175 Kathleen L. Figgen TO DIE IN ARGENTINA: AN INTRODUCTION TO ARGENTINE POPULAR SAINTS* One of the most prevalent expressions of folk religion in Argentina is popidar canonization (canonizacion popular). Popuar canonization refers to the process whereby persons who are the object of religious cults have been . "canonized" by popular sentiment, without the approval of the Catholic Church. Persons so honored are called popular saints (santos populares), uti- lizing the language of the Church (Chertudi & Newbery 1978:9). The official hierarchy of the Argentine Catholic Church refuses to recognize these popular manifestations of faith, dismissing the cults as "illegitimate and tmacceptable" since only cults that have been officially sanctioned by the Church authorities can receive public tribute (ibid.:211). In spite of these restrictions, popular canonizations continue to flourish in Argentina, where to date more that 47 such cults have been documented by Argentine social scientists (ibid.:235). Poplar saints generally reflect the culture of the region in which they originate. Unlike the official saints who were imported from Europe and whose lives and histories are completely removed temporally and spatially from the Argentine reality popular saints resemble their devotees geographi- cally, ethnically economically, and socially - in "having
Mission Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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