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Religion 40 (2010) 1426

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The richness of ordinary life: Religious justication among Chiles business eliteq
lica Thumala Olave a, b, *,1 Ange
a b

Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UQ, UK a, P. Universidad Cato lica de Chile, Av. Vicun a Mackenna 4860, Macul, Santiago, Chile Instituto de Sociolog

a b s t r a c t
Keywords: Catholicism Elites Chile Pluralism Religious identity Religious movements

Based on the analysis of 75 in-depth interviews with managers and businessmen of Chiles main economic conglomerates, this article is concerned with the justication, on religious and moral grounds, of the establishment of a neo-liberal economic model during Augusto Pinochets regime (19731989) and, most importantly, with the representation of business as a religious vocation. The value granted to wealth creation as a path to salvation, as formulated by the conservative religious movements Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ, is one possible response to the Churchs call in Vatican II for the greater involvement of the laity in their cultures and societies. In the context of an increase in pluralism during the 1960s and 1970s, the perceived shift of the Catholic Church to the Left, and the threat that the political project of Salvador Allendes socialist government (19701973) posed to the elites centenary lifestyle, the practice of more conservative forms of Catholicism has allowed for a restoration of the historical bond between the elite and its religious tradition. The case of Chiles elite can be seen as an example of an increase in pluralism which does not lead to a weakening of religious belief and practice, but to their strengthening. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Introduction Mar a Escriva de Balaguer, the Spanish The richness of ordinary life is the title of the rst chapter in a book of homilies given by Jose , 1981).2 Since its arrival in Chile in 1950, Opus Dei has been one of a select priest who founded the religious movement Opus Dei (Escriva group of religious movements which, over the past three or four decades, have contributed to reshape and reinvigorate the practice of Catholicism among the more conservative section of Chiles upper class. Together with the Mexican Legionaries of Christ, the second most visible of these movements, Opus Dei has assisted in the process of what I have described elsewhere as a re-appropriation of Catholicism within this group (Thumala, 2007a). The process of re-appropriation involves several strategies. One strategy consists of the frequent practice of the sacraments in ways that seek to recover the solemnity and propriety perceived to have been lost with the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. Another strategy involves the education of children in the right doctrine through a select group of religious schools created, explicitly in some cases, to protect elite families against the threat that social reformism and the project of the political left posed during Salvador Allendes presidency (197073) (Thumala, 2007a). This article is concerned with a third dimension to this process, namely, the justication, on religious and moral grounds, of the establishment of a neo-liberal economic model during Augusto Pinochets regime (19731989) and, most importantly, the representation of business as a religious vocation for the lay members of the Catholic Church. The s homily serves to illustrate the convergence of the religious value of the ordinary life of the laity and of business as a path to title of Escriva salvation. The examination of narratives of religious justication amongst the business elite is part of a project which seeks to correct the neglect of the religiosity of the upper classes in Latin America and to provide yet more evidence against simplistic versions of secularization theory, which assume that elites are secular (Thumala, 2007a). The discussion is, however, not centered on the issue of class, but on a feature that this elite shares with other social groups: the exercise of forms of religious self-justication in contexts of increasing pluralism.

q I wish to thank Professor David Martin and four anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on earlier versions of this article. a, P. Universidad Cato lica de Chile, Av. Vicun * Instituto de Sociolog a Mackenna 4860, Macul, Santiago, Chile. E-mail addresses: mthumala@gmail.com, mthumala@uc.cl, angelica.thumala@crim.ox.ac.uk 1 Tel.: 44 (0)1865 274451; 56 (2)6864651. 2 Published posthumously in 1977, the volume Friends of God collects 18 homilies given between 1941 and 68.
0048-721X/$ see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.religion.2009.04.011

A. Thumala Olave / Religion 40 (2010) 1426


The general movement that the Church initiated during the 20th century to make secular and religious worlds meet unleashed revolutionary forces but, at the same time, opened the door for a renewal of ordinary life in its most conservative aspects. As Lehmann has argued, wherever Catholicism was a cultural force, the meta-political character of its social teaching meant that it provided strands which could be woven either into a contestatory message or into a conservative one (Lehmann, 1990, p. 91). In Chile, the diffusion of social Christian views and the interest among elite Catholics in social reform motivated by the encyclical Rerum Novarum of 1891, and strengthened by the n in 1968, produced precisely this two-pronged response. On Second Vatican Council and the Conference of Latin American bishops in Medell the one hand, a revolutionary force was produced that penetrated various areas of Chilean society, including the Catholic Church and the Conservative Party (Correa, 2005; Valenzuela and Maza Valenzuela, 2000). On the other, a movement emerged that viewed social reform with alarm, justiably so, as a threat to the centenary lifestyle of the traditional elite (Correa et al., 2001; Stabili, 2003). There emerged within the elite not only differing interpretations of the consequences of the social doctrine for the organization of society, but also contradictory ` -vis the clergy, called upon its views about the notion of the lay apostolate, whereby the Church, granting the laity greater responsibility vis-a lay members to engage actively with their societies and cultures (Paul VI, 1965). Opus Dei, for example, has repeatedly highlighted the coincidence of its vocation with the value the Church places on the life of the laity as a path to salvation (Illanes, 1994). Yet, its members reject the type of social activism displayed by many lay Catholics between the 1950s and 1970s as a Marxist-led mistake. In fact, such a view is not exclusive to Opus Dei members, but is shared by the more conservative members of Chiles elite more generally. The theme of the potential for sanctication in ordinary life that came about with Vatican II involves also a shift towards positive conceptualizations of business and wealth creation. The 1964 Constitution Lumen Gentium established that there is no human activity even in secular affairs which can be withdrawn from Gods dominion (John Paul II, 2004). The 1991 encyclical Centesimus annus, moreover, is well known for its afrmation of the positive value of an economic system which recognises the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector (John Paul II, 2004). Such an endorsement of the market may have served to offset the traditional objections raised against commerce as an impediment rather than an instrument for leading a Christian life. The complex relationship that the Catholic Church established with wealth over time (Sheils and Wood, 1987), which included praise of contemplation, the demand that possessions be treated with a spirit of detachment and the prohibition of usury, and the suspicion in which commerce was held well into modern times (Troeltsch, 1950), led some to the conclusion that Catholicism was a hindrance to economic growth (Troeltsch, 1950; Weber, 1991). As will be shown, some of the elements in the Churchs tradition which serve to question acquisitiveness remain in the elites imagination as an obstacle to economic development and a major source of difference between Catholicism and Protestantism, the latter being described as more appreciative of business and personal gain. Nevertheless, the overwhelmingly positive representations of entrepreneurship that emerge in the narratives of this research appear sufciently strong to counteract traditional themes, such as that of the rich fool for example, which seem to place wealth in a morally dubious position and far away from salvation. On the contrary, business today is seen by the Church as rooted in the stewardship which God has given man over the earth and which is meant to nd expression in the promotion of economic initiatives with potential to benet others and to raise their material standard of living (John Paul II, 2004). The notion of stewardship is, indeed, ever-present in the descriptions made by interviewees of the businessman as an instrument of God, the temporary steward of property that belongs to the Creator. Furthermore, the place granted to economic prosperity in the accounts is akin to the theme of the social function of property as stated in the encyclical Rerum Novarum, particularly the notion that temporal blessings be employed for the benet of others (Leon XIII, 1891, Para 22). Although the new religious movements approach to business and wealth creation is part of this general move within the Church, their peculiarity lies in their explicit rejection of the political or socially committed readings of the social doctrine. Like no other religious option before them, the movements have provided their followers with a meaningful religious interpretation of personal success. The impact of the religious movements Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ must be placed in context. Chilean Catholicism is characterized by high levels of adherence and belief and low levels of participation in institutional or ofcial functions, such as religious organizations and attendance at mass. While 67% of Chileans describe themselves as Catholics, according to the latest survey that includes religious issues (UC Adimark, 2008), the proportion of attendance at mass once a week is only 18%.3 The fact that the Catholic identity of the population appears to be enacted mostly through sporadic participation in rituals closer to popular or un-ofcial forms of religiosity is consistent with the comparatively low levels of participation in religious organizations. 4 As would be expected, participation in religious movements among Chiles business elite is not the norm d only half of the interviewees in this research are members or sympathizers of a religious movement, parish or Church organization. However, the themes that emerge in the narratives regarding the religious and moral justication for success in business are indicative of the capacity of these movements to tap into and shape the concerns, and even the language, of a wider section of the business elite. Furthermore, the higher levels of attendance at mass within the upper class, as shown by public opinion surveys and the reports of the participants in this research, are evidence of the movements success in restoring the importance of the sacraments.5 Overall, it can be argued that the religious movements have contributed to the process whereby the elite has sought to restore the connection between its status and Catholic values, such as charity, solidarity, and a sense of responsibility for the nations development.

3 This contrasts with the 53% of attendance at religious services amongst Evangelicals, who represent 14% of the population and the majority of whom are Pentecostals (UC Adimark, 2008); and coincides with the ndings of an earlier international ISSP study that found only 14% of Catholics attend at mass once a week, compared to 38% of Evangelicals who go to a religious service once a week (Lehmann, 2002). The UC-Adimark survey distinguished between Evangelical and Protestant. The gure of 14% corresponds to those who identify themselves as Evangelical. This includes Pentecostals and assumes, on the basis of other surveys such as CEP-ISSP 1998 (Lehmann, 2002), that Pentecostals are the majority within the category Evangelical. Protestant refers to the historical churches which membership is very low. See note 12 on page 17. 4 Compared to the USA, admittedly a country with very high levels of participation and social capital, Chilean levels of participation in organisations are low. About half of Chileans participate in organisations of any sort, compared to nearly 70% in the USA. In regards to participation in religious organizations, 14% of Chileans participate in o, 2000). a religious movement or group, compared to 35% of the population in the USA (Valenzuela and Cousin 5 The percentage of attendance at mass every week in the higher socioeconomic level is 34.2%, compared to 21.0% among the middle and 20.9% in the lower social stratum (ISUC, 2001). Similarly, the International Social Survey Program study of 1998 found that one out of three Catholics in the higher socioeconomic level attends at mass every week, compared to one in ve in the middle and one in ten in the lower socioeconomic level (Lehmann, 2002).


A. Thumala Olave / Religion 40 (2010) 1426

The key role assigned to business in its contribution to the common good and the religious interpretation of entrepreneurship as a vocation are essential parts of this process. But why did the re-appropriation of Catholicism seem necessary to elite members in the rst place? After a description, in section one, of the research on which this article is based, an interpretation is provided, in section two, of the social circumstances that led to the estrangement of a part of Chiles elite from Chilean Catholicism during the 1960s and 1970s and the consequent reformulation of their Catholic practice and discourse. Section three introduces the religious movements Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ as the two most visible and controversial of the religious organizations that cater for the upper class. Section four describes the way in which entrepreneurship ts into the conception of the ordinary life of work as a path to salvation. The article concludes by establishing how the case of Chiles Catholic elite contributes to the sociology of religion more generally.

Research and methodology The discussion is based on the qualitative analysis of 75 in-depth interviews with managers and businessmen of Chiles economic elite. The material is part of a wider research project about the role of Catholicism in the identity of this group, which included questions that ranged from their personal religious beliefs and practices to the desired role of the Church in society.6 The eldwork took place in Santiago between August 2000 and April 2001 and the research was completed in 2004. The interviewees occupied, at the time of the research, the highest managerial and ownership positions in the countrys 13 main economic conglomerates. 7 The selection of the conglomerates followed criteria of ownership and performance provided by the Financial Regulation Authority. An intentional sample was drawn, which aimed to cover the 13 main conglomerates and within them the three highest positions in the hierarchy of the member companies. Since not one of the three women in the sample agreed to participate, the interviewees are all males.8 The ages of the participants range between 39 and 71. All of them had higher education, many at MA and PhD level (several in universities in the USA) and were trained in the professions that are functional to the operation of a modern economy, namely, economics, management, nance, engineering, and law.9 One important aspect of the research of elites is access to the interviewees. As Le Wita (1994) points out, virtually all anthropological research or all sociological research that uses ethnography and sometimes surveys is in fact directed towards under-classes or towards remote, foreign Others, not towards the upper classes of our own societies (Le Wita, 1994, p.22). The reason for this is that the upper classes and the elites do not lend themselves easily to scrutiny. Social researchers in Chile, and perhaps all over Latin America, know they can only count on a very small sample of upper class individuals in their opinion polls and surveys. Elites do not answer ll-in questionnaires. They do not have the time, or the motivation, to do so. Moreover, some religious movements, especially Opus Dei, have a reputation for being extremely secretive (Estruch, 1995; Hutchison, 1999). In this research, access to the interviewees was gained through letters of invitation in the majority of cases, personal contacts in a few cases, and the institutional support of the Catholic University of Chile. While it is not possible here to provide a full account of the eldwork, two brief comments are due regarding access and the relationship established between researcher and interviewees. One aspect that seemed to have helped the research is that participants sometimes saw the interview as a religious duty in itself. This was a reection of the topic to be discussed, namely, their religious beliefs and their role as business leaders. The interview was taken by several of the managers as an instance of reection about the things of God, or about values, or as an example of a true balance of life and work, or the unity of life (discussed below). Of course, there were many cases in which the interview was given because the CEO of the company had ordered it, or had himself agreed to participate in the study. What is interesting is the reection made once the interview was taking place, about the occasion being a moment of a quasi-religious character. For some managers, the interview represented a radical break from their daily routine in the ofce and they seemed amused and even entertained. For others, talking about God or things religious was no surprise at all. On a few occasions my afliation to the Catholic University of Chile was the determinant factor in their agreeing to participate (more than the University of Cambridge, my other afliation at the time, both mentioned in the letters sent out). For all the international prestige of the UK institution, what counts in Chile and among the elite are local connections. Many elite children study in the Catholic University. Some elite members lecture in its courses. The university is, arguably, the most prestigious academic organization in the country, and last, but not least, the university is a Catholic institution. As a result, it is a widely respected entity. The effect of the Catholic University brand is illustrated by the case of one manager who had been very difcult to contact (an atheist, by the way), who admitted half-jokingly that he granted the interview because he thought that otherwise, his son, a student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, could be somehow mysteriously penalized! Once the interview was granted, and the positive responses were more than could be handled by one single researcher, the relationship established with the respondents can be described as framed by my relatively young age, gender, and social background. As a young woman who belongs to the lower end of the upper class, my presence and inquiries were never seen as a threat. I was at the same time an outsider and an insider (Arweck and Stringer, 2001). The familiarity provided by my cultural capital (and a few of my social connections) compensated for my unknown last name, and overall the conversations took place in a relaxed and open environment that allowed me to probe into most areas and even confront some interviewees.

6 mica chilena, published in Chile by Some of the issues discussed in this article can be found in Thumala, M.A., 2007, Riqueza y piedad: El Catolicismo de la elite econo Random House Mondadori (Debate). However, the book reports on the entire research project in a language and depth that is aimed at a general public rather than an academic audience. 7 The respondents occupied the following positions in the company hierarchy: CEO (Presidente), General Manager (Gerente General), Investment Manager (Gerente de Inversiones), Commercial Manager (Gerente Comercial) or Member of the Board (Miembro del Directorio). The research assumed that those who held these positions within the companies of the 13 main conglomerates belonged to the wealthiest decile who received in 2001 42.3% of the total national income (MIDEPLAN, 2001). 8 This means that the analysis cannot engage with the long tradition of female participation in social action inspired by Catholicism within the upper class (Maza Valenzuela, 1995; Power, 2002). 9 Given that the research did not seek to establish differences between respondents on account of their age, position in the company, conglomerate, or profession, these features are not indicated alongside the quotes from the interviews. Furthermore, as is noted below, in order to assure anonymity and condentiality, quotes are divorced from indicators that might help identify the respondent. In the cases where membership of a movement is relevant, this is indicated in the text.

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Since the participants were guaranteed anonymity, the presentation of the material from the interviews does not include any information that might allow identication of individual members of a tightly knit elite. The extracts from the interviews have been translated from the Spanish by the author. The crisis in the Catholic tradition and the threat of pluralism Virtually no research is available about the religiosity of Chiles elite from the perspective of the sociology of religion. The close and longstanding relationship between the Catholic Church and various sectors of Chiles upper class has been documented mostly by historians and political scientists interested in the process of the separation of Church and State and the disputes between clericals and anti-clericals during the 19th century (Krebs, 1981; Serrano, 1999), as well as the impact, later on, of religious cleavages in the transformations in the political party system (Valenzuela et al., 2007). Most accounts refer to a traditional link between the Catholic Church and the Conservative Party, which acted, as in other Latin American countries, in defense of the prerogatives of the Church (Collier, 1993; Smith, 1982), even after the separation of Church and State in 1925 (Collier and Sater, 2004) and also in defense of the interests of an anti-democratic landed aristocracy (Ratcliff, 1973; Zeitlin, 1984). A different view argues that the Conservative Party represented not the clerical interests of the Church but, rather, the sentiments of devout Catholics who were committed to the establishment of a Christian order, acting independently of the hierarchy. Furthermore, in this view the party did not emerge to defend landed interests, but was democratic, republican, and sensitive to social issues, helping to establish a favorable reception of social Christian thought towards the end of the 19th century (Valenzuela and Maza Valenzuela, 2000). The issue of how democratic or representative the Conservative Party was of different social classes is not the concern here. What is relevant to this discussion, however, is the notion of a shared Catholic sentiment among the Conservative sector of the elite, a shared sense of mission in defending Chilean society against the effects of a secularization promoted by the authorities, and the continuities between the conservative strand of social Christian thought and the more progressive program of reform implemented by the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), created in 1957 by defected members of the Conservative youth section. The continuity in social Christian thought is important for understanding the intensity of the crisis that overcame the elite during the period prior to the military coup of 1973. The Catholicism of the upper class has never been a unitary whole. The conservative strand coexisted with a liberal tradition, which differed from the conservatives, not only regarding the controversies surrounding the relationship between Church and State d the liberals favored their separation d or in their differing views about poverty and development, but also in matters of lifestyle and customs. The liberals are generally associated with the sophistication of urban life, commerce, and industry, while the conservatives are linked to a more austere life in the countryside. Burying their dead in different cemeteries and relating differently to money, liberals and conservatives constituted two different worlds (Gumucio, 1994; Stabili, 2003). However, the ideological and lifestyle differences within the elite, which included also radicals and communists, masons and atheists, did not prevent the relatively peaceful coexistence of its members. On the contrary, these differences were considered as positive examples of democracy and political pluralism (Stabili, 2003, p. 449). The social, economic, and political circumstances that ended this peaceful coexistence and led to the military coup of 1973 have been extensively analyzed and will not be addressed here. What is of interest in this discussion is the interpretation by the participants in this research of the role of the Church and its progressive lay members during the 1960s and 1970s in altering their Catholic identity by turning to the left. In line with the narratives produced by the participants in historian Maria Rosaria Stabilis study of traditional families, for whom the mid-1960s emerge as the moment of the collapse of the structure supporting the social and cultural universe of the traditional elite (Stabili, 2003, p. 449), the interviewees for this research describe the period as characterized by the unwelcome movement of the Church to n. The Churchs support of structural reform and the political and social activism of some of its members are seen the left or its izquierdizacio as crucial in determining a sense of spiritual orphanhood and estrangement among elite members. Elsewhere (Thumala, 2007a) I have presented the memories of the interviewees regarding the Churchs social doctrine, its support of the Agrarian Reform during the governments of Eduardo Frei Montalva (19641970) and Salvador Allende (19701973), the Theology of Liberation, and the participation of Catholics, lay and clergy, in what the interviewees dene as left-wing revolutionary politics. Particularly memorable in the narratives is the l Silva Henr quez, well known for his commitment to the poor and his defense of human rights during action of the Cardinal of Santiago, Rau quez, 1991), and of other red priests who lost their way by abandoning their pastoral the Pinochet regime (Aguilar, 2006; Silva Henr duties.10 The role of the Society of Jesus and the congregation of the Holy Cross, which had traditionally educated large portions of the elite, in supporting the position of the hierarchy in issues such as the Agrarian Reform, for example, also emerge in the narratives as a cause of disappointment and resentment, and has led to a shift in the educational preferences of the elite from the schools run by these congregations to the new religious movements schools (Thumala, 2007a). The perceived shift of the Church to the left during this period is accompanied by two other crucial elements. The rst is the intensication of the critique of the elites regarding their role in creating or perpetuating the countrys economic and social problems. Although the elites in Latin America and Chile, more specically, had been criticized from very early on by both conservative and progressive thinkers for their alleged indolence and moral decadence (Edwards, 1928; McIver, 2001; Recabarren, 2001), their tendency to ostentatious and conspicuous spending (Barros and Vergara, 1978), their lack of entrepreneurial spirit (Pinto, 1959), or their exploitation of the lower classes

10 n was manifest on various occasions throughout Allendes government and Pinochets regime. In The discontent of conservative Catholics with the Churchs izquierdizacio its most extreme cases it involved public acts of protest, motivated by the Churchs work in defense of human rights. One such act was performed by the Catholic integrist a de la Solidaridad, the Church body in charge of the Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property (FIDUCIA), which in 1976, right after the creation of the Vicar defense of those prosecuted by the regime, published a book entitled The Church of Silence in Chile, which claimed to speak for the silent majority of Catholics who rejected the hierarchys actions, particularly the relativising liberalism (Lowden, 1996, p. 57) underlying their action against human rights abuses. It was inconceivable to them that the Church protected Marxists and terrorists. Another instance of open conict between conservative Catholics and the Church occurred earlier, in 1975, when n, the leader of the right-wing Gremialista movement, which later on would form the political party UDI, criticized the Church for granting protection to two Jaime Guzma members of the Revolutionary Leftwing Movement, MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria) who had been hurt after a confrontation with the regimes intelligence n did not share the Churchs view that the men deserved mercy and accused the hierarchy of breaking the legal order established by the military. Guzma n had agency. Guzma to retract after the Church responded in harsh terms and threatened him with excommunication (Huneeus, 2000a).


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(Carmagnani, 1975), these criticisms acquired unprecedented force during the 1960s. Importantly, the ofcial position of the Church of Santiago, as expressed in two momentous pastoral letters in 1962, placed the responsibility for the countrys poverty on the dominant classes and their privileges. This wrested moral legitimacy from elite members in the political Right and cast doubts on the Conservative Party as a genuinely confessional and Catholic party (Correa et al., 2001). The second element is that the intensity of the feelings associated with this period are related not only to the Church as an institution perceived as having been inltrated by Marxism, but also to the fact that the conicting interpretations of the social doctrine and its ethical and political consequences took place within the elite itself. Not only have sections of the clergy traditionally been recruited from elite families; lay conservative members of the elite were instrumental in the diffusion of the Churchs social doctrine (Valdivieso, 2006) and, arguably, there are important continuities between their social Christian ideas and subsequent applications of these to political programs of reform by the Christian Democracy (PDC) (Valenzuela and Maza Valenzuela, 2000). It is signicant of the contradictions that this caused that the PDC is still severely criticized as a party that betrayed its roots and jeopardized the elites traditional lifestyle and social position (Thumala, 2007a; Stabili, 2003). Furthermore, it was not uncommon for young members of traditional families to become active in o and Valenzuela, 1994) or to interpret the ethical demands posed by the social left-wing, sometimes violent, political activity (Cousin doctrine as a call to go and live among the poor in shanty towns or rural areas (Correa et al., 2001). The radical change of lifestyle that a socially committed type of Catholicism seemed to demand of the elite during the 1960s and 1970s was, however, not something many were willing to take up. As will be shown below, today this demand is seen as extravagant and counterproductive. Finally, the critiques presented above ran counter to the elites historical claim to civic duty and the ideal of public service (servicio blico). This notion epitomizes the elites sense of worth and is, in the accounts of traditional family members, the basis for its political and pu social legitimacy (Stabili, 2003). The aristocratic sense of distinction of traditional families in Chile would spring from the recognition of, and the pride that comes from, their work for the common good, specically their efforts in building the nation through industry, commerce, the arts, and politics (Stabili, 2003). Against this view, the idea that solidarity and the reduction of poverty were legitimate and exclusive concerns of the Left, as it appeared in the 1960s and 1970s, was seen as a travesty. As a result of all this, a sense of estrangement or alienation from the ofcial Church developed among conservative Catholics. The Church had become unrecognizable and even dangerous. The need emerged to re-appropriate Catholicism in ways that restored the lost familiarity and intimacy and at the same time reestablished a sense of a legitimate contribution to the nations welfare. As will be shown shortly, this process was achieved in part through the representation of business and wealth creation as religiously praiseworthy and morally necessary. From the point of view of the sociology of religion, the divisions that emerged and deepened during the 1960s constitute the rst real challenge to the Catholic identity of the elite. Increases in the number of Protestants, slowly at the beginning of the 20th century and at a faster pace from the 1950s and 1960s onwards, have been rightly described as a challenge to the hegemony of Catholicism in the country (Lalive DEpinay, 1969; Martin, 1990). The percentage of adherence to Evangelical churches as measured by the Chilean census increased from 1.44% in 1920 to 6.18% in 1970 (Fontaine and Beyer, 1991). In the next two censuses of 1992 and 2002 (the 1982 sticas, measurement did not include religious adherence) the percentages were 12.4% and 15.1% respectively (Instituto Nacional de Estad INE, 2002).11 This places Chile above the average adherence to Pentecostalism in Latin America, which is around 10%. However, given that Pentecostalism concentrates on the lower social stratum, its growth does not constitute a threat to the religious identity of the elite.12 At least in the case of the religious members of the economic elite studied here, this identity can be safely described as Catholic. Within the upper social stratum the percentages of adherence to Evangelical, Protestant and other religions are less than 4% in total.13 Most importantly perhaps, interviewees represent Evangelical religions, in particular Pentecostalism, as a lower class phenomenon that has not penetrated elite circles. While the historical internal divisions within Catholicism in the country could be seen as having already produced a degree of internal pluralism, the claim here is that the intensication of these differences within the Catholicism of the 1960s and 1970s, in particular the conict between a reformist version and a conservative version, crucially tied up with the threat posed by Allendes program of government, created for the rst time the concern that the values and lifestyle of a part of the elite would be fundamentally affected. In this context, the move to more stringent or demanding forms of Catholicism in the bosom of conservative religious movements would appear to be an effective strategy of defense. In this respect, Iannaccones explanation of the success of strong churches on account of their reduction of free-riding is suggestive (Iannaccone, 1990). From this point of view, it could be argued that By increasing the stringency of its demands, movements like Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ have retained a highly committed minority that is willing to defend and proselytize for a more conservative version of Catholicism. However, This applies, mostly to the realm of sacramental and family life and only partly to the realm of work, as will be shown below. Overall, the interpretation of business as a path to salvation involves less and not more stringency. The elite religious movements are visibly less critical of inequality and social privilege than the socially committed Catholicism of the 1960s and are perfectly in tune with the elites lifestyle and social standing. How the movements appeal should be understood, as a result, and what this means for the sociology of religion will be discussed later on. Before that, an introduction is due to the new religious movements that cater for the elite. The movements Opus Dei Mar a Escriva de Balaguer, who was canonised in 2002 in a ceremony attended Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by the Spanish priest Jose by 300,000 people. The movement was approved as a Personal Prelature by the Holy See in 1950 and in the same year arrived in Chile.

The 1992 census included the alternative Protestant alongside Evangelicals. The percentage that adhered to the Protestant option was 0.8%. The percentage of adherence to Evangelical religions is 4% in the higher social stratum, 10% in the medium, and 22% in the lower (UC Adimark, 2008). 13 The gures are Catholic (71%), Evangelical (4%), Protestant (2%), Muslim (1%) and other religions (2%). Atheists or agnostics are 3% and those who declare to have no religion (ninguna) 16%. (UC Adimark, 2008). It must be noted that these percentages are calculated on the basis of a very small fraction of upper class respondents (N:180).


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However, it was during the 1970s and 1980s that Opus Dei (Gods Work) or La Obra, as it is known in Spanish, became most popular. It is estimated that there are 2500 members of the movement in Chile, including lay and clergy. Opus Dei is an organisation of lay people and priests, with different sections for men and women. Since 1982 a prelate appointed by the Pope has headed them. Opus Deis presbyterate, or clergy, is grouped as the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross founded by Balaguer in 1943. According to the movement (Opus Dei Information Ofce, 2008), they have around 87,000 members (of which 2% are priests). The geographical distribution of the membership is as follows: Africa: 2000, Asia and the Pacic: 5000, America (North and South): 30,000, Europe: 50,000. There are various categories of membership, which the movement describes as motivated by a divine calling. Although Opus Dei is well known in Chile and other countries, such as Peru or Spain, for being a predominantly upper class movement, ofcial documents insist on its inclusiveness. As explained on the movements website (Opus Dei Information Ofce, 2008), there are simply different ways of living the same Christian vocation, according to the different circumstances of each one: married or single, healthy or sick, etc. This is connected to Opus Deis vocation to glorify God in ordinary life. The majority of Opus Dei members, about 70%, are so-called supernumeraries: married men or women, for whom the sanctication of their family duties is the most important part of their Christian life. Supernumeraries aim to sanctify themselves in the midst of the world. The rest of the members are either associates, or numeraries, depending on their degree of commitment to the movement. They all commit themselves to celibacy, for apostolic reasons, but the associates live with their families, or wherever is convenient for professional reasons. Numeraries, on the other hand, (the Opus Dei equivalent to congregations religious men or women) must be available to attend to the apostolic undertakings and the formation of the other faithful of the prelature and thus live in centres belonging to Opus Dei. Both numeraries and supernumeraries follow a life plan that consists of daily prayers and mass, and frequent confession. The life-plan also includes the monthly day of recollection which involves setting aside some hours, on one day a month, for personal prayer and reection on topics to do with Christian life. In addition, once a year, members attend a retreat lasting between three and ve days. Opus Deis members have the option to attend weekly classes, called circles. It is intended that these meetings keep them up to date with the movements and its members views on most issues, from doctrinal matters to family politics, and provide them with guidelines for leading a religious life. Similar activities are also offered to the co-operators, to the young people who take part in the apostolic work, and to anyone else who wishes to attend (and one of the duties of numeraries is to identify potential members and invite them to these formative events). Opus Dei also promotes the principle of the unity of life, which invites the person to let faith inuence his mind and therefore his heart, so that it ends up affecting all dimensions of his life, including profane and secular aspects (Illanes, 1994, p. 145). To summarise, the mission of Opus Deis members unfolds in three complementary dimensions; rstly the recognition of Gods calling in ones own state in life and job; secondly, the aim of contributing to the good of those around us through work, family and social relationships, and an apostolate that manifests in actions both authentic and simple, in conversations between friends, between colleagues; and thirdly, in doing everything well in a technically and humanly perfect way (Illanes, 1994, p. 144). Finally, a most distinctive characteristic of Opus Dei is its marked interest in the education of the elite. In Chile, movement members own or assist in the religious education of four private schools, various student residences, and a university. Legionaries of Christ The movement of the Legionaries (or Legion) of Christ was founded in Mexico in 1941 by Father Marcial Maciel. The Legion of Christ acquired the status of a congregation (rst a diocesan congregation in 1948 and then an apostolic congregation in 1965) and developed in close bond with the apostolic movement Regnum Christi, created in 1949. It arrived in Chile in 1980. Regnum Christi includes lay men and women, as well as deacons and priests. There are also consecrated lay members. According to the movements ofcial site, the Legion has close to 2500 seminarians and is present in 21 countries (Legion of Christ, 2007c). Central to the movements apostolate is its work with lay people and collaboration with local clergy, as well as its Youth and Family missions and family centres established in several countries of Europe and America under diverse names: in Mexico, Fame (Familia Mexicana), in Chile, Familia Unida, in the United States, Family Life in America, and in Spain, DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia). In Chile, the Legionaries carry out evangelization work through the organi n Mano Amiga. The movement zations Escuela de la Fe, Familia Misionera, and Juventud Misionera and charitable work through Fundacio n Empresarial, founded in 1993 to promote the dignity of the person and also provides spiritual assistance to the organization Generacio n Empresarial, 2008). Christian ethics in the world of business (Generacio In contrast to Opus Deis explicit advocacy of a specic charisma based mainly on the ideals of glorifying God through work and the unity of life, the Legionaries of Christs spirituality is less easy to grasp. Very little in the movements description of its mission differentiates it from the rest of the Church. The Legions spirituality is described as Christ-centered, and based on Filial Love for Mary, Love for the Church, Loyalty to the Pope and Bishops, Preaching the Kingdom of Christ, and Love One Another with Christs Charity (Legion of Christ, 2007a). The orders general vocation is not very different from that of other congregations of the Church, namely, to make Christ reign in hearts and societies, to transform men according to the ideal of the New Man in Christ, and to create the civilization of love and justice (Legion of Christ, 2007b). While Maciel produced some writings (Maciel, 1990; Maciel and Colina, 2003) there are no explicit references to them in the members accounts of the movement. Nor are there extracts from the founders texts readily available in the movements website, as is the case with Balaguers work in the Opus Deis sites. Overall, Maciels works and the charisma of the Legionaries of Christ are much less known amongst elite members than Opus Dei. One element that does emerge in the interviews is the theme of the orientation to action as opposed to contemplation. According to one commentator, Maciel discouraged passivity, promoted a militant Christianity thus the name Legionaries and a good use of time as the way to achievement in life. The way people use their time would dene their contribution to the history of salvation (Orozco, 2007, p. 410). In line with this practical orientation, the movement supplies a series of on n Empresarial, the organization set up to promote line practical guides for prayer, meditation, confession, and so on. Likewise, Generacio Christian values in the business world, offers a book on Applied Ethics and a Manual for Difcult Decisions. As will be discussed later on, this pragmatic approach to religion suits the business world very well. Like Opus Dei, the Legionaries of Christ are known in Chile for their interest in the education of the elite, as they have founded three successful schools for elite children and are linked to a university. Unlike Opus Dei, the movement is perceived as more open to accepting


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new members who are in a process of upward social mobility or whose lifestyle does not exactly t with the Churchs teachings, for example those who are divorced. Finally, these movements have generated much controversy. Opus Dei has received various and varied criticisms, which range from elitism to secretiveness to an excessive interest in wealth and power, as well as its close association with Francos regime in Spain (Estruch, 1995; Hutchison, 1999). The latest, and most worrying, accusations involve the Legionaries of Christ and the charges against their founder, Marcial Maciel, for sexual abuse of adolescents in Mexico and the US. These accusations are contested by the Legionaries of Christ, in spite of the fact that in 2006 Pope Benedict XVI, after a lengthy investigation, asked Maciel to cease his pastoral activities. This year (2009), the Vatican announced an apostolic visitation of the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ after it emerged that Maciel had fathered a child and had been involved in alleged nancial irregularities. The evasive reaction of the Legionaries of Christ to these developments has been described in an opinion piece by conservative theologian George Weigel as part of an institutionalized culture of defensiveness (Weigel, 2009).14 The signicance of these two movements for this discussion is that they have tuned in to and channeled the requirements of a part of the elite which felt disaffected from the ofcial Catholic Church but whose religious feelings and Catholic identity had not ceased to be important. These movements have assisted elite members in the reformulation of their sense of contributing to the common good and their personal worth.15 Although the analysis that follows does not centre exclusively on the movements members conceptions of work but on themes that are shared more widely, the movements ideas as perceived by their members and sympathizers are considered to be especially clear examples of the new legitimacy of business and wealth creation within the elite. Moreover, the movements conceptions seem to have spread successfully beyond their boundaries, through training sessions for executives and personal contacts, as is evident in the arguments espoused and the language used by non-members. While there are, as was mentioned above, differences between the two movements, at least in their capacity to articulate a distinct set of guidelines for action, the following discussion does not play out these distinctions but rather concentrates on what seems to be the most striking aspect of these movements impact within the economic elite: their capacity to tap into and articulate a general shift towards the legitimization of a market economy that is present across religious traditions within the elite, and to support the elaboration of narratives about the market economy and personal success that show no signicant distinction between members and sympathizers of one movement or the other. The religious value of entrepreneurship In this section, two interdependent narratives are discussed. The rst attempts to justify the establishment of a market economy the context in which the present economic elite has thrived both technically and in moral and religious terms. The second dwells on the gure of the entrepreneur and his qualities and pays particular attention to the conception of work and wealth put forward by Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ, as they are understood by the interviewees. The option for a market economy is the true option for the poor The legitimacy of a market economy was such in 1988, compared to the 1960s, when redistributive structural reforms were the call of the n could claim that the option for the poor is connected to the option for a free day, that the renowned businessman Eliodoro Matte Larra market economy (Matte, 1988, p. 229). According to him, experience shows that democratic capitalism is the most efcient model to create Pin era argued that it is no longer the wealth needed to eliminate poverty (Matte, 1988, p. 225). Later on, in 1993, the economist Jose a political crime to praise free enterprise; it is no longer a sin to value the market (Constable and Valenzuela, 1993, p. 205). In the context of eras comment is an understatement. The claim that the pro-market arguments espoused by the interviewees for this research, Pin capitalism brings growth and the elimination of poverty is ever-present in the narratives and is delivered with great conviction and earnestness. The interviewees put it forward as an irrefutable fact. A common proposition is that over history the living standards of societies have risen thanks to the development of free markets and competition. For the interviewees, it is just a matter of observing the richest nations in the world and their economic systems to nd that capitalism is the most efcient means for achieving economic growth. In the words of one interviewee who is sympathetic to the movement Legionaries of Christ, The economy of solidarity is bread for today, hunger for tomorrow. Left-wing, socialist, communist, corporatist economies are all bad, inefcient solutions. They feed a political system but do not solve the main problem, which is the problem of poverty. The solution to the problem of poverty is work, the creation of wealth. A market economy is the one that provides work and the one that provides wealth. It is the most efcient from the scientic and the philosophical points of view. 16 cnica), the efcacy of which has This sort of argument is frequently presented in scientic terms: a market economy is a technique (te been proven by economic research and cannot be questioned by reference to values. The value neutrality of the model is commonly referred to in terms such as those used by one interviewee, who does not participate in any movement but describes himself as Catholic: it is often said that the market economy is cruel [.] but the model does not respond to values, it seeks to nd an efcient mode of development, of generating wealth. Paradoxically, however, the claims for the alleged technical benets of the economic model rarely stand alone in the

14 The interviews for this research were carried out in 2001, when these scandals had not yet taken place and the accusations against Maciel were largely unknown in Chile or, at most, treated as malicious rumors. The issue was not brought up in the interviews so as not to antagonize or alienate the participants. 15 As I discuss elsewhere (Thumala, 2007a,b), the movements seem also to have helped to reinvigorate the practice of Catholicism within business circles. Some examples are the stress placed on attendance at mass among men, the open discussion of participation in religious seminars and retreats, and the frequent talk about the importance of striking a balance between work and family life. 16 a de la solidaridad es pan para hoy d a hambre para man a de la solidaridad, y me reero a las econom as de izquierda, la socialista, la ana. La econom La econom tico, un status pol tico, pero no resuelven el problema comunista, la corporativista, la cooperativista, yo creo que son soluciones malas, inecientes, alimentan un sistema pol n de riqueza y la econom a social de mercado es la que da trabajo y la de fondo, que es el problema de la miseria. El problema de la miseria se resuelve con trabajo, con creacio s eciente desde el punto de vista cient co y desde el punto de vista loso co. que da riqueza, es la ma

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narratives; they are accompanied by arguments regarding its moral and religious basis. According to the interviewee quoted at the a social de mercado) is the most efcacious instrument available for a good beginning of this section, a social market economy (econom income distribution and is the closest to the teachings of Christ. The desirability of this option springs from the fact that it respects human nature by allowing individuals to develop their full potential in a system that respects private property and personal effort. The importance of individual initiative will be discussed in the next section. What must be stressed here is that, according to the narratives, wealth creation constitutes a moral duty: not to offer a capitalist model of development to the people and to promote, instead, redistributive ideas would be immoral. It would bring the stagnation of the economy and the perpetuation of poverty, and would be a true lack of solidarity. Of course, the claim that a market economy is the closest to Christian teachings is not an innovation of the economic elite established as a thriving community during the military government (Montero, 1997). The Conservative Party was vocal during the 1950s in arguing that, from the point of view of the Catholic Churchs doctrine, there exist two economic systems: one is founded in private property, in free enterprise; and the other is based in collectivism, essentially Marxism, which principles are condemned by the Church, for being intrinsically evil, because they act directly against natural law (Correa, 2005, p. 199). What is novel about the interviewees arguments is that they give the impression of a long-standing consensus within the elite regarding the benets of this type of economic system. The reality is that the liberalization of the economy during the 1980s did not go unchallenged by business leaders (and also military men) accustomed to protectionist practices (Collier and Sater, 2004, p. 365). The subsequent legitimacy of the model within the elite was the result of various factors which cannot be addressed here. Let it sufce to say that the process was encouraged by the contributions of various agents, not only the elite religious movements.17 Finally, it must be noted that as part of a selective appropriation of the Churchs social doctrine, which includes indeed condemnation of communism but also of unrestrained capitalism, the Churchs representatives are allowed almost no authority to pronounce on the economy. While there are some interviewees, typically (but not only) those educated by the Jesuits, who claim the Church can and should express opinions about everything that relates to the human condition, including the economic order, the most emphatic point out that the Church does not have the technical knowledge required to discuss economics. And when they do, Church representatives in general, just speak nonsense.18 These remarks, of course, ignore the praise of the role of business in creating wealth which can be found in contemporary Church documents and focus on the criticisms these same documents make of the persistent precariousness of employment or lack of fair wages in Latin America (CELAM, 2007).

The needles eye made wider A second narrative frames business activity as a response to the religious imperative to develop individual talents and sees professional excellence as a path to salvation, an alternative to the radical change in lifestyle which seemed to be the true Christian path during the 1960s. The arguments put forward are reminiscent of those provided by American theologian Michael Novak (Novak, 1993), whose work is well known in Catholic business circles19, and they coincide with some of the Catholic Churchs traditional teachings regarding work and wealth creation (Troeltsch, 1950) as well as with the more recent conceptualizations of business made both by Pope John Paul II (John Paul II, 2004) and by the elite religious movements. According to the narrative, a free market economy is the best means for developing individuals talents and their full humanity. Working for incentives stimulates creativity in the same way that private property and freedom to innovate spur productivity. As one interviewee claims, Among the feasible systems, not utopian, which have emerged throughout history, the one that is closest to human nature is capitalism because it states that the person, as an individual, is the most important, and the free initiative of persons has much more potential to develop.20 Christs invitation in the parable of the talents to develop individual capacities to the maximum has superseded, in the elites imagination, the image of the rich fool (Luke 12:1621) or that of the rich man whose entrance into the kingdom of God appears as difcult as the event of a camel going through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24). The testimonies of successful businessmen interviewed for this research, who interpret their lives from a Catholic perspective, usually include the development of their talents to the full as a part of the explanation for their present social standing. In this perspective, Christians are called upon to multiply their abilities: some people have a capacity for being good at business while others have organizational talents, leadership, or artistic talents, but what is important is that each one is born with certain talents and must develop them. The consequence of having been endowed with talents and capacities is a sense of duty to respond with creativity and effort. One executive, who sympathizes with Opus Dei, believes that each one of us when we die and get up there and is passed the bill, will have a very long bill and another interviewee claims, those who received a poor education will be accountable for less. In his case, on the contrary, the debt is larger. As he explains, every time that an opportunity presents itself, such as going to study to Harvard or anywhere, I say, God! My liabilities are growing! Because I am being given more, I will have to give more in return.21

17 Among those who contributed to promote the benets of the model are the right-wing political movement Gremialismo and, later, the political party UDI, and the Catholic members of a group of technocrats known as the Chicago Boys (because several studied in the University of Chicago) (Huneeus, 2000a,b). 18 cnicos como para opinar sobre econom a y cuando lo hacen en general, dicen puras tonteras. La Iglesia no dispone de los conocimientos te 19 blicos, (CEP) in Matte (1988, p. 227). See, for example, the quote by the president of the inuential Centro de Estudios Pu 20 picos, de los que han dado a lo largo de la historia, el que esta mas cerca de la naturaleza del hombre es el capitalismo porque dice que la De los sistemas factibles, no uto s importante y de alguna forma el capitalismo es un sistema donde la libre iniciativa de las personas tiene mucho ma s potencial de persona, como individuo, es lo ma desarrollo. 21 The notion of a moral record that draws on the language of accounting could be seen as an extension or colonization by professional expertise of the realm of religion, and yet it was proper to Medieval Catholicism (Jager, 2000) and may have lingered in Catholic culture over the centuries. The understanding of the accounting of sins is, of course, described by Weber as the tasteless extreme of Reformed Christians who take the medieval idea of Gods book-keeping and compare the relation of a sinner to his God with that of customer and shop-keeper (Weber, 1987, p. 124). However, as will be discussed later in relation to Estruchs (1995) thesis about Opus Dei, this cannot by itself lead to the conclusion that this elites work ethic is akin to the Calvinist work ethic described by Weber.


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Although opportunities are essential, they are only the starting point. The notion of expanding personal capacities is intimately connected with that of individual responsibility for success. One executive, who is not a member of any movement, claims that his conduct is guided by the maxim God helps those who help themselves and goes on to explain that he feels fortunate for my education and all the love that I got, but for what I am doing now only I am responsible. I believe in freedom and responsibility. The extent to which the reference to the Puritan maxim God helps those who help themselves is the result of the cultural inuences to which the economic elite is exposed in the context of commercial exchange with North America is a matter of further research. The existence of a double-way process of mutual inuence between Northern and Latin American Pentecostals, for example, has been documented (Martin, 1990), but little is known about the impact of globalization on this Catholic elite. This issue will be discussed in the conclusions. Here the interest is in the connection established in the narratives between success and individual action or autonomy. As the CEO of a large bank explains, if I had not received the education I received, I would probably not have encountered half of the opportunities that I encounter today, but these opportunities that only I had would not have presented themselves if I had sat on my ass doing nothing. Emphasis on personal achievement is considered by another participant as one of the sources of difference between Protestant and Catholic cultures. In a large part of undeveloped societies he argues, there is, unfortunately, a good inuence of the Catholic Church. A lot more emphasis is placed on the idea that it is easier for a camel to go through a needles eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. There you have a tremendously perverse message. This is, You should not be rich. You dont have to make an effort. Instead, you must be pious and pray all day long, but do not become rich, because the rich are evil and they have repeated this for generations, actually, for centuries, and that is what marks the difference between the north and the south, that emphasis.22 Something similar is argued by another interviewee: Protestants have a different view of wealth. The idea that it is easier for a camel to go through a needles eye than for a rich man to go through heavens door, that is kind of quite socialist, and Catholic, well, very Catholic. Having money is a sin and doing things well d because, at the end of the day, having money is doing things well d is a sin. This is not the case in Protestant regions where doing things well is great and if you are rich, fantastic! Exploit your talents and make them grow. More in the line of the parable of the talents. But the Catholic religion is a lot more coercive, you were born poor? Then, console yourself!23 The response to the perverse messages of the parables that link wealth and damnation is to turn to the parable of the talents and to conceive material gain as a means for contributing to the development of charitable projects and running productive businesses that provide employment and contribute to national development. According to a sympathizer of the Legionaries of Christ, a successful businessperson who creates jobs and generates wealth constitutes an example to follow. As a businessperson, you thank God for what you have and what you do, and you are light of the world. The political signicance of this emerges frequently in the interviews. Against the assumption that business people and those in the political right worry less about poverty and inequality, which was part of the revolutionary discourse of the 1960s, some interviewees are adamant that political color does not determine how individuals will respond to their duty towards God. As one executive explains, he contributes to the elimination of poverty with his work, without falling into this exploitation of sensibility which the left engaged in for many years, portraying themselves as those who privileged [the ght against] poverty whereas the right would privilege wealth. I think that today is clearly out of place.24 Furthermore, another interviewee explains, I truly believe that the teachings of Christ are a personal responsibility and not a social responsibility as was claimed in the 60s. The move from a concern with social justice and structural sin, which had a collective character, to an emphasis on personal responsibility is most appropriate in the context of a liberal economic setting of competition and ts well with the religious movements individualistic approach to religious and economic behavior. For example, Opus Deis notion of the sanctication of work through effort and excellence means that its members and sympathizers attribute great importance to constant self-improvement and the aim for perfection in n, their professional activities. This translates into concerns with punctuality, thrift, and the avoidance of laziness and procrastination (Larra 1997). A similar attitude can be found in the Legionaries of Christs concern with the proper use of time and a practical orientation to the world (Orozco, 2007). These attitudes not only make business sense, but also give religious meaning to the process of work and its results: economic success. The interpretation of the businessmans actions is that he is not only working for himself, his family and society, but to glorify God by doing his job in the best possible way. By excelling in his activity and simply by that d since no more is asked of the entrepreneur than that he performs his work to perfection d he is sanctifying himself and pleasing God. Material work itself must be turned into prayer and holiness (Illanes, 1994, p. 8). Human work is seen as part of the supernatural sphere inasmuch as it continues Gods creation of the world and is a means to self-perfection (Illanes, 1994). As a consequence, personal success is not something to be embarrassed about or that should inspire guilt. Wealth and its benets are to be taken with an attitude of detachment, in keeping with the Churchs tradition, but not avoided.

22 lica. Se privilegia mucho ma s aquello de que ma s fa cil pasa un camello por el ojo de una aguja que un Desgraciadamente tenemos una buena inuencia de la Iglesia Cato ya tienes un mensaje tremendamente perverso. O sea no hay que ser rico, no hay que esforzarse. No, hay que ser piadoso y rezar todo el rico entre al Reino de los Cielos. Ah a, pero no te hagas rico porque los ricos son malos y lo han repetido por generaciones, o sea por siglos, y eso yo creo que es lo que te marca la diferencia entre el norte y el d nfasis. sur, ese e 23 n diferente de la riqueza. La idea esa de antes pasara un camello por el ojo de una aguja que un rico por la puerta del cielo. Esa cuestio n es Los protestantes tienen una visio lica bueno, es re cato lica. El tener plata es un pecado y el hacerlo bien, porque en el fondo el tener plata es hacerlo bien, es un como re socialista, es bien sectarista y es cato en regiones protestantes donde hacerlo bien esta su per bien y si eres rico estupendo que seas rico. Explota tus dones y hazlos crecer. Ma s en la l nea de la fa bula pecado, no as n cato lica. Pero la religio n cato lica es bastante ma s coercitiva, naciste pobre, consue late. de los talentos de la religio 24 n de la sensibilidad que mucho tiempo tuvo la izquierda, que eran los que privilegiaban la pobreza y la derecha la riqueza, yo creo que eso hoy Sin caer en esta explotacio a claramente no tiene nada que ver. d

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In this sense, adherence to the movement does not produce a rejection of the elite lifestyle but, on the contrary, is a strong source of claims for its legitimation. One important aspect of this is the instruction that no one be moved from his place. [Opus Deis] is a calling that does not require any change in ones civil status or type of life. While followers remain in their life situation, Gods grace gives them a new and divine avour, riz, 1994, p. 104). This feature is central to the attraction that the movement a supernatural efcacy, to [.] ordinary life and work (Oca exercises among its members. As one executive explains, Opus Dei suits the lifestyles of elite members because: without leaving ones social environment or doing anything strange, or extravagant, one can aspire to be better every day and go to heaven, which is the maximum aspiration that we Christians all have. The extravagant behaviour to which he refers is, of course, the radical change of lifestyle pursued by some elite Catholics during the 1960s, which in some cases involved living among the poor. Instead, the call is to sanctify themselves without changing their state. In comparison to the guilt-ridden ethical conicts in which elite members were immersed during the 1960s, this amounts to a wonderfully relieving understanding of religious action. While there is an attempt to rationalize daily routines, it is clear that in regard to the fruits of professional work the main appeal of the movement is not its severity, but rather its positive sanction of the elite social position. Against accusations of quietism, the principle that no one be moved from his place is dened by Opus Dei writers as theological, not guez sociological. The objective is not [.] to oppose the dynamic of change that is proper to professional work (Mateo-Seco and Rodr a, 1994, p. 135) but, rather, the achievement of an awareness of meaning and, therefore, of mission and role (Illanes, 1994, p. 144). Ocan However, At times, the ideal of achieving perfection at ones job, whatever it is, gives the impression that change is less welcome than resignation, especially when the situation of those in the lower social classes is considered. It is all very well for the CEO of a company to do his job to perfection and sanctify himself through his work, but should the cleaner of the same company aim to be a cleaner her whole life and do her job to perfection, hoping to reach sanctication in that way? Would she be ungrateful to God for wanting to alter her situation in life? But since the members of Opus Dei are mostly part of an elite with countless opportunities, vocational decisions are a matter of choice, and constant self-improvement an attitude that is essential to capitalist success.25 The point of reviewing the narratives that link the choice of a market economy with the option for the poor and that represent business as a religious vocation for the laity that has ethical weight has been the following: to show there is here something akin to a process of structural coupling between the expressive and symbolic accounts of work in business and the social conditions of economic prosperity of this group. The coordination between narrative accounts and social standing works because it provides elite members with a well of meaningful interpretations about their self-worth and their religious value. The afnity between representations and material conditions is a powerful source for meaning attribution. The reference to meaning is crucial because the argument here is not that commitment to the themes of a free market as a space for creativity and human freedom or the promotion of the common good responds to strategic calculation alone. Conceiving the popularity of these themes as the exclusive result of instrumental reasoning (and the attempts to justify social positions of privilege) as a Bourdieusian analysis does (Rey, 2004) rules out the transcendent and moral dimensions of religious behavior and beliefs. Self-justication is not only or not mainly about tting secular interests and religious ideals, but also includes the need for reassurance as to the legitimacy or deservedness of ones happiness (Weber, 1993, p. 107). Furthermore, it has to be taken into account that rationalised religions such as Christianity aim to respond to the metaphysical needs of the human mind as it is driven to reect on ethical and religious questions, driven not by material need but by an inner compulsion to understand the world as a meaningful cosmos and to take a stand towards it (Weber, 1978, p. 499). Recent work on justication has taken seriously the imperative to justify that underlies venot, 2006), normally, not as a form of deceit or cover-up, but as an attempt to make sense individuals speech and action (Boltanski and The of their activity for themselves and for others (Barker, 2001). After a period of radical criticism of the elites moral tness and religious commitment to the wellbeing of all, a narrative that praises personal success as a source of social good and a path to salvation can be a very powerful source of moral and religious certainty. Finally, it has been argued that there is a fundamental parallel between Opus Deis work ethic and the Protestant work ethic studied by Weber (Estruch, 1995). This resemblance is supercial for several reasons. In the rst place, rational asceticism has long been part of the Catholic Churchs tradition, not only in monastic life, but in the world, crucially in the education of the elites, in particular, but not only, at the hands of the Society of Jesus. Although the elites educational preferences seem to increasingly shift towards the new religious movements (Thumala, 2007a), there are important continuities in the emphasis on a moral education. The training in selfcontrol and self-discipline through constant effort and the reasoned internalization of objectives of the Jesuits (Payot, 1909) have been taken up by Opus Dei in their emphasis on the rationalization of daily activity in the life-plan and their emphasis on excellence, , 1987). However, the ideals of self-control and methodical work have long been part of the elites perfection, and perseverance (Escriva formation and will presumably continue to be. Secondly, the search for constant and methodical professional activity (Estruch, 1995, p. 241) is a demand that any complex and rationalised market economy imposes upon every one of its workers, not only upon the religious members of the economic elite. In this respect it is necessary to remember that the monks cloak turns into a cage that entraps all modern individuals. Thirdly, unlike with Protestant worldly asceticism, there is no sanction in this case of consumption or the enjoyment of worldly possessions, with which the expected relationship is that of spiritual detachment rather than avoidance. The luxurious lifestyle of the economic elite in Chile is conspicuous, from their workplace to their private homes. Finally, the psychological motivation behind Calvinist asceticism is lacking in Catholicism. Since there is no need to search for signs of certitude regarding salvation, the role of the sacraments and charitable works combine with the ideal of work as a path to salvation and give religious meaning to an activity these men would undertake anyway. Conclusions The two main components of the ordinary life are work and family. Elsewhere, I have referred to the importance of the family for elite members, particularly the centrality of the religious education of children, the family celebration of religious feasts, and the coincidence of


Further research would be necessary to look at how this understanding of vocation is spelled out in the schools set up by the movement in low-income neighborhoods.


A. Thumala Olave / Religion 40 (2010) 1426

belief among family members (Thumala, 2007a). This article was concerned with the world of work, particularly with the social role of business, the moral value granted to a market economy, and the way in which the religious movements conceptions of work and success in business reect and channel values shared by the business elite more widely. It has been argued that adherence to a more conservative form of religiosity can be seen as a response to the threat posed by the increase in pluralism during the 1960s, when truly alternative conceptions of society emerged as a real possibility and threatened the lifestyle of the elite. It is possible that, in the context of an increase in competition, where there had before been a long-standing hegemony of Catholicism and no real challenge to the views of traditional Catholics, a more vigorous response and the mobilization of more resources were seen as necessary by elite members for the defense of a preferred version of Catholicism (Stark and McCann, 1993). The demands of strong and conservative religious movements such as Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ would retain only the most committed members (Iannaccone, 1990) and serve to protect the interests and beliefs of the group in the wider society. These movements popularity and the invigoration of certain practices, such as the mass, among the elite more generally counter claims about the reduction of the plausibility or impact of religious beliefs in contexts of increased pluralism (Berger, 1969). However, this does not mean that pluralism generates an overall radicalization or harshening of religious beliefs and practices (Marty and Appleby, 1991). While it is true that the ideals of the elite religious movements are quite severe in some areas, such as the regulation of sacramental practice, their notions of sin and evil (Thumala, 2007b), and certain aspects of family politics (Thumala, 2007a), in the realm of work, which is the focus here, they are less stringent. In the business world, the appeal of these movements lies less in their capacity to exclude free riders through strict demands than in their offer of meaningful interpretations of personal success. The legitimization of a market society in religious terms and the notion of the sanctication of work through excellence have served to rebut d from the elites point of view d earlier critiques of their role in perpetuating underdevelopment, and coincide with the requirements already in place in a modern market economy. Virtues such as punctuality, method, perseverance, or excellence at work reinforce and help to enhance, rather than fundamentally alter, the lifestyle of the economic elite. The coincidence between representations at the level of culture and structural conditions helps to legitimize and give religious meaning to prosperity. Current representations of the gure of the businessman restore the old bond with the Church among those who felt betrayed and abandoned by it in decades past, and constitute a source of certainty about personal worth. Finally, although the conictive and politicized period of the 1960s and 1970s is long gone, it seems likely that a version of Catholicism that is economically liberal, but morally conservative (Fontaine, 2002) will intensify in the future. Among the reasons for this are the elites reactions to increases in pluralism that come this time from globalization and are, therefore, more difcult to control, especially when, as the interviewees themselves see it, the very type of economic development which they endorse is the carrier of unwelcome changes in behavior and morality. According to several participants in this study, Chiles economic growth and its populations exposure to alternative lifestyles are starting to threaten family values, already lost in Western economies. Conservative forms of Catholicism are welcomed by elite members as a necessary buffer against hedonism, relativism, and moral decadence. These forms of Catholicism will serve, then, not only as a source of reconciliation with the past, but also as a bulwark against the unintended consequences of future economic growth and interconnectedness. In this sense, it could be argued, as Parker does for popular religiosity, that a conservative version of Catholicism will seek to counteract the deterritorializing and homogenizing tendencies of globalization (Parker, 1998).26 And yet, Chiles case should be seen as part of a wider trend whereby a stalwartly traditional or even reactionary Southern Christianity emerges as distinct from and opposed to a liberal Northern Christianity (Jenkins, 2002, p. 56). Latin American Catholicism has, as was highlighted in this article, given way to progressive ecclesiastical movements and theologies alongside conservative ones (Lehmann, 1990; Sullins, 2006). Catholicism in this continent has also witnessed complex processes of accommodation and negotiation between the many Catholicisms that proliferate within Catholic countries, a process also visible in Europe (Badone, 1990). As Hornsby-Smith (1991) has shown for the case of England, Catholics in modern societies engage actively and selectively in the construction of their religious identities. The re-appropriation of Catholicism among Chiles elite in terms that commend the ordinary life of business is an attempt to negotiate the divergent demands and social consequences of opposing strands within Chilean Catholicism with the elites historical religious identity and individual needs for certainty. These developments are not exclusive to a peripheral modernity ruled by a different logic proper to Latin America (Parker, 1993). Religious pluralism and the need to negotiate religious identities in the context of competing worldviews are intrinsic elements of modernity everywhere. References
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lica Thumala Olave is a lecturer at the Instituto de Sociolog a of the Catholic University of Chile and researcher at the Centre for Criminology in the University of Oxford. Her Ange interests include the sociology of religion, particularly the theories of secularization and their applicability in Latin America; the place of religion in Latin American culture and the mica chilena (Santiago: Random House Mondadori). impact of modernization on religious beliefs and practices. In 2007 she published Riqueza y piedad. El Catolicismo de la elite econo Her current research interest is the sociology of punishment, particularly, the cultural and religious/secular bases for justications of punishment in the private life.