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Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and the Government in Mexico

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posted on 2023-08-03, 13:44 authored by Philip C. Edwards

At the first mention of the words "religious conflict in Mexico", the average man usually thinks of the contention between the Roman Catholic Church and the authorities of the state in that country. Little does he realize that historically this struggle had not one phase but four, and even today at least three aspects of it can be traced.Over a period of more than a century, there has been a contest for power between the Roman Catholic Church and the national government. The Church has sought to wrest the control, of ecclesiastical matters at least, from the state, and the state has tried to free education, political power, and wealth from the grasp of the Church. About the middle of the last century, another element was introduced with the advent of Protestantism in Mexico. This brought the other two-fold antagonism to the fore-the Roman Church against the Protestant churches, and Protestantism against Catholocism. This last form of the strife has lost much of its original furor in recent years as Protestants have gained sufficient footing to stand in, what they believe to be, their own right, turning their energies to a constructive program and almost ignoring the Catholic opposition.There seems to be reason then for a study of the religious conditions in Mexico, which would take into account, in some brief way at least, the growth of Protestantism. This is particularly interesting just at this time because of the provisions of the Mexican Constitutions of 1857 and 1917 pertaining to religion, and the fact that in most instances the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches have been at opposite poles in the matter of their reactions to these governmental provisions.This paper will undertake a sketch of the history of the Catholic Church in Mexico and its relations with the government from the time of the Spanish conquest to the promulgation of the Constitution of 1857? and then a consideration of the introduction of Protestantism, its struggle with Catholocism, the effect of the reform constitution upon Protestantism and Catholocism; and finally, the reactions of these two branches of Christendom to the Revolution of 1911 and the constitution of 1917.







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