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The beginnings of Leonidas Proano’s pastoral work in the diocese of Riobamba in Ecuador: indigenous peasants, popular organization, and conservative opposition, 1954–1964

Sociology International Journal
Maurice Sheith Olouch

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This essay is a study of the beginnings of Leonidas Proaño’s non-conservative pastoral work in the Central Andes of Ecuador from 1954 to 1964, which focused on the indigenous peasants and favored the formation and strengthening of popular organizations through the five projects: Centro de Estudios y Acción Social, Escuelas Radiófoncas Populares del Ecuador, Cooperativa San Juan, Granja de Tepeyac, and Escuela de formación de lideres Indígenas. This paper argues that Proaño´s new type of pastoral work that began earlier before the Vatican Council II identified the critical problems of the Diocese of Riobamba, namely, illiteracy, poverty, landlessness, and lack of local leaders. These received local support and rejection for the powerful landowners and a section of the Church. We conclude that his efforts to liberate the poor indigenous from a new pastoral perspective achieved their goals.


\ indigenous peasants, catholic church, projects, pastoral work, social history