The Catholic Church and Argentina's Dirty War by Gustavo MorelloThe Catholic Church and Argentina's Dirty War by Gustavo Morello

The Catholic Church and Argentina's Dirty War

byGustavo Morello

Hardcover | July 15, 2015

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On August 3rd, 1976, in Cordoba, Argentina's second largest city, Fr. James Week and five seminarians from the Missionaries of La Salette were kidnapped. A mob burst into the house they shared, claiming to be police looking for "subversive fighters." The seminarians were jailed and torturedfor two months before eventually being exiled to the United States.The perpetrators were part of the Argentine military government that took power under President General Jorge Videla in 1976, ostensibly to fight Communism in the name of Christian Civilization. Videla claimed to lead a Catholic government, yet the government killed and persecuted many Catholics aspart of Argentina's infamous Dirty War. Critics claim that the Church did nothing to alleviate the situation, even serving as an accomplice to the dictators. Leaders of the Church have claimed they did not fully know what was going on, and that they tried to help when they could. Gustavo Morellodraws on interviews with victims of forced disappearance, documents from the state and the Church, field observation, and participant observation in order to provide a deeper view of the relationship between Catholicism and state terrorism during Argentina's Dirty War. Morello uses the case of the seminarians to explore the complex relationship between Catholic faith and political violence during the Dirty War - a relationship that has received renewed attention since Argentina's own Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis. Unlike in countries such as Chile andBrazil, Argentina's political violence was seen as an acceptable tool in propagating political involvement; both the guerrillas and the military government were able to gain popular support. Morello examines how the Argentine government deployed a discourse of Catholicism to justify the violencethat it imposed on Catholics and how the official Catholic hierarchy in Argentina rationalized their silence in the face of this violence. Most interestingly, Morello investigates how Catholic victims of state violence and their supporters understood their own faith in this complicated context: whatit meant to be Catholic under Argentina's dictatorship.
Gustavo Morello, SJ, is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston College.
Title:The Catholic Church and Argentina's Dirty WarFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 0.98 inPublished:July 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019023427X

ISBN - 13:9780190234270


Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsPrefaceAbbreviations1. Introduction2. "We are here to serve!"3. Who the La Salettes were4. Committed Catholics and the machinery of terror5. The long night6. "I was in Hell"7. A race against time8. "Aren't we true Catholics?"9. Varieties of CatholicismReferences

Editorial Reviews

"This deeply researched book explains how and why religious activists became targets of repression by Argentina's military. Morello examines the case of priests and seminarians who were arrested and tortured and locates their experience effectively in larger institutional and ideologicalcurrents. The author draws out all the nuances of this tragic and sometimes confounding case. The result is an enriched understanding not only of what happened but also of the possibilities of change and conflict within politics and religion more generally." --Daniel H. Levine, author of Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism and Politics, Society and Religion in Latin America