This thesis explores the role of the Catholic Church in Angola and compares it to the influence of the Church in two other former Portuguese colonies: Mozambique and Brazil. More specifically, this thesis asks how the Catholic Church has permeated each society and spread the values and rights pronounced by the Second Vatican Council. Using a comparative case study methodology, this thesis investigates why the influence of the Church, specifically with respect to the development of rights and freedoms, was weaker in Angola than in Brazil and Mozambique despite a common colonial and religious heritage. The analysis suggests that state resistance to international influence, or gatekeeping, is a significant factor in understanding the relationship between transnational actors and civil society, as suggested by the boomerang pattern. Rents from resource revenue enabled Angolan elite to sustain their gatekeeping efforts longer than others. This argument suggests the need to bring together theories of transnational advocacy and the resource curse to better understand when and why transnational actors influence domestic politics. These insights offer potential lessons to policy makers as they search for opportunities to effectively promote liberal democracy and constructively engage states in the developing world.