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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter gives a brief historic account of the religious background of Latin America from the Conquest to the present day. It deals with the imposition of the Catholic Church over the indigenous religions, and with the syncretism and diversity thus created, especially after the arrival of Protestant churches and new religious movements. It considers the development from harsh religious confrontation to ecumenical dialogue in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the appearance of Latin American liberation theology, and the growth of evangelical and Pentecostal missions. The crucial importance of the Second Vatican Council, of the Latin American and Caribbean Catholic Bishops Conferences, and of the presence of the ecumenical movement in the areas of politics and culture is described. The consequences of the election of Pope Francis as the first Latin American pope are considered. The chapter concludes with a panorama of the ecumenical and interreligious situation of the continent.

Keywords: Latin America, Catholic Church, Pentecostalism, religious movements, liberation theology, missions, ecumenical dialogue, interreligious, ecumenical movement

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