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The Catholic Church and the decolonization of the Portuguese Empire
A talk by
Prof. Eric Morier-Genoud,
Hélio and Amélia Pedroso / Luso-American Foundation Endowed Chair in Portuguese Studies at UMass Dartmouth

A pilar of the Portuguese and colonial societies, the Catholic church was deeply affected by decolonization. Favoured and yet constrained by a Concordat and missionary accord, the church faced hard choices in the 1960s just as it was updating its theology at the Second Vatican Council. The church rapidly became divided over the issue of decolonization, and by the 1970s it fractured at once. Priests, sisters, laymen and laywomen were imprisoned and individuals as well as groups of missionaries and even a bishop were expelled. Navigating a rich and complex situation, this presentation unpacks the dynamics of the church after 1945, teases out the diversity of situations and positions in Angola, Mozambique and other colonies, and offers a panorama of the politics of church and state in Portugal and its colonies right up to 1975.

Eric Morier-Genoud is a Reader in African and Imperial History at Queen’s University, Belfast. His main research interests are Religion and Politics, War and Conflict Resolution, the Portuguese-speaking world, and Southern Africa. He is a recognized leader in the field of social movements within the context of Lusophone Africa.
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