Martyrdom and the Politics of Religion: Progressive Catholicism in El Salvador's Civil War

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SUNY Press, 1997 - History - 211 pages
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Martyrdom and the Politics of Religion explores the ways that Salvadoran Catholics sought to make sense of political violence in their country in the 1970s and 1980s by constructing a theological ethics that could both explain repression in religious terms and propose specific responses to violence. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, the book highlights the ways that progressive Catholicism offered a justification and tools for political resistance in the face of extraordinary destruction. Using the case of Catholicism in El Salvador, the book explores the nature of religious responses to social crisis and the ways that ordinary believers construct and strive to live by ethical systems. By highlighting the importance of theological belief, of narrative, and of religious rationality in political mobilization, it touches questions of general interest to readers concerned with the social role of religion and ethics.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
El Salvador
24
Progressive Catholicism in El Salvador
43
Sacrifice History and Ritual
72
The Martyrs
93
Reasons for Martyrdom
118
The Fruits of Martyrdom
137
Conclusions Religion and Political Protest
157
Bibliography
183
Index
207
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About the author (1997)

Anna L. Peterson is Assistant Professor in the Religion Department of the University of Florida, Gainesville.

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