Defending tradition and confronting secularity

The Catholic Buen Pastor Institute

Authored by: Esteban Rozo , Hugo Cárdenas

Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138182509
eBook ISBN: 9781315646435
Adobe ISBN:


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Ritual practice can be highly political. Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in 2015, we explore in this chapter how the defense of the Tridentine Mass in the Instituto Buen Pastor in Bogota (Colombia) entails specific forms of political engagement with modernity and the secular. The chapter shows how through the critique of the current Catholic Church and the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), lay members of the Instituto Buen Pastor become politically active in the public sphere in relation to issues such as abortion, family and gay rights. The active political role that lay members perform in liturgy and in public spaces through religious practices (such as the celebration of Tridentine Mass, processions and prayer chains) challenges the alleged passivity of the laity in traditionalist liturgy. Therefore, lay members of the Instituto Buen Pastor perform an ambiguous role as they occupy a liminal position between the religious and the secular, becoming politically active in both spaces as lay members of the Church.

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