|Although about two-thirds of Uruguayans are Roman
Catholics, Uruguay is a secular state. The government has eliminated connections
between the church and state. Religious teaching is not permitted in public
schools. Even the names of holidays have been given secular names. Holy
Week, for example, is now called Tourism Week and Christmas is called Family
Day. Some Uruguayans attend church regularly and maintain Christian traditions,
but others do not practise any religion.
Did you know?
is a small community of Jews in Montevideo. Most are Ashkenazic immigrants
from Eastern and Central Europe.
|Uruguay was the home of Juan Luis Segundo, one
of the leading writers on liberation theology. This Roman Catholic movement
originated in the 1960s in South America. It challenged Catholics to rethink
the role of the church in society and to work for social justice. Segundo
and other writers encouraged Catholics to help liberate the poor and powerless
from oppression in all forms. Priests, nuns and lay people who supported
the movement went to work in local communities as literacy teachers, health
workers and educators. Although the Vatican does not support the movement,
liberation theology is still very influential in South America.
|Uruguay has a small minority of Protestants, which
includes a group called the Waldensians. This group originated in the Alpine
areas of southern France and northern Italy in the 13th century. The Waldensians
opposed many Catholic practices and were persecuted for their beliefs.
In the 19th century, several groups of Waldensians emigrated to Uruguay
and Argentina. They founded the Colonia Valdense on the River Plate in
the 1850s. This was one of the earliest Protestant communities in South
Did you know?
outside Montevideo, in the town of Atlántida, is a remarkable church
designed by Uruguayan engineer and architect Eladio Dieste and built in
1959. The brick walls of the church curve in and out like the waves of