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Needs of the Heart Kenneth P. Serbin

Needs of the Heart By Kenneth P. Serbin

Needs of the Heart by Kenneth P. Serbin

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Needs of the Heart Summary

Needs of the Heart: A Social and Cultural History of Brazil's Clergy and Seminaries by Kenneth P. Serbin

Serbin also describes the conservative modernization of the clergy, effected through seminary education, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Emphasizing discipline, the seminaries aimed to mold a new kind of priest-moral, isolated from politics and social entanglements, and, above all, obedient and celibate. However, the social, cultural, and religious upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s led students to reject the seminary. Seminarians worked to form a national union, and many left seminaries to establish greater contact with the people. The seminarians' movement sparked the practice of liberation theology; it also reflected the quest for professional and individual development, including optional celibacy. Seminaries necessarily dealt in the psychology of sexuality, friendship, and other basic human tendencies-what historian Marc Bloch has called the secret needs of the heart. Serbin argues that the needs of the heart were a cause of the political transformation of the Brazilian Church, a transformation catalyzed by the profound identity crisis experienced by clergymen and seminarians in the 1960s and 1970s. The story of this generation of seminarians and priests is intermingled with the challenges and fears present during Brazil's repressive military dictatorship (1964 to 1985) and its aftermath.

Needs of the Heart Reviews

Serbin's superb new study offers a comprehensive look at the church from the colonial period to the end of the military government in the 1980s. He takes the long view in order to demonstrate his central argument: that the 'progressive' Catholic Church of the twentieth century, with its political activism and social consciousness, did not emerge out of a void but rather developed out of patterns already set in the colonial period that shifted as they played out against the backdrop of a changing Brazil. . . . The book is a welcome addition to the field of Brazilian history and the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America. -American Historical Review * American Historical Review *

About Kenneth P. Serbin

Kenneth P. Serbin is an associate professor of history at the University of San Diego.

Additional information

Needs of the Heart: A Social and Cultural History of Brazil's Clergy and Seminaries by Kenneth P. Serbin
University of Notre Dame Press
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