Chilean Pentecostalism: Coming of Age
In contrast to many Latin American countries, Chile had no intense anticlericalism that might demand constitutional reforms or oppose the Catholic church. A major figure of Chilean Catholicism, the Jesuit Father Alberto Hurtado, inquired in the 1940s if Chile was a Catholic country. Perhaps no one was better suited than Willis C. Hoover to help to bring about the birth of Chilean Pentecostalism. Unlike most Methodist missionaries of the time, Hoover threw himself into work among lower-class Chileans. Lalive d'Epinay created an imaginative view of Chilean Pentecostalism that gained considerable attention. He pictured Pentecostalism as re-creating for those transposed from countryside to city the traditional structure of the hacienda. Chile's Pentecostals have been latecomers to direct involvement in politics, behind the Protestant and Pentecostal plunge into politics in Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, and Argentina, in part because of Chile's long military tutelage.