Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, Vol 5, No 3 (2009)

To Endure or Ignore? Two Priests’ Responses to Hierarchical Discipline in a Guatemalan Religious Field

C. James MacKenzie
Issued Date: 22 Dec 2011


In the context of an increasingly centrist hierarchy, the fate of various progressive Catholic post-Vatican II evangelizing movements is unclear. I consider here how two progressive priests in Guatemala have dealt with hierarchical discipline. I examine the role of these priests and their superiors in a vertically and horizontally structured religious field. While one priest, a proponent of Charismatic Catholicism, feels alienated from the hierarchy and his congregation and imagines alternatives in terms of schism, the other, a proponent of inculturation theology, found practical freedom from both grassroots and hierarchy through the development of networks, which I analyze using models derived from Castells. Together, these cases demonstrate how religious power, while strongly centralized in the context of the Catholic Church, can adapt—if imperfectly—to different organizational structures simultaneously.

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DOI: 10.1558/post.v5i3.317

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