This book examines the ambivalence of folk Catholicism as a resource to fight against injustice, exploitation, and oppression. Cases are cited to illuminate the value and potential trespasses of popular religious beliefs and practices. Over centuries, representatives of the powerful middle and upper middle classes did not hesitate to manipulate popular piety to protect their power and privileges. In fact, much of popular religion still reflects the dominant ideology.
Popular piety has the potential for liberation against unjust social and economic structures. When properly guided, this practice can broaden and deepen political consciousness and mobilize people to act. Without a strong level of political consciousness as well as liberative evangelization, popular religion will be alienating to the poor while strengthening the status quo of the rich and the powerful. This study argues that it will be the elites, the well-educated and committed Christians, not the masses, who would foster the transformation of society.