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Base Communities in Latin America

Base communities or base ecclesial communities, also known as CEB (abbreviation for comunidades eclesiais de base in Portuguese or comunidades eclesiales de base in Spanish), are groups of lay Catholics, mostly from low-income strata, who get together to celebrate Sunday liturgies, to reflect on the Bible, and to carry out social and political activities. They were named “community” because of their supposed sharing experience, “ecclesial” for being part of the Catholic Church, and “base” as they were formed by those who live at the bottom of the social pyramid: the poor and the oppressed.

CEBs appeared in Catholic discourse after the 1968 Episcopal Conference of Latin America (CELAM) in Medellín. Inspired by the Vatican II Council and also by liberation theology, Latin American bishops affirmed then ...

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