Based on a decade of field research, Crossing Swords is the first book-length, scholarly examination in English of the role of Catholicism in Mexican society from the 1970s to 1995, and the increasing political activism of the Catholic church and clergy. The book provides the first analysis of church-state relations in Latin America that incorporates detailed interviews with numerous bishops and clergy and leading politicians about how they see each other and how religion influences their values. Camp offers an inside look at the decision-making process of bishops at the diocesan level and draws on national survey research to examine prevailing Mexican attitudes toward religion, Christianity, and Catholicism both before, during, and after Mexico's constitutional changes on church-state relations.

Incorporating comparative literature from the United States and Europe, Crossing Swords reaches a number of challenging conclusions about the interlocking relationship between religion and politics, casting light on both general theoretical arguments and on the peculiarities of the Mexican case. A comprehensive and original look at a topic of importance well beyond Mexico, this book will be essential reading for scholars and students of religion generally as well as those involved with Latin America.