Love and Despair explores the multiple and mostly unknown ways progressive and conservative Catholic actors, such as priests, lay activists, journalists, intellectuals, and filmmakers, responded to the significant social and cultural shifts that formed competing notions of modernity in Cold War Mexico. Jaime M. Pensado demonstrates how the Catholic Church as a heterogeneous institution—with key transnational networks in Latin America and Western Europe—was invested in youth activism, state repression, and the counterculture from the postwar period to the more radical Sixties. Similar to their secular counterparts, progressive Catholics often saw themselves as revolutionary actors and nearly always framed their activism as an act of love. When their movements were repressed and their ideas were co-opted, marginalized, and commercialized at the end of the Sixties, the liberating hope of love often turned into a sense of despair.
Love and Despair How Catholic Activism Shaped Politics and the Counterculture in Modern Mexico
About the Book
Reviews"Love and Despair reveals an entirely unexamined side of the Mexican Global Sixties, one that has been hiding in plain sight. In bringing to light Catholic responses to countercultural practices and youth politics, Jaime M. Pensado highlights the central role of religious thought and actors in the democratization of Mexican culture and society."—Eric Zolov, author of The Last Good Neighbor: Mexico in the Global Sixties
"A magnificent, much-needed analysis of Mexico's Catholic youth movements during the tumultuous Sixties and their relationship to Catholic transnational mobilizations and to the wider Mexican Left."—Mary Kay Vaughan, Professor Emerita of History, University of Maryland, College Park
"Pensado's book is a brilliant historical palimpsest. Where once well-engraved stories of secular youth rebellion had been deeply etched in conventional memory, Pensado has recast the era as one crafted also by progressive journalists, university students, intellectuals, and filmmakers—all Catholic—who left indelible marks on Mexico in the Global Sixties. With an expansive border-crossing vision and a creative eye, Pensado defies anyone to make the now outdated claim that Mexico's counterculture was not equal parts Catholic in its making."—Stephen J. C. Andes, author of The Mysterious Sofía: One Woman's Mission to Save Catholicism in Twentieth-Century Mexico
"Vivid, incisive, and innovative, Love and Despair reinterprets the Sixties in Mexico. Through an astute analysis of film, oral interviews, and textual material, Pensado opens a window into the lives, fears, views, and hopes of a wide cast of Mexican Catholics as they confronted and interpreted the startling cultural and moral changes of their times."—Julia G. Young, author of Mexican Exodus: Emigrants, Exiles, and Refugees of the Cristero WarRead More >