Religion and Conflict in Latin America: Conversation with Otto Maduro

Author: José Casanova

December 23, 1983

In the 1983 article "Religion and Conflict in Latin America: Conversation with Otto Maduro," José Casanova interviews Otto Maduro, a self-proclaimed Marxist Catholic, about the interaction of Marxism and Catholicism in Latin America. In response to Casanova's question on the seeming contradiction of the two, Maduro argues that the relationship between the two is also complementary, as he views Catholicism as the faith of both the oppressed and the oppressors, citing the Church's teachings and writings supporting beliefs such as Liberation Theology as an example. Casanova follows with a question about the revolutionary nature of Christianity; in reply Maduro argues that the Church needs to allow the working class to bring their view to bear on the Bible. When asked what constitutes a Latin American perspective, Maduro argues that Latin America represents the ultimate state of dependency and colonialism, due to its history, as well as its language and religion. Thus, he sees the Church as a unique actor in the development of a new Latin America. Finally, Maduro argues that unless the Church begins to work in these issues, many Catholics in the region would either convert to Protestantism or simply abandon their faith, trends apparent in contemporary Latin America. This interview was published in the December 1983 edition of Telos.

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