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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A large majority of Latin Americans identify themselves as Roman Catholics. Countries like Uruguay have very low rates of Catholic religious practice, and until recently Mexico and Cuba had anti-Catholic laws and policies. Anticlericalism has been strong in Latin America, at least since the nineteenth century and probably earlier. In the last two decades, conversions to evangelical Protestantism have accelerated, and Pentacostalism is the fastest-growing religion in Latin America. There are now more Mormons in Latin America than in the United States. The remnants of state support for Catholicism are rapidly disappearing in the wave of constitutional reforms that has followed the transition from military rule to elected civilian governments in the eighties and nineties. Yet the history, culture, and public ceremonials of Latin America are profoundly Catholic, and even those who, except for weddings and funerals, have never been near a Catholic Church since baptism think of themselves as Catholic.

Keywords: Latin America, anticlericalism, Catholic Church, Protestantism, Pentacostalism, Mormons, constitutional reform

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