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The Influence of Religion in Latin American History (March 2017): Conclusion

By Joan E. Meznar

Final Thoughts

The election of a Latin American Pope signaled the importance of the region for the Roman Catholic Church. Over the past five centuries, Latin America has witnessed the evolution of a complex, vibrant, frequently changing Christianity. From the crucible of American Indian, African, and European cultural traditions emerged unique, often apparently contradictory societies and faiths that defy simple definition. In recent scholarship, the lens of spirituality has brought into sharper focus some of the foundations for modern-day concerns about diversity, faith, and justice, often by using perspectives gleaned from social, intellectual, cultural, and political history. And interest in the lives of ordinary people, fueled by research based on a variety of newly mined archival sources, continues to enrich the study of the influence of religion in Latin American history.