Separation of Church and State in Latin America

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Separation of Church and State in Latin America

Throughout Latin American history, the Roman Catholic Church has played a tumultuous role, from passive "soul saving" to aggressive revolutionary actions. As the countries have turned toward democracy the Catholic Church has had to recognize that along with modernization comes the promotion of two democratic ideals: the separation of Church and State and the endorsement of secularization. While many countries are still working toward a separation of Church and State, Costa Rica, a long-time democratic country, has continued to recognize Roman Catholicism as the official religion of the country and to look to church and clergy for support. Though the Costa Rican Church is removed from the political spotlight, it has not backed down from its doctrine and goals, and the Church and State have created a unique relationship that seems to benefit all peoples.

Although the Catholic Church has varied somewhat throughout different parts of the world, the fundamental doctrines regarding social and behavioral expectations have remained relatively untouched. The ideals of tradition and purity still resound within the walls of Catholic churches everywhere. Catholicism is a religion based on ritual with precise words that are to be recited at every mass, baptism, communion, confession, and marriage ceremony. The only ingredient a good Catholic needs in order to share in these traditions and gifts of God is faith. Fortunately, the Church has formulated a number of rules to guide its followers down the difficult path to true faith. Like most Christian religions, the Catholic faith centers its beliefs on the Bible and the teachings of the early Church fathers. Certain parables are extracted ...

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