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Ecclesial Opposition to Large-Scale Mining on Samar: Neoliberalism Meets the Church of the Poor in a Wounded Land
Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, T2N-1N4, Canada
Received: 16 July 2012; in revised form: 20 August 2012 / Accepted: 30 August 2012 / Published: 7 September 2012
Abstract: In recent years, the government of the Philippines (adhering to the precepts of neoliberalism) has promoted large-scale mining as a method of stimulating economic development. Mining, an activity with substantial potential for environmental harm, is staunchly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, particularly on the island of Samar. The crux of the church’s opposition to mining are the adverse environmental consequences that mining may impose upon the rural poor who, engaging in subsistence agriculture and aquaculture, are vitally dependent upon access to natural resources. Should there be a mining-related environmental disruption, these people will be thrust from subsistence into destitution. The commitment of the church to act on behalf of the poor emanates from the conciliar documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the fertile ground for liberation theology in the Philippines provided by the Marcos dictatorship (1972–1986), and by the commitment of the church in its 1992 Second Plenary Council to become a church of the poor. Samar contains quality mineralization set amid a wealth of biodiversity, grinding poverty, a simmering Maoist insurgency, and a vulnerability to natural hazards such as typhoons and El Niño induced drought. The opposition of the church to mining on Samar demonstrates the commitment of the church to be a church of the poor and how this praxis stands in contradistinction to the intellectual hegemony of neoliberalism.
Keywords: Catholicism; church of the poor; liberation theology; Philippines; Samar; mining; neoliberalism
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Holden, W.N. Ecclesial Opposition to Large-Scale Mining on Samar: Neoliberalism Meets the Church of the Poor in a Wounded Land. Religions 2012, 3, 833-861.
Holden WN. Ecclesial Opposition to Large-Scale Mining on Samar: Neoliberalism Meets the Church of the Poor in a Wounded Land. Religions. 2012; 3(3):833-861.
Holden, William Norman. 2012. "Ecclesial Opposition to Large-Scale Mining on Samar: Neoliberalism Meets the Church of the Poor in a Wounded Land." Religions 3, no. 3: 833-861.