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The Rise of Charismatic Catholicism in Latin America

Edward L. Cleary

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“An encompassing overview of one of the most important yet understudied religious trends in contemporary Latin America. . . . An excellent introduction to the Charismatic renewal.”—Latin American Politics and Society            
 
“Reveals a powerful and multifarious phenomenon whose demographic size and importance has been underestimated.”—Journal of Contemporary Religion  
 
“A rich historical account. . . . [A] wealth of information.”—Journal of Latin American Studies  
 
“The book is impressive in its breadth and depth; it is the product of Cleary’s more than fifty years studying the U.S. origins of the Catholic Charismatic movement and its explosion throughout Latin America.”—Church History  
 
“[Cleary] has . . . proven to be one of the most prolific and astute observers of religions in Latin America over the past half-century.”—Journal of Church and State  
 
“This book is an example of [Cleary’s] thorough expertise in the area. He takes us through country after country in Latin America documenting the rise of Charismatic Catholicism and its relation to Pentecostalism and other indigenous movements.”—Missiology
 
“Exceptionally well organized, with careful attention to major figures, conflicts, conferences, media events, and more.”—Choice                                                                                                      
“Cleary is attentive to questions of identity as they pertain to nationality and religion, allowing readers to glimpse the importance of Charismatic movements as they reinforce, challenge or remain separate of political orders.”—Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions        
 
“A must-read.”—Religious Studies Review  
 
“An excellent primer on a largely misunderstood phenomenon in Latin American religion.”—Catholic Historical Review  
 
“The current image of Latin America is one of an overwhelming tide of movement from Catholicism to Protestant communities, especially Pentecostal. This volume corrects both of these tendencies.”—New Theology Review  
 
“Cleary places the Charismatic movement within the changing and increasingly pluralistic religious landscape of Latin America.”—PentecoStudies  
 
“Rich in narrative-based insight—and full of possibilities for future researchers.”—Pneuma
 
"Latin America in the twenty-first century is no longer the way we have always imagined it, and nowhere are the region’s vast changes more evident than in the field of religion. Ed Cleary brings his readers into the churches and communities of Latin America to introduce them to the Catholic Charismatic Movement, the biggest and most important religious shift taking place in the region in recent decades."--Kenneth P. Serbin, University of San Diego

Much has been made of the dramatic rise of Protestantism in Latin America. Many view this as a sign that Catholicism’s primacy in the region is at last beginning to wane. Overlooked by journalists and scholars has been the parallel growth of Charismatic, or Pentecostal, Catholicism in the region. Edward Cleary offers the first comprehensive treatment of this movement, revealing its importance to the Catholic Church as well as the people of Latin America.

Catholic Charismatics have grown worldwide to several hundred million, among whom Latin Americans number approximately 73 million participants. These individuals are helping the church become more extroverted by drawing many into evangelizing and mission work. The movement has rapidly acquired an indigenous Latin American character and is now returning to the United States through migration and is affecting Catholicism in the United States.

Cleary has witnessed firsthand the birth and maturing of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Latin America as both a social scientist and a Dominican missionary. Drawing upon important findings of Latin American scholars and researchers, he explores and analyzes the origins of the most important Catholic movement in Latin America and its notable expansion to all countries of the region, bringing with it unusual vitality and notable controversy about its practices.

Edward L. Cleary (1929–2011) was professor of political science and Latin American studies at Providence College. His many books include Conversion of a Continent: Contemporary Religious Change in Latin America.
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"Presents an impressive overview of the 'other' charismatic revival that is transforming Latin American churches."
--Religion Watch

"Research on religions in Latin America in the last forty years has shifted focus from liberation theology to ecclesial base communities to Pentecostal Protestantism to popular and indigenous religions. It is the first time in over five hundred years that Latin American Catholicism is becoming throroughly indigenized in its clerical and lay leadership roles and is able to grow not through cultural family traditions and foreign missionary activity but by stimulating voluntary and strong lay commitments among its own faithful. Cleary has clearly proven to be one of the most prolific and astute observers of religions in Latin America over the past half-century."
--Journal of Church and State

"An important overview of a much neglected story, that of the CCR in Latin America."
--Catholic Books Review

"An abundance of footnotes and a solid bibliography lends the readable book for students and teachers of Latin American studies, missionary movements, and Catholicism among Hispanics in Latin America as well as the United States."
--Missiology

"Attentive to questions of identity as they pertain to nationality and religion, allowing readers to glimpse the importance of Charismatic movements as they reinforce, challenge or remain separate of political orders."
--The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions

“An excellent introduction to the Charismatic renewal in Latin America and a much-needed corrective to depictions of the Catholic Church as a monolithic entity unable to respond to the challenges of growing religious pluralism.”
--Latin American Politics and Society

“A rich historical account… this wealth of information will be vital to future scholars of charismatic Catholicism.”
--Journal of Latin American Studies

Cleary demonstrates that CCR is a concrete expression of larger religious revivals undergoing in Latin America. --
--Religious Studies Review

Giv[es] a comprehensive account of the biggest lay movement within the Catholic Church in Latin America today. --
--PentecoStudies

Offers a critical entry-point to this under-studied but vitally important aspect of the diffusion of Pentecostalism. . . . The emphasis on narrative and reflections based on Cleary’s fertile mind and a half century of experience yield a text rich in narrative-based insight-and full of possibilities for future researchers. --
--Pneuma

This compelling, well-researched book. . . . is highly readable and full of richly detailed information, which makes it an important contribution to Catholic Studies and Latin American History. --
--Church History

An important resource for those interested in evangelical and ecumenical outreach. . . . This study will stimulate the depth of theological investigation that Protestant Pentecostalism and Catholic popular religion have already produced in a variety of disciplines. --
--New Theology Review

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