda, social organizations that work through the Catholic Church must be cau tious. These two organizations of priests had strongly worded documents but did little to deliver on their ideas. The Jesuits and Colombia Some of the most highly respec ted religious orders inside th e Catholic Church have also been seen as threats to the Roman hierarchy. The Jesuit order places importance on education and social justice. Recently, becau se of their active work in soci al development and their liberal style of education, Jesuits have been removed from positions of power inside the Catholic Church. The Catholic hierarc hy has removed members of the Jesuit order from positions of power in the office of educa tion and social justice (Levin e 1985, 308). Unlike grassroots organizations, the Jesuits have more freedom to conduct their work because they have legitimacy through their order. The Jesuits have been in Colombia si nce Colombias independence from Spain. They also have funding through their orde r and are able to have some autonomy. With help from the Jesuit order worldwide, these prie sts are able to run progr ams without the consent of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Colombia. The Jesuits have been a part of Colombia since the Spanish colonized the country. The first role that the order dominated was the mass conversion of the indigenous people in the country. Next came the conversion of the slaves who later entered Colombia via slave ships and became a large industry for Colombia during th e colonial period. The order is known as educators and missionaries and they have fulfille d that role in Colombia. The Jesuits are known not only for their prestigious sc hools but also for their educati on of the masses living in poverty. The Jesuits host radio shows for educational pur poses that are broadcast throughout the country. They also helped to organize some of the olde st and largest trade unions in Colombia. Because of their prominent position throughout the coun try and in the poorer communities, the Jesuits

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73 have faced criticism from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Colombia. Much of their power has been striped away from them, but th ey do have the luxury of autonomy because they have a respected and old relationship with th e people in Colombia. The Jesuits also have autonomy when it comes to their teaching styles. The schools and universities that fall under the Jesuit order are still contro lled by Jesuit priests. The Catholic Church in Colombia has a st ronghold on education. Th e three main male Catholic orders in the country are the Christia n Brothers, the Jesuits and the Salesians. Though all the orders, male and female, contribute to the education system, the Jesuits are known worldwide for their contributions to educat ion, and in Colombia this is no exception. In practice Church control over education is even greater th an its official powers would suggest. With more than 3,000 schools a nd 275,000 pupils, the Catholic educational system in Colombia is the strongest and Larges t in Latin America. It is estimated that 25% of primary, 75-80% of secondary and 30% of university enrolmen t is in Catholic institutions. Three Church institutions of higher education-Colgeio del Rosario and Universidad Javeriana in Bogot and the Univ ersidad Bolivariana in Medellnare among the most highly respected in the nation. (Schoultz 1973, 240-241) The Jesuits have been in Colombia since the es tablishment of the nation. They have traveled throughout the country working on education, eva ngelization, and social justice. During the colonial period the Jesuits were based in Cart agena and focused on educating and converting the slaves. The most famous of the Jesuits was Saint Peter Claver who worked until his death to make sure that the slaves who arrived in Colomb ia were fed, clothed and treated as fairly as possible. Because of the Jesuits vocal nature, they were expelle d several times from Colombia, but always were allowed back in. Before their first expulsion the Jesuits founded La Pontificia Javeriana. The school was shut down after the fi rst expulsion, but reopene d several years later when the political order changed and they were allowed re-entry. Two of the key tenets of the Order of Jesuits are education and social justice. The Jesuit University in Bogot is vocal in promoting the id ea of social justice to their students. The school

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74 is run by the Jesuits and has grown into one of the most important unive rsities in the country. Because of the prestige that is attached to going to Javeriana, many wealthier families enroll their children in the university. The Jesuits in retu rn demand that each student conduct community service. According to Espiritu de Servicio-Jesuitas Colombia the university is there to serve the community. In the books fourth ch apter the Jesuits write that one student who enters Javeriana represents 100 Colombians who do not have the fi nancial ability to attend any university. They demand that the students recognize it is a privil ege to attend school. At the university and when they have completed university they should complete community service and help those Colombians who live in poverty (Jesuits 1965, chapte r 4). To help promote the idea of service, all medical students are expected to volunteer in the school clinic The clinic se rves all people who go for treatment, no matter their social standing. Service is an important tenet in Jesuit living. The Jesuits do not just dominate the education system. The Jesuits started the first tr ade unions established in Colombia. As early as the 1840s the Jesuits had es tablished a series of Congregaciones de Obreros to act as economic and political pressure groups (Schoultz 1973, 242) The clergy started the first official trade union in 1909. Because of their liberal ideas the Je suits are at times considered a threat to the Catholic Church, yet they are also promin ent in Colombia. The church acknowledges the presence and the help the Jesu its have contributed. In 1946 the Unin de Trabajadores de Colombia (UTC) was formed by the Reverend Vicente Andrade Va lderrama, S.J., and other Jesuits in an attempt by the Colombian Chur ch to counteract the growing influence of communism among the working class(Schoultz 1973, 242). The Jesuits have also supported the organization of agrarian workers.

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75 Sadly, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church ha s lost confidence in the Jesuits because of ideological and generational diffe rences between the Je suit order and the lead ers of the church. Management of groups and training programs were taken away from the Jesuits and given to a new department of the Bishops Conference (L evine 1985, 308). The Jesuits have not lost the respect of the people in Colombia. Their schools are still strongly funded by the people and their religious order. They are considered too liberal by the hierarchy of the c hurch but they have the legitimacy of their past history in the country to continue their work. Catholic Based Non-Profit Organizations The Catholic Church has retreated behind its Church walls. This does not mean that Catholics in Colombia are not tr ying to promote needed social de velopment. Both the liberal and conservative groups have grown up and out from Ca tholic doctrine in order to help with the countrys poor. Groups such as CINEP are consid ered liberal because most of their writings focus on breaking the class divide and supplying the needed infras tructure for those living below the poverty line or in rural areas. On the c onservative side, through its connections to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, are organizations su ch as El Minuto de Dios started out as a short prayer service on Colombian radio. The group has grown and helps those liv ing in poverty with loans and low-income housing. These programs de mand that the recipients do not receive free handouts. They must work to help develop th e community and work for their rent. Each organization has grown out of what they think are the most important tenets of the Catholic faith. The more conservative groups have been met w ith far less hostility than the liberal groups because they do not question the hier atical system that is in place no t only in the Catholic Church but also in Colombian society. Through education about social development a nd social justice work organizations can make people more aware. One successful organiza tion in raising social awareness in Colombia

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76 has been CINEP. Jesuits priests started the gr oup in 1972, in order to raise awareness of the humanitarian violations caused by both the gue rrillas and the government. The group looks to construct a more humane and equitable societ y through the promotion of comprehensive and sustainable development (CINEP 2007, cinep.o rg). CINEP works on development projects throughout Colombia and also cond ucts research on development in the county. They have ties to other non-profit organizations both in Colo mbia and around the world. During the 1970s the focus of CINEPs research and action was on developing information with the community (Gamboa and Zackrison 2001, 95). CINEP seeks to c onnect with the people. They want to help create an infrastructure and teach those livi ng below the poverty line how to survive. The idea became developing information to be read w ith the communitya resurgence of interest in themes dealing with public finance, Keynesian ism, and a more het erodox Marxism that provided for a more realistic scrutiny of capitali st crises(Gamboa and Zackrison 2001, 95). The work that is conducted by CI NEP involves critiquing and working with the government. This relationship has been opposed by the Catholic Chur ch that wishes to stay out of the political arena. Organizations such as CINEP gain the trust of the people because of their ties to the Church. Many of CINEPs leaders are Jesuit prie sts who are working to educate and aid the people. CINEP also has a journal called Solidaridad Both organizations have been outspoken about situations facing Colombians. Because of their views and their w illingness to include the Catholic Church as part of the problem, the orga nization has faced conflict with the church. Part of the repercussions was the forced replacement of several CINEP leaders by priests who were more conservative. The Jesuit led group does not ha ve total autonomy from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and therefore must follow certain guidelines.

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77 One of the most important documents that CINEP has created since 1987 documents the amount of political violence that occurs in Colo mbia. CINEP was aware that the judicial system in Colombia is flawed and because of bribery a nd lack of security just ice is rarely served. Because of the lack of political or judicial suppo rt for victims of violence, CINEP worked to help the people and gain recognition of the crimes. The database docu ments disappearances of people, torture, and other acts that ha ve occurred during the conflict that has raged in the country since the 1940s. Over time, though, the organization broa dened its survey not only to track the broad spectrum of political violence, but also to adap t to the constantly ch anging cast to violent groups(Howe 2004, 2). CINEP's research adapts to the new forms of violence and groups that may participate in the war, for example they ack nowledge the inception of the paramilitaries. The first few years were spent documenting what they call Colombias dirty war which focused on exterminating leftist groups in the country and they receiv ed support from the Colombian military (Howe 2004, 2). CINEPs programs are not based just on re search. The group also takes a hands on approach to social development in Co lombia. According to CINEPs website: In order for this to be done, our work is undertaken through the following four complementary lines of action: regional analys is and participation (with projects directly involving local communities), national analysis and participation (i ncorporating research concerned with structural issues of national interest), a peace program (which attempts to bring about conditions that forge a culture for peace), and administrative and financial management (which allows for the operationa l management of the institutions different program and projects) (CINEP 2007, cinep.org). CINEP works to organize people in different regions of Colombia and gain their trust. The trust that CINEP builds is not only for their organiza tion or the Catholic Church but also for the government and economy. With their Peace Program initiative CINEP volunteers have been working with displaced Colombians on the coas t of the country. In this region they set up

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78 workshops on mobilizing civilian initiatives in th e peace process. CINEP also hosts radio shows and has established post baccalaureate programs. The organization stresses work on the regional level, recognizing that each region of Colombia has suffered a different fate due to the ongoing civil conflic t in the country. By acknowledging that no region is the same, they can see what is needed and how they can help. According to their website their regional an alysis includes seven steps which are: 1. Creating long-term regional commitments, and coordinating shor tand medium-term programs and projects, in order to contribute to the construction of regional development and peace alternatives in the midst of the pr esent social and armed conflict in Colombia. 2. Constructing inclusive alternatives, agreed upon by the actors in the local and regional development, which implies strengthening a nd appropriating the re gional processes, organizations and institutions. 3. Preparing and consolidating regional settings in order to re-construct the social fabric heading into a post-conflict period. 4. Identifying regional needs, as well as anal yzing the relevance a nd sustainability of CINEPs work in the different re gions. In this sense, strategic alliances must be created with local, regional, national and international actors in order to st rengthen the processes undertaken in the regions. 5. Creating and participating in political debate, and in a dvocacy work, as a part of regional, national and international networ ks dedicated to development and peace. 6. Carrying out the applicable research for re gional processes by maintaining a national and global perspective that lets regional an alysis be updated in re lation to the national context, as well as for research to be carried out on the theoretical evolution of concepts, which helps in understanding the regional social construction. 7. Formulating and carrying out fund-raising proj ects in order to facilitate the financial sustainability of the regional pr ocesses. (CINEP 2007, cinep.org) From the 1970s until the present CINEP has c ontinued to grow. They are one of the most respected organizations in Colomb ia. With their growth they have also taken a more hands on approach to social development in the country.

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79 The leaders of the Catholic Church in Colo mbia have always sided with the rich and those in government. The rare exceptions bega n to emerge in the 1960s with the opening of Vatican II, the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Medelln and the de velopment of Liberation Theology. Priests and other religious leaders bega n work with those living in poverty and they began to teach that there was a possibility for a better life. CINEP has met harsh criticisms from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The organizat ion is considered Marxist and too political for many of the Colombian Bishops. They challenge the bishops on all fronts, giving particular weight to four elements: class unity as the basis of popular reli gious organization; the utility of Marxist analysis; the need for new structures of authority in Church and society; the primary role of political action in religious organization and commitment. (Levine 1985, 312) CINEP, however, refuses to take any sides in the war or politics of the country. They believe by choosing a side they bring their legitimacy into question and will not succum b even if it threatens their ties to the Church. CINEPs main concern is gaining recognition for the problems that face Colombians. The violence that still prevails in the country also affects th e citizens. CINEP seeks viable forms of sustainable development throughout Colomb ia. The creation of more infrastructure and more social development in order to help the people is the main concern. But CINEP realizes that a major part of development is peace. Of the organizations value system, accepting diversity and acting transpar ently ranks among their top goals. CINEP acknowledges the problems that the people and the need for trust as well as unity. CINEP has also been victimized by the war in Colombia, losing two of its i nvestigators when they were murdered by paramilitaries. It is of the utmost importance that we not take sidesall the warring parties are guilty of human rights abuses (Howe 2004, 2). T hough all participants in the conflict have threatened CINEP they still possess, the most influential database of human-rights violations

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80 which is used by the US State department and othe r countries and, it determines, in a large part, the way the war is perceived intern ally and abroad (Howe 2004, 2). The journal Solidaridad published by CINEP, is vocal in its distrust and dislike for the policies of the hierarchy of the Catholic Chur ch. According to one issue an anonymous author states that the bishops form of CEBS amounts to evasion of the real problems, if true base communities are formed (according to the author) real goals of elevating poverty can be accomplished (Levine 1985, 312). The anonymous authors of Solidaridad are much more vocal than the members of CINEP. The authors have the ability to voice their dist rust of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church anonymously and make p ublic the problems they see inside the church structure. One author states that the church s hould fear losing Catholics because a hierarchy which doggedly turns its back on the people, in th e long run creates a peopl e which turns its back on the hierarchy(Levine 1985, 312). The writers and members of CINEP and Solidaridad are not looking for a break with the Catholic Church nor are they demanding a drasti c restructuring of the church. They wish for support and understanding and a rewo rking of important themes. Lea ders and activists alike fear being forced out of the Church, and thereby lo sing the cover of its moral authority and the symbolic legitimacy membership provides (Levine 1985, 313). Priests and lay workers often have to work secretly to build base communities and often in fear of th e church hierarchy. The only way the laity gains support fr om the hierarchy is if they are taught and follow the strict instruction laid out by th e local bishops. Priests, nuns and br others are expected to follow the same criteria. Trade unions and ot her organizations star ted by priests in th e early 1960s have chosen to part ways with the church in order to be able to gain autonomy (Levine 1985, 308).

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81 The members of CINEP and other Catholic organizations fear the repercussions of speaking too critically of the Ca tholic Church. Those who are t oo vocal are often silenced or forced out of the Church. Many of these organizati ons, according to Levine, feel that they need the legitimacy that the Catholic Church affo rds them (Levine 1985, 313). A major issue that Palacios points out in his book is di strust. The rural peasants have felt the affects of violence and have seen its forms in both government and religion. Many of the pe ople who live at the bottom do not know whom to trust. To them orga nizations such as CINEP could lead to more violence, which does not alleviate their poverty. Pala cios also points out th e time constraints that the poor have to face. Being a member of a CEB takes time, which many of these people do not have. When putting food on the table is a struggle in itself, it is hard to convince people to make changes (Palacios 2006, 181). Catholic Charismatic Renewal Working within the Boundaries of the Catholic Hierarchy The Catholic Charismatic Renewal Renew Your wonders in our time, as though for a new Pentecost, Pope John XXIII prayed in Humanae Salutis and that is how it all started (Hitchcock and Berdnarski 1980, 52). With the teachings of John XXIII and the Seco nd Vatican Council, new forms of Catholic worship began. The pope and the bishops promoted the spread of Catholicism among the people and though the importance of the hierarchy remain ed in tact, prayer groups and community spirituality were promoted. In January 1967 a th eology instructor from Duquesne University attended a Pentecostal prayer meeting at the home of a Presbyterian. The communal spirituality he felt at the meeting carried ove r at a retreat held by his univers ity a few weeks later. The style of the Pentecostal prayer meeting took hold in his methodology of Catholic teaching and began to spread from Duquesne to the University of Notre Dame (Hitchcock and Berdanarski 1980, 5253). Though the Catholic Church initially met the group with some hesitation, their adherence to

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82 Catholic doctrine helped to gain their accepta nce by Pope Paul VI. Once the Vatican gave its approval of the Catholic Charisma tic Renewal, it began to spread rapidly throughout the Catholic Church (Hitchcock a nd Berdanarski 1980, 55). The Catholic Charismatic movement in Latin America tries to join the spiritual side of Christianity to the side that is socially comm itted to the problems that face Christians worldwide (Suenens and Camara 1979, 22). The Charismatic Cat holics are trying to conn ect the spirituality of Catholicism with the social teachings of Vati can II. They feel that they must let Jesus live through them, not only connecting to the Holy Spirit but also being an active Christian (Suenens and Camara 1979, 25). No Christia n can live in a vacuum, a private world of his own. Every baptized person must accept responsibility for the social consequences of his Christian way of life (Suenens and Camara 1979, 29). The moveme nt calls Catholics to act as directed by Gaudium et Spes It tells practitioners that it is their dut y as Christians to act and in their every day lives they should strive to make a differe nce. The Charismatic Catholics, however, do not threaten the hierarchy of the Church because they hold true to Catholic doctrine. They say that they are trying to emulate Christ and his teachings The Catholic Church still is at the center of their activities and still has control. Catholic movements, such as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, have had more success working within the church structure. Because th e movement is based on Ca tholic teaching and is conservative in their rhetoric they have received the approval of the bishops in Colombia and at the Vatican. Even though the Charismatic Renewal is centered in religious education they also run programs in social development. The gr oup El Minuto de Dios, which falls under the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, helps funds small business loans. The group has also created its

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83 own community in the suburbs of Bogot. This barrio is specifically for those who are living below the poverty line (Martin 1976, 135). El Minuto de Dios A group which is part of the Catholic Ch arismatic Renewal is El Minuto de Dios. Following the lines of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, people began to look for ways to evangelize. Though the main issue was the spread of Catholicism, many felt that part of that commitment included giving every person the ch ance for a better life. In 1956, Father Rafael Garca-Herreros started El Minut o de Dios. Father Garca-Herre ros would appear on television for one minute with a family that was in need ; his program was called El Minuto de Dios. He hoped that the people watching televi sion would feel compelled to give back to those in need. As people began to respond to his one-minute televi sion show, Father Garcia looked for other ways to expand his project. Because of the shows moderate success Fa ther Garcia wanted to expand his project to help more people (Martin 1976, 135). Father Garcia decided to start a barrio, based on Christian principles, where poor families would live in dignity (Martin 1976, 135). The barrio was placed on the outskirts of Bogot. With no support from his Eudist4 community, the priest built the first house in the barrio on his own. He then moved a poor family into the house and taught them how to cook, sew and clean. He wanted them to be able to subs ist on their own. When other people in poverty expressed interest in the program, he used funds accrued from his television program to build new houses. The prospective members of the commun ity were also expected to contribute in any way they could. Some helped with the building of houses while others helped with clean up 4 The Eudist priests are an order that was founded by St. John Eudes in Caen, France. Though the Eudist priests focus on the education of men in se minary they also promote evangeliza tion and missionary work. (Wallace 1948, 303).

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84 (Martin 1976, 136). Now Fr. Garc a has been joined by top-not ch experts in sociology and psychology, and by architects, engineers, la wyers, and accountants (Martin 1976, 136). According to the Minuto de Dios website in 2004, the community had over 50,000 residents and was starting other projects outside their community. The organizational members of El Minuto de Di os have laid out cr iteria that must be followed to become a member of th e barrio. In order to live in the barrio, a family must first of all be in desperate need. Secondly, they must be willing to cooperate with their neighbors Thirdly, a family must be willing to improve th eir lives physically, inte llectually and morally (Martin 1976, 137). The barrio ha s neighborhood rules that all memb ers must follow. They must contribute one Saturday a month to community serv ice projects, if they are alcoholics they must join Alcoholics Anonymous and th ey must keep their house up to standard (Martin 1976, 137). The houses that the families live in are rented to them, once the have paid rent for five years and follow the rules of the barrio they become owners of the house. There is also the possibility of upgrading homes for those families who are cons idered upstanding members of the community (Martin 1976, 138). Fr. Garca has created a community that can stand on its own. Through El Minuto de Dios, Fr. Garca has created a Christian Base Community (CEB). The members of the barrio meet weekly to discuss issues in the community and safety. Fr. Garca wanted the community to be able to run without him. The community ha s established a democratic system and elects officials at their meetings (Martin 1976, 138). By giving the members of th e barrio responsibility over their community, Fr. Garca is teaching them leadership skills. The members of the community are also forced to rely on themse lves and each other instead of Fr. Garcia.

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85 Religion is at the core of the El Minuto de Dios community. Before there was a church in the barrio Fr Garca would say mass in the stre ets. Fr Garca took these ideals from John XXIII and Vatican II and made a community that is sti ll growing. When Fr Garca first started building his ideal community it was not supported by many. His order was not willing to fund it and the Communists did not like a utopia being built outside their guidelines. The conservatives also felt that the program was too liberal. There were severa l attempts on Fr Garcias life, but in the end, the benefits of the community quieted the nays ayers. Members of El Minuto de Dios are seeking a lifestyle that overcomes the injustic e built into both Capitalism and Communism. El Minuto de Dios is not seeking richness, but ju st that people have enough, says Fr Garca (Martin 1976, 144). Working Outside the Church Walls Organization and activism is hard in Colombia. Social pr ogression is feared by both the government and the guerrillas. Ending the long st anding war in Colombia is at the top of the national agenda and the Catholic Church's age nda. The Catholic Church speaks out against the war and has formed small scale CEBs. The probl em with the Catholic Churchs organization, however, is that they do not pr omote self-sufficiency. Reliance on the church and adoration of the church is important in protecting th e supremacy of the Catholic Church. A re-education must occur. For some it is just receiving an education for the first time. By teaching the people in Colombia who have b een displaced by the war or have not had the opportunities afforded to the middle and upper classe s self sufficiency is possible. The radical priests of the 1960s called for revolution but could not organize themselves. Camilo Torres joined a rebel group in order to accomplish his be liefs, which never came to fruition. The actions of grassroots organizations have been the most successful. The education of the Jesuits, CINEP,

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86 and El Minuto de Dios have done the most to su pport the people who seem to be forgotten by the government.

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87 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION The main goal of my thesis was to see what the Catholic Church was doing in Colombia to aid social development. Though the church is slow moving there have been initiatives to aid those living in poverty. Mainly, th ough, the churchs hierarchy is more talk than action. The main concerns of the country revolve around th e illegal drug trade and ending the ongoing civil conflict. Yet if poverty is to be alleviated and people given another viab le option they may stop farming illegal drugs or participating in the violence. CINEP aims for reconciliation and peace in their community projects. As seen in my thesis these organizations and their programs are an obvious threat to the guerri llas because they give people another option and a chance at life that does not include living in fear. CINEP and El Minuto de Dios have both been targeted by the guerrillas because of thei r peaceful initiatives. Other Catholic charities have also entered the country, but th ere must be more effort on the part of the Catholic Churc h. Through my research I have found that the Catholic Church in Colombia is not proactive. They embrace the curre nt Popes conservative agenda. They talk a good game but the action is done by others outsid e the hierarchy. What I found most important is that recently the Catholic Church is becoming more vo cal. They have begun to issue statements on the civil conflict and on the peace in itiative. They are willing to work with both the guerrillas and the government in or der to end the civil conflict. Th is is a good first step for the church. They are reentering society albeit tent atively. Other programs such as CINEP and El Minuto de Dios continue to grow and foreign branches of Catho lic Charities are becoming active in the country, such as Catholic Relief Servi ces and Caritas Internati onal. In the end, these findings are hopeful that initiative is being take, but also fearful th at the hierarchy of the church is not fully involved.

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88 Colombian Catholicism is an intricate mix of conservative action with progressive dialogue. The Catholic Church in Colombia has trie d to stay true to its conservative roots while facing a dangerous situation in Colombia. The po litics of Colombia are violent; the people have little or no trust in the government, and the povert y rate is increasing. The role of the Catholic Church has always been to provide spiritual guidance for the practitioners. In 2007 spiritual guidance is not enough. The Church has released a series of statements since the 1960s voicing their concern about the lack of social progress in Colombia. The role of social development, however, has been left up to organizations with tenuous ties to the conservative hierarchy of the church. Yes, the Catholic Church has helped in short-term soci al development, but it has not been long-term. Programs run by CINEP and El Mi nuto de Dios educate the people to be selfsufficient. Colombia Today In 2007 Colombia faces many of the same issues that have plagued the country for over forty years. The country is a ha ven for drug dealers, guerrillas a nd paramilitaries. Safety is a major issue for anyone who wishes to visit th e country. Tourism could be a major revenue booster but, until tourists can be guaranteed their safety, foreign c ountries warn against travel to Colombia. The lack of opportunity to accru e wealth only leads to a higher involvement in illegal activities. The current president is the first two-term president in the constitutional history of Colombia. Alvaro Uribe, Colombias President, won both elections based on a hard-line stance against the guerrillas. He has promoted the dest ruction of all coca fields and has issued swift punishment to members of the drug trade and gue rrilla movements. The Catholic Church has supported the destructio n of the coca fields and the end to th e civil conflict that has affected the lives of all Colombians.

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89 According to the Amnesty International Re port for 2006, human rights abuses are at high levels (Amnesty Internationa l 2007, thereport.amnesty.org). Though the government claims that over 300 paramilitaries have been demobilized, ma ny of the same fighters have regrouped to form criminal gangs. More than 80 mass graves were found at the beginning of the year and more than 770 civilians were ki lled or forcibly disappeared in 2006 (Amnesty International 2007, thereport.amnesty.org). The government has issued plans to protect the c itizens and seek other opportunities for work. The programs, however, are flawed according to the Amnesty report (Amnesty International 2007, thereport.amnesty.org). The US has funneled over 200 million dollars into Colombia but most of the mone y was funding for the police and military. The US government is now in the process of re-working its aid bill for Colombia. The fear of losing extensive US aid has caused Colombia to sp end over 100,000 US dollars to lobby US Democrats to continue funding Colombian tr ade agreements (Goodman 2007, 2). Women have been the violent target of th e military, paramilitaries and guerrillas. The military has been reprimanded for violence agai nst people both inside and outside their ranks. There is no clean party in Colombia. The guerril las, paramilitaries and government have all been involved in illegal dealings. The lack of trus t has made it difficult to end the civil conflict. The Catholic Church has had to step in and house freed guerrilla fighters to guarantee their safety so the government does not lose them. According to the Catholic News Agency, the role of the Catholic Church has grown since the beginning of 2000. The church ha s held guerrilla fighters, who were released from prison to ensure their safety and participation in the p eace talks. The church has also tried to open gateways for peace talks and work as the mediator The protection of Catholic workers, however, is not always guaranteed. Those who do not want peace in Colombia have threatened bishops,

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90 priests and lay members of the church (Cat holic News Agency 2005, catholicnewagency.com). The lack of safety in Colombia has made it hard for international groups to work on humanitarian projects. Guerilla fighters who were against the p eace initiative killed members of CINEP in their own apartments. The founding me mbers of El Minuto de Dios were also threatened because of their desire to help t hose in need. Because the guerrillas are trying to promote their own form of government they do not want those promoting peaceful social development to win. In the same respect the gover nment does not want to be criticized for its own crimes against humanity and refuses to pr otect those who are not supportive of their program. Though the Catholic Church has tried to stay ou t of the political arena, it is impossible. The church in 2007 has issued several statements attesting to their support of the peace efforts. The church must also provide safety for humanitarian worker s who fall under their protection. According to the Catholic News Agency, the Ca tholic Church is calling for peace in Colombia. In a February, 2007 article the bishops of Colombia called for an end of conf lict. The church also acknowledges that it is the job of both the guerr illas and the government to end the conflict (Catholic News Agency 2005, catholicnewsagency.com). As recently as May of 2007 the Church stated its views on the deceit and on the war in the country. The Colombian Catholic Church has stated that it will not take pa rt in any peace talks unless the w hole truth is revealed. The drug trade, murders, and kidnappings by all parties in volved is totally unacceptable to the church (Catholic News Agency 2007, catholicnewsagency.c om). The church stated in February, 2007 that they would not remain sile nt on human rights issues that f ace Colombia. This is a change from the church in the 1950s, which decided to st ay out of politics because of the violence that plagued the country.

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91 For the Catholic Church to enter into the pol itical arena in 2007 is also a drastic change from their role throughout th e 1980s and 1990s. The church, however, does not wish to participate in any large-scale in itiatives. Instead, they want to voice their opinion on the issues. Their voice is strong in Colombia and by showing th at they are on the side of the people they can keep the trust of the people. The Colombian government has long faced the claims that they, along with the guerrillas, have broken human rights laws. Final Thoughts Colombia is still looking for a peaceful solution to their social conflic t, but if politicians continue to participate in the violence there will be no trust on the part of the citizens. The lack of political openness in the country has contributed to the current state of war. The people of Colombia have been caught in the crossfire of the civil conflict. When looking for help with development the people do not turn to the governme nt because they have rarely helped. Religion seems like the next logical option. The Catholic Church is the largest and strongest religious group inside Colombia. This thesis investigated what the Catholic Church had done to help in Colombias social development by exploring the relationship betwee n the Catholic Church and the government of Colombia. The findings were that this relatio nship was a hindrance to Catholic social development. It was not until the Church retreated fr om the political conflict that they were able to commit to social progress. Vatican II and th e CELAM meeting at Medelln promoted social change. The Colombian Catholic hi erarchy was slow to make these changes. But, from the 1960s until the 1980s the Church did form CEBs throughout dioceses in Colombia. These programs looked to help Colombians living in poverty. The e rror of the Church was refusing to educate the people on how to be self sufficient.

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92 When the Catholic Church became afraid of political repercussions which might come with that social development they retreated behi nd church walls. The void in social development was filled by Catholic organizations with tenuous tie s to the Catholic hierarchy. This thesis also explored the relationship with or ganizations that fell under the umbr ella of the protection of the Catholic Church. Though certain organizations such as CINEP have been considered too radical they are still able to promote their social deve lopment programs. El Minuto de Dios takes a more conservative approach to social development in Colombia and has a stronger relationship with the Catholic hierarchy. The major problem that bot h these organizations have faced is violence from outside groups. In Colombia rebels have violently thre atened the church and these organizations because they promote peaceful soluti ons. The final result is the Catholic Church has promoted social development, but on their own schedule and much too slowly. Without the guarantee of safety from the government it is ha rd for priests, nuns and lay members to enter regions of the country th at are most highly affected by the war. As a result the overall progress of social development in Colombia has been slow. Future Research With the governments lack of interest in the people, it has fa llen to the religious organizations and humanitarian workers to work on social development. Future research on Colombias social development could include the Protestants. Future research could be done on what other aspects of social development the Protestants promote. Have they formed new communities and do Colombians welcome them? It would also be important to see if different Protestants work together or w ould even work with the Catholic Church on social development plans. Another issue to resear ch would be international organizations that enter Colombia to assist. Much of the European funding that ente rs Colombia is through non-profit organizations

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93 and grassroots movements. Though their safety is always a major issue, a topic that could be researched is how hands on the European Un ion is and how their money is used. One group that does receive money from foreign organizations is CINEP. Another research project could be done solely on CINEP and their development proj ects throughout the country. CINEP has offices on the coast and in the interior where field res earch could be done on site. Safety would be a concern, but it is possible to see th eir education initiatives in acti on. Field research could also be done on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and El Minuto de Dios. Since the community of El Minuto de Dios is continually growing, field re search could be done in Bogot to track their progress. Conclusion The future of social development in Colombia is still to be determined. Many members of the political parties who run the country are facing criminal charges because of illegal activities that include perjury, drug trafficking, and invol vement in violence. The recent crack down on the government has also affected the president and his cabinet. No one is left blameless in Colombia. The Catholic Church has tried to stay out of th e political arena, but in the end she has had to enter the peace talks between guerrillas and the g overnment. While the Catholic Church mediates between warring factions in the country other orga nizations have had to enter in to take care of the poverty and humanitarian aid. Groups such as CI NEP and El Minuto de Dios have worked to educate the Colombians living below the povert y line on how to subsis t on their own. Both groups long-term goals include the breaking down of the age-old class structure. They work on projects that teach people how to farm, read and protect themselves. The objective of this paper was to look at the role of the Catholic Church in the social development of Colombia. The original thesis was that the Catholic Church did not play a significant role in social development and that the Catholic hierarchy of Colombia was a

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94 hindrance to development. It was seen that thou gh the Catholic Church did not play a major role in social development there were moments where in itiatives were formed to help Catholics living below the poverty line. Specifically, after Va tican II dioceses thr oughout Colombia formed CEBs to help alleviate the strain of civil conflic t and poverty. The radical Catholic priests did not get the revolution that they ha d hoped for, but Catholics in Colombia did try to change the situation for the better. The Cat holic Church has always recognized that poverty was an issue to be dealt with in Colombia yet the actions of the Church have been slow, hindered by popes fearful of chaos. Hands-on social developmen t in Colombia is conducted by the Catholic Church's practitioners, to be read as priests, nuns and laity financially backed by their own religious orders or outside Catholic organizations, not by the native Colombian Catholic hierarchy.

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95 LIST OF REFERENCES Amnesty International. Amnesty In ternational Report 2007. 2007. June 23, 2007 . Aviles, William. 2001. Institutions, Military Policy, and Human Rights in Colombia. Latin America Perspectives 28,1 (January): 31-55. Bailey, Norman, A. 1967. La Violencia in Colombia Journal of Inter-American Studies 9:4 (Oct.): 561-575. Catholic News Agency. 2005. Church in Colombia target of violence in last 20 years. CatholicNewsAgency.com. Mar. 10: 1. 2005. Bishop confirms Church in Colombia me diating in negotiations with rebels. CatholicNewsAgency.com. Nov. 3: 1. 2007. Colombian bishops will not contribute to hiding the truth, conference president warns. CatholicNewsAgency.com. May 14:1. Centro de Investigacin y Educacin Popular. 2007. May 24, 2007 . Cleary, Edward L., O.P (ed.). 1990. Born of the Poor Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Dix, Robert H. 1980. Consociational De mocracy: The Case of Colombia. Comparative Politics Vol. 12, No. 3. (Apr.): 303-321. Dodson, Michael. 1986. The Politics of Re ligion in Revolutionary Nicaragua. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Religion and the State: The Struggle for Legitimacy and Power Vol. 483. Drekonja Gerhard. 1971. Religion and So cial Change in Latin America. Latin American Research Review 6, 1 (Spring): 53-72. Eagleson, John and Phillip Scharper (eds.). 1979. Puebla and Beyond: Documentation and Commentary Maryknoll: Orbis Books. El Minuto de Dios. 2007. June 3, 2007 Gamboa, Miguel and James W. Zackrison. 2001. Democratic Discourse and the Conflict in Colombia. Latin American Perspectives Colombia: The Forgotten War 28, 1 (Jan.): 93109. Garcia, John Alvarez and Christ ian Restrepo Calle (eds.). 1968. Camilo Torres his life and his message Springfield: Temple gate Publishers.

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96 Goodman, Joshua. 2007. Colombia to honor Bill C linton amid growing Democrat Scrutiny. Associated Press May 25:1. Hanratty, Dennis M. and Sandra W. Meditz (eds.). 1988. Colombia a Country Study Washington D.C.: Federal Research Divi sion Library of Congress. Hartlyn, Jonathan. 1984. Military Governments and the Transition to Civilain Rule: The Colombian Experience of 1957-1958). Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 26, 2 (May): 245-281. Hitchcock, James and Sr. Gloriana Bednarski. 1980. Catholic Perspectives: Charismatics Chicago: The Thomas Moore Press. Howe, Ben. 2004. Visions of Peace. Ford Foundation Report (Summer). New York: Ford Foundation. Kearney, Michael. 1986.Religion, Ideology, and Revolution in Latin America Latin American Perspectives 13, 3 (Summer): 3-12. Levine, Daniel. 1979. Church El ites in Venezuela and Colombia: Context, Background, and Beliefs Latin American Research Review 14, 1 (51-79). 1978. Authority in the Church and So ciety: Latin American Models. Comparative Studies and History 20, 4 (Oct.): 517-544. 1984. Popular Organizations and the Church: Thoughts from Colombia Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 26, 1 (Feb.): 137-142. 1985. Continuities in Colombia Journal of Latin American Studies 17, 2 (Nov.): 295317. 1990. Popular Groups, Popular Cult ure, and Popular Religion. Comparative Studies in Society and History 32, 4. (Oct., 1990): 718-764. 1992. Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism Princeton: Princeton University Press. Levine, Daniel H. and Alexander W. Wilde. 1977. The Catholic Church, Politics, and Violence: The Colombian Case. The Review of Politics 39, 2 (Apr.): 220-249. Lipset, Seymour Martin and Aldo Solari (e ds.). 1967. London: Oxford University Press. Mainwaring, Scott. 1984. "The Catholic Churc h, Popular Education, and Political Change in Brazil. Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 26, 1 (Feb.): 97-124). Martin, Ralph (ed.). 1976. Sent by the Spirit. New York: Paulist Press.

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97 Martz, John D. 1992. Party Elites and Leadership in Colombia and Venezuela Journal of Latin American Studies 24, 1 (Feb.): 87-121. OBrien, David J. and Thomas A. Shannon, eds. 1977. Renewing the Earth Catholic Documents on Peace, Justice and Liberation New York: Image Books. Ott, Emiline Royco. 1977. Population Policy Formation in Colombia: The Role of ASCOFAME. Studies in Family Planning 8, 1 (Jan.): 2-10. Palacios, Marco. 2006. Between Legitimacy and Violence : A history of Colombia, 1875-2002 Durham: Duke University Press. Pobleto, Renato. 1979. From Medelln to Puebla: Notes for Reflection. Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 21, 1, Special Issue: The Church and Politics in Latin America (Feb.): 31-44. Pope John XXIII. 1959. Encyclical on Truth, Unity, and Peace, in a Spirit of Charity Rome, June. 1959. Encyclical on the Rosary: Prayer for th e Church, Missions, International and Social Problems Rome: Vatican Press (September). 1959. Encyclical on the Missions, Nati ve Clergy, and Lay Participation. Rome: Vatican Press (Nov.). 1961. Encyclical on Christianity and Social Progress Rome: Vatican Press (May). 1961. Message of Pope John XXIII for Peace Rome: Vatican Press (Sept). Pope Paul VI (promulgated by). 1965. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium et Spes. Rome: Vatican Press (Dec.). Pope Paul VI. 1967. Populorum Progressio Encyclica lof Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples Rome: Vatican Press (Mar). Schoultz, Lars. 1973. Reformation and Reacti on in the Colombian Catholic Church The Americas 30, 2 (Oct.): 229-250. Schwan, Hubert and Antonio Ugalde. 1974. Orienta tions of the Bishops of Colombia toward Social Development, 1930-1970. Journal of Church and State 16, 1 (Winter): 473-492. Second Vatican Council. 1965. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gadium et Spes Rome, December. Suenens, Lon Joseph and Hlder Cmara. 1979. Charismatic Renewal and Social Action: a dialogue Ann Arbor: Servant Books.

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98 Thoumi, Francisco E. 2002. Illeg al Drugs in Colombia: From I llegal Economic Boom to Social Crisis Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 582 (July): pp102-116. The Society of Jesus-Colombia. 1965. Espiritu de ServicioJesuitas Colombia. Bogot: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 1994. The Catechism of the Catholic Church New Hope, KY: Urbi et Orbi. Van Hove, A. 1910. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII New York: Robert Appleton Company. Vellinga, Menno (ed.). 2004. The Political Economy of the Drug Industry: Latin American and the International System Gainesville: University of Florida Press. Wallace, W. Stewart (ed.). 1948 The Encyclopedia of Canada Vol. II. Toronto: University Associates of Canada. Wilde, Alexander. 1979. Ten Years of Change in the Church: Puebla and the Future." Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 21, 3 (Aug.): 299-312. Williams, Raymond Leslie and Kevin G. Guerrieri (eds.). 1999. Culture and Customs of Colombia. London: Greenwood Press. Williams, Rhys H. 1996. Religion as a Polit ical Resource: Culture or Ideology? Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 35, 4 (Dec.): 368-378

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99 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jessica Joy Gonzalez was born in Los Angeles, California in 1982. The first three years of her life, however, were spent in Tokyo, Japan before moving to Florida. After 7 years in Miami, she moved to Orlando where her parents currently re side. Jessica traveled extensively as a child. Her many trips included most of Europe, South Am erica, Africa and Asia. Because of her desire to see and understand the world and its myriad cu ltures Jessica decided to pursue her bachelors degree in international relations. In 2004 Jessica received her B.A. from Wellesley College with a major in international relati ons and a minor in religion. After a gap year which included travels to Brazil and 3 months in Colombia to study Spanish, Jessica decided to pursue her masters degree in Latin American studies with a concentration in religion and society.