“When the religious history of the twentieth century is written, perhaps one of the events of lasting importance will prove to have been the intervention of the Roman Catholic bishops in Puerto Rican politics.”
So says Dr. Val Clear, who has prepared forCHRISTIANITY TODAY the following interpretative report on Church-State tensions in Puerto Rico with special attention to the now-famous pastoral letters issued by Roman Catholic bishops prior to last November’s election. Dr. Clear is chairman of the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Anderson College, Anderson, Indiana, on sabbatical leave for 1960–61. He is currently teaching at El Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico and also serves as planning consultant for the National Council of Churches Division of Home Missions.
The Puerto Rican legislature is investigating alleged irregularities in the 1960 election campaign which saw widely-publicized but unsuccessful intervention by Roman Catholic bishops. Target of the investigation is the Christian Action Party, closely linked with Puerto Rican Catholicism. In mid-January, both legislative houses voted unanimously to unseat two Christian Action Party members. The government is now trying to establish that their candidacies were fraudulently obtained.
[Roman Catholic Bishop James E. McManus of Ponce charged last month that the joint legislative inquiry was an attempt by the Popular Democratic Party of Governor Luis Muñoz Marin to destroy the Christian Action Party, supported by McManus and the island’s two other Roman Catholic bishops.
McManus made his charge in a memorandum to Roger N. Baldwin, adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union, who testified at a series of hearings being conducted in connection with the legislative ...1
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