Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Olena Nikolayenko, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Caley Johnson, Ph.D.


This study examines the effects of religion on mass mobilization efforts in the 21st century. More specifically, it studies the influence of the Catholic Church during the June-July 2020 "Junk Terror Law" protests of the Philippines and the October 2019-March 2020 Chilean "Estallido Social" protests. As both countries have exhibited varying degrees of Catholic influence since the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and the military junta of President Augusto Pinochet, this study compares and contrasts the Catholic Church's response to their respective protests that occurred just around the same period. Through discourse analysis of statements, press briefings, and newspaper articles detailing the protests, this study observes the Catholic Church's response to protests, human rights errors, and political participation in Chile and the Philippines. This analysis reveals that Liberation Theology has not yet entered the official Catholic Church's responses towards mass mobilization for either Chilean or Filipino Catholics. The public Catholic Church response to protest and human rights errors depends heavily on how they are perceived by the people at large, and the recent allegations of sexual abuse and coverups by the Chilean Catholic Church have seriously sabotaged their political voice in the country. The Filipino Catholic Church, however, still possess a salient political voice over Catholic Filipinos as a result of historical characterizations as human rights protectors due to their involvement in rejecting the Marcos administration during martial law and a judicial system that has not allowed sexual abuse victims of the Church to express their allegations. This study contributes to the growing interdisciplinary research on religion and politics by underscoring the importance of religious institutions in championing human rights and analyzing one of the largest, nongovernmental landowning bodies in the world.