their Peruvian counterparts, were a source of scandal rather than sanctity. But a process of reform and renewed evangelisation gathered momentum in the fifty years from i860 to 1910. The revival was strongest in rural Mexico; a typical Mexican priest was a country priest from a middle-class family. Priests were the products of the diocesan seminary, where they learnt Latin, scholastic philosophy and theology, and were imbued with strict moral values and a deep hostility to liberalism. They embarked on pastoral work inspired by their seminary ideals, urging parishioners to regular attendance at mass and the sacraments, organising catechism classes, encouraging observance of Lent, and inculcating in their people an awareness of sin and avoidance of sex outside marriage.
Argentina, unlike Mexico and Peru, did not inherit from the colonial church an infrastructure on which it could later build. The period 1830-60 was the low tide of Argentine Catholicism, a time when it collaborated with dictatorship and traded its freedom for protection. In these vast and empty lands, bishoprics remained unfilled for decades, seminaries closed from apathy, and priests were few and far between. The national constitution of 1853 established and funded the Catholic Church as the religion of the state, which was obliged to 'support' but not 'profess' the Catholic religion. The government controlled the appointment of bishops and relations with Rome, and guaranteed toleration for other faiths. A culture of compromise was born.
From the 1860s the Argentine church renewed its mission. The metropolitan diocese of Buenos Aires was created, with its own archbishop. New seminaries were established and old ones revived. Seculars were joined by religious, and native priests by immigrant clergy. The Jesuits returned and in i868 founded the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires, successful enough to be burned down in 1875 by an anticlerical mob led by an apostate Spanish priest. The last decades of the nineteenth century were a new age for religious orders in Argentina, many of them dedicated not only to the contemplative life but also to welfare and education, and they helped to fill a gap in the social provisions of the republic, providing charitable agencies of a traditional kind. Religion acquired a political edge as Catholic action tookthe gospel outside the church and the cloister, and a vigorous clerical movement disputed for public space, a beneficiary of the liberal state as well as its leading critic.
Between 1880 and 1914, in an age ofmass immigration and economic growth, Catholicism underwent great expansion in Argentina. In Buenos Aires there were nineteen parishes in i900 compared to seven in i857. This was a conservative church which still attracted people of the upper and middle classes, whose religiosity was marked by individual piety, devotion to the Sacred Heart, belief
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