However, despite the severe competition, the people of Latin America still hold the traditions of the church close to their hearts and give a lot of respect to religious figures (Jean-Pierre, 1998).
The relationship between the church and the government has been very closely bonded. The message coming from the religious quarters has been very finely tuned in line with the policies of the governments as well as the status quo. Contradiction and conflict does seem to exist on the surface, however, deep down the bond between the state actors and the church is very strong. Lately, the church has also power of becoming a very strong instrument of political and social campaign, capable of bargaining with the state actors so as to meet its own ends (Jean-Pierre, 1998).
The relationship between the church and the military has been perhaps the strongest of them all. Religion has been a major source of inspiration for the armed forces and has been a major assurance to secure connection between the workings of the state and the affairs of the church and as a result has played a major role in promoting democracy. Regrettable, very little scholarly attention has been given to analyze the means by which the bond between the military and the church are knitted together (Jean-Pierre, 1998).
Lastly, it is important to note that, despite its strong relationship with the state and the non-state actors as well as the people of the region and despite the exposure to the process of globalization, the church has not changed its internal method of controlling the conflicts and the ideology it is aiming to spread. Scholars believe that the people will move away from the established traditions and religious cultures, if the church refuses to embrace modernization. However, some believe that this warning has come a little too late and that globalization has played its part in influencing the people to more forward (Jean-Pierre, 1998).
Christendom vs. secularism Liberation theology vs. conservatism in Latin America
Christendom can be classified as a belief founded upon a specific brand of relationship between the church and the people, rested firmly on the intervention of the state. The essence of the Christendom is believed to possess two swords, one being the Pope and the other being the head of State. However, many scholars believe that this relationship has had a severe blow in the face of globalization and transnationalization. It is important to note there that the followers of Christendom are in huge majority in the Latin America, particularly the Roman Catholics; however, many scholars have also noted the rise of evangelical-Protestants. These scholars believe that an all-out confrontation might be possible between the two groups in an attempt to acquire support and cooperation from the people and the state actors so as to establish not only their supremacy in the religious field but also to augment their social, economic and political agenda throughout Latin America (Rene, 1999).
Secular Liberation theology focuses on the relentless energy of religion seen throughout the Latin America countries as a vibrant and forceful social system, implanted and surrounded in the life of the people as a realm of social activity and not political action. Almost all sociological scholars of modernization and internationalization believe that religion should be demoted to a secondary status and the state should be following policies independent of religious influence. However, religion and especially Catholicism has been very rooted in the socio-economic structures of Latin America and the sociological scholars of modernization and internationalization have found it very difficult to carry out their agenda, as a result, these secular forces of modernization and internationalization have been looking to develop coalitions with international organizations so as to gain legality and become a political and economic force in Latin America (Catalina, 2001).
While the whole of Europe and United States developed and remained devoted to science and technology, their perspectives on different social issues also grew with the progress of science and technology. This growth on issues related to rational, realism, and critical thinking, and has influenced shared procedures of the construction of their societies. However, all this time the main areas of discussion in Latin America had been the socio-economic literature related to theology. The conservative forces in Latin America as well as that of North America see Catholic education as means of analyzing the contemporary world to bring about a socio-economic change in their life styles. These forces view the secular Liberation theology in a very negative way and are reluctant to adopt the ideas of modernity brought by the Liberation theology (Catalina, 2001).
Globalization and the Church
The rapid technological and cultural transformations taking place all over the world has been accompanied by quick and steady changes in the religious scene throughout Latin America. Many scholars believe that both, the rapid technological and cultural transformations and the religious change, in many regards are interrelated to one another, despite that fact that they both are completely separate from each other. It is also believed that religions is so deeply rooted in the social culture of the people of Latin America that social transformation can never take place without any change taking place in religious institution (Daniel, 2003).
The Catholic Church has been very eager to accept the process of globalization. This is because it provides a chance for the Church fraternity to organize and plan their religious ideology at the global level. Also the Catholic Church has had a tremendous amount of following and majority of them belong to the poor and underprivileged class. Globalization will give these people an opportunity to interact with the rest of the world and at that same time give them a chance to enhance their socio-economic welfare. The enhancement in the socio-economic welfare of the people will eventually reinforce the status of the Catholic Church. Despite that fact that the Catholic Church has encountered a great deal of resistance from local groups that have emerged due to globalization and internationalization of religion, it is more than ever determined to promote the process of globalization because it thinks it will gradually enhance the quality of life throughout the region. However, it is important to note that internationalization and globalization of religion does not possess that same dynamics to that of internationalization and globalization of businesses. Therefore, it is imperative that all major concerns are taken into consideration when attempting to use religious institutions to enhance the process of globalization (Daniel, 2003).
The willingness of the Church
The religious transformations that have been taking place throughout the Latin American region have tremendous inclinations towards the creation of a strong and stable democracy. The strengthening of religious institution has reinforced and blossomed the community life throughout the region. These enriched local communities can become a strong driving force of the civil society at large to enforce democracy, provided they are strongly backed by the Catholic Church (Daniel, 2003).
It is important to note that the Catholic Church is perhaps the only institution that has the potential to promote the wider agenda of globalization since it is deeply embedded into the lives of the people of this region. Also the willingness of the Catholic Church to promote the process of globalization has been very encouraging. This is because it will empower the Catholic Church and give it unprecedented authority over the entire region (Daniel, 2003).
The Catholic fraternity realizes that without their efforts the process of democracy, human rights, economic growth etc., which are a wider part of the process of globalization, cannot be accomplished. It is without a shadow of doubt that democracy cannot flourish without a booming economy, but a sound economic system cannot be established with integrating the local socio-economic traditions to globalization. Therefore the Catholic Church can turn out to be a vital instrument for promoting democracy, human rights, political stability, economic growth and education throughout the Latin American region and its optimism and drive for promoting democracy should be encouraged by all international actors (Daniel, 2003).
Obstacles for the Church
Many scholars believe that the economic and political instability throughout Latin America can turn out to be a major obstacle for the Catholic Church in promoting democracy, human rights, political stability, economic growth and education in that American region. It was at first believed that the transformation of the Latin American economies towards capitalism had been extremely impressive. However, as things turned out, the situation at hand is quite the opposite. Unemployment, illiteracy and corruption are prevailing throughout Latin America and are considered by many to be the major impediments towards the promotion of globalization and the wider American agenda it carries with itself (Daniel, 2003).