Why Catholic majority contries seem to be poorer and crime rate higher than others

The USA has/had a lot of imperialist influence on Latin America and the Philippines.

I have no idea why that might be, or even read into the topic. An idea that comes to mind might be the requirement to schooling. It’s just a guess.

Some have speculated that the Jewish religion, in particular the Ashkenazic or German jews have done so well economically due to their religion requiring their followers to attend school. If one was a good learner one remained with the jewish faith. If not a talented learner one joined another religion that didn’t have many requirements.

I know the protestant puritans that helped create America, the north eastern states, was a group that required schooling to be a member. An early activity the puritans did was to go around and create schools, with some of them still around today such as Harvard, Yale, etc.

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And the monarchs who gave away church land to their supporters.

Was it always this way or did the crime rate increase in countries like France in the last decade so??

Italy and France have a higher GDP than the countries you mentioned (France is second, Italy 3rd in continental Europe), if there is more violence in these countries (and you haven’t actually proven that), it may be attributable to it’s being wealthier than most, i.e., wealth attracts envy and greed.

Note: Where does Great Britain fit into this?

Belgium, Luxembourg , Austria and Spain are also Catholic and very prosperous.

Top ranking GDP countries:

Nominal GDP Rankings by Country

What are the largest economies in the world? According to the International Monetary Fund, these are the highest ranking countries in the world in nominal GDP:

  1. United States (GDP: 20.49 trillion)
  2. China (GDP: 13.4 trillion)
  3. Japan: (GDP: 4.97 trillion)
  4. Germany: (GDP: 4.00 trillion)
  5. United Kingdom: (GDP: 2.83 trillion)
  6. France: (GDP: 2.78 trillion)
  7. India: (GDP: 2.72 trillion)
  8. Italy: (GDP: 2.07 trillion)
  9. Brazil: (GDP: 1.87 trillion)
  10. Canada: (GDP: 1.71 trillion)

3 of those countries are Catholic and some are an even mix of Protestant and Catholic (Canada and Germany).

For example:

The majority of Germany’s Christians are registered as either Catholic (23.6 million) or Protestant (21.9 million). The Protestant Church has its roots in Lutheranism and other denominations that rose out of the 16th-century religious reform movement.Mar 23, 2018

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I really do think the “protestant work ethic” is a myth created by Brits who thought themselves superior to Catholics, particularly the Spanish and French. One remembers the old Brit saying “Wogs begin at Calais”, an extremely derogatory thing to say; basically meaning “inferior people begin on the French shore”.

It is a myth and this article sums up nicely how capitalism has its roots in monastic aestheticism that filtered into society long before the Protestant Reformation.

Here is part of a quote from the article:

But while medieval capitalism stressed the community-oriented aspects of production, it nevertheless by no means ignored individual activities. This can be seen in the standard judgment that the modern Englishman, from whom capitalism derived, was different from his continental European contemporaries in being more individualistic and more free in his activities. But this freedom and individualism are not confined to the modern Englishman, but can be seen already in his medieval English ancestor. Collins refers to the work of the British historian, Alan Macfarlane, who found himself driven to the conclusion that this freedom and individualism of the modern Englishman, necessary for modern capitalism, are in fact a continuation of that same freedom and individualism which the medieval Englishman had in his medieval society, going back at least to the thirteenth century. Macfarlane reviewed historical documents going back from the eighteenth century to the thirteenth, including such documents as “local records, legal textbooks, and autobiographical documents,” and concluded that men and women in the thirteenth century had the same kind of freedom in property matters that had earlier been considered to be purely distinctive of modern times and only in modern England. One factor was the success of the English common law, by contrast with the secular Roman law, revived on the continent, which reestablished the use of torture in legal proceedings and in general restricted the freedom of the ordinary person. England escaped this, and its inhabitants kept their freedom and their greater wealth. Macfarlane supports this conclusion with documentation from contemporary observers of medieval England, including Sir John Fortescue.

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I honestly doubt religion has anything to do the with it. First of all, there was never a singular Catholic culture. Italy, Spain and France are very different culturally, and even within those countries different cultural groups could be found. I’d say political culture had more to do with it. Italy was a divided peninsula dominated by the Papal States that, as @Ridgerunner pointed out, went into decline as trade with the East shifted to maritime routes. Spain was chronically misgoverned and add to that the huge costs of maintaining the Habsburg Empire. Latin America is pretty diverse, but suffered a couple of centuries of political and social instability. That had nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with huge gaps between rich and poor, dating back to the Colonial period.

Heck, Protestant England was pretty much broke by the end of Henry VIII’s reign, and even Mary I and Elizabeth I had pretty skint coffers, with Elizabeth at least partially enriching her’s by looting Spanish holdings.

But there was such a thing as Christendom and the institution of the Catholic Church whose teachings and religious orders maintained cohesiveness wherever they were in Europe while under the leadership of the papacy.

Let Collins speak for himself. On the development of Weber’s own theory: “Weber ended up with a model for the preconditions of capitalism involving a long chain of historical conditions. These conditions are primarily institutional rather than motivational.” Furthermore, “If we examine Weber’s causal chain as whole, it can be seen that the institutional preconditions for capitalism fell into place for the first time in the High Middle Ages. And not only the institutional preconditions but a version of the developed characteristics of capitalism itself can also be found then.” Collins stresses this point:

The crucial preconditions include the bureaucratized state, a rationalized legal system, and citizenship rights. The significance of the Middle Ages for the last is in little dispute. Modern autonomies and corporate privileges of self-government under enacted law derive from the chartered cities of medieval Europe. . . .the institutional preconditions for capitalism were developed in medieval Europe, not so much in the wider society as in one specialized part of it, the Church.

On the role of the papacy in the development of capitalism: “It is no coincidence that the height of economic boom within Europe was in the very centuries (1100-1300) when the Papacy was at the height of its power, and that the European economy declined during the 1300s and 1400s, when the Papacy became split and secular princes grew increasingly autonomous and at war among themselves.”

On the way Catholic ecclesiastical structures satisfied Weber’s institutional requirements for capitalism: “Citizenship is important because it balances the authoritarian tendencies of bureaucracy and gives some autonomy of action to the individual, as well as fostering the rule of a calculable law that provides rights from below as well as from above.”

On the role of legal systems in the substructure of capitalism: “The more important point was that some form of regularized and objective law should exist, in a political situation of balancing powers that gave businesspeople proper access to it. What I would argue is that the Canon Law had exactly this place within the economic activities of the Church itself.”

Collins adds that “the dynamism of the medieval economy was primarily that of the Church itself. And within that economic structure the key role was played by the monks.” Of the Cistercian monasteries he says, “These monasteries were the most economically effective units that had ever existed in Europe, and perhaps in the world before that time. . . . The community of monks typically operated a factory.

I live in New Zealand which has one of the worst child poverty rates of a first one nation. Most non religious nations flourished BECAUSE of it’s ethos which was entirely Christian, it is just in recent decades it has shed off it’s religious roots and become secular. This however is causing many problems. Also Germany is largely a Catholic country and lets not forget Ireland which has one of the highest standards of living in Europe. Brazil is also one the fastest economies in the world.

Also i don’t know if you know this but up to recent years Mexico had a very militant atheistic government, for most of it’s secular existence Mexico has persecuted Catholicism, this is in spite of the fact the population is almost entirely Catholic.

There are way too many variables here anyway, the Atheistic nations of the 20th century, China and the USSR for example certainly weren’t bastions for equality and wealth.

It also depends on how wealth is measured, if wealth is measured in terms of materialism then we are very poor indeed if we lose out on whats important

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The USA also has/had a lot of imperialist influence on Japan and South Korea but those still developed nations

Definitely not nearly to the same extent as the Philippines and Latin America. As the sole superpower we could say the USA has had “imperialist” influence on the entire world, but not in the same kind of sense as specifically those countries it considered within its sphere of influence.


Post war the U.S. has provided lots of support to Japan and Korea.
You might also want to study the differing development models for individual countries and the timing of their development/entry into the global economy. Brazil has an enormous economy, but it’s development model favored heavy industrialization and was not able to spread employment/benefits widely, as an example. Decisions made in the 70s can have effects in the 2020s.
There are a lot of factors at play.

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in my opinion,EDUCATION. With the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, the theologian Martin Luther raised the need for people to read the Bible, and for this a great literacy campaign had to be done to instruct an uneducated people. But in the Catholic countries with which the priest knew how to read, it was more than enough. Thus, in the eighteenth century in England and the Netherlands, literacy reached 70% of the population, while in Spain or Portugal it did not even reach 10%.

CAPITALISM. For the Catholic Church wealth is a stigma and poverty a sign of humility and simplicity. Protestantism, on the other hand, understands that the problem is not money in itself but the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10) and that in fact being rich is not incompatible with being a good believer; there are the cases of José, Moisés, Daniel or Job, among others. It is no coincidence that capitalism, banking and business have reached their maximum expression in the countries of the Reformation.

DEMOCRACY. In the Protestant nations, there was a commitment to freedom and democracy, and a separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers. Switzerland stands out, with its enviable direct democracy. By contrast, the countries of southern Europe and the Ibero-American republics were drowned in a myriad of absolutist monarchies, fascism, civil wars and coups that condemned them to poverty and backwardness. The Vatican is still the last theocracy in Europe.

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“Black Legend” stuff.After printing presses became common, do you really think Catholic clergy were able to prevent Catholics from reading the bible or anything else? Literacy grew with the growth of literature. (and prosperity) It had nothing to do with clerical prohibitions.

Wealth is not a stigma for the Catholic Church. Only some protestant sects equate wealth with God’s favor. Who do you think contributed the money for the great cathedrals and artwork in Europe? Protestant churches present a threadbare appearance by comparison.

Again, the three richest countries in the world are Catholic. The “protestant” (actually agnostic) countries of northern Europe have lower GDP per capita than France or Belgium.

The Vatican has its own scientific institute and world class observatory. Does your church?


What you mean that Catholic theologian Martin Luther?

You might want to look at the history of areas like the Venetian Republic before going too far with those claims.

Seems to be a lot of typical anti-Catholic talking points in your posts that combine simplistic and reductionist takes on history with supposedly true things that ‘everyone knows’ about Catholicism.

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People change their opinions according to what ideology is in their best interests. :man_shrugging: Kind of like how people are conservative until they have a health crisis or liberal until they have to run a business. Maybe the prosperity gospel is more attractive to people as soon as you have a little bit of prosperity.

Actually, many Protestant nations did not separate Church and State, in fact, the reigning rulers were not only the head of state but of the church too. The Lutheran and the Anglican rulers were both titular heads of the temporal and the spiritual realm.

And Calvinist Switzerland was under a practical dictatorship under the leadership of Calvin.

It took more than a hundred sixty years of warfare before tolerance began to take effect resulting in the need for separation of Church and State.

And it wasn’t only between Catholic and Protestant but Protestant against Protestant (usually confessional against radical Protestants) that religious wars were fought.

Moreover, capitalism took effect prior to the reformation, i.e., within monastic communities (Cistercians especially), but it was a communal type of capitalism wherein the end goal was not making a profit, but producing goods!

Whereas in Calvinism the end goal was making money because wealth was regarded as a blessing and poverty, a sort of condemnation or a sign of damnation. It turned the venture of capitalism into a highly individualistic and greedy pursuit.

This is where the false wealth and health gospel has taken its inspiration from, i.e., calvinism.

Much of the world’s woes of excessive individualism, moral relativism and even capitalistic greed we see can be attributed to the naissance of Protestant liberalism in the 19th century and before that to Sola Scriptura (a heresy), which bred a plethora of DIVISIONS and false Christian doctrines that continues to this day!

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Although not a theocracy, the queen of England is still the titular head of her Church and so are Lutheran rulers.

There is certainly more blurring of the lines then you are letting on.

The Monroe Doctrine, yes.

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