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 Rican, with its long history as a democratic country, has allowed the Church to remain a key figure within society by its continued recognition of Roman Catholicism as the official religion of the country and its continued need for support from the church body and clergy. 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.
Aja Smith, ’01 Newbury Park, CA
Sponsor: Carol Lacy-Salazar