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Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic ReturnTransnationalism and the Roman Catholic Church$
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Valentina Napolitano

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267484

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267484.001.0001

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The “Culture of Life” and Migrant Pedagogies

The “Culture of Life” and Migrant Pedagogies

Chapter:
(p.38) 2. The “Culture of Life” and Migrant Pedagogies
Source:
Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return
Author(s):

Valentina Napolitano

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823267484.003.0003

Latin American transnational migration in Rome ignites an old conflict within the Catholic Church and a long-lasting paradox of Catholic conversion in the Americas. This tension is rooted in the historical debate about the nature of civilization and the human person (since the Valladolid’s dispute between Gines Sepúlveda and Fray Bartolomeo de las Casas). The chapter reads echoes of this in the tension between a Church that privileges a historicized approach to migration and one shaped by a conservative revision of the meaning and legacy of the Second Vatican Council. The former, endorsed by orders such as the Scalabrinians who run the Latin American Mission in Rome, frames migration as an aspect of contemporary human experience and advocates a positive response defined by the active engagement and adaptation of Church structures, pedagogy, and practice. The latter, instead, sees transnational migration to Rome, the figurative Heart of Catholicism, as a potential threat to an allegedly authentic and avowedly European Catholic heritage. This perspective actively obscures issues of difference and distribution while foregrounding a universal notion of the “Culture of Life” and a Catholic humanitas. Migrant pedagogies and devotions (such as to the Señor de los Milagros) ethnographically describe projects, championed by different religious actors in the Church, that partly aim to encourage and educate migrants to be good apostolic agents, central to a Christo-centric mandate of the Catholic Church: the New Evangelization.

Keywords:   Benedict XVI, Catholic Humanitas, migration, New Evangelization, Second Vatican Council, Señor de los Milagros, Scalabrinian order

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