The Latin American Church is extremely significant in global Catholicism, accounting for a substantial percentage of the World s total Catholic population. Demonstrating remarkable vitality, the Latin American Church has played a major role in local political and social arenas, particularly during the transitions from military to democratic rule in Chile and Peru.
However, recent changes imposed by the Vatican may come to redefine the Chilean and Peruvian Church's involvement in politics and social issues. Professors Michael Fleet and Brian H. Smith argue that throughout the 1980s, the Vatican has been moving to restrict the Chilean and Peruvian Church's social and political activities, reimposing more hierarchical control on the local Church through the appointment of conservative bishops.
As all Catholics work to understand the Church within the context of the global community, The Catholic Church and Democracy in Chile and Peru deserves the attention of thinking Catholics throughout the world.