The Preferential Option of the Poor: Liberation Theology, Pentecostalism, and the New Forms of Sacralization

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This paper argues that the alleged demise of liberation theology is the product of an oversimplification of the movement’s development,—one that depends on a church-focused understanding of the process of secularization. Yet, a different interpretation of this process may allow us to see secularization as a process capable of eliciting new forms of sacralization. My contention is that liberation theology has remained active in civil society, especially through faith-based organizations not supported by the Catholic Church. I argue that these civil-society organizations have become new sacred spaces that address the needs of the most vulnerable. To warrant these claims, I present a comparative study of the parallel development of liberation theology and Pentecostalism in Latin America, particularly in the case of Peru. Since both movements focus on the most disenfranchised and thus may compete for the same public, attention to the success or failure of their strategies will help to elucidate the current status of liberation theology.
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalEuropean Journal of Sociology/Archives Européennes de Sociologie
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2023

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