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Peace I leave you my peace I give you each and every day in Catholic churches all over the world Catholic priests reference this passage from the Book of John 1427 before the gathered faithful offer each other the sign of peace Since the 1970s the center of Catholicism has shifted to Latin America with 413 of the global Catholic population living in Latin America The importance of this region to the Catholic Church is embodied in Pope Francis I an Argentine who became the first Latin American pontiff in 2013 Thus it can be assumed that this daily time-honored tradition is not unknown to Latin Americans However since its arrival with the Spanish and Portuguese in the fifteenth century Catholicism has not always been a harbinger of peace in Latin America Recently in the 1950s 60s and 70s a new movement liberation theology emerged With this new school of thought came social political and economic tensions Although liberation theology inspired movements in multiple Latin American countries such as Nicaragua Guatemala Bolivia Colombia Peru Venezuela and Ecuador its role in the more recent conflicts is perhaps most obvious in El Salvador The dominant role of the Church in Salvadoran culture and everyday life along with the influence of clergy such as Archbishop scar Arnulfo Romero y Galdmez played a huge role in the explosion of the Salvadoran civil war from 1979-1992 Liberation theology has its roots in the Second Vatican Council called in 1962 and concluded in 1965 Prior to Vatican II the Church in El Salvador like in many other Latin American nations was identified with conservative social and political attitudes strict hierarchy an absolute belief in the sanctity of private property and with the wealthy and powerful factions of society Montgomery 83 This association was established from the first Pipil the indigenous people of
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