Evo Morales And The Roman Catholic Church
The socialist administration of Bolivian President Evo Morales has not always had a good relationship with the Bolivian hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. This has become a problem for Morales as polls taken in the early 2000s indicate that 77% of the Bolivian population say they are Catholic, meaning that about seven million of the nine million Bolivians follow the Roman Catholic faith. When faced with a Morales policy that they disagree with, Catholic Bishops of Bolivia are able to inspire large demonstrations against the measures. The Catholic Church draws most of its support from the cities, and little from the higher rural areas (where Morales draws his main support) due to "a lack of resources and to indigenous cultural resistance to Church efforts to replace traditional attitudes". Morales has stated that he is a Catholic, he like many rural Bolivians was raised with a combination of Catholicism and belief in "the Pachamama or Mother Earth figure, as well as on Ekeko, a traditional indigenous god of luck, harvests, and general abundance". Other indigenous leaders like Felix Patzi (see below) follow a pure indigenous faith and "discard all forms of Christianity; however, this effort has not led to a significant increase in the number of "indigenous-belief only" worshippers."
The special place that used to be given to Catholicism in Bolivia can be seen in Article 3 of the former Bolivian constitution (1967), which says, “The State recognizes and sustains the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Religion. It guarantees the public exercise of all other faiths. Relations with the Catholic Church shall be governed by concordats and agreements between the Bolivian State and the Holy See.” The United States State Department has characterized this as "the Constitution recognizes it as the official religion", a statement that the comments of Bolivian Bishops (see below) would seem to disagree with.
After the enactment of the current Bolivian Constitution in 2009, the Catholic religion lost its official status. Article 4 of the new Constitution states: "The State respects and guarantees the freedom of religion and spiritual beliefs, in accordance to every individual's cosmovisions. The State is independent from religion."
Read more about Evo Morales And The Roman Catholic Church: Bolivian Catholic Theocracy?, Church Land Seized, Call To Stop Having Catholic Feast Days As National Holidays, Conflict Over Religious Classes in State Schools, Catholic View On Constitutional Reform
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... Coroicu Diocese in Bolivia, said that the Catholic Church “remains vigilant” concerning the Socialist Morales government ... He said, “The Church is worried, but at the same time optimistic about the new constitution the Morales government is preparing ... Obviously, the party of Evo Morales is socialist For example, it says it wants to have a non-confessional education, or that religion is not important ...
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