The Oxford Handbook Of Latin American Christianity [1 ed.] 0199860351, 9780199860357, 0190058854, 9780190058852, 0199984034, 9780199984039, 019986036X, 9780199860364

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The Oxford Handbook Of Latin American Christianity [1 ed.]
 0199860351, 9780199860357, 0190058854, 9780190058852, 0199984034, 9780199984039, 019986036X, 9780199860364

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Table of contents :
List of Contributors
Introduction: Oxford Handbook of Latin American Christianity
The History of the Volume
Chapter 1: The Making of Colonial Christianity in Hispanic America
Chapter 2: Time and Christianity in Early Latin America
Chapter 3: Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest of the Americas
Scholastic Theology and the Natural Law
Disputes over the Justice of the European Conquest
The Image of God, Natural Rights, and Just War
Scholastic Theology and the Latin American Tradition of Human Rights
Chapter 4: The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest: Material Christianity in Latin America
Tabula Rasa: The Blank Slate, the Empty Canvas
Into the Void: The Latin American Baroque and the Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest
Making Space Sacred: Latin American Church Architecture from Monasteries to Oratories
Housing the Sacred: Domestic Oratories
The Rebellious Altar: A Theory of the Sacred Plane
The Living Image: Iconography and Icons
Conclusions: De profundis: Rupture and Continuity, Profusion and Proliferation
Chapter 5: Indigenous Christianities: Commensuration, (De)Colonization, and Cultural Production in Latin America
Conversion and Coercion: Reciprocal Understanding on Unequal Terms
Christianity and the Production of Indigenous Locality
Idols behind Altars: “Folk Catholicism” Facing the New Evangelizations
Commensurating the Vernacular: Indigenous Christianities and Modernity
Christianities in Process
Chapter 6: (Un)Making Christianity: The African Diaspora in Slavery and Freedom
Church and State: Defense of Slavery
Jesuits: Slaveholding Justifications
Authority and Agency through Catholicism
A Hostile Church
Chapter 7: Millenarian Movements
The Apocalyptic Heritage
The Iberian Traditions
Indigenous Revitalization and Millennial Movements
Colonial Movements
Millenarian Movements in the Post-Colonial Era
Chapter 8: The Course of Catholic History in Latin America
Chapter 9: Liberation Theology: History and Trends
Changing Contexts
Pastoral Impetus
Major Theological Themes
Political Implications
Internal Church Controversies
Twenty-first Century: What’s Left, What’s New?
Chapter 10: Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution in Twentieth-Century Latin America
Catholics and the Mexican Revolution (ca. 1910–1940)
The Catholic Church and the Cold War in Latin America: Cuba
The Progressive Church in Latin America’s Cold War
The Catholic Church and the Cold War in Latin America: Nicaragua
The Catholic Church between Revolution and Counter-Revolution
Chapter 11: Bishops, Priests, and CELAM
CELAM and the Development of a Latin American Clerical Identity
“Go to the People”: Social Justice, Human Rights, and the Clergy
The Clergy and the “Church of the People”: Toward a New Ecclesiology
From Puebla to Santo Domingo: Conflict, Restoration, and the Clergy
Conclusion: Aparecida and Beyond
Chapter 12: Activist Christians, the Human Rights Movement, and Democratization in Latin America
Growth of Christian Activism in Latin America
Authoritarian Period
Transitions and the Consolidation of Democracy
Chapter 13: Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America: Two Definitions of Christian Martyrdom
The Post–Vatican II Period
Brazil and Chile
El Salvador
Chapter 14: The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America: Ideology, Interests, and Institutions
Catholic Response to Authoritarianism
Democratization and New Variations of Political Behavior
Chapter 15: Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders
Conceptualizing Poverty and Violence through the Lens of Christianity
“To Recover Our Dignity and Our Right to Land”
Refugees and Solidarity at the Border: “The Good Samaritan”
Mexico’s Vertical Border: Sharing Food for Life
Chapter 16: Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism in Latin America Two Case Studies
First- and Second-Wave Pentecostalism: Case Study, Guatemala
The Boom Years: Guatemala
Case Study: Pentecostalism in Brazil
From Crentes to Evangélicos: Brazilian Pentecostalism Goes Public
Chapter 17: Conversion Processes and Social Networks in Latin America
Introduction: The Success of Global and Latin American Pentecostalism
Pentecostal Conversion Careers in Paraguay and Chile
Contextual, Individual, and Institutional Factors in the Conversion Process
Social Network Factors in the Conversion Process
Chapter 18: A New Pentecost: Conversion in the Caribbean
Fated to Poverty: A Worker in the Cane
Healing, Conversion, and Spiritual Baptism
A People of the Book?
The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of This World
The Transfiguration of Latin American Christendom
Provisional Predictions
Chapter 19: Protestant Innovative Evangelizing to Oral Cultures in Guatemala
The Missions and Their Response to the Indigenous Context
The Orality of Translations of the Bible
The Coming Deluge: The Rise of Pentecostalism
Innovative Indigenous Evangelizing
Interviews and Correspondence
Chapter 20: Liberation Theology’s Spiritual Legacy for the Latin American Church
The Church of the Poor
In Light of Vatican II
A New Way of Doing Theology
From Medellín to Santo Domingo
Our Strongest Possession
Spirituality, but Not Just Any Kind of Spirituality
Effective Love, the Soul of Spirituality
Following Jesus, the Paradigm and Example for Our Spirituality
The Lord Who Transforms: Holistic Conversion, the Fundamental Requirement of Spirituality
Counterculture Leadership and an Active Ecclesiology
Life before Death
Chapter 21: Preferential Option for the Spirit The Catholic Charismatic Renewal
Near and Far
Allies of the Spirit
Catholic Gospel in Times of Media-Oriented Catholicism
Spring of the Spirit
Challenges of Catholic Pentecostalization
Chapter 22: Alternative Christianities: Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses
Origins and Proselytizing Motivations
Entrance into Latin America
The Current Situation in Latin America
Outreach and Evangelism
Membership Statistics
Future Growth
Chapter 23: MainLine Protestantism in Latin America
The Colonial Period (1492–1820)
Incursions and Inquisitions
The Early Republics (1820–1900)
Religious Liberty and the Bible
Nineteenth-Century Missions and Modernity
Protestant Immigration and Inculturation
The Twentieth Century to the Present
Protestants Come of Age
Chapter 24: Christianity and Ecology in Latin America
Roman Catholicism
Liberation Theology
Pope Francis and Laudato Si
Protestants in Latin America
Chapter 25: Mary, Mother of Jesus Consolatrice of the Americas
Nebel’s Three Trajectories
Mariology: The Person of Mary
The Virgin of the Massacre: Mary of the People
Liberation Theologies: A Bond That Encompasses Millions
Las Madres: An Example of Evangelization to Overcome Injustice
The Conquest and the Introduction of Mary to the People
The Nican Mopohua and Nahuatl Culture
Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Importance of Imagery in the Tonantzín Guadalupe Event
Chapter 26: Marshaling the Faithful: Popular Religiosity and Institutional Life in Modernizing Mexico
Archival Collections
Chapter 27: Catholic Laity in the Latin American Church
Small Christian Communities
The Preferential and Evangelizing Option for the Poor
Lay Ministry Today
Maryknoll Lay Missioners Program: Lay Missioners in Action
Complete Bibliography

Citation preview

t h e ox f o r d h a n d b o o k o f


The Oxford Handbook of





1 Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and certain other countries. Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America. © Oxford University Press 2020 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by license, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reproduction rights organization. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above. You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer. Library of Congress Control Number: 2019954827 ISBN 978-0-19-986035-7 1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2 Hardback printed by Marquis, Canada


List of Contributorsix Introduction1 David Thomas Orique, Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens, and Virginia Garrard

PA RT   I   C H R I ST IA N I T Y C OM E S TO T H E   N E W   WOR L D 1. The Making of Colonial Christianity in Hispanic America John F. Schwaller


2. Time and Christianity in Early Latin America Matthew O’Hara


3. Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest of the Americas David M. Lantigua


4. The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest: Material Christianity in Latin America57 Jennifer Scheper Hughes 5. Indigenous Christianities: Commensuration, (De)Colonization, and Cultural Production in Latin America Andrew Orta 6. (Un)Making Christianity: The African Diaspora in Slavery and Freedom Rachel Sarah O’Toole



7. Millenarian Movements Carole A. Myscofski


8. The Course of Catholic History in Latin America Fernando Cervantes


vi   contents

PA RT I I   T H E C H U RC H M I L I TA N T: C AT HOL IC P OL I T IC A L AC T I V I SM 9. Liberation Theology: History and Trends Phillip Berryman 10. Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution in Twentieth-Century Latin America Stephen J. C. Andes 11. Bishops, Priests, and CELAM Erika Helgen


175 195

12. Activist Christians, the Human Rights Movement, and Democratization in Latin America Nick Rowell


13. Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America: Two Definitions of Christian Martyrdom Edward T. Brett


14. The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America: Ideology, Interests, and Institutions Amy Edmonds


15. Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders Christine Kovic


PA RT I I I   A T R A N SNAT IONA L SP I R I T: M I S SIONA R I E S A N D C HA R I SM 16. Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism in Latin America: Two Case Studies291 Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran 17. Conversion Processes and Social Networks in Latin America Henri Gooren


18. A New Pentecost: Conversion in the Caribbean Luis N. Rivera-Pagán


19. Protestant Innovative Evangelizing to Oral Cultures in Guatemala Rachel M. McCleary


contents   vii

20. Liberation Theology’s Spiritual Legacy for the Latin American Church Harold Segura


21. Preferential Option for the Spirit: The Catholic Charismatic Renewal Brenda Carranza


22. Alternative Christianities: Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses Ronald Lawson, Kenneth Xydias, and Ryan T. Cragun


23. Mainline Protestantism in Latin America Joel Morales Cruz


PA RT I V   C ON T E M P OR A RY C H R I S T IA N I T Y I N   L AT I N A M E R IC A 24. Christianity and Ecology in Latin America Lois Ann Lorentzen


25. Mary, Mother of Jesus: Consolatrice of the Americas Jeanette Rodriguez


26. Marshaling the Faithful: Popular Religiosity and Institutional Life in Modernizing Mexico Edward Wright-Ríos


27. Catholic Laity in the Latin American Church Robert S. Pelton, C.S.C.


Complete Bibliography Index

523 581

List of Contributors

Stephen J. C. Andes is an Associate Professor of History at Louisiana State University. Andes is the author of The Vatican and Catholic Activism in Mexico and Chile: The ­Politics of Transnational Catholicism, 1920–1940 (Oxford University Press, 2014), and of The Mysteria Sofia: One Woman’s Mission to Save Catholicism in Twentieth-Century Mexico (Nebraska, 2019). He is also the co-editor (with Julia G. Young) of an anthology entitled Local Church, Global Church: Catholic Activism in Latin America from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II (The Catholic University of America Press, 2016). Phillip Berryman is a writer and translator in Philadelphia, who worked in a Panama City barrio (1965–1973) as a Catholic priest and in Guatemala as Central America ­representative for the American Friends Service Committee (1976–1980). He has translated approximately thirty books, primarily works of Latin American theologians. Recent work includes Latin America at 200: A New Introduction (2016), and a memoir, Mementos of the Living and the Dead (Wipf and Stock, 2019). Edward T. Brett, who received his PhD in History from Rutgers University, is Professor Emeritus at La Roche University. He is the author of The U.S. Catholic Press on Central America: From Cold War Anti-Communism to Social Justice (University of Notre Dame, 2003) and The New Orleans Sisters of the Holy Family: African American Missionaries to the Garifuna of Belize (University of Notre Dame, 2012) and coauthor of Murdered in Central America: The Stories of Eleven U.S. Missionaries (Orbis Books, 1988) and Martyrs of Hope: Seven U.S. Missioners in Central America (Orbis Books, 2018). Brenda Carranza studied Theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum S. Anselmo in Rome and earned her Master’s and PhD in Social Sciences at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil. She has a postdoctoral degree from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) in Brazil and has conducted research at the Institutfür Katholische Theologie/Universität Osnabrück, Deutschland. She is a Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas (PUC-Campinas, Brazil). Catholicism, Pentecostalism, gender, politics, media, youth, and popular religiosity are among Carranza’s areas of research and interest. Her recent publications include: “Conservative religious activism in the Brazilian Congress: Sexual agendas in focus” (Belgium-France, 2018), Francisco in the World Youth Day” (Argentina, 2017); “Export Catholicism” (Brazil, 2016); “Challenges to the Urban Imagination” (Colombia, 2016); “Pentecostal Christianity: The New Face of the Catholic Church” (Brazil-Italy, 2015).

x   list of contributors Fernando Cervantes is Reader in History at the University of Bristol, specializing in the intellectual and religious history of early modern Europe with a particular interest in Spain and Spanish America. He is the author of The Devil in the New World: The Impact of Diabolism in New Spain (Yale, 1994), coeditor of Spiritual Encounters: Interactions between Christianity and Native Religions in Colonial America (Birmingham, 1999) and Angels, Demons and the New World (Cambridge, 2013). His latest book, Conquistadores, is due to be published in 2020 by Allen Lane/Penquin. Ryan  T.  Cragun is a sociologist of religion. Originally from Utah, he now lives in ­Florida and works at The University of Tampa. His research and writing focuses on religion, with an emphasis on Mormonism and the nonreligious. His research has been published in a variety of academic journals and he is the author of several books. For more about his work and copies of his peer-reviewed articles, see his website: www. Joel Morales Cruz (ThM, PhD; Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago) is an Adjunct Professor of Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and McCormick Theological Seminary where he teaches courses on history and theology. He is the author of The Mexican Reformation: Catholic Pluralism, Enlightenment Religion, and the Iglesia de Jesús Movement in Benito Juárez’s Mexico (1859–72) (Wipf and Stock, 2011) and Histories of the Latin American Church: A Handbook (Fortress Press, 2014). Recently he has contributed to The Protestant Reformation and World Christianity: Global ­Perspectives (Eerdmans, 2017). Currently, Cruz is researching the theology of the seventeenth-century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. He resides in Chicago. Justin M. Doran is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Middlebury College. His research explores the religious experiences of capitalism, particularly as they reshaped Christianity in the Americas throughout the twentieth-century. His international archival research and ethnographic fieldwork in Houston and São Paulo formed the basis of his forthcoming book, which retells the history of prosperity religion in Brazil. He received his PhD in religious studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Amy Edmonds (BA, Oklahoma Baptist University; MA, Baylor University; PhD, Baylor University) is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Milligan College, Tennessee. Special interests include religion and politics in Latin America, democratization, and nonviolence. She is author of “Moral Authority and Authoritarianism: The Catholic Church and the Military Regime in Uruguay” in the Journal of Church and State. Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens is Professor and Chair of History at California State University, Northridge. She studies U.S. Catholic missionaries, indigenous communities, women religious and transnational social movements in Guatemala and Peru during the Cold War. She is also interested in the unintended consequences of intersections between Catholic social movements and U.S. foreign policy, which together contributed at times to social and political revolution. Her publications include:The Maryknoll Catholic Mission in Peru, 1943–1989: Transnational Faith and Transformation (­University

list of contributors   xi of Notre Dame Press, 2012), scholarly and popular articles and book chapters which have appeared in publications including, Latin American Research Review, the U.S. Catholic Historian, and NACLA. Virginia Garrard is Professor of History and Director of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. She is author of the forthcoming monograph, New Faces of God in Latin America, (Oxford, 2020); Her other monographs include Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala Under General Efraín Ríos Montt, 1982–1983 (Oxford, 2010); Terror en la tierra del Espiritu Santo (AVANCSO, 2012); Viviendo en La Nueva Jerusalem (Editorial Piedra Santa, 2009); and Protestantism in Guatemala: Living in the New Jerusalem (University of Texas Press, 1998). She is also coauthor, with Peter Henderson and Bryan McCann, of Latin America in the Modern World (Oxford ­University Press, 2018). In addition, she has coedited a number of publications, including The Cambridge History of Religions in Latin America (Cambridge, 2016) with Stephen Dove and Paul Freston; Beyond the Eagle’s Shadow: New Histories of Latin America’s Cold War (University of New Mexico Press, 2013, with Mark Atwood Lawrence and Julio Moreno; and Rethinking Protestantism in Latin America (Temple, 1993), with David Stoll. She has also edited the collected volume, On Earth as It Is in Heaven: Religion and Society in Latin America (Scholarly Resources, 2000). Henri Gooren a Dutch cultural anthropologist who has published especially on conversion and on Pentecostalism, Protestantism, Mormonism, and Roman Catholicism in Latin America. After working at the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), he joined the Center IIMO for Intercultural Theology at Utrecht University in  the research program Conversions Careers and Culture Politics in Pentecostalism: A  Comparative Study in Four Continents (2003–2007). In August 2007, he became ­Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; he received tenure in 2011. Palgrave-Macmillan published his book Religious Disaffiliation and Conversion: Tracing Patterns of Change in Faith Practices in 2010. Gooren conducted fieldwork research on the Pentecostalization of religion and society in Paraguay and Chile in 2010–12, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. He is currently working on a monograph to report his main findings. Erika Helgen is Assistant Professor of Latinx Christianity at Yale Divinity School. Her book, Holy Wars: Protestants, Catholics, and Religious Conflict in Brazil, 1916–1962, is forthcoming from Yale University Press. Christine Kovic, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, has conducted research in the areas of human rights for the past twenty-five years. She is author of Mayan Voices for Human Rights: Displaced Catholics in Highland Chiapas (University of Texas Press, 2005), Women of Chiapas: Making History in Times of Struggle and Hope (co-editor with Christine Eber, Routledge, 2003), and a series of articles and book chapters. Her current research addresses the intersection of human rights, health, and immigration, with emphasis on Central American migrants crossing Mexico in the journey north and on the organizing efforts of Latina/os in the United States.

xii   list of contributors David  M.  Lantigua is Assistant Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics at the ­University of Notre Dame. He has taught at The Catholic University of America and was previously a graduate fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. He is coauthor of Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics, 2nd edition, with Darrell Fasching and Dell deChant (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). He is also coeditor and cotranslator, with Lawrence Clayton, of Bartolomé de las Casas and the Defence of Amerindian Rights (University of Alabama Press, 2020). His forthcoming monograph, Church, Empire, and Infidels in a New World Order (Cambridge University Press), identifies early modern Spanish theological and legal contributions to international thought in colonial context. Ronald Lawson was born and educated in Australia. He earned a BA with Honours in History and a PhD in Sociology and History from the University of Queensland. He traveled to Columbia University in New York City in 1971 for postdoctoral studies on a Fulbright Travel Grant. He taught at the City University of New York from 1971 through 2009, with six years at Hunter College and thirty-three years at Queens College. He became a tenured Full Professor in 1983. His books include Brisbane in the 1890s: An Australian Urban Society (University of Queensland Press, 1973) and The Tenant Movement in New York, 1904–1984 (Rutgers University Press, 1986). Since 1984, his research has focused on globalizing American-born religious groups, especially Seventh-day Adventism, and he is currently preparing a series of four book manuscripts based on research in sixty countries. He has published a slew of articles on protest movements, tenant-landlord conflict, Adventists, and American-born religious groups in academic journals and edited books. He now lives in Loma Linda, CA. Lois Ann Lorentzen is a Professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of Etica Ambiental (Environmental Ethics); editor of Hidden Lives in the United States: Understanding the Controversies and Tragedies of Undocumented Migration; coeditor of Ecofeminism and Globalization: Exploring Culture, Context and Religion; The Gendered New World Order: Militarism, the Environment and Development; and Associate Editor for the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. She has written numerous essays on grassroots environmental movements. Her research is based in El Salvador and Mexico. Rachel  M.  McCleary holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago, a Master’s in Theological Studies from Emory University, and a BA from Indiana University. She is lecturer, Economics Department, Harvard University, and visiting Professor, Universidad Marroquin, Guatemala. Her research focuses on how religion interacts with economic performance and the political and social behavior of individuals and institutions across societies. She studies how religious beliefs and practices influence productivity, economic growth, and the maintenance of political institutions such as democracy. Her books include: Seeking Justice: Ethics and International Affairs (Westview Press, 1992); Dictating Democracy: Guatemala and the of End Violent Revolution (University Press of Florida, 1999, English; Artemis-Edinter, 1999, Spanish); Global

list of contributors   xiii Compassion: Private Voluntary Organizations and U.S. Foreign Policy since 1939 (Oxford University Press, 2009 and winner of the 2010 AFP Skystone Ryan Research Prize), Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion (Oxford University Press, 2011) and The Wealth of Religions: The Political Economy of Believing and Belonging,(with Rosert J. Barro) (Princeton University Press, 2019). McCleary is currently writing two books: Protestantism and Human Capital in Guatemala, and The Abuses and Misuses of Conscience Explained. Carole  A.  Myscofski is McFee Professor of Religion at Illinois Wesleyan University and directs the Women’s and Gender Studies Program there. As a historian of religions, she includes among her research interests a wide range of topics in heterodox religious activities in Brazil from the colonial period through the twentieth century. She has written on rituals in Umbanda, messianic movements, the impact of the Portuguese Inquisition in early colonial Brazil, new religions, marriage and sexuality, and magic during the colonial era. She recently completed Amazons, Wives, Nuns and Witches: Women and Roman Catholicism in Colonial Brazil, 1500–1822 (University of Texas Press, 2013), and continues her work on the historical origins and meanings of magical practices among women and enslaved men in the late 1500s and early 1600s in Brazil. Rachel Sarah O’Toole is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine. Her monograph, Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru received the 2013 Latin American Studies Association Peru Section Flora Tristán book prize. With Sherwin Bryant and Ben Vinson III, she coedited Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2012). She has published articles on the construction of whiteness, masculinity within slavery, African Diaspora identities, indigenous politics, and gender influences on racial constructions in Radical History Review (2015), Secuencia: Revista de historia y ciencias sociales (2011), Social Text (2007), The Americas (2006), and The Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History (2006), as well as in edited volumes in the United States, Germany, and Peru. Matthew O’Hara is a Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Spain’s Ministry of Culture, American Philosophical Society, and the American Council of Learned Societies. His publications include The History of the Future in Colonial Mexico (Yale University Press, 2018); A Flock Divided: Race, Religion and Politics in Mexico (1749–1857) (Duke University Press, 2010); Imperial Subjects: Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America (Duke University Press, 2009) (coedited with Andrew Fisher). David Thomas Orique, O.P., is Associate Professor of Colonial and Modern Latin American as well as Iberian Atlantic World History, and the Director of Latin American and Latina/o Studies at Providence College. Besides a doctorate in History, he holds a Masters in Theology, History, and Spanish Literature. His writings and publications include,

xiv   list of contributors among others: “To Heaven or Hell: An Introduction to the Soteriology of Bartolomé de Las Casas” (2016); “Justice and the Church in Latin America in the Era of a Jesuit Pope” (2015); “A Comparison of Bartolomé de Las Casas and Fernão Oliveira: Just War and Slavery,” (2014); “Journey to the Headwaters: Bartolomé de Las Casas in a Comparative Context” (2009). His book titled To Heaven or to Hell: Bartolomé de Las Casas’s Confesionario was published in 2018 by Penn State. The manuscript for another book titled “The Unheard Voice of Law from the Often-heard Text: A New Rendition of Bartolomé de Las Casas’s Brevísima relación de la destruición de las Indias” has been completed. He is also an editor for Bartolomé de Las Casas, O.P.: History, Philosophy, and Theology in the Age of European Expansion (Brill, 2019). Andrew Orta is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, where he has served as Head of the Department of Anthropology, and Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He has conducted research with Aymana communities of the Bolivian highlands since 1989. Earlier work in the region focused on contemporary Catholic missionization; more recent work examines the impact of neoliberal processes of political decentralization and on the reproduction of local modes of authority and regional integrity. Another line of research is based on ethnographic study of MBA training in the United States, with a focus on the internationalization of MBA curricula intended to prepare MBAs to work in a global and cross-cultural business environment. Robert  S.  Pelton, CSC is Director Emeritus of (LANACC) Latin American North American Church Concerns for the Kellogg Institute at the University of Notre Dame. He gives special attention to the social teachings of the Latin American Church. This includes liberation theology and small Christian communities. However, his sharpest focus is upon Saint Oscar Romero as a pastoral example of future leadership in the new and evolving church. This is demonstrated in his book, Monsignor Romero: A Bishop for the New Millenia (Notre Dame Press-2004). Pelton also wrote on the preferential option for the poor in the Orbis publication (2009) relating to the Aparecida Conference in Brazil. Also, his award winning documentary, “Monsignor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero,” has been shown throughout the world. Finally, for the Oxford Handbook for the Christian Church, he produced “CELAM: Emerging Reception of the ‘Bridge Theology’ of Pope Francis from Marcos Gregorio Mcgrath to the Latin American Church Today” (Belo Horizonte, 2018). Luis N. Rivera-Pagán is the Henry Winters Luce Professor of Ecumenics and Mission Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) at Yale University in 1970, and is the author of several books, among them: A la sombra del armagedón: reflexiones críticas sobre el desafío nuclear (1988), Senderos teológicos: el pensamiento evangélico puertorriqueño (1989), Evangelización y violencia: La conquista de América (1990), A Violent Evangelism: The Political and Religious Conquest of the Americas (1992), Los sueños del ciervo: Perspectivas teológicas desde el Caribe (1995), Entre el oro y la fe: El dilema de América (1995), Mito exilio y demonios: literatura

list of contributors   xv y teología en América Latina (1996), La evangelización de los pueblos americanos: algunas reflexiones históricas (1997), Diálogos y polifonías: perspectivas y reseñas (1999), Fe y cultura en Puerto Rico (2002), Essays From the Diaspora (2002), God, in your Grace . . . Official Report of the Ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches (2007) [Editor], Teología y cultura en América Latina (2009), Ensayos teológicos desde el Caribe (2013), Peregrinajes teológicos y literarios (2013), and Essays from the Margins (2014). Jeanette Rodriguez is a Professor at Seattle University and teaches in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the graduate Program of Couples and Marriage and Family Therapy, as well as cross-lists her classes with Women and Gender Studies, and Latin American Studies. Rodriguez is the author of several books and articles concentrated in the areas of US Hispanic theology, theologies of liberation, peacebuilding, and Women’s Voice in Religion and Spirituality. Her works include Our Lady of Guadalupe: Faith and Empowerment among Mexican American Women (1994); Stories We Live (1996); coeditor with Dr. Maria Pilar Aquino and Dr. Daisy Machado of A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology (2002), coauthor with Dr. Ted Fortier of Cultural Memory: Resistance, Faith and Identity (2007); A Clan Mother’s Call: The Reconstruction of Cultural Memory Among the Haudenosaunee. She has served as a board member for the Academy of Hispanic Theologians in the United States, and as vice-Chair for Pax Christi USA. Rodriguez holds a PhD in Religion and the Personality Sciences (1990) from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. Nick Rowell is an Instructor of Political Science at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. He completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of New Mexico in 2012. His doctoral dissertation is entitled “Roman Catholic Episcopacies, Church–State Ties and Human Rights Movements in Latin America.” He is the co-author of “The Church, the State, and Human Rights in Latin America” in the journal Politics, Religion and Ideology. His teaching and research interests focus on the comparative analysis of Latin American politics, with emphasis on the interaction between civil society and the state, including religious organizations, social movements, and political parties. Jennifer Scheper Hughes is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Riverside. Her teaching and research focus on the history of religion in Latin America, with special consideration for the spiritual lives of Mexican and Mexican-American Catholics. Drawing on both archival and ethnographic materials, her work explores themes of popular practice, material religion (theory of the object), affective approaches to the study of religion, the history of liberation theology, ghosts, spirits, and rituals honoring the dead, and religion, catastrophe, and disease. Her book, Biography of a Mexican Crucifix: Lived Religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present (Oxford 2010) is a history of popular devotion to images of the suffering Christ in Mexico. Hughes’s second book, Contagion and the Sacred in Mexico, will examine the impact of demographic collapse by epidemic disease on the birth of New World Christianity. She is completing an ethnographic film on Day of the Dead celebrations in California.

xvi   list of contributors John F. Schwaller is a Professor of History at the University at Albany. He is a wellknown scholar of the history and culture of Mexico in the sixteenth century. His most recent books include A History of the Catholic Church in Latin America (New York University Press, 2011) and The First Letter from New Spain (University of Texas Press, 2014). Schwaller has two projects: one on the ceremonies and rituals of the Aztec month of Panquetzaliztli; the other a biography of Don Luis de Velasco, the younger, Viceroy of Mexico and Peru. He sits on the editorial boards of The Americas and Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl. Harold Segura is the Regional Director of Church Relationships and Christian Identity, for Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office. World Vision Colombian, Baptist Pastor, Business Manager—Santiago de Cali, University, Bachelor of Theology, Master of Theology, International Baptist Theological Seminary of Cali. University Baptist theologian, Cali Colombia Foundation. Master Religious Studies, Evangelical University of the Americas, Costa Rica. PhD student in Theology at Pontificia Javeriana University, Bogotá, Colombia, Member of the Latin American Theological Fraternity, and the International Board of Motion Together with Children and Youth. Former rector of the International Baptist Theological Seminary, Baptist University Foundation today. Collaborate as a writer of several international journals. He is author of eight books, all published between 2000–2013. Edward Wright-Ríos (PhD, UCSD, 2004) is Mellon Foundation Chair of the ­Humanities, Professor of Latin American History at Vanderbilt University. He has published articles and essays on religion, Indian-centered nationalism, ecclesiastical reform and popular religiosity, and notions of gender and the fanatical in satirical expression. In 2009 he published Revolutions in Mexican Catholicism: Reform and Revelation, 1887–1934 (Duke University Press). More recently (2014), he published a second monograph, Searching for Madre Matiana: Prophecy and Popular Culture in Modern Mexico (University of New Mexico Press). It examines the cultural legacy of the apocryphal prophetess, Madre Matiana, from the 1850s to the 1960s, in particular her emblematic stature for those seeking to fit devout femininity into the Mexican national imaginary. Kenneth Xydias received his BS and MS degrees from the New York State College of Forestry (now College of Environmental Science and Forestry). He has been involved in forestry and forest research for his entire career, and has skills in sampling, statistics, forest biometrics, economics, computer programming, and data analysis. His interest in the Jehovah’s Witnesses began when his wife started a Bible study with them more than four decades ago. Since then, he has spent considerable time studying the religion and has utilized his skills in statistics to analyze their growth.

I n troduction Oxford Handbook of Latin American Christianity David Thomas Orique, Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens, and Virginia Garrard

This volume was conceived as an effort to integrate Latin America into the growing field of studies of global Christianity. With an estimated 480 million Christians, Latin America’s population represents nearly a quarter of the 2 billion Christians in the world. By 2025, Latin America will surpass Europe and the United States to become the global region with the highest number of observant Christians. The region’s Christian dominance is representative of a broader transformation through which Christianity is becoming less Europeanized and more global with each passing year. In The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, Philip Jenkins predicts that by 2025— assuming a stable Christian population little influenced by conversion—Latin America, Africa, and Asia (known as the “Global South”) will form the overwhelming majority of the world’s Christian population. In just over a quarter of a century, nearly half—1.733 billion of an estimated total of 2.6 billion Christians—are projected to live in the Global South.1 Jenkins’s numbers point to important—and for many, unanticipated—changes in Christianity: the number of Christians in what was once described as the “developing world” has grown exponentially and continues to do so. Arguably Christianity should no longer be considered a “Western” religion, if indeed it ever was, since its founder, a first-century Jew, lived in the Middle East. Unlike the other regions of the Global South, Latin America has, uniquely, been Christian for more than five centuries. Its history, culture, holidays, worldviews, and spiritual ecology are all built on Catholic Christian foundations, and the majority of Latin Americans today are Roman Catholics. But the vast majority of Christian growth across the Global South has been among evangelicals (a term we use here in the Spanish and Portuguese sense, to mean any Protestant), most of whom are Pentecostal—those who subscribe to a variation of Christianity that emphasizes the Holy Spirit and that requires undergoing a somatic “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” as evinced in miraculous utterances, faith healing, or other embodied

2   Orique, Fitzpatrick-Behrens, and Garrard experiences. Harvey Cox observes that Pentecostals have grown from a small handful in 1900 to several hundred million today.2 In fact, of the 2 billion global Christians, over  500 million are Pentecostals or Charismatics.3 As relatively recent studies have noted, nearly all religions in Latin America have become, to a greater or lesser extent, “Pentecostalized.”4 In 2006, an extensive study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimated that at least one-fourth of the 680 million people in Latin America were “renewalists”—Protestant Pentecostals or Charismatic Catholics—who professed belief in such bodily experiences of faith as speaking in tongues, prophesying, and divine healing and who, most centrally, believe in the literal power of the Spirit.5 The growth of global Christianity not only has been the subject of a breadth of recent studies, but also has become a growing field of research and study at colleges and universities. Yet most recent research has focused on Africa, where the highest rate of growth is projected, and Asia. Renowned religious historian Mark Noll, for example, focuses almost entirely on these regions in The New Shape of World Christianity, a “comprehensive” analysis of the global faith, which barely mentions Latin America.6 Likely this oversight is due to Latin America’s deep Catholic roots, while recent studies of global Christianity tend to focus on the exponential growth of Protestant, particularly Pentecostal, Christianity. But, Latin America is also a dominant force in this conversion. In his Introduction to Pentecostalism, Allan Anderson observes that “[t]he growth of Pentecostalism in Latin America has been one of the most remarkable stories in the history of Christianity.” And he concludes that “it is quite possible that half of the classical Pentecostals in the world are found in Latin America.”7 As Protestant Pentecostalism has expanded, so has what some have called “Catholic Pentecostalism”; today, Catholic Charismatic Renewal is the most dynamic and fastest-growing current in the Latin American Church.8 As the essays in this volume demonstrate, Latin America should be a core reference point in studies of global Christianity for the following reasons. First, Latin America is arguably the site of the earliest and largest-scale global “conversion” to Christianity. The Europeans who, more than 500 years ago, invaded what would come to be known as Latin America did so with legal sanction provided by the Catholic Pope, and their “right” to the territories of the region was predicated on their conversion of native populations to Christianity. More remarkable than the mandate and its perceived legality was its success. Catholic Christianity became the core religious and cultural identity of the region, transcending geographic, ethnic, class, and later national boundaries of Latin America. By 1550, just over half a century after Christopher Columbus embarked on his journey, proclaiming a desire to convert and to liberate Jerusalem,9 in the Spanish New World, in the famous words of Robert Ricard, the so-called “Spiritual Conquest” was complete.10 Nearly all indigenous people had, in one way or another, embraced the Catholic faith. Even as the spiritual landscape of indigenous people often remained populated by the spirits, daykeepers, holy mountains, sacred caves, and magic energy of the pre-Hispanic world, the images and epistemologies of Christianity came to dominate over time, with time and space marked off by the Catholic liturgical calendar and new Christian ideas of sin and grace becoming part of the indigenous religious idiom.

Introduction   3 Enslaved Africans brought forcibly to the region subsequently also became subject to European efforts to convert them to Catholicism, although slave traders and owners were often much more eager to use religion as a method to control their slaves rather than to save their souls.11 Christianity transformed in the hearts and minds of Africans and their descendants, who overtly and covertly merged the saints and virgins of Catholicism with the spirits and exus of West Africa. While their native religion was one of the only things that enslaved Africans could bring with them to the New World, these religious ideas and expression also, over time, became thoroughly infused with a Catholic religious imaginary. The second reason for placing Latin America at the center of global Christianity derives from the first. Latin American Catholicism has been the subject of some of the most innovative studies about the processes of conversion and the ways that religious structures become foundational to social, political, and cultural continuity and change. Studies of  indigenous and African-descendant “conversion” to Catholicism offer innovative methodological models for understanding how Christianities are changed by those who embrace, practice, and engage them. The wealth of archival materials from Spanish colonial Church and state sources, a breadth of indigenous languages, artistic, and archaeological sources for Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru, and extensive library holdings at the Beinecke library at Yale, the Library of Congress, and the Vatican Archives among others provide the foundation for highly innovative studies about how European Catholicism was transformed by native peoples. Older work by historians including Lewis Hanke, Robert Ricard, John Lloyd Mecham, and, more recently, John Lynch provided comprehensive views of the role of Catholicism in Latin America.12 A new wave of scholarship on Latin American Christianity ensued with prominent figures like Anthony Pagden, Sabine MacCormack, Rolena Adorno, Stewart Schwartz, William Taylor, Eric Van Young, Virginia Garrard, Todd Hartch, R. Andrew Chesnut, Edward Cleary, and others.13 Research also examined the role of Catholic structures—cofradías and cargos—for providing indigenous and African descendants the means of negotiating with the forces of colonialism. In the heyday of mid-twentieth-century anthropology, “religious syncretism”—sometimes called “folk Catholicism”—became a key scholarly preoccupation, with an emphasis on “authentic” versus heterodox religious forms, which now reads as unnecessarily binary in its approach. Later work examining “hybrid” cultures of Latin America was inspired, in part, by the efforts of Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz to understand the complexities of African descendants’ “transculturation” of Catholicism and other European practices and structures.14 The development of liberation theology as a distinctly Latin American response to the Second Vatican Council drew new scholarly attention, especially as Catholics inspired by this reformed vision became associated with revolutionary movements and became the targets of military dictatorships. Scholars who accepted implicitly the theory that secularization was a necessary corollary of modernization were forced by the surprising role of Catholicism in contemporary revolution to question their theories.15 Theologians, political scientists, and historians turned their attention to the surprising transformation of Catholicism and its role in promoting human rights.16

4   Orique, Fitzpatrick-Behrens, and Garrard The final reason for placing Latin America at the center of studies of global Christianity is precisely the fact that the region not only has deep roots in Catholicism and conversion, but also has become one of the most important sites for the exponential growth of Pentecostalism. Given its long-standing identity as a profoundly Catholic region and the limited success of mainline Protestants in facilitating large-scale ­popular conversion, researchers were initially stunned by the phenomenal embrace of Pentecostalism. Pentecostals have grown to some 35 million followers in Latin America and have drawn extensive journalistic and scholarly attention through numerous reports, which often highlighted what was perceived as Pentecostalism’s growing challenge to Catholicism. Pioneering work by David Martin and David Stoll played a key role in drawing scholarly attention to this religious transformation. Is Latin America Turning Protestant? (the title of Stoll’s book) became a refrain for scholars, Catholic clergy and laity, and even casual observers of the region.17 While Pentecostal growth has been extraordinary, Catholic Charismatics outnumber Pentecostals almost two to one in Latin America. Of the world’s 200 million Catholic Charismatics, 73 million are Latin American. Studies about the embrace of Evangelical Christianity abound to such a degree that when historian John Lynch published New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America in 2012 and argued that “the evidence suggests that for five centuries the defining religion of Latin America has been Catholic . . . ” to explain his overwhelming focus on Catholicism, the claim seemed insufficient to justify the title.18 By the advent of the twenty-first century, the religious history of Latin America appeared to be a history of Christian pluralism. Yet, in practice Lynch’s argument was valid. The Pew Survey on Religion observed, “Historical data suggest that for most of the 20th century, from 1900 through the 1960s, at least 90% of Latin America’s population was Catholic.” Large-scale conversion to Protestantism did not start until the 1970s and, according to Pew, 69 percent of adults in Latin America still identify as Catholic.19 This volume draws together established and up-and-coming scholars in the field of Christianity in Latin America. Individually, each chapter provides a well-referenced overview of the issue or topic addressed to allow both advanced researchers and novice scholars to gain a foundation of knowledge and access to sources to deepen it. The essays are chronologically and thematically focused and have been written by an interdisciplinary group of scholars from the United States and Latin America. Together they cover the period from the European introduction of Catholicism through the advent of the new religious marketplace and conversion to Pentecostalism and Charismatic Catholicism. In addition to providing a depth of knowledge about Christianity in Latin America, the volume may also provide researchers studying global Christianity with a framework for considering issues and approaches to analyze how religious change takes place when faiths are embraced and transformed by new believers in new social, political, and cultural contexts. The depth of scholarship on this process makes Latin America a core area for understanding Christianity’s growth and transformation.

Introduction   5

The History of the Volume Edward J. Cleary, OP, a pioneer in the field of Christianity in Latin America, conceived this volume as a contribution to global Christianity and a reference work for students and scholars seeking knowledge and resources to understand Christianity in Latin America. Cleary was a vital presence in the field of Christian studies in Latin America. In addition to spending more than half a century as an observer and participant in Latin American Christianity, Cleary published more than a dozen books, over fifty articles, and was a cofounder of the Latin American Studies Association Section on Religion. He published the first work on Charismatic Catholics and focused extensively on Catholic lay activism, while also studying deeply the field of Pentecostalism and main-line Protestantism. In addition to being an extraordinarily productive scholar, Cleary, over the years, played a defining role in the lives of many young scholars whose dissertations he scoured before seeking them out for conversation and incorporation into the growing field of studies on Christianity in Latin America, not least the three editors of this volume. Cleary developed the organizational scaffolding of this volume, contracted many of the contributing authors, and secured a contract with Oxford University Press. Regrettably, he passed away in 2011 before he could oversee the development and completion of the project. Religious scholar Manuel A, Vasquez became the volume’s editor after Cleary passed. We thank Vasquez for all the work and insights he brought to this work in the early phases of this project. We gratefully dedicate this work to Edward J. Cleary.

Notes 1. Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002), 2–3. 2. Harvey Gallagher Cox, Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-first Century (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2007), 8. 3. Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 11. 4. See, for example, R.  Andrew Chesnut, “Pentecostalization and Pluralization: The New Latino Religious Landscape,” Huffington Post, May 9, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost. com/r-andrew-chesnut/pentecostalization-and-pl_b_5294863.html, and Luis Lugo, “Pope to Visit ‘Pentecostalized’ Brazil,” Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, April 19, 2007, 5. Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals,” October 5, 2006, 6. Mark  A.  Noll, The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2013).

6   Orique, Fitzpatrick-Behrens, and Garrard 7. Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism, 63. 8. Edward L. Cleary, The Rise of Charismatic Catholicism in Latin America (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2011). 9. Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1984), 10–11. 10. Robert Ricard, The Spiritual Conquest of Mexico: An Essay on the Apostolate and the Evangelizing Methods of the Mendicant Orders in New Spain, 1532–1572, trans. Lesley B. Simpson (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1966). 11. Gilberto Freyre, The Masters and the Slaves: A Study in the Development of Brazilian Civilization (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1986). 12. Lewis Hanke, The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, 1949); Ricard, Spiritual Conquest; J. Lloyd Mecham, Church and State in Latin America: A History of Politico-Ecclesiastical Relations (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1934); John Lynch, “The Catholic Church in Latin America, 1830–1930,” in The Cambridge History of Latin America, 12 vols., ed. Leslie Bethell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984–2008), 527–595. 13. Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Sabine MacCormack, Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991); Rolena Adorno, The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014); William B. Taylor, Magistrates of the Sacred: Priests and Parishioners in Eighteenth-Century Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996); Eric Van Young, The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology, and the Mexican Struggle for Independence, 1810–1821 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002); Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Protestantism in Guatemala: Living in the New Jerusalem (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1998); Todd Hartch, The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014); Andrew Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003). 14. Fernando Ortiz, Contrapunto cubano del tabaco y el azucar: (advertencia de sus contrastes agrarios, económicos, históricos y sociales, su etnografía y transculturación) (La Habana: Universidad Central de las Villas, Dirección de Publicaciones, 1963). 15. José Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1994). 16. Phillip Berryman, The Religious Roots of Rebellion: Christians in Central American Revolutions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1984); Edward  L.  Cleary, The Struggle for Human Rights in Latin America (Westport, CT: Praeger Press, 1997); Christine Kovic, Mayan Voices for Human Rights: Displaced Catholics in Highland Chiapas (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2005); Scott Mainwaring, The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil, 1916–1985 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986); Anna  L.  Peterson, Martyrdom and the Politics of Religion: Progressive Catholicism in El Salvador’s Civil War (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997). 17. David Martin, Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990); David Stoll, Is Latin America Turning Protestant? The Politics of Evangelical Growth (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990). 18. John Lynch, New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), xv. 19. Pew Research Center, Religion and Public Life: Widespread Change in a Historically Catholic Region (November 13, 2014).

pa rt I


chapter 1

The M a k i ng of Col on i a l Chr isti a n it y i n Hispa n ic A m er ica John F. Schwaller

The conversion of the native peoples of the Americas was an essential component of the Spanish agenda in the conquest and settlement of the New World. As a result of papal grants, the Spanish monarchs were obliged to assure that the indigenous peoples of these new continents would become Christians. Failure to do so would cast doubt on the legitimacy of Spanish claims to the Indies. Additionally, on the Iberian Peninsula the Spanish monarchs had used Christianity as one of three initiatives to galvanize support in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, along with the monarchy and the Spanish language. Thus, the conversion of the natives to Christianity was important for two separate purposes: one international, in that Spanish claims to the New World rested on the spread of Christianity; the other more domestic, in the creation of a homogeneous body politic. While the Catholic Church appears monolithic, there are actually many different institutions that are subsumed within the Church. Although the Church consists of all believers, in reality most people think about the priests and others who represent the Church and who minister in its name. Priests in the Church fall into one of two main categories. Members of established religious orders, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, or Jesuits, are considered regular clergy. In this context, “regular” does not have the meaning of ordinary or normal, but rather derives from the Latin word regula, meaning a set of rules. Members of the regular clergy live according to a special set of rules for their particular order. Thus, the Franciscans live according to rules handed down by their founder, Saint Francis of Assisi. The Jesuits live according to rules developed by their founder, Saint Ignatius Loyola. The Franciscan, Dominican, and Augustinian orders all took specific vows of poverty and thus were known as the “begging,” or mendicant orders, since they supported themselves through alms. Members of these orders addressed one another as “brother,” and many members

10   John F. Schwaller never became priests. As a result, the members are generally known as friars, from the Latin word frater, meaning brother. Only members of orders who lived their lives separated from the world and who followed the Benedictine Rule were known as monks. Thus, there were very few monks in colonial Hispanic America. For reasons that will be explored later, most of the early efforts to Christianize the native peoples of the New World came from the members of the regular clergy. The regular clergy are largely self-governing, organizing their members into convents or priories that are linked into provinces, and eventually to officials who generally reside in Rome, and ultimately to the pope. Until the mid-sixteenth century the religious orders operated without much local supervision from bishops or archbishops.1 In Europe, and eventually in the New World, most parish priests were members of the secular clergy, also known as the diocesan clergy, and not members of organized religious orders. The word “secular” derives from a Latin word (saeculum) which means the world, implying that these priests lived out in the world, not closeted away in convents or monasteries or priories. The term “diocesan” refers to the fact that these priests were supervised by local bishops and functioned within the district governed by the bishop, called a diocese or bishopric. Bishops and archbishops are equal in the eyes of the Church, except that archbishops have some administrative supervision over neighboring bishops in their region, also called an ecclesiastical province.2 The spreading of Christianity is called evangelization. This term derives from the Latin word for the Gospels (evangelium, also known as the “Good News” from the original Greek)—the accounts of Jesus’s ministry in the New Testament. As such, this would mean something akin to “spreading the Gospel.” In general, early evangelization fell frequently to members of the regular clergy. Because they were largely self-governing, a small group of regular priests could operate outside of the normal ecclesiastical hierarchy of bishops and archbishops. Moreover, in 1522 the Franciscan Order had received a special permission from the pope allowing them to exercise the full range of church ministries, without the need for bishops, as long as they were in regions more than three days’ travel to a bishop. This permission was called Omnimoda (“total”), since it essentially gave the missionary friars full papal authority for their ministry. Eventually this privilege was extended to all of the missionary orders. By and large, four religious orders participated in the early missionary efforts in the New World: the Franciscans (OFM), Dominicans (OP), Augustinians (OSA), and Mercedarians (OM). In general, the colonial world consisted of two great cultural regions: Mesoamerica, what is now Central Mexico reaching down into Central America, and the Andes, the mountainous regions stretching from modern-day Colombia to Chile. Different orders held primacy in different regions. For instance, the Franciscans were the first order to evangelize Mexico, but the Mercedarians had ­primacy in Peru. Each of the orders had a different approach to the work of conversion, largely in keeping with their historical traditions. The Franciscans had, as an essential element of their calling, the desire to emulate Christ. Thus, they approached conversion through the pursuit of apostolic poverty and charity (living in a manner like Christ and his apostles),

The Making of Colonial Christianity in Hispanic America   11 believing that the natives would be attracted to Christianity by their lifestyle. The Dominicans were established as an order of preachers, believing that through their preaching, people would be attracted to the message of Christ and would gain a deeper understanding of Christianity. Thus, in the New World, they put great emphasis on preaching and education in general. The Mercedarians were founded with the goal of ransoming captives held by Muslims and other non-Christians. Thus, their order was accustomed to operating under difficult conditions in non-Christian areas. The Franciscans arrived in New Spain, the region that eventually became Mexico, in 1524, followed by the Dominicans in 1528, and Augustinians in 1533. In Peru, the Mercedarians began their mission in 1541, followed by the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Upon their arrival, each order pursued the conversion of the natives to Christianity. One clear obstacle was that of language. The friars spoke Spanish, the Bible was written in Latin, and the services were also conducted in Latin. Although the missionaries considered teaching Spanish to all the natives, clearly it was more efficient for the missionaries to learn the native languages. Nonetheless, a few children of the native elite were trained in both Spanish and Latin in order to serve as intermediaries in conversion efforts. In both New Spain and Peru, the natives spoke hundreds of different languages, many of them mutually unintelligible because they were from completely different language families. Yet in both regions, as a result of influence of the Aztec and Inca empires, there were common languages spoken by many people over wide swaths of the land. In New Spain the Aztec language, Nahuatl, was the lingua franca (the language of trade and government) from the deserts of northwestern Mexico all the way into Central America. Similarly, in the Andes the Inca language, Quechua, was the lingua franca from Ecuador all the way to modern-day Chile and northern Argentina. Thus, the missionaries could draw on this tradition of native languages to assist them in the conversion of the native. Christian prayers and catechisms could be translated into one of these common languages, or even composed originally in those languages, for use in the conversion. In both the case of Nahuatl and Quechua, the missionaries had to choose one of the regional dialects to serve as the standard. In both instances they selected the version spoken by the elites of each native empire. Thus Cuzco Quechua and Nahuatl of the Valley of Mexico became the normative for the missionaries, as those dialects had been under the Inca and Aztecs. In both regions the missionaries tapped into preexisting patterns of control and domination. Because both languages had been used as imperial languages, regional variants continued to exist. In the case of the Andes, the language spoken in the northern reaches of the Inca Empire was known as Quichua, because of local pronunciation variants. In Mesoamerica several forms of Nahuatl coexisted. In the region of Oaxaca, for example, the local Nahuatl depended on what the underlying native language had been, since Zapotec speakers spoke a different variant from Mixtec speakers, because of their first language. Consequently, there were several “Nahuatls as a second language,” depending on the underlying native language. The translation of Christian concepts into the native languages posed tremendous difficulty. Christian notions of sin simply did not exist in native philosophies and religions.

12   John F. Schwaller At the same time, the missionaries agonized over whether to use native words for “god” to describe the Christian deity, or to simply leave the word Dios untranslated. At this point a process called “double mistaken identity” by one scholar began to take hold.3 Although many missionaries gained fluency in the native languages, they continued to think like Europeans. Similarly, many natives attained fluency in Spanish, but continued to think like their ancestors had. Although each side thought they understood what the other meant by some word or practice, in actual fact they were quite wrong, and tragically wrong in some instances. For example, in Mexico missionaries used two epithets from pre-conquest times to describe the Christian deity: Ipalnemoani, “the one through whom all live,” and Tloque Nahuaque, “possessor of the nearby, possessor of the far.” Yet these two epithets were associated in pre-conquest thought with the important trickster and war god Tezcatlipoca.4 Consequently, native peoples associated some aspects of Tezcatlipoca with the new Christian God, while the friars thought that these descriptions merely enhanced and deepened the natives’ understanding of the Christian God. The process of adopting the foreign belief system while adapting it to the native thought and belief process is also called “transculturation.” On the surface it might seem as if the natives have embraced Christianity, but in reality they have embraced a set of beliefs that they incorporated into and modified because of their preexisting vision of the world. The different missionary techniques of the different religious orders also had an impact on how quickly and how thoroughly the natives under their supervision embraced the new religion. Medieval theologians inspired the Franciscans to believe that once Christianity had been spread among all nations, the end times would begin and Christ’s kingdom on earth would start, known as the millennium or thousand-year reign. As a result, Franciscans were very eager to convert as many natives as quickly as possible because they genuinely believed that Christ’s second coming was near. For them, baptism, the sacrament through which a person formally became a Christian, was crucial. The early chronicles of the order have tales of hundreds of thousands of natives being baptized by specific missionaries. In contrast, the Dominicans believed that people had to fully understand the religion before they could make an informed choice to embrace it. Thus, they established a long process whereby the natives would slowly be taught about Christian doctrine (indoctrination) before actually receiving the sacrament of baptism. These two approaches created significantly different responses among native peoples. As a result of grants from the pope to the kings of Spain, the Spanish monarchs had the right to nominate bishops and request the creation of dioceses, the territories governed by bishops. The first dioceses in the New World were created in 1512, to supervise the Church on the islands of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. In 1525, the King created the first diocese in North America, that of Puebla-Tlaxcala, and appointed Fr. Julián Garcés, OFM, as first bishop. The diocese of Lima was created in 1541 with Fr. Jerónimo de Loayza, OP, as first bishop. The monarchs also had the responsibility to appoint other Church officials, create parishes, appoint parish priests, and collect and distribute the ecclesiastical tax—the tithe, a 10 percent tax on agricultural production and commodities.

The Making of Colonial Christianity in Hispanic America   13 The Spanish kings donated the tithe back to the Church, but held back a small portion, one-ninth, to further missionary activity. Because the religious orders operated under their own rules, established centuries before and endorsed by a series of popes, they fell largely outside of the supervision of royal authority. The evangelization of the New World coincided with the Protestant Reformation. Some theologians of the era believed that the missionary activity in the New World was a divine response to the Reformation, allowing the Catholic Church to gain adherents in the new lands as it lost faithful in Europe. The most important Catholic response to the Reformation was the convening of an ecumenical council in Trent (located in northwestern Italy), in order to bring about needed reform within the Church. The bishops and other prelates met on and off for nearly two decades as they debated reforms and the agenda for the future of the Church. Finally, in 1563, the final decrees were published. One of the important concepts elaborated by the reforms was that the local bishop should have greater control over the clergy in his diocese, both the secular and the regular clergy. In the reforms of Trent, the Spanish Crown saw an opportunity to bring the religious orders in the New World more completely under royal jurisdiction, by bringing them under the control of local bishops. In addition, the royal courts had the power to interpret Church law in certain contexts, and thus resolve disputes between the branches of the clergy. As the Spanish population of the colonies increased to a critical mass, local officials and the Crown all began to recognize the need for opportunities for women in the Church. In the early modern period, the role of women in the Church was largely confined to religious orders for women. Every major city of Latin America saw the establishment of convents for women within a few years after conquest and settlement. Religious orders for women are part of the regular orders, by definition. Each house or convent followed a particular set of rules and ordinances, frequently versions of the rules for male religious orders. Thus each major religious order had both male and female components. For example, the Franciscan Rule was adapted for use by female religious in an order named after its founder, one of Saint Francis’s early followers: Saint Clare of Assisi. Female Franciscans came to be known as the Poor Clares, since they pursued the same goal of apostolic poverty, as did Francis. Because historically the order for men was established first, it was known as the First Order of Saint Francis. The Order of Saint Clare, established later, is known as the Second Order. Thus in general, male orders are known as the First Order, female as the Second Order. Eventually orders were developed for lay people, which did not require members to take vows of celibacy. These lay orders are known as Third Orders. Early foundations for women were created when nuns traveled from Spain to help establish their orders in the New World. With this critical mass, they then began to recruit new members from among the daughters of the local elite. Just as male orders had a specific vocation or calling (Dominicans were a preaching order, for example, and Mercedarians sought the ransom of captives), so female religious houses also had specific vocations, such as caring for the ill or continual prayer. Several early convents for women were established to assist in what were seen as two pressing needs of society

14   John F. Schwaller of the time. One was to provide an honorable calling to young women from “good” families who for one reason or another probably would not marry. Another was to offer a secure and safe place for women and children to live while the male head of household was abroad in trade or conquest. Lastly, convents could offer a place where women who had been abandoned by their male protector might seek a new life.5 As dioceses were created and bishops were appointed, native peoples came into contact with the secular clergy and witnessed some of the tension between the secular and the regular clergy, and especially efforts by local bishops, even those who were members of religious orders themselves, to reign in the orders. Issues emerged over the degree to which the natives, as neophytes, or newcomers to the faith, should be subject to the rules and regulations that applied to all the faithful. Two areas quickly emerged in which the role of natives was at issue. The tithe was historically the basis for the financial support of the Church. While in Europe the tithe was collected on a wide range of items, in the New World it was limited to agricultural products and commodities elaborated from them. For instance, the tithe on wheat consisted of one-tenth of the grain harvested from a given farm. But for sugar, the tax was not imposed on the sugar cane, but on the refined sugar and molasses made from the cane. The native peoples paid a variety of taxes to the Spanish state, the most important of which was tribute, a head tax imposed on heads of household. As a result of the papal grants giving the Spanish monarchs control over the New World Church, the king also was ultimately responsible for paying local priests, bishops, and other ecclesiastical officials. At the same time, the king collected tribute from the natives, some of which was distributed to local Spanish elites in recognition of their participation in the conquest and settlement of the region. The king resolved to use the tribute as the source of funding for parish priests who administered the sacraments among the natives. Similarly, local colonists who received tribute from the natives were also responsible for paying the priests who ministered to those natives. Thus, if the natives were required to pay the tithe, they would, in essence, be paying twice for the support of the Church: once through tribute, a second time through the tithe. As a result, the natives were generally exempted from having to pay the tithe, except on three items of European origin: wheat, silk, and wine. In the newly established dioceses of the New World, the Crown did not establish the Holy Office of the Inquisition—the government office dedicated to maintaining the purity of the Christian faith—until the 1570s. In the absence of a formally established Inquisition, the power of inquisitor rested with the local bishop. In the 1530s the bishop of Mexico, Fr. Juan de Zumárraga, OFM, pursued inquisitions against some native leaders, one of whom was a traditional lord of the important town of Texcoco. In the wake of the inquisitorial trial, the native lord and others were executed as apostates and idolaters, that is, ones who had rejected Christianity and had returned to the worship of idols. This had a profound impact on public opinion both in Mexico and in Spain. In general, most felt that the natives, as recent converts to Christianity, could not be held to the same standard as Spaniards. As a result, the natives were exempted from the jurisdiction of the Inquisition. Nonetheless, their religious practices and

The Making of Colonial Christianity in Hispanic America   15 beliefs were still subject to the scrutiny of the local bishop through the normal Church courts, but not the Inquisition. The sixteenth century saw the rapid growth of both the regular and secular clergy. Missionaries from Spain continued to travel to the New World at the same time that the local Spanish population grew and began to contribute young men to both branches of the clergy. The number of dioceses continued to increase rapidly into the seventeenth century, when the growth slowed. As a result of internal political considerations and mandates of the Council of Trent, the Spanish Crown continued to seek to limit the power of the religious orders. One of the outcomes of Trent was to place more pastoral supervision in the hands of the local bishop: that is, local bishops were to take an active role in the administration of Church sacraments within their territory. As a result, members of the regular clergy needed to be licensed to perform religious services by the bishop of the diocese within which they operated. For the Spanish Crown, the regulations established at Trent provided a method with bringing the regular clergy under greater control. By and large, the Crown had little direct control over the regular orders, since they had their own internal administration that bypassed the Crown. But since the regulars administered the sacraments, they needed to be licensed by the local bishop, who was ultimately appointed by the king. In addition, the Crown began a program in the late sixteenth century that moved regular clerics from serving parishes in rural areas into convents and monasteries in towns and cities. This program sought to place all parishes in the hands of the secular clergy, and under more direct royal supervision. The process, however, took until the mid-eighteenth century to accomplish. Perhaps the most successful order was the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits. A Basque Spaniard, Saint Ignatius Loyola, founded the order. The Jesuits used a strong military-style organization to allow them to confront the threat of the Protestant Reformation and to engage in missionary activity overseas. Because the order was founded at about the same time as the discovery and conquest of the Americas, it arrived later to the region than the other missionary groups, generally around 1570. The Jesuits tended to focus on two types of activity. On the one hand, the Jesuits established colleges for the education of the European residents, frequently affiliated with one of the universities that had been established in the Americas, and also ministered to urban populations in general. On the other hand, the Jesuits also had missions in the frontier regions of the empire: in the northwest of Mexico and in what is now Paraguay, to name but two regions. In order to support these activities, the Jesuits embraced commercial agriculture. Using land either donated to the order or purchased by it, the Jesuits developed farms and ranches, the products of which would fund their extensive activities. In some places these estates produced cattle and wheat for the local market. In other places the Jesuits owned and operated sugar plantations; in still others they cultivated vineyards and produced wine. The common denominator was large-scale, almost industrial-scale, production for the commercial market. Profits were reinvested into operations and in

16   John F. Schwaller the purchase of additional estates, as well as for the support of the colleges and missions. In this way, the Society of Jesus became the largest and wealthiest order in colonial Hispanic America. Once the missionaries had mastered the native languages, they also set about learning about the native cultures. While much of the information they gathered helps modern scholars understand the pre-conquest civilizations better, even eliciting the comparison of the early missionaries with modern ethnographers—the comparison is badly made. The missionaries had a single goal that drove their interest in the native societies: they wished to eradicate the last vestiges of the old culture and replace it with Christianity. In the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Christianity acquired many local variations across the length and breadth of Hispanic America as local practices became established. As part of the conversion process, the missionaries and parish priests implemented many features of popular Christianity and also sought to involve the natives in the life of the Church. In order to facilitate the daunting task of teaching the rudiments of Christian doctrine to thousands of natives in any given parish, the priests trained natives to assist them. Native labor built churches in native villages. Natives cleaned and cared for the churches. Native musicians participated in the liturgy. Some natives served as acolytes and took minor roles in the celebration of Church rituals. In short, all of the essential elements of church life involved the natives. By the last quarter of the sixteenth century, and even earlier in central Mexico, religious sodalities began to emerge in native communities. Sodalities, also known as confraternities (cofradías), provided small group experience for the newly converted natives. In general, sodalities were church organizations that provide mutual support for parishioners. Importantly, their membership included both men and women. They might take the form of burial societies or prayer groups. In the Hispanic world, many societies dedicated themselves to the veneration of the consecrated host, the Blessed Sacrament. In a cofradía, members would pay annual dues, participate in regular worship activities with other members, and provide financial support for the Christian burial of members. Clergy favored the creation of cofradías as a means of increasing religious devotion, providing additional revenue for the priest and also for the upkeep of the church building. The cofradía operated under the supervision of the local parish priest, but had a rather large degree of freedom from scrutiny. From the late sixteenth century, records of various native cofradía were kept in native languages, such as Nahuatl. One friar, Alonso de Molina, is credited with having developed a Nahuatl language constitution for the sodality of the Blessed Sacrament (Santísimo Sacramento). With the passage of time, some of these societies came to acquire fairly large sums of money that would be managed by the leadership of the organization, not by the parish priest. This money could be invested in mortgages on property or in livestock or other productive enterprises. The cofradías also sponsored local religious festivals during which funds were spent, either coming out of the communal coffers or the pockets of the chosen leaders. The natives of Mesoamerica in particular, and the Andean region to a lesser degree, capitalized on the Spanish having transcribed their languages into European characters.

The Making of Colonial Christianity in Hispanic America   17 In particular, in the colonial period hundreds of thousands of documents were written in Nahuatl using the system developed by the missionary friars. The Maya, too, embraced the Spanish system of writing their languages, but to a lesser degree than the Nahua. Literacy allowed the natives to develop their own artistic expression in support of their faith. The production of religiously oriented dramas proved quite popular. Initially these theatrical productions followed strict Spanish conventions and focused on biblical stories. But creativity brought about a flowering of expression, running the gamut from passion plays to morality plays, to farces, all composed by natives for natives, sometimes with a minimum of Spanish supervision. Music played a very important role in religious celebrations in most native communities prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Logically, music was enlisted to serve in the celebration of Christian rituals. The missionaries attempted to train native musicians in European musical traditions with European instruments, particularly stringed instruments that were largely unknown, since native instrumentation included drums and other rhythm instruments, flutes, and horns of various types. The natives, especially in the Nahuatl-speaking regions, had a tradition of choral music, songs composed to honor the pre-conquest deities. The use of these songs by the natives during Christian rituals was of great concern for the missionaries. Yet, faced with this problem, they had three choices: to eliminate native music completely, to modify the lyrics of native songs to make them more appropriate to a Christian setting, or to train native musicians in a completely new style, namely European music. Time pressures dictated that while the missionaries hoped to train the natives in the new style, as a stop-gap measure, they would adopt native songs and adapt them to the new reality.6 In the Andean region, the use of natives as assistants within the parish proved to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, clearly missionaries could not have served their native parishioners without local assistants. Not only did the Quechua language pose its own problems, at the same time Andean spirituality was quite alien to the missionaries. Without native assistants, the missionaries would have been quite unable to express notions about the Christian deity in any intelligible way. While the missionaries focused much energy on the creation of an educated native elite, to serve as cultural intermediaries, they did not copy the system developed in Mexico where children of native leaders were taken off to a school in Mexico City for indoctrination. Rather, they attempted to teach the native leaders in their own home areas. Yet, as in Mesoamerica, they did accord a special status to the native leaders. Thus many villages had a cadre of young Quechua speakers from elite families who were seen as cultural intermediaries. In the cities, the seventeenth century saw the flowering of life in the convents. Female religious of the era came to occupy a critically important role in society. The impact of these women can be seen in the lives of two female religious: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in Mexico and Saint Rose of Lima in Peru. They manifest nearly diametrically opposite responses to the role of women in the larger society. Sor Juana was born into a largely creole family in the Valley of Mexico. She learned to read at home, and hoped to pursue a life of letters. As a young woman she moved to live with family members in Mexico City. Wishing to continue her education, she tried

18   John F. Schwaller to dress like a boy to attend the university. Nonetheless, she became a member of the viceregal court and served as a lady in waiting to the vicereine, the Marquesa de Mancera. Thwarted in her desire to pursue her education at the university and unwilling to marry the men of the court who had proposed to her, she opted to join the convent. She first entered a very austere order, later opting to join a more relaxed one, the Hieronymite nuns. In the convent she continued her education and established a circle of admirers. Behind the screen of the convent, she entertained a wide range of notables and became a famous poet in her own right. Her poetry was widely respected in the Spanish-speaking world, gaining her the epithet of the “Tenth Muse.” She can even be considered an early feminist, as seen in her poem “Foolish Men” (Hombres necios). Later in her life, she experienced several crises of conscience and eventually embraced an austere and penitent life style, dying at the age of forty-four.7 Saint Rose of Lima had a far different life from Sor Juana. Rose was the daughter of an early settler and conqueror of Peru. Born and raised in Lima, she adopted the lifestyle of Dominican nuns at an early age, living as a Third Order, or lay nun. As she matured, she rejected the advances of boys and became even more dedicated to prayer and self-mortification. Her father, however, refused to allow her to join the convent. As a result, she formally professed to be a lay member of the Dominican Order for women before the archbishop of Lima, taking the name of Rose. Thereafter she voluntarily followed the Dominican rule. Her lifestyle attracted the attention of the Lima elite and during her life she gained a reputation for saintliness, living in a solitary cell that her father had built for her within the family home. She died at the age of thirty-one, universally acclaimed a saint. The process of sainthood was completed fifty years after her death.8 Rose and Sor Juana manifest nearly opposite reactions of women to religious life. Sor Juana found conventual life liberating, allowing her to pursue her own intellectual pursuits somewhat protected from the outside world. Saint Rose fully embraced the ascetic lifestyle that was common in seventeenth-century Latin America, cutting herself off completely from the outside world. Andean religions placed great importance on the landscape, in a manner that was completely inscrutable to the European conquerors. Ritual objects had a spiritual power that the Europeans similarly did not understand. Moreover, the Inca, in particular, engaged in a type of ancestor worship in which the mummified remains of previous rulers were considered part of the ruling elite and were consulted on a regular basis. In Mesoamerica, natives continued to practice private quotidian rituals, table blessings, incantations for good crops, and curing ceremonies, in spite of prohibitions on them. As part of the evangelization throughout the Hispanic Americas, the missionaries attempted to root out many of these practices, but were not completely successful. In Mesoamerica from the late sixteenth century and in the Andean region by the early seventeenth century, local parish priests began to become aware of the remaining vestiges of native religion and spirituality that continued to play an active role in the native communities. Since the natives were exempted from the jurisdiction of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, it fell to the local bishop, and by extension the local parish priest, to root out and eliminate the surviving native practices. The movement has been called the “extirpation.”

The Making of Colonial Christianity in Hispanic America   19 During extirpation efforts, both in the Andean region and in Mesoamerica, local parish priests, generally not friars or members of religious orders, would investigate charges of idolatry, the veneration of idols, and apostasy—Christians who had abandoned the new faith and practiced the old religions. While a few individuals were found to have rejected Christianity or to have continued pre-conquest native religious practices in giving offerings and prayers to idols, the vast majority of native peoples practiced a religion that was essentially Christianity, with numerous additions and borrowing from pre-conquest religion. Religion, like so many other areas of culture, witnessed not just the mixture of two traditions, but a thorough mixing as well. In the extirpation campaigns, natives were punished, idols were seized and destroyed, public punishments meted out, but no one was executed, as Church courts lacked the authority to enforce capital punishment. Just as an earlier period had seen the creation of many texts describing the pre-conquest cultures, understanding the native culture in order to better evangelize, so the ­period of the extirpation also saw the writing of handbooks describing local customs and religious practices with an eye to eradicating them. Scholars in the modern period have drawn on these texts to understand both the pre-conquest native cultures and the mid-colonial culture and religious practices. What is clear is that within the first century following the conquest, many different varieties of Christianity developed, each influenced by the nature and character of the local culture and pre-conquest religion. This process has been called “syncretism.” While previous generations of scholars view syncretism as an unfortunate byproduct of evangelization, and something to ultimately be avoided, modern thought sees it as a process whereby a religion changes in response to local conditions. From its very origins, Christianity drew upon the religious environment of the Mediterranean world. Clearly the placement of the birth of Jesus, in late December, reflects a merging of celebrations with the preexisting holidays associated with the winter solstice. Thus, throughout the Hispanic colonial world, and Christian world in general, there were celebrations at other important solar moments. Easter by rule falls near the spring equinox. Saint John the Baptist was celebrated on June 24, near the summer solstice, and exactly six months from Christmas, while Saint Michael was venerated with all the angels on September 29, near the autumnal equinox. Each of these celebrations could, then, take on the character of the pre-conquest religious tradition associated with these solar events. European concerns that native religions were possible manifestations of the diabolic began to wane in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Increasingly, parish priests and government officials realized that while popular manifestations of religion might vary from region to region, they needed to focus on the native people’s embrace of the basic principles of Christianity, the foundational prayers, and essential rituals, and not fret about seemingly idolatrous behavior. Consequently, the number of extirpation campaigns and trials for idolatry begin to decline in the eighteenth century.9 During the period of the extirpation, the tensions between the regular clergy and the seculars increased. In the mid-seventeenth century, one bishop in Mexico, Juan de Palafox

20   John F. Schwaller y Mendoza, attempted to bring the regular orders more directly under his supervision. In attempting to regulate the activities of the Jesuit Order, Palafox demanded that local priests who administered the sacraments be licensed by him, as mandated in the Council of Trent. The Jesuits refused, noting that the order was under the direct supervision of the pope. Palafox responded by ordering the Jesuits to pay the tithe on their extensive agricultural holdings, reasoning that if the order were not part of the local Church (i.e., subject to the authority of the bishop), they should have to pay the tithe like everyone else. The confrontation ended in a stalemate as both sides filed suits against one another that dragged on for nearly a century. Not until the eighteenth century did the Spanish Crown begin to actively seek greater control over the religious orders as it took a series of actions limiting the number of regular clerics, restricting the number of convents and monasteries, refusing to allow persons to enter the orders, and limiting the amount of money that the orders could inherit from individuals. At the same time, the Crown began to appoint bishops and archbishops who shared the more expansive vision of the Church. When local bishops and archbishops met in council, they passed local Church rules that also created greater scrutiny over the regular orders while generally favoring the seculars. The epitome of the Crown’s program of limiting the regular clergy can be seen in actions taken against the Jesuits. In the mid-eighteenth century a vocal opposition began to grow in the Catholic Church in Europe over what was perceived as abuses by the Society of Jesus. In the Hispanic world, these complaints found a sympathetic hearing from the king, who was concerned over the power of the religious orders in general, but who had specific concerns about the Jesuits. While the Jesuits were probably the wealthiest of the religious orders because of their extensive participation in commercial agriculture, the order also disregarded national origins when it came to assigning personnel. Thus in Hispanic America, Jesuits came from a wide range of nationalities, not just from the kingdoms of Spain. For instance, a famous Jesuit of the early seventeenth century who served in Mexico was originally from Florence. Another famous missionary of the northern frontier was German speaking: Ignaz Pfefferkorn.10 The Spanish Crown resolved to expel all Jesuits from its American holdings, effective April 2, 1767. The expulsion command was kept secret until the morning of the announcement. Jesuits were offered a choice of either permanent exile from the Indies or to leave the order to become secular priests. Very few Jesuits chose the second option. The Crown took over the lands and estates of the order and eventually offered them at auction. The Crown kept the proceeds to benefit various missionary efforts, such as the Franciscans who had taken over the planned Jesuit missions in California. The expulsion of the Jesuits also marked a severe blow to higher education in the Spanish colonies, since the Jesuits ran colleges in most of the major Spanish towns and were an important component in the handful of universities that had been created. In the parishes in the eighteenth century, the faithful continued to participate actively in the life of the church. Over the two centuries since the conquest and evangelization, native peoples had developed their own popular responses to church teachings. They found expression in the festivals and ceremonies that unfolded as the Church year

The Making of Colonial Christianity in Hispanic America   21 progressed. Natives also had forums in which they could manifest their spirituality, especially in small group activities associated with cofradías. Some members of the native communities took the expression of faith even further and composed various spiritual works, which sometimes purported to be canonical; others were fanciful reworkings of known spiritual guides, others still simple flights of fancy. Importantly, though, many of these were written in native languages such as Maya and Nahuatl. The religious authorities had reached an uneasy accommodation with native interpretations of Christian practices. From time to time there were efforts to correct what was seen as heterodox propositions and practices. But denunciations of idolaters might also be interpreted as plots for revenge against others based on a variety of other reasons. Because the ultimate authority to police native religious practices was one of the powers of the local bishop, the prosecution varied widely from diocese to diocese. Thus in most regions of Hispanic America there was a variety of rich and complex practices and beliefs, based in Christianity with native overlay.11 On the eve of independence, while the institutional Church faced a crisis because of continuing attempts by the Crown to control its activities, the Church as it was manifested in thousands of communities continued to be robust. The church building was a focal point of community pride and a locus of community celebrations. The Church— edifice and community—provided structure to native communities, offering some leadership roles to natives in the maintenance and celebration of the Christian cult, from majordomos to sacristans and musicians. The cofradías organized in the parish provided opportunities for social interaction, support in difficult times, and a small cushion of financial stability. Plays, processions, and pageants offered entertainment while celebrating collective identity and local culture, through the prism of Christianity. In short, over three centuries Christianity had gone from a cult imposed by the conquerors on the native peoples to a vehicle for self-expression among those same native communities.

Notes 1. Scholars and others have paid considerably more attention to the religious orders than to the secular clergy. The first significant modern attempt to look at the evangelization following the conquest focused on the mendicant orders in New Spain: Robert Ricard, The Spiritual Conquest of Mexico: An Essay on the Apostolate and the Evangelizing Methods of the Mendicant Orders in New Spain, 1532–1572, translated by Lesley B. Simpson (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1966). This work was first published in French in 1933 as Ricard’s doctoral thesis. 2. Less emphasis has been placed on the role of the secular clergy. Among the works that do focus on it are: John Frederick Schwaller, The Church and Clergy in Sixteenth-Century Mexico (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1987) and William B. Taylor, Magistrates of the Sacred: Priests and Parishioners in Eighteenth-Century Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996). 3. James Lockhart, Nahuas after the Conquest (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994), 445. 4. Louise Burkhart, The Slippery Earth (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1989), 70.

22   John F. Schwaller 5. Asunción Lavrin has produced many excellent works describing the importance of female religious in colonial Latin America. A major overview of convent life can be found in: Asunción Lavrin, Brides of Christ: Conventual Life in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008). For the importance of convent life in early Peru see: Luis Martin, Daughters of the Conquistadores: Women of the Viceroyalty of Peru (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1983). 6. An example of this is Bernardino de Sahagún, Psalmodia christiana, translated by Arthur J. O. Anderson (Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press, 1993). 7. Octavio Paz, Sor Juana: Or, The Traps of Faith (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1990). 8. Two works to explore aspects of St. Rose’s life include: Ronald J. Morgan, Spanish American Saints and the Rhetoric of Identity, 1600–1810 (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2002), 67–97; Kathleen Ann Myers, “ ‘Redeemer of America’: Rosa de Lima (1589–1617), the Dynamics of Identity, and Canonization,” in Colonial Saints: Discovering the Holy in the Americas, eds. Allan Greer and Jodi Bilinkoff (New York, NY: Routledge, 2003), 251–275. 9. Fernando Cervantes, The Devil in the New World: The Impact of Diabolism in New Spain (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994), 125–147. 10. Albrecht Classen, Early History of German Speaking Jesuit Missionaries: A Transcultural Experience in the Eighteenth Century (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013), 85–129. 11. For a good view of native religious practices in eighteenth-century Mexico, see: Taylor, Magistrates of the Sacred, 48–73.

chapter 2

Ti m e a n d Chr isti a n it y i n Ea r ly L ati n A m er ica Matthew O’Hara

In 1524, just a few years after the fall of the Aztec capital, a remarkable intellectual confrontation took place in Mexico City. In the hybrid European-indigenous city that was slowly emerging from the ruins of the former Tenochtitlán, recently arrived Christian missionaries and Mexica-Nahua spiritual leaders discussed religious questions, including conversion to Christianity. The event was a coloquio, or a series of formal speeches, presentations, and responses, where both sides offered their views on the religious transformation sought by the Europeans. Although the record of the coloquio was from decades after the actual event, the Franciscan friars who led the initial evangelization of central Mexico discussed their God as the “true” God, rejected the Nahuas’ deities as false, and expressed their desire for immediate native conversion to Christianity. These “Twelve” Franciscans, whose number intentionally evoked the number of Christ’s apostles, were from a branch of the order whose understanding of time strongly shaped their religious work. Their writings and actions were suffused with a great sense of urgency, as they expected the imminent second coming of Christ and the arrival of the end days. They believed that their evangelical labor would accelerate this process, since medieval prophecies had foretold the return of the Messiah would occur only when the Word of God had been spread among all the peoples of the earth.1 These mendicant friars’ understanding of earthly time, with its implications for their work among the indigenous peoples they encountered, was bound up with their particular interpretation of spiritual and biblical time. As the marching orders given to them by their Franciscan Minister General, Francisco de los Ángeles, explained, “But now that the dawn is far spent and passing away, which is the eleventh hour of which the Gospel speaks, you are called by the head of the family to go forth into his vineyard.”2

24   Matthew O’Hara The indigenous elders gathered at the coloquio responded deferentially, yet voiced grave concerns about the project of the Franciscans. These “lords and holy men” of Tenochtitlán questioned the wholesale replacement of the old gods with the new, Christian one. To do so, one of the Mexica lords described, would be unimaginable, literally wrenching his people out of time. “There has never been a time remembered when they were not worshipped, honored, and esteemed,” he explained. “Perhaps it is a century or two since this [worship] began; [in any case] it is a time beyond counting.” As for the proposed extirpation of the old gods, he found it “very scandalous,” since it endangered the Nahuas’ spiritual and material well-being, and exposed the Spaniards themselves to ruin. Appealing to the Europeans’ obvious desire for dominion over native peoples, and based on his understanding that such control rested on the ­continued power and authority of the native elite, the lord warned, “Watch out that we do not incur the wrath of our gods. Watch out that the common people do not rise up against us if we were to tell them that the gods they have always understood to be such are not gods at all.” He therefore urged his European interlocutors to proceed gradually and with caution. He concluded, “It is best, our lords, to act on this matter very slowly, with great deliberation.”3 As in many other encounters in early Latin America, the coloquio in Mexico City was wrapped in nuance and layered in significance. In this case, the discussion of religion and conversion was also a debate over time. Indeed, the arrival of Christianity in the Americas and its long-term development throughout the colonial era were closely connected to questions of time, such as the understanding of human experience and manipulation of time, the crafting of historical memory, or the imagining of potential futures. In all these factors, religion and time should be thought of as reciprocal, even mutually constitutive, where time shaped the practice and experience of religion, but religious thought and practice also defined time itself. In this usage, “time” refers to the lived experience of time, and all of its human dimensions, sometimes referred to in shorthand as “temporality,” rather than simply “clock” time or “objective” time.4 Exploring classic and recent historical scholarship on the colonial era, this chapter considers some of the ways that the history of Christianity in early Latin America is also a history of time. It focuses on the viceroyalty of New Spain, and central Mexico in particular, but also makes references to scholarship from other parts of Spanish America. The chapter does not exhaustively survey the historiography, but concentrates on some indigenous and European understandings, uses, and manipulations of time and its relationship to the process of evangelization. This historiographical tactic is a reflection of the great diversity of case studies produced in recent years, but also scholars’ current discomfort with arguments that attempt to determine the success or failure of Christian evangelization in the region as a whole, whether the European domination of a “spiritual conquest” or the “idols behind altars” of indigenous resistance. Centering our attention on time starts a productive dialogue within the historiography on early Christianity, without rehashing earlier conversations about the effectiveness of religious conversion. In this spirit, the chapter moves beyond what seems to be a tired debate about the relative “Europeanness” or “indigeneity” of post-conquest cultures, focusing,

Time and Christianity in Early Latin America   25 instead, on unique ways of being that emerged out of the remarkable convergence of intellectual traditions and cultural practices in the colonial world. * * * Perhaps the most widely known and well-studied aspect of religious time in early Latin America is the millenarian impulse among some of the first Christian missionaries, and more generally evident in the encounter between European Christianity and indigenous religion and spirituality. As John Leddy Phelan pointed out in his study of the writings of Gerónimo de Mendieta (1525–1604)—another Franciscan who arrived in New Spain slightly later in the sixteenth century than the Twelve, and who reflected on the missionary experience up to his day—the Franciscans of the first wave came from the so-called Observant branch of their order, and many held an apocalyptic view of contemporary events. They were influenced in spirit, if not directly, by the ideas and writings of a twelfth-century abbot, Joachim de Fiore (ca. 1135–1202) from Calabria, who prophesied a coming stage of human history that would correspond to the biblically announced kingdom of the Apocalypse. This epoch would be characterized by a renewed Church that would revolve around the spiritual lives of the friars.5 Mendieta and Fiore’s vision of time relied on a method of scriptural and biblical interpretation later referred to as “typology,” which held that biblical events and knowledge were prefigurations of later occurrences.6 In theological readings confined to the Bible, Christians had long used typology to demonstrate how the life of Christ and, in general, the events in the New Testament fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. In this framework, the Old Testament comprised a vast store of “types,” or foreshadowings, that were eventually fulfilled in the events of the New Testament, the “antitypes” of what came before.7 However, beginning at least with Saint Augustine (354–430 ce), scholars employed biblical typology to explain and give meaning to the broader sweep of human history.8 In the writings of Fiore, typological reasoning took on an important new direction. As practiced by Fiore, typology did not simply provide a general outline of human history, but could be used to interpret the meaning of contemporary events and even to peer into the future.9 Few later writers matched Fiore’s elaborate chronologies and frameworks, but the less extreme applications of his method became commonplace and accepted, practical tools that interpreters of scripture could use to make sense of the present and future. Throughout the colonial era, whether through analogy, example, or a promised future, biblical content provided a skeleton key for interpreting time and worldly events. Indeed, many colonial subjects found past, present, and future unthinkable outside the heuristic framework of the Bible—not only its moral and theological teachings but also its typological content. For Mendieta the parable of the “Slighted Feast” in Luke 14:15–24 helped explain the historical context and spiritual significance of Spain’s missionary project in the Americas. The parable told of an invitation to a “great banquet” by a wealthy man. When the first round of invitees gave excuses for why they would not be able to attend, the man ordered his servant to fill the table by other, less conventional means. “Go out quickly to

26   Matthew O’Hara the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame,” he ordered. “Go out into the highways and the hedgerows, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”10 In Mendieta’s interpretation, the guests were in fact being called to Christ’s table, the unconverted now exposed to the Word of God and offered salvation. The supper signaled the end times, the Apocalypse, and the eventual conversion of the “guests” would hasten the Last Judgment.11 But not all subscribed to the typological readings offered by Mendieta or the vision of history and the future that they assumed. For starters, many questioned whether the Apocalypse was imminent, and indeed, whether such knowledge was attainable. The Jesuit José de Acosta (1540–1600), who spent a long career working in the sixteenthcentury Andes, devoted a learned treatise (De temporibus novissimis) to precisely this point, arguing that the world’s end could not be discerned. Though Acosta remained skeptical as to the precise beginning of the end, as Anthony Pagden has noted, the tract “reflects its author’s concern with the logic of the historical process, and with the relations between the human and the divine time scales.”12 Thus, while most European missionaries agreed that the present and future could not be understood outside of the framework of biblical teachings and considered scriptural analogies a valid form of argumentation, many disagreed about how to interpret the typological information available in the Bible and its relationship to the evangelization of native peoples in the sixteenth-century present. Mendieta himself defended the controversial position that the origins of the American Indians could be traced back to the ten lost tribes of Israel, in part because, if true, it would confirm his belief in the impending apocalypse, since medieval European lore held that all Jews would be converted prior to the end times.13 The messianic and apocalyptic view of world history found in the writings of Mendieta, and in the minds of some of his fellow friars, held practical consequences for the activities of the missionary Church. The fundamental disagreements among Catholic missionaries and other authorities in New Spain and elsewhere in sixteenthcentury Spanish America had to do with the tempo of conversion, its methods, and its ultimate goals. The relative speed of native indoctrination and conversion was at issue. Missionaries held very different positions, for example, on whether or not the initial mass baptisms favored by some of the Franciscans were either effective or advisable. Motivated by the vision that the friars were hastening the end of days, and, in a sense, the end of worldly time, some Franciscans argued for a speedier approach to conversion, and also defended some limited use of force and coercion to bring the final “guests” to the table. In contrast, prominent Dominican and Augustinian theologians and missionaries questioned the Franciscan approach; although they found mass baptisms expedient, they were reluctant to defend even mildly coercive evangelization. Instead, these other mendicants argued for a slower, more thorough period of indoctrination in the tenets of the new faith before baptism.14 They relied on different explanatory frameworks to understand contemporary events and their implications. Some members of the Dominican order, including the theologians Francisco de Vitoria and Domingo de Soto, and the famed Bishop of Chiapa, Bartolomé de Las Casas, interpreted the ongoing

Time and Christianity in Early Latin America   27 ­ roject of conversion not so much by apocalyptic typology, but through legal analysis p regarding the sovereignty of the Spanish monarchs over the territories and peoples of the New World, as well as through theological discourse emphasizing adequate preparation for rational acceptance of Christianity. This led a number of intellectual leaders of the Dominicans, for example, to support the Aztec-Mexica as the lawful rulers and lords of the territories of central Mexico, a position that was in turn repudiated by many Franciscans.15 What of indigenous leadership within the church, including the prospect of native men being ordained as priests or indigenous women becoming nuns? Some argued that native church leaders, including both informal, lay assistants and ordained priests or professed nuns, were essential to the successful Christianization of native people. Did not the missionaries themselves rely on indigenous collaborators to help translate Christianity into the many vernaculars found in the Americas? Who would be more adept at communicating the subtleties of Catholic doctrine and theology to local communities than the sons and daughters of those populations? They would deliver sermons with sensitivity to the nuances of local dialects and cultural contexts; they would hear confessions with great skill, and they would avoid the ambiguities of cross-cultural communication lamented by so many missionaries; they would teach Church doctrine as trusted community members. For those influenced by millennial interpretations of history, including the potential of a rapidly approaching apocalypse, speedy evangelization seemed to be of the essence. “With the last end of the world at hand . . . ,” wrote de los Ángeles to the Twelve Franciscans sent to New Spain in the early 1520s, “. . . hurry down now to the active life”; “hurry down,” that is, from a life of spiritual contemplation into one of rapid evangelization and conversion, using the best tools at hand. The prospect of a highly educated group of indigenous nobility, and perhaps an indigenous priesthood, elicited strong reactions from some Spaniards, including within the Franciscan order itself. This was true throughout the colonial period, but especially in the first few decades following the conquest of central Mexico. Some early leaders in the Mexican Church, especially a number of Franciscans influenced by the millennial and apocalyptic view of time referred to earlier, proposed to train a cohort of native youth with the eventual goal of priestly ordination.16 While intellectual and political opposition to the plan limited the creation of a robust Indian priesthood, Franciscans did create a colegio or school of liberal arts for children of the indigenous (mostly Nahua) nobility. Based on a traditional European curriculum that included training in Spanish and Latin, Franciscans opened the Colegio de Santa Cruz at Tlatelolco, a district then on the northern flank of Mexico City. The project derived from a humanist line of thought that considered education central to true conversion and saw little difference between the intellectual potential of native peoples and Europeans. A good example of such thinking is found in the writings of Alonso de Castro (1495–1558), a Spanish Franciscan theologian and Inquisitorial theorist, who argued that select Indians of the New World should receive the benefits of higher education,

28   Matthew O’Hara including instruction in Latin. “Castro had argued that Indians were just like Europeans,” writes Martin Nesvig, “—some were inherently stupid and others had the facility and drive to become learned theologians and priests.”17 The material taught at the colegio came largely from European curricula, though the project paralleled in some ways the Nahua tradition of the calmecac, the Nahuatl term for a school that trained the children of the native nobility in the generations prior to the arrival of Europeans. The Jesuit Acosta echoed these sentiments. In the Historia natural y moral de las Indias, he referred to this institutional legacy as he denounced the meager educational opportunities available to sixteenth-century indigenous children. “The [pre-Conquest] Mexicans used great order and method in bringing up their sons,” the missionary wrote, “and, if the same order existed nowadays in building houses and seminaries where these boys could be instructed, no doubt Christianity would flourish mightily among the Indians.”18 The earlier studies of Phelan and others did an exceptional job of presenting key European perspectives on the relationship between time and the enterprise of ­conversion, and demonstrated how deeply intertwined the two were in the minds of many sixteenth-century missionaries.19 These scholars also captured the way that most sixteenth-century Spanish intellectuals viewed history through a providentialist lens, where secular time revealed the unfolding of a divine plan, and thus collapsed sacred and secular time onto one another. These conclusions are points of departure in a more recent generation of scholarship that has provided different perspectives on the issues at hand. Some of this work relies on indigenous-language sources to examine the translation of European ideas into indigenous dialects and concepts and, conversely, how indigenous thought and traditions shaped European ideas.20 Others have advanced the understanding of these issues through innovative readings of Spanish and Latin sources. Collectively this scholarship reinforces the importance of the millenarian tradition of Mendieta and some of the other missionaries, but provides additional, and sometimes overlooked, views on time and Christianity in early New Spain. Such a shift can naturally follow from the methodological turn toward native-language sources, but is also a part of a broader rereading of New Spain’s history that amplifies voices muffled in earlier accounts, whether those of non-elites, native peoples, or even Europeans who might have been less well known at the time or whose perspectives have been marginalized in the subsequent historiography. These studies also reflect a historiographical tendency to revisit previous scholarship, exploring different facets of earlier histories and testing old hypotheses. To consider this historiographical issue, let us return for a moment to the question of indigenous education and evangelization. For some historians, the colegio at Tlatelolco, along with similar projects, clearly formed part of the “spiritual conquest,” the term used by the French historian Robert Ricard to capture a broad view of subjugation, one that went beyond military or political control to include the cultural transformation that accompanied European evangelization.21 In this line of thinking, which resonates with the assessment of Acosta, training children from prominent indigenous families in the concepts, languages, and logics of the European and Christian tradition amounted to a

Time and Christianity in Early Latin America   29 subjugation of native minds. This approach served as an ideal complement to the more overt assertion of Spanish power over native peoples. The project of education and indoctrination was those things, of course, but not only. Louise Burkhart has noted that one should not overlook how such programs—possibly intended by their Spanish architects to contribute to the long-term conversion of native peoples and, indeed, to achieve a more muscular social control over surviving indigenous communities and political units—could have also fostered an entirely unexpected way of interpreting the arrival of the new and its relationship to the old. These interpretations could include a critique of the colonial project itself. Burkhart’s take on the Nahua youths who were educated under the tutelage of the Franciscans at Tlatelolco is worth quoting at length: . . . knowledge empowers, and so does language. The Nahuas who knew the most about the conquering culture were not thereby obliged slavishly to honor its tenets. Graduates left the Colegio conversant in two cultural traditions. . . . Who could be better equipped to compare and evaluate both cultures, to challenge Spanish authority on its own grounds, to subvert its paradigms through subtle manipulations and restatements? Who could be better equipped to construct new ways of being Nahua, new models of the past and present, suited to their people’s current situation?22

In such cases, the outcome of the evangelical project could take the form of an ­interesting melding of European and indigenous concepts, including those related to time and religion. A fine example can be found in “Holy Wednesday,” a Passion Play, or a dramatic re-enactment related to Christ’s trial, sentencing, and punishment under Pontius Pilate, which was translated from Spanish into Nahuatl in the late sixteenth century, quite possibly at Tlatelolco.23 Passion Plays were a staple of early modern European pastoral labor and were brought to the Americas by missionaries eager to bridge the cultural and linguistic divides between them and their would-be converts. Friars and native peoples referred to the plays with the Spanish ejemplo, Latin exemplum, or Nahuatl neixcuitilli, all of which signaled their didactic use as an “example” of right conduct.24 From the friars’ perspective, these were tools to communicate Christian concepts and narratives, and, in turn, aid in the process of eradicating native religious beliefs and practices. Indeed, the plays communicated and assumed a Christian understanding of time, where worldly events of the past and present acted as a prologue to the eventual return of Christ in preparation for the end times and judgment.25 Yet, as Burkhart and others have shown, the substantial collaboration of Nahuas with the friars, from the Nahua translation of the Spanish texts to the performance of the ­dramas, meant that European and Christian messages could be modified and refashioned according to Nahua concepts.26 In the case of the “Holy Wednesday” play, the Nahua scribe who translated and adapted the text altered the understanding of time from that found in the Spanish original. In the Nahuatl version, Christ shows less agency and individual initiative than in the Spanish text. He is more deferential to Mary, and his actions are guided less by free will than by the influence of his parents and ancestors. These

30   Matthew O’Hara changes were consistent with Nahua notions of a son’s proper position in relation to his family and community, but also with Nahua ideas about the unfolding of time, which gave great weight to prophecies and the idea that worldly events were in large part preordained. The result was a text (and performance) that softened some of the linearity and teleology of Christian temporality, situating the story of Christ in a more Mesoamerican variant of time, where past, present, and future are closely related. In some ways, this relationship to time evokes the typological readings of the Christian past, where biblical events prefigured subsequent history. Yet the Nahua scribe gave substantially more weight to the past and its role in the present. The Old Testament prophets play the decisive role in the “Holy Wednesday” drama, not unlike the role of ancient prophecies in Nahua culture and the place of elders as keepers of historical memory. Their prophecies initiate a pattern and framework, through which Christ acts. “It is they who give meaning and form to present actions;” Burkhart notes, “he [Christ] does not confer retroactive significance upon their ancient deeds.”27 Even Christ’s ultimate sacrifice is driven by “forces he does not control.”28 The creative synthesis of time elements found in the Nahuatl version of the “Holy Wednesday” drama resonates with the way that many indigenous communities responded to other encounters with European time. Consider, for example, the massive survey by the Spanish Crown in the late sixteenth century, collectively known as the relaciones geográficas, which, among other items, requested information about local history. Serge Gruzinski and Barbara Mundy have shown how indigenous leaders who responded to the survey combined and resolved two different ways of reckoning time: one (European) that demanded chronologies, dating, and quantification, and another (Mesoamerican) that emphasized past cycles and relegated specific dates to their location in larger chunks of time and established frames of temporal meaning. Though the relaciones geográficas responded to a survey undertaken by the Crown, rather than the Church, the temporal schema that they contain draw heavily on religious elements, given the ways that both sixteenth-century Nahuas and Europeans fused worldly and sacred notions of time, and the prominent place of religious events in the history of early New Spain.29 Scholars have found similar combinations and mixings of temporal frameworks and historical reference points in the genre of “primordial titles,” hybrid alphabetic and pictorial documents created by indigenous communities primarily in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, usually in relation to land claims. In many of the primordial titles of Mesoamerica, the arrival of Christianity figures prominently. Such references are especially intriguing given that recent research into the genre has suggested that the indigenous authors of the títulos directed them primarily to their fellow community members. While many of the titles reference histories of land tenure and community boundaries, Stephanie Wood, along with other scholars, has suggested that the documents went far beyond instrumentalist land claims. Instead, she writes, “[t]hey concentrated on shoring up community autonomy while also cementing certain families’ places of authority in those independent realms.”30

Time and Christianity in Early Latin America   31 The títulos frequently contain stock references in Nahuatl to the arrival of Christianity (“the faith arrived,” “the faith was installed”) and to local people who graciously and eagerly accepted the new faith.31 The “arrival of the faith,” one could say, was remembered as a moment of inflection and reorientation, a marker of time, but not a radical rupture with previous eras. Produced generations after the arrival of Europeans and their faith, such references served as “anchoring statements,” to use David Tavárez’s term, which helped indigenous audiences situate these documents as a particular reading of the past with implications for the community in the present.32 Far from suggesting a spiritual conquest, indigenous readings of the past claim ownership over the arrival of Christianity and give a great deal of agency to community ancestors who lived during that time of transition. Writing about the primordial titles from Cuauhnahuac (Cuernavaca), in what is now the Mexican state of Morelos, Robert Haskett notes that “there cannot be said to have been a conquest at all, but merely the arrival of new actors on the scene who augmented and influenced in a generally positive way the life and legitimacy of the altepetl and its indigenous rulers.” The great changes and indigenous sufferings of the sixteenth century are glossed in a few short phrases, “collapsed into a single moment, combined in a unified creative act charged with sacred, political, and social significance.”33 Toward the other end of the spectrum—that is, demonstrating persistent forms of pre-conquest time reckoning—is the remarkable corpus of clandestine Zapotec calendars that has been expertly studied by David Tavárez. Church authorities collected most of these documents in a long-term campaign against “idolatry” in the Villa Alta district of Oaxaca. Most of the calendrical sources studied by Tavárez date from the end of the seventeenth century, and while they contain evidence that local ritual specialists resolved key dates on the Christian and Zapotec calendars, they also demonstrate uniquely indigenous forms of timekeeping and the ritual practices associated with them. They document, for example, the widespread use of a 260-day count referred to in Zapotec as the biyé/piyé (“time interval”), which ritual specialists used in a variety of ways, including to orient communities in the cosmos and to track the celebratory calendar.34 At the same time, a number of the calendrical texts refer to the arrival of Christianity and the first Spaniards in the region, using the Zapotec phrase bida titza que Dios (“the word of God came”). Yet, Tavárez notes, none of the documents refers to Christian dates; they instead situate this pivotal event within a Zapotec system of dating.35 In the end, Tavárez characterizes these calendrical and historical documents as attempts to “suture and merge the seams of the past.” “The merging of Christian time with Zapotec time,” he concludes, “may have been regarded as a necessary move for colonial Zapotec day keepers and their apprentices as they sought to understand the cosmological order as a whole.”36 This sampling of remarkable adaptations and interpretations of the past should not discount the traumatic events of the early conquest, which were perceived as such by some native peoples at the time, nor to forget the radical transformation of most indigenous societies throughout the colonial period. Ample documentation and a deep body

32   Matthew O’Hara of scholarship demonstrate both points. For the former, look no further than the classic accounts of Nahua lamentation in the wake of the conquest, the Cantares mexicanos, collected by Miguel León-Portilla in The Broken Spears, or the Nahua perspective on the conquest found in Book 12 of the Florentine Codex.37 While such sources speak ­primarily from the perspective of an indigenous nobility, they capture the wrenching change that many must have experienced. One of the poems from the Cantares mexicanos mourned the ruins left in the wake of the conquest, and found in them a spiritual crisis: We are crushed to the ground; we lie in ruins. There is nothing but grief and suffering in Mexico and Tlatelolco, where once we saw beauty and valor. Have you grown weary of your servants? Are you angry with your servants, O Giver of Life?38

Despite such famous examples of social and spiritual trauma, and countless others with a more modest historical profile, a profound religious transformation took place over subsequent generations. Later in the colonial era, notwithstanding many cases of local adaptation or even outright resistance to Catholicism, the overwhelming picture that emerges of New Spain is that of a “mature Catholic society,” where memories of Catholicism stretched back generations and indeed centuries; a place where a network of religious institutions and personnel had introduced and now supported a common grammar of Catholic practices and thought.39 The spread of Catholicism, of course, brought enormous changes to conceptions of time, from the imposition of the yearly liturgical calendar, to local celebrations built around the feast days of patron saints, to the development of a sacramental culture that marked key moments in the yearly ­calendar and the individual life cycle. At a most basic level, the regular tolling on church bells in village or neighborhood churches were prominent markers of daily and weekly time.40 These diverse outcomes of evangelization are something that scholars have long understood. The development of Christianity in New Spain is a history of local variations, a spectrum of responses ranging from outright rejection to fundamental ­acceptance.41 Viewing the topic of Christianity and evangelization through the lens of time suggests a way to review this historical diversity and to bring seemingly incommensurate case studies into dialogue with one another. A theme emerges at the nexus of time and colonial Christianity: the remarkable “usability” of the past, the way that so many in colonial society rebuilt their present and futures through the materials available to them, often drawing on previous times as a font of tradition legitimated by some general notion of its historicity, but in the process remaking that past. This can be seen in the artful historical memory found in numerous

Time and Christianity in Early Latin America   33 primordial titles, where later indigenous communities downplayed the conquest and made a past that emphasized their ancestors’ role in the process of conversion. The usable past is also evident in the ways Zapotec ritual specialists “sutured” time, mending what might be perceived as tears in the temporal/historical fabric of the early colonial period. Some scholars have posited a notion of “cumulative” time to describe the temporal framework of Mesoamerican cultures, where the linear sequences of past events become part of longer-term cycles, establishing patterns and leading to historical accretions that forever inform the present.42 In a similar vein, Enrique Florescano describes a Mesoamerican “living past,” for the ways that it maintained its relevance and force in the present.43 These arguments are extremely helpful as ways of explaining the great importance of the past in colonial New Spain, not just in terms of its commemoration, but also as a tool for navigating a complex present, including the evolving religious environment after the arrival of Christianity. These studies tend to emphasize differences in indigenous and European temporal structures, the former more cyclical, the latter more linear. Without overlooking such important distinctions, attention might also turn to some of the points of convergence in these traditions. Many subjects in New Spain drew on the past in creative ways via a European tradition of typological readings of the Bible, references to post-biblical prophecy, and the guidance of classical authors.44 In both traditions, the past was active in the present, available as a resource for legitimation, serving as a guide to the present, and even a prologue to the future. * * * In a pathbreaking article some thirty years ago, Nancy Farriss rejected the standard position that Western (European) time, with its strong inclination toward a linear and sequential unfolding of events, was somehow incompatible with traditional modes of timekeeping and temporal experience in Mesoamerica that tended to be more cyclical and recurring. Focusing on the transitions in time consciousness among the Maya, Farriss demonstrated how, on the one hand, the pre-conquest Maya combined cyclical and linear models of time, what she referred to as their “dual conception of time and the past.” On the other, she describes how some post-conquest Maya artfully drew upon both European and indigenous understandings of time and its flow in the centuries following the arrival of Europeans. In both the European and Mesoamerican traditions, she noted, time contained cyclical and linear elements, though in either system one of these guiding principles would be dominant.45 Early modern Europeans, for instance, included what can only be described as cyclical elements of time experience, most notably the ongoing celebration of the Mass as a re-enactment of Christ’s sacrifice, within a larger system of linear time that would conclude with the second coming.46 The post-conquest Maya, in similar ways, merged the two models of time, by integrating past prophecies and calendrical cycles within a more linear historical reckoning of events than had been found in previous generations. Farriss, for example, points to the Books of Chilam Balam, a series of

34   Matthew O’Hara clandestine documents in which the post-conquest Maya recorded their cosmology and history. She notes how the books included references to specific events from more linear accounts of sixteenth-century history, including the arrival of Christianity, periodic visits by Church officials, episodes of idolatry, and so on, but did so by situating them within traditional twenty-year periods, what the Maya referred to as a katun. As a result, Maya intellectuals memorialized these incidents alongside pre-conquest events that shared similar qualities. This process inscribed each collection of events with meaning, corresponding to the “nature,” essence, or “burden” of the different katun-rounds.47 In the examples described by Farriss, and in many other cases from the colonial period, including those discussed in this chapter, Spanish and indigenous understandings of religion and time interacted in unpredictable ways, producing outcomes that could not be reduced easily to their European or indigenous antecedents. Along with our detailed knowledge of European missionaries and their understanding of time, the ethnohistory of previous decades makes it difficult to sustain either the traditional notion of European/Christian time as simply linear or Mesoamerican time as utterly cyclical, or the incompatibility of the two frameworks. Colonial indigenous communities related to time, like Christianity itself, in myriad ways, ranging from clandestine maintenance of traditional ritual cycles and calendrical systems to the wholesale adoption of European time practices and their meanings. Many cases fell somewhere in between, where creative appropriation, juxtaposition, or blending of temporal concepts and practices prevailed.48 In New Spain, colonial subjects tapped time as a resource for creative forms of “past-making” and “future-making.” Time itself developed out of these diverse practices in the historical present.

Notes 1. For the best introduction to the topic, see John Leddy Phelan, The Millennial Kingdom of the Franciscans in the New World (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1970). 2. Francisco de los Ángeles, “Orders Given to ‘the Twelve’ (1523),” in Colonial Spanish America: A Documentary History, eds. Kenneth Mills, William  B.  Taylor, and Sandra Lauderdale Graham (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2002), 59–64, 62. 3. “The Lords and Holy Men of Tenochtitlan Reply to the Franciscan, 1524,” in Colonial Spanish America: A Documentary History, 19–22, 22. 4. David Couzens Hoy, The Time of Our Lives: A Critical History of Temporality (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009), xiii. 5. Phelan, Millennial Kingdom, 14–15; Jacques Lafaye, Quetzalcóatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness, 1531–1813 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 30–36; Enrique Florescano, Memoria mexicana: Ensayo sobre la reconstrucción del pasado: época prehispánica–1821 (Mexico City: Editorial Joaquín Mortiz, 1987), 107–109. At the time, apocalyptic thinking was widespread in Europe, and, among many others, famously stirred the imagination of Columbus. For a recent treatment of the topic, see Carol Delaney, Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem (New York, NY: Free Press, 2011). 6. Scholars of British North America, and especially of Puritanism, have long recognized the importance of typological reading. More recent work on Spanish America also demonstrates the widespread use of typology as a way of interpreting the colonial experience.

Time and Christianity in Early Latin America   35 See David A. Brading, Mexican Phoenix: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Image and Tradition across Five Centuries (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, Puritan Conquistadors: Iberianizing the Atlantic, 1550–1700 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006); Carlos Herrejón Peredo, Del sermón al discurso cívico: México, 1760–1834 (Zamora, Mexico, and Mexico City: El Colegio de Michoacán and El Colegio de México, 2003); Brian Connaughton,“¿Politización de la religión o nueva sacralización de la política? El sermón en las mutaciones públicas de 1808–24,” in Religión, política e identidad en la independencia de México, ed. Brian Connaughton (Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, 2010), 160–200. 7. Northrop Frye, The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), 79. 8. See Augustine’s treatise, On Catechizing the Uninstructed, and his monumental City of God, both discussed in Brading, Mexican Phoenix, 22. 9. See Brading, Mexican Phoenix, 20–24. 10. Luke 14:21–23 (Revised Standard Version). 11. Phelan, Millennial Kingdom, 7–8. 12. Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 168. Such concerns can be found throughout the documentary record, as in an almanac published in Mexico City in 1733, which, among other dates, situated itself relative to the creation of the world (5,682 years), the flood (4,036 years), “the foundation of the most noble city of Mexico” [by the Aztecs] (406 years), the conquest of the same [by the Spaniards] (212 years), and the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe (202 years). Archivo General de la Nación (Mexico), Inquisición, vol. 1332, exp. 27, fs. 140, 143–158, 1732, “D. José Bernardo de Hogal, vecino de esta ciudad, impresor y mercader de libros en ella, a nombre del Dr. D. José de Escobar, catedrático de matemáticas, presenta el pronóstico de temporales, para el año de 1733.” 13. Phelan, Millennial Kingdom, 25–27; José de Acosta, Natural and Moral History of the Indies, ed. Jane E. Mangan (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), Book I, Chapter 23, 69–71. Franciscans themselves held differing views on the proximity of the end times and their relationship to the present. To get a good sense of diversity within the order on these and other matters, see David A. Brading, The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots, and the Liberal State, 1492–1867 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), Chapter 5; Martin A. Nesvig, Forgotten Franciscans: Works from an Inquisitorial Theorist, a Heretic, and an Inquisitional Deputy (Philadelphia, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011), and Ideology and Inquisition: The World of the Censors in Early Mexico (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009); for a comparison of different orders’ institutes and activities, see Karen Melvin, Building Colonial Cities of God: Mendicant Orders and Urban Culture in New Spain (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012). 14. For many years the standard account, generally celebratory of the mendicants’ efforts, was Robert Ricard, The Spiritual Conquest of Mexico: An Essay on the Apostolate and the Evangelizing Methods of the Mendicant Orders in New Spain, 1523–1572 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1966 [1933]), Chapter 4. On the question of coercion, see Phelan, 10, 16. 15. For this style of reasoning, see Vitoria’s Relectio de indis and Las Casas’s De unico vocationes modo omnium gentium ad veram religionem, translated as Bartolomé de las Casas: The Only Way, trans. Francis Patrick Sullivan, SJ, and ed. Helen Rand Parish (Paulist Press,

36   Matthew O’Hara 1992). Las Casas also held that Spain should return the territory of the former Inca Empire to Guayna Capac, a descendant of the pre-Conquest rulers. Sabine MacCormack, On the Wings of Time: Rome, the Incas, Spain and Peru (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), 54–55; Phelan, Millennial Kingdom, 5–10, 131 nn. 17, 19. 16. Members of the indigenous elite and Spanish authorities in New Spain revived this debate in the middle of the eighteenth century, some two centuries after the first proposals for a native priesthood. Though the context had changed substantially from the sixteenth century, the proposal again failed, this time withering for a lack of resources in the context of political battles between Crown and Church officials. See Matthew D. O’Hara, A Flock Divided: Race, Religion, and Politics in Mexico, 1749–1857 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), Chapter 2. 17. Nesvig, Ideology and Inquisition, 155. For a translation of the relevant treatise by Castro, “Utrum indigenae novi orbis instruendi sint in mysteriis theologicis et artibus liberalibus” (On Whether the Indians of the New World Should be Instructed in Liberal Arts and Sacred Theology), see Nesvig, Forgotten Franciscans, 26–50. 18. Acosta, Natural and Moral History, 374. On the colegio at Tlatelolco, see among others, José María Kobayashi, La educación como conquista (empresa franciscana en México) (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1974); Martin  A.  Nesvig, “The ‘Indian Question’ and  the Case of Tlatelolco,” Local Religion in Colonial Mexico, ed. Martin  A.  Nesvig (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2006), 63–89. 19. Phelan, Millennial Kingdom; Brading, First America, especially Chapter  4; Florescano, Memoria mexicana, Chapter 3 focuses on Spanish attitudes toward time, religion, and history in the early colonial period, while much of the rest of the book addresses the transformation of indigenous historical memory during the colonial period. 20. There is now a large and impressive literature on such themes. For fine examples, see Louis M. Burkhart, The Slippery Earth: Nahua-Christian Moral Dialogue in Sixteenth-Century Mexico (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1989); Mark Z. Christensen, Nahua and Maya Catholicisms: Texts and Religion in Colonial Central Mexico and Yucatan (Stanford, CA; Berkeley, CA: Stanford University Press and The Academy of American Franciscan History, 2013); Osvaldo F. Pardo, The Origins of Mexican Catholicism: Nahua Rituals and Christian Sacraments in Sixteenth-Century Mexico (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2004); David Tavárez, The Invisible War: Indigenous Devotions, Discipline, and Dissent in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011). In other areas of Spanish presence, see, among others, Vicente  L.  Rafael, Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society Under Early Spanish Rule (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993), and Regina Harrison, Sin and Confession in Colonial Peru: SpanishQuechua Penitential Texts, 1565–1650 (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2014). 21. Ricard, Spiritual Conquest. 22. Louise  M.  Burkhart, Holy Wednesday: A Nahua Drama from Early Colonial Mexico (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996), 59. 23. Ibid., 52. 24. Exempla were a staple of medieval and early modern European sermons. Preachers used them to craft short, dramatic narratives that were meant to capture the attention of their audiences and convince them of some moral or theological message. Jacques Le Goff, Your Money or Your Life: Economy and Religion in the Middle Ages (New York, NY: Zone Books, 1990), 13. 25. Burkhart, Holy Wednesday, 46–47.

Time and Christianity in Early Latin America   37 26. Burkhart, Holy Wednesday; Burkhart, The Slippery Earth; Louise  M.  Burkhart, “The Destruction of Jerusalem as Colonial Nahuatl Historical Drama,” The Conquest All Over Again: Nahuas and Zapotecs Thinking, Writing, and Painting Spanish Colonialism, ed. Susan Schroeder (Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2010), 74–100; Christensen, Nahua and Maya Catholicisms; Barry D. Sell and Louise M. Burkhart, eds., Death and Life in Colonial Nahua Mexico, vol. 1 of Nahuatl Theater (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004); Sell and Burkhart, eds., Nahua Christianity in Performance, vol. 4 of Nahuatl Theater (Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009). 27. Burkhart, Holy Wednesday, 90–92, quote 92. 28. Ibid., 91. 29. Serge Gruzinski, The Conquest of Mexico: The Incorporation of Indian Societies into the Western World, 16th–18th Centuries (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 1993), 70–97, and Painting the Conquest: The Mexican Indians and the European Renaissance, trans. Deke Dusinberre (Paris: Flammarion, 1992), 90–95; Barbara  E.  Mundy, The Mapping of New Spain: Indigenous Cartography and the Maps of the Relaciones Geográficas (Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), passim, but especially, 68–76. 30. Stephanie Wood, Transcending Conquest: Nahua Views of Spanish Colonial Mexico (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003), 107. 31. Ibid., 124, 128. 32. David Tavárez, “Representations of Spanish Authority in Zapotec Calendrical and Historical Genres,” The Conquest All Over Again: Nahuas and Zapotecs Thinking, Writing, and Painting Spanish Colonialism, ed. Susan Schroeder (Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2010), 206–225, 211. 33. Robert  S.  Haskett, Visions of Paradise: Primordial Titles and Mesoamerican History in Cuernavaca (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005), 16, 304–305; See also the historiographical comments of Tavárez, who notes that the diverse corpus of indigenous narratives of conquest have a “tendency to treat preconquest and colonial history as continuous expanses of time.” “Representations of Spanish Authority,” 206. 34. Tavárez, “Representations of Spanish Authority,” 209–210; Invisible War, 144–151. 35. Tavárez, “Representations of Spanish Authority,” 213–214. 36. Ibid., 221. A more extensive treatment of these topics can be found in Tavárez, Invisible War. On the “binding” of time/space as a recurrent metaphor in Mesoamerica, see Miguel León-Portilla, Tiempo y realidad en el pensamiento Maya (Mexico City: Universidad Autnónoma de México, 1968); Amos Megged, Social Memory in Ancient and Colonial Mesoamerica (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Burkhart, Slippery Earth, 72–86. 37. Miguel León-Portilla, The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1992); James Lockhart, We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1993. See also the discussion in Florescano, Memoria mexicana, Chapter 4. 3 8. León-Portilla, Broken Spears, 81. 3 9. O’Hara, A Flock Divided, 2–3, 228–229. 4 0. O’Hara, A Flock Divided; William  B.  Taylor, Magistrates of the Sacred: Priests and Parishioners in Eighteenth-Century Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996; Katy Solórzano, Se hizo seña: medición y percepción del tiempo en el siglo XVIII caraqueño (Caracas: Planeta, 1998); Ross Hassig, Time, History and Belief in Aztec and Colonial Mexico (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2001).

38   Matthew O’Hara 41. For the many possibilities, see J. Jorge Klor de Alva, “Spiritual Conflict and Accommodation in New Spain: Toward a Typology of Aztec Responses to Christianity,” The Inca and Aztec States, 1400–1800: Anthropology and History, eds. George Collier, Renato Rosaldo, and John Wirth (New York, NY: Academic Press, 1982), 345–366. 42. Barbara Tedlock, Time and the Highland Maya (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1982); Popul Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings, ed. and trans. Dennis Tedlock (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985), discussed in Burkhart, Slippery Earth, 72. 43. Florescano, Memoria mexicana, 83. 44. On the use of classical texts as a framework for analyzing the present and future in Spanish America, see MacCormack, On the Wings of Time. 45. Nancy M. Farriss, “Remembering the Future, Anticipating the Past: History, Time, and Cosmology among the Maya of Yucatan,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 29, no. 3 (July 1, 1987), 566–593, 569. 46. Ibid., 572–573. 47. Ibid., 577–581. 48. For works that emphasize the persistence and survival (sometimes clandestine) of indigenous practices related to time and its keeping, see Tavárez, Invisible War, and Megged, Social Memory. Gruzinski and Florescano argue for a more thorough transformation of indigenous thought. Among Gruzinski’s many works, see Conquest of Mexico and The Mestizo Mind: The Intellectual Dynamics of Colonization and Globalization (London: Routledge, 2002); Florescano treats the Mesoamerican conceptions of time and their transformation under colonialism in Memoria mexicana. For a recent study that rejects the argument that Aztec time was inherently cyclical, see Hassig, Time, History, and Belief.

chapter 3

Schol astic Th eol ogy, J ustice , a n d th e Conqu est of th e A m er icas David M. Lantigua

The European Renaissance was the age of the “Second” or “Silver” scholasticism, ­indicating its successor status to medieval scholastic theology. Early modern scholasticism had to  face new theological, social, and political challenges inside and outside Europe scarcely imaginable to its predecessor in Latin Christendom. This chapter considers the Amerindian question (or la duda indiana) as chief among the topics debated by scholastic theologians in the royal councils, ecclesiastical courts, and universities of Castile during the first half of the sixteenth century and coincident with the Crown of  Ferdinand and Isabel and the reign of Emperor Charles  V.  Scholastic theology’s “encounter” with the New World in this period meant confronting the reality, and the brutality, of Spanish conquests across the Atlantic. This unprecedented historical event made a significant contribution to the scholastic tradition’s renewal in theological method and development of its idea of justice. Although the legacy of Spanish scholastic theology owing to this period of encounter is mixed, its importance to Latin American religious, legal, and cultural history is considerable and lasting. This chapter focuses on key Spanish theologians—Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto, and Bartolomé de las Casas—who inhabited what may be called “the Dominican moment” of political thought during the early modern period.1 Their innovative scholastic views were greatly indebted to the medieval Dominican friar and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas, from whom they inherited “the idea of natural law as a way to gain a critical understanding of contemporary political reality.”2 The Spanishscholastic theological reflection on political life in a transatlantic context yielded new ideas about justice applicable to all human beings, which anticipated modern developments of international law and human rights.

40   David M. Lantigua

Scholastic Theology and the Natural Law “Scholastic theology” was to a certain extent an invented category of early modern Europe. The term served a pejorative purpose of demarcating new intellectual and religious reforms like humanism and Protestantism, inspired by Erasmus of Rotterdam and Martin Luther, respectively. These epochal figures set their reformatory interpretations of Christian faith in opposition to the unsophisticated, formulaic, and sterile presentation of religious doctrine encapsulated and exhausted by the academic schools (Lt. scholae). The practical and pastoral turn reflected in Erasmus’s philosophia Christi and Luther’s sola Scriptura were distinct attempts to resist scholastic theology’s overtly academic context, constrained methodology, abstract theorizing, and apparent overdependence on human authorities, especially Aristotle, at the expense of the Bible.3 In the ensuing age of inter-confessional conflict and European expansion, the vilification of scholastic thinkers under Aristotelian captivity stemmed from a new wave of political thought established on rationalist and empiricist foundations, as seen in Hugo Grotius and Thomas Hobbes. However ossified scholastic theology might have become in the early modern period following its fragmentation into different schools of thought among Thomists, Scotists, and the via moderna of the nominalists, it was a vibrant theological tradition that had already spanned nearly five centuries. Scholasticism was a tradition grounded in the authority of texts, the most sacred of which was the Bible. The tradition developed as an organized reflection on the truths of the Christian faith, attested by Scripture, as well as Church Fathers, councils, ecclesiastical law, and ancient philosophy. Its primary medieval textbook was Peter Lombard’s Sentences (ca. 1155). Lombard’s method of inquiry was fundamentally dialectical, which attempted to identify the deeper meaning (sententia) of biblical texts by gathering seemingly contradictory teachings from various authorities and synthesizing them to demonstrate the harmony between human reason and revealed faith. The twofold order of reason and faith simultaneously affirmed the integrity of nature and the need for grace, thus expressing a form of humanism in the Middle Ages that was scholastic in character and distinct from Renaissance and modern secular versions.4 The scholastic method of seeking comprehensive unity in knowledge was situated specifically within an academic environment (or school) with faith in God serving as the basis for the pursuit of truth. The most prestigious of these academic schools of theological learning during the Middle Ages from Oxford to Padua was the university of Paris. At the height of thirteenth-century scholastic theology in Paris, there emerged two notable mendicant masters or teachers: the Franciscan Saint Bonaventure (1221–1274) and his Dominican contemporary Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274). Aquinas and Bonaventure composed major commentaries on the Sentences as part of their basic theological curriculum. But they also imparted to students a comprehensive theological vision of faith

Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest   41 as an answer to the human longing for perfection and happiness. Bonaventure’s Itinerarium mentis in Deum and Aquinas’s Summa theologiae, for example, both identified the image of God in every rational soul as the internal compass directing an individual’s return to his or her Creator.5 Created in God’s image, human beings resemble God by imitating the Son, Jesus Christ, the perfect image of the Father. This congruence between reason and faith, and nature and grace, evident in their imago Dei teaching, highlighted the distinctively scholastic-humanist dimension of their thought. With scholastic theology’s strong commitment to the powers of human reason, the tradition could also affirm what was good and true in non-Christian cultures. Aquinas’s use of Aristotle (called “the Philosopher”) for his own theological and philosophical reflection was profound. But pagan wisdom was not limited to Greek philosophy. The Church of the Latin West had also inherited the classical Roman tradition of philosophy, law, and rhetoric that was rediscovered in the academic schools of the twelfth century, especially in Bologna. Concurrently, the thought of Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 bc) had an increased influence on the moral and political philosophy of medieval thinkers.6 Cicero’s public philosophy, though eclectic, relied on a Stoic cosmopolitan vision of the world, affirming the oneness of humanity based on reason, which he considered the divine marker of human worth. Cicero believed that human nature was inscribed with a law impelling reason to do what it ought and forbidding the opposite.7 Among theologians and canon lawyers, Cicero’s Stoic view of reason as a central feature of moral agency was a major contribution to the scholastic concept of natural law. Notably, the scholastic view expanded the Roman legal-philosophical tradition, because it anchored the natural law in the moral and spiritual freedom of rational creatures made in God’s image.8 Medieval scholastic thinkers eagerly looked for biblical support of natural law. The most important biblical support of it came from St. Paul’s teaching in Romans 2:14 that the Gentiles, who do not have the Jewish Law, do by nature what the Law requires. Relatedly, Aquinas defined the natural law as “the light of natural reason” whereby human beings discerned what was good and what was evil.9 For Aquinas, the natural law was a creaturely way of participating in God’s eternal law (or divine providence) through the inborn powers of self-movement and free choice by which human beings cared for themselves and for others. But he also referred to the divine law, which came by grace and by faith, as enabling one to participate more deeply in the eternal law because it provided a new orientation toward everlasting union with God.10 Though Aquinas believed that grace was necessary for salvation, and that the effects of sin were crippling, his scholastic view accounted for the integrity of reason and the natural law in all human beings. The beginning of the Summa presented his oft-cited maxim that “grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it.”11 In the early modern debates concerning the wars against Amerindian peoples, this scholastic maxim was politically decisive for the Spanish Dominican theologians. The firm scholastic commitment to the dignity of natural reason and the order of grace that respected it provided an intellectual and ecclesiastical safeguard against theocratic-royalist and imperial-humanist claims to the contrary. The legacy of scholastic theology in the context of the Indies was evident in

42   David M. Lantigua the development of natural law into a universal vision of natural rights, protecting the political autonomy and human freedom of all rational creatures made in God’s image.

Disputes over the Justice of the European Conquest The Spanish claim over the newly discovered Indies was thoroughly religious in character. It stemmed from an expansionary prerogative to evangelize and baptize all nations according to Jesus’s apostolic commission.12 Ferdinand and Isabel, los Reyes Católicos, sought to remake a visibly Christian culture across the Iberian Peninsula by expelling Jews and conquering Muslim territories. When the Catholic Monarchs received full papal endorsement of their religious project of reform and expansion through Pope Innocent VIII’s Reconquista bull of Granada in 1486 (Orthodoxe fidei propagationem), they obtained the ecclesiastical wherewithal to make rapid changes effectively and authoritatively.13 Amidst a tumultuous century marked by internal conciliar debates and external fear of the Ottoman Turks after the fall of Constantinople, the papacy granted the Castilian Crown the perpetual right to administer ecclesiastical matters in their territories through a system of royal patronage (Patronato Real). During the watershed year of 1492, Castile added to its dominion the last Muslim stronghold of Granada, along with the Canaries off the African coast. In both the Reconquista of Granada and the conquest of the Canaries, the Crown explicitly identified its plan to spread a uniform faith by converting or expelling subjugated non-Christian peoples. When the Admiral Christopher Columbus made contact with the native Taíno population in the Caribbean that same year, the Iberian kingdom evolved into a fullfledged Atlantic imperial power. Not long after the initial contact, the colonial practices of forced labor and war developed, becoming the twin engines of a European mission to convert and civilize peoples across the Atlantic. The injustices against the newly encountered peoples did not go unnoticed to all Spaniards. In 1510, three Dominican priests and a lay brother were sent as missionaries by the head of the Order of Preachers, Tommaso de Vío Cajetan (d. 1534), to the island of Española. Among these Dominicans was Antón Montesino, the preacher who first spoke out against the Spanish abuses of the natives on the Fourth Sunday of Advent in 1511. Montesino’s memorable sermon denounced the colonial practices of war and forced labor: “Tell me, by what right and with what justice do you so violently enslave these Indians? By what authority do you wage such hideous wars against these people who peacefully inhabit their lands, killing infinite numbers of them by unimaginable and unspeakable means?” Montesino then proclaimed the rational nature of the Indians with unflinching moral conviction, “Are they not human beings? Do they not have ­rational souls? Are you not obligated to love them as you love yourselves?”14 The following week, the Dominicans threatened to deny absolution to any Spaniards who continued

Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest   43 to  hold the natives in cruel bondage. Their uncompromising message produced more enemies than sympathizers, though they did eventually reach the conscience of Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566), a priest-encomendero who would later enter the Dominican Order and emerge as an irrepressible advocate for Amerindians. The “new doctrine” of the Spanish Dominicans, as its vehement critics called it, was not a new teaching at all, but rather an application of faith and scholastic theology to a radically new situation of European colonization. The reflexive insight of the friars grew out of a context marked by spiritual and intellectual reforms back in Europe. At the university of Salamanca, there was a renewal of Aquinas’s thought through the efforts of Diego de Deza, OP (d. 1523), Prima chair of theology and head of the San Esteban Dominican priory. Deza revived the traditional spiritual observances of his friars and required them to read and study Aquinas.15 The first Dominicans who came to Española in 1510 had received Deza’s training at San Esteban. They brought this spiritual reform and intellectual training to bear on the forced-labor problem and the machinery of war replenishing it. Indeed, they were the catalyst of what historian Lewis Hanke classically referred to as the “first great struggle for justice” in the New World.16 Their teachings on the injustices of slavery and war would be deeply opposed by other Spaniards on different theoretical and legal grounds. The political ideas justifying the European right of conquering infidel populations to spread the faith came from two discernible camps in the early sixteenth century. In Spain, the theocratic-royalist view of Juan López de Palacios Rubios, “El Doctor,” supplied the common legal opinion among the partisans of missionary conquest. Palacios Rubios was a trained lawyer who employed Scripture and canon law to assert worldwide papal sovereignty as the basis for the Spanish right of conquest against infidels.17 The lawyer specifically had Pope Alexander VI’s 1493 bull of donation Inter caetera in mind as the ecclesiastical justification legitimating European expansion in the New World.18 Following the medieval canon legal views of Pope Innocent IV and Cardinal Hostiensis, Palacios Rubios and the Spanish theocrats believed that under royal patronage, the Crown of Castile possessed the rightful claim, given by Christ to the Church, to punish infidels who hinder Christian preachers and commit sins contrary to natural law.19 This medieval linkage between war and evangelization provided the classic legal rationale for the Spanish conquests, which was encoded in the Requerimiento penned by Palacios Rubios in 1513.20 According to that legal document, all the peoples of the New World were “required” to submit to the temporal and spiritual authority of the Crown or would be forced to do so through war and enslavement.21 As “the divine trustee of the Church,” the Crown possessed the perpetual right to conquer and enslave infidels in order to abolish idolatry and spread the faith.22 At the university of Paris, the nominalist theologian John Mair articulated another justification for conquest. He was the first European scholastic to address the Amerindian question in his commentary on the Lombard’s Sentences.23 The scholastic commentary was published in 1510—the same year the first Dominicans arrived to the New World. Unlike the Spanish theocratic-royalists, Mair offered a modern-sounding argument for a European right of conquest that did not appeal to papal authority.24

44   David M. Lantigua Mair made special use of the classical philosophical category of the “natural slave” notoriously presented in Aristotle’s Politics to advance his Christian imperial interests. Aristotle had claimed that some barbarians were unfit to govern themselves since they lacked certain natural perfections of reason such as deliberation and authority. The Aristotelian doctrine was quite adaptable to a nominalist denial of universal natures (e.g., humanity as such) whereby particular peoples could be classified as inferior and uncivilized on the basis of experience and testimony. Relying on popular Spanish reports designating the newly discovered natives as beastlike, violent, and non-industrious, Mair deemed them naturally incapable of self-rule, and therefore dependent on a superior civilization for proper development. Accordingly, Europeans possessed the “innate” right to rule over these allegedly uncouth barbarians. The legal, philosophical, and theological arguments for European expansion across the Atlantic coalesced in the writings of the Renaissance classicist and translator of Aristotle, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda (1490–1573). Educated in Bologna, Sepúlveda was formed in a brand of humanism that attempted to retrieve a classical warrior ethic like that of Niccolò Machiavelli. For Machiavelli, effective politics utilized force to impose fear and motivate respect toward civil institutions and rulers, as the “armed prophets” Moses, Romulus, and Theseus had victoriously done in founding their societies.25 Sepúlveda embraced this coercive model of politics, yet remained firmly planted in his Iberian Catholic cultural heritage. Alternatively, he did not promote pagan republicanism within an Italian city-state, but rather European colonialism within a transatlantic empire. Sepúlveda’s first dialogue (Democrates primus), published in 1535, responded to Lutheran and Erasmian critiques of the compatibility between war and Christian virtue. In that work Sepúlveda widened the traditional criteria for just war beyond defensive purposes (e.g., repelling violence and recovery of stolen goods) to include two aggressive causes directly related to European expansion: punishment of sinful offenses in foreign communities and the subjugation of pagan enemies of the faith.26 Although Sepúlveda capitalized on the tradition of the Crusades in proposing these aggressive causes and the use of armed pilgrims, his justification for the European right to conquer the Amerindians was shaped by his deeper commitment to retrieving classical humanism in a Christian imperial context. Similar to Mair, but unlike Palacios Rubios, Sepúlveda’s argument did not invoke the papal donation for justification. Instead, Sepúlveda’s Eurocentric humanism turned to modern, even secular, arguments for conquest.27 His second dialogue Democrates secundus (Sp. Demócrates segundo), composed about a decade later, further illustrated this secular turn. Although he applied Aristotle’s idea of the natural slave to categorize Amerindians as barbarians, he appealed especially to natural law and human reason to justify war against unbelievers. Following the canon lawyers, when unbelievers violate the natural law, evident in cases of human sacrifice and idolatry, they may be punished by a superior religious culture whose project was to civilize them. Sepúlveda’s argument here represented a move toward the secularization of natural law that could account for Spain’s universal authority to enforce moral norms in foreign lands independently of papal power. This imperialistic view of natural law, used to judge exotic cultures and impose norms on them, contrasted with a scholastic

Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest   45 theological approach to natural law, focused on the image of God present in all peoples and exhibited through the powers of moral agency and freedom. Combining arguments from Aristotle’s Politics and medieval canon law, Sepúlveda claimed that the Castilian Crown possessed a natural right to rule over barbarians “as children are subject to adults, women are to men, or the cruel and inhuman are to the continent and temperate.”28 Nature purportedly required uncivilized peoples to come under the benevolent dominion of wiser and more virtuous ones. The eyewitness testimony of gross Indian mistreatment influenced the speculative thought of notable Dominican thinkers, as seen in Cajetan’s genre of commenting on the questions of Aquinas’s Summa theologiae. The slaveholder turned Dominican friar, Las Casas, tells us in his History of the Indies that Master General of the Order Cajetan was personally informed in Rome about the widespread injustices across the Atlantic.29 Cajetan was composing his commentary on Aquinas’s Summa during this time. The scholastic principles and maxims in Cajetan’s commentary provided the benchmark for the standard Dominican theological response to the Spanish conquests, and it strongly opposed the views of Palacios Rubios, Mair, and Sepúlveda. Specifically, his commentary on Question 66, Article 8, of the Secunda secundae of the Summa became the locus classicus for addressing the Amerindian question. Cajetan supplied the common opinion for thinking about Christian relations with non-Christian others, both inside and outside Europe. He identified three categories of unbelievers, outlining the legitimacy of Christian political authority over non-Christians and the limits of European rule. Two categories pertained to traditional medieval relations between Christians and non-Christians such as Jews and Muslims. However, Cajetan introduced a third category of unbelievers applicable to the New World context. This category referred to non-Christians who were never under Christian political rule either in fact or by right. Accordingly, they legitimately hold political authority over themselves and cannot be deprived of it under any false pretense such as their unbelief or their refusal to become Christian. Cajetan’s position was nothing less than a direct critique of the Spanish titles to conquer the Amerindian peoples evident in Palacios Rubios and the Requerimiento protocol. In irrevocable terms, Cajetan’s commentary on Aquinas stated: “No king, no emperor, not even the Roman Church can wage war to occupy their lands or subjugate them under temporal authority. That is because they lack a legitimate cause for war.”30 The Spanish Dominican view would subsequently turn on the issue of just war, which the Indians could equally claim on their behalf, rather than an alleged imperial right based on Iberian cultural superiority or universal temporal power. Cajetan appealed to the teaching of Aquinas to defend the political autonomy and freedom of non-Christian regimes. The relevant teaching first came from Question 10 on unbelief (Article 10), where Aquinas proposed in scholastic-humanist fashion: “dominion and authority are institutions of human law, while the distinction between faithful and unbelievers arises from Divine law. Now the Divine law which is the law of grace, does not do away with human law which is the law of natural reason.”31 With explicit reliance on this teaching, Dominicans categorically rejected the belief that the

46   David M. Lantigua pope or emperor had legitimate spiritual or political power over the Amerindians.32 The teaching was an extrapolation of the Thomistic dictum that “grace does not destroy nature.” Its New World application mobilized a Dominican defense of Amerindian legal and political status, in opposition to unjustly asserted titles to war.

The Image of God, Natural Rights, and Just War Following Deza’s reforms, there emerged an academic community in Spain that came to be known as the school of Salamanca. The Burgos-born Francisco de Vitoria (1492–1546) was the singular force behind this intellectual renewal. Studying at the Dominican Collège de Saint-Jacques in Paris, Vitoria earned a strong reputation early on for his theological acumen. He learned theology from the defector of nominalism, Pierre de Crockaert, who had replaced the Lombard’s Sentences with Aquinas’s Summa theologiae as the principal textbook for theological formation. When Vitoria came to the university of Salamanca to hold the Prima Chair of Theology in 1526, he instituted the practice of reading and commenting on the Summa in the classroom halls through the lectura.33 The first generation of the Salamanca school beginning with Vitoria also included his pupil from Paris, Domingo de Soto (1495–1560), along with Melchor Cano (1509–1560). For these Dominican friars, scholastic theology was grounded in the speculative thought of Aquinas, yet was attentive to the historical-critical concerns of Renaissance humanism.34 One important contribution of their innovative method was the introduction of a new theological genre: the relectio. The relectiones (Sp. relecciones) were wellprepared faculty dissertations, lasting about two hours, often on a topic of sociopolitical or ecclesiastical concern related to their classroom lectures. These topics included but were not limited to current debates concerning poverty, sacraments, civil authority, empire, and war. The relectiones at Salamanca were typically delivered during holidays and the spring months before other faculty and students. For the theological critics of European conquest and colonial practices, the scholastic relectio relied on the teachings of Aquinas and Cajetan, and conveyed the fundamental principles for addressing the Indies during the reign of Charles V. In the aftermath of Hernán Cortés’s conquest of Mexico in 1521 and Francisco Pizarro’s looting of the Inca capital of Cuzco in 1533, the relectiones of Soto and Vitoria were exemplary scholastic theological responses to the mistreatment of Amerindian peoples. Soto’s Relectio de dominio (1535) and Vitoria’s Relectio de Indis (1539) began with “re-reading” a relevant passage from the Bible—a hermeneutical starting point—and proceeded to engage the Bible’s theological meaning in a transatlantic context. Vitoria’s De Indis began with Jesus’s Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 to teach the Gospel to all nations. Additionally, Soto’s De dominio began with re-reading Genesis 1:27–28 to affirm humanity’s divine

Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest   47 image and rule over creation. Both relectiones momentously identified the imago Dei doctrine as the basis for universal rights in the West. Often overlooked, Soto’s De dominio was the first relectio to substantively address the affair of the Indies at Salamanca with respect to Amerindian ownership of possessions (dominium rerum) and political authority (dominium iurisdictionis). Soto rejected the frequently rehearsed claim propounding the Crown’s right to conquer the peoples across the Atlantic on the title that the pope or emperor was lord of the world (dominus orbis). On the contrary, as Aquinas and Cajetan had made clear, political authority rested on human law and natural reason, not divine law and grace.35 Soto generated a powerful critique of imperial power, beginning with the classical Romans, who ruled by might of arms instead of lawful right.36 In direct contrast to theocratic-royalists and imperial-humanists, Soto claimed that natural right belongs equally to individuals and polities irrespective of creed, since everyone shares the same human nature.37 The Spanish Dominicans, and later Jesuits like Luis de Molina and Francisco Suárez, understood the political expression of dominium as an outgrowth of the most fundamental aspect of human existence: free ownership of one’s acts. This concept of natural dominium, indebted to Aquinas, pertained to rational creatures themselves who exercised a freedom of choice to do or not do an act, or in using or not using something.38 Free choice and self-movement—the traditional scholastic markers of the image of God—indicated the personal and interpersonal nature of dominium potentially present in every human being.39 Belief in the image of God, and the natural dominium it protects, opened a horizon for these Spanish theologians to speak of subjective natural rights for Christians and non-Christians alike.40 These relectiones denied medieval theocratic and papalist arguments for European expansion, alleging that sinners and nonbelievers had no political sovereignty and land possession unless approved by ecclesiastical power. For example, Vitoria’s Relectio de Indis began with an account of natural dominium founded on human reason. He relied on the theological doctrine of the image of God to argue that natural rights flowed from this exalted status of humanity. These fundamental rights pertained to sinners as much as saints, believers and unbelievers, adults and children, and the wise as well as the mentally impaired.41 Since every human being existed for his or her own sake as creatures made in God’s image, no one existed for another’s use. This ontological condition of intrinsic (or non-instrumental) worth before God meant that every human being was capable of being injured by undue actions. Some scholars have criticized Vitoria’s De Indis for its seeming acquiescence to, even strong endorsement of, imperial sovereignty.42 Critics have rightly observed that Vitoria not only addressed the unjust titles to war, but also proposed eight possible titles for Castilian rule in the Americas. There were important concerns raised about these latter titles, especially his first and second titles, which rested on an absolute duty to hospitality. These appeared to grant wide latitude for enforcing the rights of traveling (ius peregrinandi) and preaching (ius praedicandi). But among strong critics of Vitoria there has been a myopic tendency to ignore the corpus of his thought, and to draw conclusions from what Vitoria did not in fact say. To avoid misreading a careful thinker like Vitoria,

48   David M. Lantigua it is essential to note that he considered war something awful, especially in the Americas. He expressed his opinion in a letter to the Dominican provincial of Spain in 1534.43 After Vitoria learned about Pizarro’s conquest of Peru, he condemned the war as unjust and tyrannical, and recognized the Amerindians as innocent. In Vitoria’s follow-up lecture to De Indis on just war in 1539 (Relectio de iure belli), he clearly rejected “difference of religion” and “enlargement of empire” as valid causes for war. These two reasons covered the entire range of unjust titles to Spain’s avowed right to subjugate the Amerindians, which Vitoria had dismissed as illegitimate in De Indis. Vitoria’s twofold rationale undermined the various imperial justifications, which included the belief that the emperor or pope was lord of the world (unjust titles one and two); or that Spain possessed a right of discovery as supported by classical Roman law (unjust title three); or that unbelievers might not refuse to accept the Christian faith (unjust title four); or that unbelievers outside of Christian lands could be punished for mortal sins (e.g., idolatry) as taught by the medieval canonists (unjust title five); or that they have willingly accepted the Requerimiento (unjust title six); or that God has granted Spain a special gift to conquer (unjust title seven). For Vitoria, war belonged contingently to the law of nations and must only follow from an injury committed against innocent persons.44 Vitoria was careful to place constraints even here so that only specific, certainly not all, grave injuries constituted a valid reason for use of force. The effects of war—slaughter, fire, and devastation—were simply cruel and horrible. Contrary to what some critics have claimed, Vitoria’s scheme did not finally support and defend Spanish incursions into Indian society in toto.45 Rather, Vitoria’s relectiones categorically rejected all the “causes” proposed to justify the wars against Amerindians at that point in colonial history. Vitoria’s principled rejection of the commonly asserted titles of conquest helps explain why he was undoubtedly targeted by Charles V’s imperial censure, which restricted him or anyone else at Salamanca from preaching or publishing anything about the Indies without royal oversight. His honest assessment of the injustice of conquest in the Americas, combined with his scholastic precision, moved Christian discussion of just war beyond the parochialism of the medieval crusades and toward a universal, more egalitarian framework. Vitoria’s appeal to the universal authority of the law of nations (ius gentium) meant that his justification of war was, in principle, generally applicable to all peoples. To a greater and lesser degree, scholars have noted Vitoria’s cosmopolitan sensibilities favoring the equality of peoples supported by an international order.46 His account of just war holds relevant in a global society where human rights and the international criminal court are mechanisms for establishing norms cross-culturally. Humanitarian intervention due to the responsibility to protect the innocent from tyranny, especially those experiencing widespread violent religious persecution, and the just defense of allies, are of considerable importance to contemporary political thought and international relations (possible just titles three, four, five, and seven). Though Vitoria’s possible titles stemming from an absolute duty of hospitality whereby Amerindians should welcome Spaniards (if they cause no harm) may have been shortsighted and in need of further qualifications, his students attempted to rectify

Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest   49 limits of his thought after his death in 1546. Melchor Cano, who later occupied the same Chair in Theology at Salamanca, contextualized the first possible title based on a right of travel by critically pointing out that the Spaniards were not needy foreign travelers, but invaders more akin to Alexander the Great.47 Nevertheless, Vitoria’s full approval of the freedom to travel for those who posed no threat to others has remained an important resource for contemporary immigration debates turning on the conflict between the right of state sovereignty and the right of migrants. Vitoria’s second possible title endorsed the preaching of the Gospel in unwelcoming places. Since Vitoria supported instances of preaching against the will of those hearing the message, it meant then that armed conflict and war could follow when providing safety to missionaries.48 Cano addressed this issue by pointing out that not every obstacle to evangelization meant resorting to coercion and violence. Furthermore, since the Gospel must not be forced upon anyone, a community could freely decide to refuse missionaries.49 The teaching of Jesus in the synoptic Gospels affirmed this when he told his disciples to enter into towns where they were welcomed, but to depart and shake the dust from their feet where they were not.50 Soto’s Relectio de dominio cited this biblical passage to promote an apostolic method of evangelization and the freedom to receive faith without coercion, in contrast to the missionary warfare method of the crusading tradition. Las Casas also referred to it frequently in his works beginning with his 1534 treatise on peaceful evangelization known as The Only Way (De unico vocationis modo).51 Vitoria never supported the conquests, but neither did he present a viable solution for the Indies as his scholastic confreres had done.

Scholastic Theology and the Latin American Tradition of Human Rights The Spanish-scholastic account of dominium founded on the image of God, and the freedom of individual persons and their respective commonwealths, supplied the intellectual armature for a distinctively Latin American tradition of human rights.52 No religious and political thinker has figured more prominently in this tradition than Bartolomé de las Casas.53 After Las Casas was appointed bishop of Chiapa in 1543, he went to Salamanca to recruit the best Dominican friars from San Esteban to return with him to preach peacefully in the New World as he had already done in the southernMexican and northern-Guatemalan region of Verapaz. Las Casas’s thought was the flowering result of over forty years of firsthand experience, sharpened and refined by his training as a canon lawyer. He combined juridical insight with the scholastic concept of natural law to defend Amerindian rights. His opposition to unjust war during the reign of Charles V proved even more forceful and reformatory than Vitoria’s argument. Las Casas’s message was so resounding, in fact, that the emperor promulgated the “New Laws” of 1542, temporarily abolishing the encomienda and prohibiting wars of conquest,

50   David M. Lantigua due to his advocacy. The legacy of Las Casas strongly persisted in Latin America’s modern history of political independence and continues in the ongoing struggle for the rights of indigenous peoples and the poor. Freedom and the natural right of self-defense provided the locus for Las Casas’s articulation of Amerindian rights. Among his 1552 Seville treatises, which included his very brief account of the destruction of the Indies (Sp. Brevísima relación) and his controversial “Twelve Rules for Confessors,” the bishop appended a scholastic-juristic reflection in Principia quaedam to his preceding treatises. This speculative legal primer concerning “certain principles” presented a scholastic natural law theory of political authority, applied to the Amerindian case. It supplied a principled defense of Amerindians by synthesizing scholastic-juristic teachings about the image of God, natural justice, consent of the people, and human liberty as a bulwark against contrived claims to conquer because of cultural superiority.54 Las Casas provided an indefatigable argument for Amerindian freedom and their right of self-defense against Spanish invaders. Following from his historical analysis of relevant events surrounding the early encounters, Las Casas resolutely held that the only legitimate right of defense came from the Amerindian side of the conflict, evident, for example, in the brutal attack of Jalisco by Spaniards.55 He was also intimately familiar with the just rebellion waged by the cacique Enriquillo on the island of Española, whom Las Casas had peacefully assuaged. Enriquillo had fled to the mountains with other natives following a skirmish that resulted from the violence and sexually abusive activities of a Spanish encomendero.56 Strikingly, the scholastic appeal to “natural law and the common reason of humans” worked reflexively on the conscience of Las Casas, who earlier had supported the transplantation of African slaves to the Indies in order to alleviate Amerindians.57 When Las Casas learned later in life from Portuguese chronicles that the Africans were tyrannically conquered and unjustly enslaved, just like the Amerindians, he soulfully condemned his earlier requests.58 The scope of self-defense belonging to the peoples of the Indies, as well as Africa, extended out from the fundamental good of life to include their political freedom, their property, and even their religion. At the Valladolid meeting in Spain (1550–1551), where Sepúlveda supported the lawfulness of war as a means of evangelization, Bishop Las Casas cited Cicero to articulate the Amerindian natural right (derecho natural) to defend their religion from extermination by Spaniards.59 His use of Cicero to support the universal bond of humanity and the naturalness of religion was a prominent aspect of his philosophical and his protoanthropological thinking.60 Aquinas echoed this classical Roman teaching by describing sacrifice—a ubiquitous religious practice—as part of the natural law.61 This combination of Cicero’s thought with scholastic humanism yielded a more positive comparative assessment of Amerindian cultural and religious practices, such as idolatry and self-­ immolation.62 Instead of dismissing these indigenous customs as demonic aberrations, as many of his contemporaries did, Las Casas tried to understand them from a posture of deep respect, admiration, but also unreserved faith. Though gravely misguided, Amerindian self-immolation, as seen among the Incas, exhibited something quite

Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest   51 profound: the universal desire to offer God what was supremely valuable and most precious—human life.63 Indeed, for Las Casas, the greatest idolaters were those Spanish colonizers who betrayed the Christian faith by vanquishing the lives of innocent Amerindians in the pursuit of wealth and the glories of war. Las Casas’s final treatises applied the language of natural rights to address the political and religious elements of Amerindian cultures: the restoration of Inca sacred sovereignty and their sacred possessions, as well as that of any other society attacked by colonial aggressors. His posthumous De regia potestate (On Royal Power), published in 1571, along with what he called his last will and codicil—De thesauris (On the Treasures of Peru) and Doce dudas (Twelve Doubts)—were the crowning achievement of his lifelong commitment to protect the Amerindians and to purify faith from its violent and worldly colonial expressions, seen in both the encomienda and the conquests. His clear identification of the native right of consent to, or dissent from, European political rule, along with his ongoing insistence that the Spaniards had no legitimate claim for self-defense against the Amerindians, obviate attempts to portray him as an imperialist, ecclesiastical or otherwise.64 Moreover, Las Casas’s constant reminder that Christ taught the apostles to depart from unwelcoming towns further strengthened his belief that Spaniards should flee possible conflicts with native peoples, rather than fight back. De thesauris and Doce dudas made the radical case for full restoration of Inca political rule in Peru and the abolishment of the encomienda system. Employing Cajetan’s category of unbelievers who have never been under Christian jurisdiction, Las Casas classified the Spanish incursions singularly as unjust wars.65 Once again, the Amerindians could exercise their natural right of self-defense and resistance against the Spaniards who had first injured them and violated their natural freedom.66 In this historical instance, the sacred Inca Atahualpa was unjustly executed in 1533 and the conquistador Pizarro wrongfully seized the Inca capital city. Las Casas did not hesitate to identify Pizarro as a tyrant, thus discrediting not only his title to rule, but all subsequent Spanish governance.67 Las Casas also condemned Cortés’s subjugation of the Aztecs. In accordance with Aquinas’s scholastic-humanist dictum that “grace does not destroy nature,” Las Casas supported a twofold origin of political authority in both God and the people, as seen in the election of ancient Israelite monarchs Saul and David: God neither destroyed nor abrogated natural right, which from the beginning providence had established in a wise and immutable manner.68 Las Casas also turned to Cajetan’s relevant commentary and Aquinas’s classic teaching from the Summa: “Divine law, which is from grace, does not take away human law, which is from natural reason.” Therefore, neither the pope nor the Spanish monarchs had the authority to rule over the Amerindians against their will, according to nature and the order of grace. Amerindian political self-determination, or the right of consent, resides in a people’s natural power to accept or refuse foreign powers.69 Consequently, Christians cannot assert political rule over non-Europeans at the expense of the latter’s natural freedom and human laws. Las Casas’s scholastic view of political life contained strong democratic inclinations that went beyond the mindset of medieval Christendom. His De regia potestate, which did not have a Spanish edition until 1969, distilled his political thought in the speculative

52   David M. Lantigua fashion already begun in Principia quaedam. The treatise made little mention of the Indies. What it lacked in historical specificity was made up in a broad theoretical application, beginning with its significant claim that the people (populus) hold the efficient cause of all royal power. The people were originally free and anterior to any form of political authority, the latter’s purpose of which was not to create the law, but to administer it justly by respecting the freedom and natural rights of its subjects. The ruler was entrusted with the duty of establishing the well-being of the people by supplying for their deficiencies, correcting their customs to promote virtue, and defending them from anyone who threatened the common welfare.70 Las Casas’s scholastic political theory of right evaded the standard opposition between ancient and modern, or classical and liberal. The prominent legacy of Las Casas in Latin American cultures has served various political interests tied together by the common discourse of resistance to colonial powers or oppressive regimes—most notably Spanish governance, military dictatorships, and multinational corporations. The ideas of Francisco Suárez and Jean-Jacques Rousseau have generally been associated with theories of popular sovereignty and political independence in modern Latin American history.71 Yet Las Casas has remained an emblematic figure on the side of those struggling on behalf of the poor and oppressed, especially among indigenous and creole peoples. His searing accounts of Spanish injustice recorded in his Brevísima relación may have supplied potent ammunition for the Black Legend used by British and Dutch imperial competitors, but it also mobilized nineteenth-century resistance to colonialism in Latin America. For example, Fray Servando Teresa de Mier wrote an introduction to an edition of the Brevísima relación in 1812 during his exile in London to promote insurgent efforts back in Mexico. Mier saw Las Casas as both the father of creole rebels and the protector of the Indians.72 In a notable letter from Jamaica in 1815, the republican revolutionary Simón Bolívar appealed to the example of the “philanthropic bishop of Chiapa,” who was considered the “apostle of America” and a “friend of humanity.” Having learned about the bishop from his tutor, Bolívar could not think of a more appropriate name than “Las Casas” for the capital of a new state that would link Venezuela and New Granada.73 Las Casas also became an icon of freedom and resistance in the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain. The poet, essayist, and social activist José Martí penned El Padre Las Casas as a tribute to the bishop’s compassion and justice. Martí commented that Las Casas’s theological, humanistic, and legal training were “skillfully employed to defend the human right to liberty, and the duty of rulers to respect it.”74 Across the Latin American landscape, the modern elements of Las Casas’s political thought were repeatedly employed in political resistance efforts. During the twentieth century, Las Casas inspired theologies and philosophies of liberation in the face of military dictators and neocolonialism. Whether interpreted as a prophet of liberating evangelization or a philosopher of maximal critical consciousness, Las Casas has been crucial for contemporary Latin American thinkers who articulate an alternative narrative of freedom and human rights in the West from the perspective of the suffering poor.75 His solidarity with the voiceless other represents a historical option for the poor, a theme which has become a staple feature of the modern Catholic social

Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest   53 teaching inaugurated by the renewed scholasticism of Pope Leo XIII when the Roman Church turned its pastoral care directly toward exploited workers of European industry. The tireless, lifelong efforts of Las Casas to defend Amerindians demonstrate that true justice requires a preference for the rights of the poor and oppressed. This theological preference remains especially relevant in hyper-individualistic cultures where the freedoms of the privileged are often promoted over and above the basic needs of many who are beyond the solicitude of governments, special interests, and the consumer industry of affluent populations.

Notes 1. Annabel Brett, “Scholastic Political Thought and the Modern Concept of the State,” in  Rethinking the Foundations of Modern Political Thought, eds. Annabel Brett and James Tully with Holly Hamilton Bleakley (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 141. 2. Ibid., 144. 3. Ulrich G. Leinsle, Introduction to Scholastic Theology, trans. Michael J. Miller (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2010), 247–260. 4. R. W. Southern, Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, vol. 1 (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1997), 44. 5. Bonaventure, The Journey of the Mind to God, trans. Philotheus Boehner, ed. Stephen Brown (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1993), chap. 3; Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica (hereafter cited ST), trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (New York, NY: Benziger, 1948), I, q. 93. 6. Janet Coleman, A History of Political Thought: From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000), chap. 1. 7. Marcus Tullius Cicero, The Laws (De legibus), in The Republic and The Laws, trans. Niall Rudd (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997), I.18, 103. 8. Jean Porter, Nature as Reason: A Thomistic Theory of the Natural Law (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005), 348–358. 9. ST I–II, q. 91, a. 2. 10. ST I–II, q. 91, a. 4 ad 1. 11. ST I, q. 1. a. 8 ad 2. 12. Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15. 13. For a complete English translation of the Bull, see W. Eugene Shiels, King and Church: The Rise and Fall of the Patronato Real (Chicago, IL: Loyola University, 1961), 66–70. 14. Bartolomé de las Casas, Historia de las Indias, III, ed. Agustín Millares Carlo (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1965), c. 4. All Spanish and Latin translations are author’s own, unless otherwise indicated by use of alternate translation. 15. Juan Belda Plans, La Escuela de Salamanca y la renovación de la teología en el siglo XVI (Madrid: Biblioteca Autores Cristianos, 2000), 67–68. 16. Lewis Hanke, The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America (Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 2002), 18. 17. Juan López de Palacios Rubios, De las Islas del Mar Océano (Libellus de insulis oceanis), trans. Paulino Castañeda Delgado et al. (Navarra: EUNSA, 2013), cap. 5, §1, 332–335. 18. See Shiels, King and Church, chaps. 5 and 6. 19. Palacios Rubios, De las Islas, cap. 3, §4, 160–163; cap. 4, §7, 276–279.

54   David M. Lantigua 20. James Muldoon, Popes, Lawyers, and Infidels: The Church and the Non-Christian World, 1250–1550 (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979); Paulino Castañeda Delgado, La teocracía pontifical en las controversias sobre el Nuevo Mundo (Ciudad de México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1996). 21. Hanke, Spanish Struggle for Justice, chap. 3; Luis Rivera, A Violent Evangelism: The Political and Religious Conquest of the Americas (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992), 32–41; for a comparative historical treatment of the Spanish legal ritual of Requerimiento and its medieval Islamic roots, see Patricia Seed, Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492–1640 (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1995), chap. 3. 22. Palacios Rubios, De las islas, cap. 2, §1, 116–117. 23. For a complete transcription of the relevant passage in Latin, see Pedro Leturia, “Maior y Vitoria ante la conquista de América,” Anuario de la Asociación Francisco de Vitoria 3 (1930–1931), 79–82. 24. Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 39. 25. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. Peter Bondanella (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005), 22. 26. Tratados Politicos de Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, trans. Angel Losada (Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Politicos, 1963), 176. 27. José Fernández-Santamaria, The State, War and Peace: Spanish Political Thought in the Renaissance, 1516–1559 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), Chaps. 6 and 7; David Brading, The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots and the Liberal State, 1492–1867 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 86–88. 28. Sepúlveda, Demócrates segundo, o, De las justas causas de la guerra contra los indios, trans. Angel Losada (Madrid: CSIC, 1984), 33. 29. Las Casas, Historia, III, c. 38. 30. Tommaso deVío Cajetan, Commentary on Summa theologiae, in Sancti Thomae Aquinatis Opera Omnia, Leonine edition (Rome: Ex Typographia Polyglotta, 1882–1918), II–II 66.8, §I, 94. 31. ST II–II, q. 10, a. 10; cf. II–II q. 12, a. 2, and q. 66, a. 8. 32. Venancio D. Carro, “The Spanish Theological-Juridical Renaissance and the Ideology of Bartolomé de Las Casas,” in Bartolomé de las Casas in History: Toward an Understanding of the Man and His Work, eds. Juan Friede and Benjamin Keen (Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1971), 251–252. 33. Belda Plans, La Escuela de Salamanca, cap. 4. 3 4. Ibid., 157. 35. Domingo de Soto, De dominio, in Relecciones y opusculos, trans. Jaime Brufau Prats (Salamanca: Editorial San Esteban, 1995), §32. 36. Manuel Martinez, “Las Casas on the Conquest of America,” in Bartolomé de las Casas in History, 321–328; David A. Lupher, Romans in a New World: Classical Models in SixteenthCentury Spanish America (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2003), Chap. 2. 37. Soto, De dominio, §29. 38. Jaime Brufau Prats, La escuela de Salamanca ante el descubrimiento del Nuevo Mundo (Salamanca: Editorial San Esteban, 1989), Chap.  1; Annabel  S.  Brett, Liberty, Right and Nature: Individual Rights in Later Scholastic Thought (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1997), Chap. 6.

Scholastic Theology, Justice, and the Conquest   55 39. Soto, De dominio, §11; Vitoria, On the American Indians (De Indis), in Vitoria: Political Writings, eds. Anthony Pagden and Jeremy Lawrence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 248–249. 40. Tierney, Idea of Natural Rights; Brett, Liberty, Right and Nature; Roger Ruston, Human Rights and the Image of God (London: SCM Press, 2004). 41. Vitoria, On the American Indians, 239–251. 42. Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth, trans. G. L. Ulmen (New York, NY: Telos Press, 2003), 113–125; Robert Williams, The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1990); Antony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005), Chap. 1. 43. See Vitoria, Appendix A, in Political Writings, 331–333. 44. Cf. Vitoria, On Self-Restraint (De temperantia), 225, and On the Law of War (De iure belli), 303–304. Both relectiones can be found in Political Writings. 45. Anghie, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law, 21; Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth, 113. 46. James Brown Scott, The Spanish Origin of International Law: Francisco de Vitoria and His Law of Nations (Oxford: Clarendon, 1934); Georg Cavallar, The Rights of Strangers: Theories of International Hospitality, the Global Community and Political Justice since Vitoria (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002). 47. Lupher, Romans in a New World, 85–93. 48. Vitoria, On the American Indians, 285. 49. Lupher, Romans in a New World, 86. 50. Mt 10:14; Mk 6:11; Lk 9:5. 51. Soto, De dominio, §34; Las Casas, De unico vocationis modo 5, §17, 178–180, in Obras completas, vol. 2, eds. Paulino Castañeda Delgado and Antonio García de Moral (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1988–1990). 52. Edward  L.  Cleary, Mobilizing for Human Rights in Latin America (Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press, 2007), 4. 53. Paolo  G.  Carozza, “From Conquest to Constitutions: Retrieving a Latin American Tradition of the Idea of Human Rights,” Human Rights Quarterly 25, no.2 (2003), 281–313. 5 4. Las Casas, Principia quaedam, in Tratados de Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, II (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1965). 55. Las Casas, Brevísima relación, in Tratados, I, 101. 56. Francis Patrick Sullivan, Indian Freedom: The Cause of Bartolomé de las Casas, 1484–1566 (Kansas City, KS: Sheed and Ward, 1995), 188–199. 57. Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, I, cap. 24, 133. 58. Clayton, Lawrence A. Las Casas and the Conquest of the Americas (Malden, MA: WileyBlackwell, 2011), 135–144; Adorno, The Polemics of Possession, 64–69. 5 9. Las Casas, Aquí se contiene una disputa o controversia, in Tratados, I, 408–409. 6 0. Cary Nederman, Worlds of Difference: European Discourses of Toleration, c. 1100–1550 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), 99–115. 61. ST II–II q. 85, a. 1, cited in In Defense of the Indians, trans. Stafford Poole (Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1992), 230. 6 2. Sabine MacCormack, Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), Chap. 5. 6 3. In Defense of the Indians, Chaps. 35 and 36.

56   David M. Lantigua 64. Daniel Castro, Another Face of Empire: Bartolomé de Las Casas, Indigenous Rights, and Ecclesiastical Imperialism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007). 65. Doce dudas, in Obras completas, vol. 11.2, c. V. 66. De thesauris, in Obras completas, vol. 11.1, caps. XXXV–XXXVI. 67. Doce dudas, caps. XXIII and XXVI. 6 8. De thesauris, c. XVIII. 6 9. Ibid., c. XXXVII. 7 0. De regia potestate, in Obras completas, vol. 12, VIII.2. 7 1. Howard  J.  Wiarda, The Soul of Latin America: The Cultural and Political Tradition (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), Chaps. 4 and 5. 72. Adorno, Polemics of Possession, 80–81. 73. Benjamin Keen, Essays in the Intellectual History of Colonial Latin America (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), 23. 74. José Martí, “El Padre Las Casas,” in La edad de oro (Barcelona: Linkgua, 2008), 145. 75. Gustavo Gutiérrez, En busca de los pobres de Jesucristo: El pensamiento de Bartolomé de las Casas (Lima: Instituto Bartolomé de Las Casas, 1992); Enrique Dussel, The Invention of the Americas: Eclipse of “the Other” and the Myth of Modernity, trans. Michael D. Barber (New York, NY: Continuum, 1995).

chapter 4

Th e Sacr ed A rt of Cou n ter- Conqu e st Material Christianity in Latin America Jennifer Scheper Hughes

. . . we may now claim any artistic style as our own, without anxiety or trepidation or fear of error, as long as we inscribe there the symbols of our destiny and the language through which our very soul inhabits these objects. —José Lezama Lima, “Baroque Curiosity,” in La expresión Americana1

Material Christianity in Latin America encompasses those physical expressions of Christianity that anchor the sacred in public, domestic, and natural space: imposing baroque cathedrals and humble household oratories, sumptuous gilded altarpieces and worn wooden tables crowded with saints’ images, painted colonial crucifixes preserved and cared for over centuries, and inexpensive statues of saints sold by the thousands in street markets across the continent. From works of monumental architecture to vernacular expressions of “folk” religion, objects of material religion secure and orient lived faith. These material manifestations of the sacred give Latin American Christianity its depth and dimension. This chapter explores the invention and persistence of Latin American sacred art in relation to lived belief and practice, specifically in those cultural traditions understood as Catholic, in the most inclusive sense.2 Latin American Christianity is often oriented toward visible, tangible manifestations of the holy. Through ritual action, human beings imbue these artworks with religious significance and power. In her home chapel in the Guatemalan highlands, an indigenous Maya woman celebrates her pueblo’s patron saint. Religious images, rich adornments, warm candlelight, and thick clouds redolent of incense incarnate the sacred. Through her ritual actions, she tends to the materium tremendum, the sacred encountered first through its penetration and animation of the material world, and reconciles the paradoxes of Latin American Christianity (Figure 4.1).3 In spite of its painful origins in violent conquest

58   Jennifer Scheper Hughes

Figure 4.1  A woman in her home chapel tends to the materium tremendum. Momostenango, Guatemala. Photo by Rhonda Taube, with permission.

and imperial domination, in many Latin American communities the Christian sacred is not remote but proximate, not intangible but materially manifest, and the corresponding lived faith of many Latin American Christians is familiar and tender, intimate and affectionate. This study of Latin American religion is not only material but also necessarily materialist.4 Contemporary religious practice in Latin America reflects the pain and paradox of its colonial origins and thus must be contextualized and historicized in relation to the structures of colonial domination that define the context of its creation. The “infinite image” defines Latin American material Christianity, but this sacred superabundance is always “realized within a finite history.”5 Latin American Christianity was born from the fraught and freighted colonial “encounter” of diverse indigenous, African, and European populations. European Catholic missionaries labored to coax and compel a new faith for a New World, drawing on the rich visual-religious idiom of early modern Iberia—theirs was also an abundant material religious world.6 Yet many colonized peoples perceived that the forced introduction of Christianity during colonial rule did not so much deliver the sacred as threaten to annihilate it. The arduous process of forging Latin American Christianity was therefore one of concentrated artistic, cultural, and spiritual production as indigenous, African, and mestizo peoples in Latin America worked on the imposed European Christianity to make it a usable, potent, and sacred religion.7 This chapter

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   59 explores this sacred labor and the resulting religious forms that manifest the complexities of Christianity’s ambivalent history in Latin America. The relative coherence of Latin American Christian practice today across the continent is evidence of a widespread consensus among indigenous and indigenous-descended communities that Christianity could be reworked to defend and protect the sacred from European cultural destruction. Objects of material religion occupied the very center of this effort. The novel cultural and religious expressions, deemed syncretic or hybrid, characteristic of Latin American Christianity are the product of human agency, artistry, and effort, produced within and against the structures of colonial society.8 A tremendous ritual, spiritual, and cultural labor imbued adopted artistic forms and the imposed Christian religion itself with sacred meaning and power. This act of redemption was, by necessity, a labor of contraconquista, the sacred art of counter-conquest.

Tabula Rasa: The Blank Slate, the Empty Canvas The history of Christian material religion in Latin America begins with a violent act of imagined erasure. One of the first ritual acts of Christian evangelization in the Americas was the destruction of indigenous sacred material objects, as friars, priests, and bishops worked to create a tabula rasa, a fictional blank slate, upon which the Christian story could be written. The sixteenth-century Dominican friar Diego Durán explained, “Fields of grain and fruit trees do not prosper on uncultivated rocky soil, covered with brambles and brush, unless all roots and stumps are eradicated.”9 The slave ships that crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the Middle Passage may have been similarly imagined as a place where past histories, religious cultures, and spiritual attachments could be erased and replaced by European cultural norms.10 The tabula rasa offered a potent theological and philosophical imaginary—a theoretical point of origin, an epistemological starting place—definitive for comprehending the material origins of Christianity in the New World. Most of the major native religious traditions in Latin America at the time of conquest were fundamentally materialist and image-based, oriented around a complex visual pantheon of materially manifest deities.11 Christian missionaries disparaged these as “idols,” even as Iberian Christianity was also fundamentally oriented around the centrality of religious images. From the late Middle Ages, western European Catholics engaged in dynamic relationship with religious images in ways contradicted by subsequent Protestant and modern epistemological distinctions between being and matter.12 The Council of Trent (1563) reaffirmed the centrality of art to Christian practice, even while attempting to define more narrowly the parameters of religious devotion. Nevertheless, the spiritual conquest of Latin America was waged as a “war of images,” pitting one culturally specific version of religious materiality against another.13 In this

60   Jennifer Scheper Hughes war, this “spiritual conquest,” missionaries to the New World frequently destroyed indigenous sacred buildings, divine images, and holy texts in an effort to purge the landscape of its indigenous sacred content. They replaced these with images of Jesus, Mary, and the saints. Some friars, such as the ethnographer-theologian Bernardino de Sahagún, labored to preserve aspects of indigenous culture and language for posterity. The Dominican Bartolomé de las Casas also defended the integrity of certain specific elements of indigenous culture, especially in his Apologia and Apologética historia sumaria. But material Christianity in Latin America begins with violent acts of iconoclasm such as these. In extirpation campaigns, through the ceremony of the auto de fe, and in less formalized but no less brutal acts of iconoclasm, missionaries consigned divine effigies, texts, and other works of indigenous material religion to flame.14 Their guardians stood powerless to redeem them (Figure 4.2). In the Andes among the Inca, the targets of seventeenthcentury extirpation campaigns included objects of en-souled and vital matter: sculpted stones, domestic gods of lineage, and vital malquis, ancestral mummies preserved, dressed, and adorned so they maintained much the same appearance in death as in life. Extirpating priests and friars took materially manifest deities from homes and deposited them in flames, while explaining to the offending worshippers the nature of their sins. They removed the mummies from their places of honor and buried them as dead, in the cold, dark earth. Sacred buildings, temples, pyramids, and sanctuaries were similarly destroyed or repurposed. The spirited and animate massive stone monuments, too large to destroy, were marked with Christian symbols and claimed for the new tradition.15 In  Mexico, the Franciscan missionary Diego de Landa’s renegade inquisition in the Yucatan in 1562 is a particularly brutal example. De Landa consigned dozens of Maya sacred books and perhaps as many as ten thousand “idols” to flames. He simultaneously oversaw the interrogation and torture of some 5,000 Maya Indian converts to Catholicism, resulting in the deaths of almost 200 people.16 De Landa’s terrible ritual linked the annihilation of objects of indigenous material religion with the physical punishment and even destruction of indigenous bodies. Yet, irrespective of Spanish iconoclastic fantasies, the destruction of indigenous religious cultures was never more than partial. Carolyn Dean and Dana Leibsohn consider that colonial acts of iconoclasm resulted in the fragmentation, diffusion, and reconstruction of the indigenous sacred, but never in its final destruction.17 Missionaries consistently confronted the reality of indigenous and African cultural survival. Decades, even centuries later, church leadership worried over the persistence of indigenous religious practices, even in communities where Christianity was well rooted. Especially in the Andes, efforts at extirpation accelerated in the seventeenth century, precisely in response to evidence that indigenous religious cultures persevered.18 Nonetheless, from the perspective of the Spanish evangelizing body, a mythological moment of erasure marks the birth of Christianity in the New World: a moment when the earth was supposedly emptied of divine figures and sacred forms and material deities were reduced to burnt remains, left as ash upon a fallow ground. Upon this imagined, evacuated religious landscape, religious orders, missionary friars—Franciscans,

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   61

Figure 4.2  Tabula rasa. Friars burning native sacred images and books. Diego Muñoz. With permission. University of Glasgow, Special Collections. Camargo, Historia de Tlaxcala, Mexico 1585. Folio 242r.

Dominicans, Augustinians, and Jesuits—began to construct the scaffolding of their religious enterprise: the mission compounds and the reducción churches where evangelization of the “natives” would take place. These religious orders populated with the Catholic saints, crucifixes and other representations of Jesus, and the Virgin Mary: painted on murals, frescoes, and retablos, and sculpted in the round. In colonial Latin America, material religious culture was the primary medium for Christian conversion and indoctrination.

62   Jennifer Scheper Hughes

Into the Void: The Latin American Baroque and the Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest The so-called spiritual conquest of Latin America and its violent efforts at erasure of indigenous material religion left a figurative void, an empty altar, a blank canvas.19 Indigenous communities struggled to maintain, honor, and tend to the sacred, even in the midst of iconoclastic destruction and social upheaval. They sought continuity of practice, and persisted especially in their care for the materium tremendum, even in its new and problematic Christian guise, where, against all odds, they also often perceived the presence of sacred power. Many Latin American indigenous cultures are epistemologically inclusive—in the long colonial period their expansive understanding of the sacred allowed for the incorporation of new deities and divine personages or spirits, like the novel Christian saints, into a flexible religious pantheon.20 These communities frequently recognized the potency of the Christian holy, particularly in its material manifestations. Conflict, resistance, and tragedy resulted, however, when European clergy forcefully asserted radical Christian exclusivism and challenged the power of indigenous Christian structures of authority (caciques, cofrades, and mayordomias) to govern and control local Christian practice. Into the imagined void created by iconoclastic destruction, indigenous and ­mestizo Christians labored to construct a new religious, visual, and material universe. In some cases, non-European artists and craftsmen were so effective in the production and distribution of Christian religious images that colonial authorities felt compelled to limit their right to produce works of Christian sacred art. A late sixteenth-century regulation allowed indigenous artists in New Spain to produce Catholic images for their own devotional use, but prohibited them from creating works for formal installation in churches or for the general use of Spanish Christians. Nevertheless, non-European artists persisted in the creation of Christian art from early in the colonial period (Figure 4.3). Thus, the religious landscape was revitalized through the toil of New World artisans: churches and chapels rose up against the horizon, and altars swelled anew with images and effigies and other forms of material sacra. From the sixteenth century, indigenous, mestizo, and African craft workers, artists, and other skilled laborers participated in the construction of Christian art and architecture in a variety of capacities: as sculptors, santeros (image makers), architects, masons, engineers, painters, and illustrators. They not only worked as compulsory laborers in the construction of religious edifices, but also collaborated actively with Spanish craftsmen and apprenticed in workshops as they strove for the skill and authority to create their own works of Christian art. Through their exceptional labors, material Christianity proliferated in Latin America: no corner remained unconsecrated or devoid of divine presence. The dynamic of destruction and proliferation marks Latin America’s emergence as a Christian territory. Thus, the material proliferation of Christian image and form was cast against the abstract emptiness of

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   63

Figure 4.3  An Indian santero, creator of sacred artworks, labors over an image of the crucified Christ. Guaman Poma de Ayala, El primer nueva corónica y buen govierno, Peru, 1615. With permission. Royal Dutch Library, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Royal Library, GKS 2234 quarto, drawing 267.

zero, of the tabula rasa. For indigenous and African survivors of the conquest and colonial rule, Christian images especially came to occupy the limen, the space between something and nothing. This sacred proliferation has an art historical appellation: the baroque. Latin American Christianity began to achieve its full breadth in the mid-colonial period, especially in the long seventeenth century, when the baroque became the dominant

64   Jennifer Scheper Hughes artistic style. Flourishing in the period of European global, imperial expansion, the baroque arrived to Latin America as a European import.21 The visual mode of the Catholic Reformation, the baroque was born out of the Tridentine church’s reassertion of the sensory dimension of the Catholic faith. In the face of Reformation era challenges, the baroque functioned as the aesthetic reassertion of Catholic dogma.22 Critics observe the manipulative potency of baroque art in the context of colonial rule in the subjugation of native, colonized, and enslaved populations. In the Latin American context, the baroque sometimes functioned in the “mythologization of the conquest . . . eviscerating local histories.”23 The vast resources necessary for the construction of ostentatious baroque ecclesial structures with gold and silver interiors, whether cathedrals or large urban churches, were the direct product of European colonial domination: made possible by the extraction of wealth through a system of compulsory labor, slavery, and the subjugation of the native population. Nevertheless, in spite of its ties to European imperialism, the baroque aesthetic resonated with indigenous and African conceptions of religious materiality in ways that transcended the politics of domination. Against the Protestant Reformation’s emphasis on interior belief, individual piety, and denial of the material dimensions of Christianity, the baroque validated emotion, affect, and a more corporeal experience of the sacred. The baroque made sacred power available to a subject population denied access to most other forms of cultural, religious, and social capital. Further, the proliferation of sacred forms, ornamentation, and complexity, as in the assembly of saints on the baroque altarpiece, resonated with indigenous conceptions of the abundant presence of the sacred, especially as manifest in manifold material forms. Indigenous notions of religious materiality, in particular vital materialism or the sense of living matter, found purchase in the baroque and its unresolved complexity: never static, baroque architectural design teemed with life: floriated motifs, winged spirits, and a dizzying range of local beasts animated church ceilings, walls, and columns. Inasmuch as the baroque facilitated accommodation to the colonial order, in the Latin American context it was transformed into a vital mode of cultural and spiritual resistance and survival. In the mid-twentieth century, the Cuban poet and cultural theorist José Lezama Lima explained that in Latin America the baroque is not so much a ­decadent style, or an aesthetics of counter-reformation, but rather the very art of counterconquest: the contraconquista.24 Against the full potency of the colonial apparatus, against the structure, regulation, and regimentation of a strictly ordered colonial society, the Latin American baroque impulse strained and prevailed: unruly and uncontained, it defied boundaries and rebelled against order itself. Through the efforts of indigenous, mestizo, and black artists and devotional communities, the European form was indigenized in the Americas. In Latin America the baroque style was compelled to yield to diverse colonial artistic interventions. Art historian Gauvin Bailey writes that the baroque was an open-ended artistic mode, permeable and porous: “the baroque was a more forgiving style . . . more accepting of indigenous contributions.”25 The resulting style has many names: the Latin American baroque, the folk baroque, the indigenous baroque, and, most recently, the

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   65 hybrid baroque.26 In Latin America the baroque became an aesthetic articulation of the cultural and racial complexity of mid-colonial society, increasingly urban and increasingly “mixed,” expressing the particularity of the Latin American cosmopolitan: mestizaje. As the Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier explains, in fact “all symbiosis, all mestizaje, engenders the baroque.”27 Latin America thus became the “chosen territory of the baroque.”28 The religious labors of colonized people brought about an intercultural miracle of sorts, through which “the products of an alien system” came to be perceived as original.29 This process was so utterly complete that Lezama declared repeatedly that, far from a European imposition, the baroque is “our thing,” cosa nuestra. In very much the same way, through overlapping mechanisms, Christianity itself became the chosen religion of Latin America. Baroque art dreads the void, it is said, just as surely as colonized communities throughout the continent recoiled at the desolation of the tabula rasa: an American horror vacui.30 In the course of the colonial period in Latin America, the canvas was filled, the altar occupied, and the void negated. Through the lens of baroque counter-conquest, we come to understand something of the unique spirituality of Latin American Christians as they labored to render an authentic faith from an imposed religion: in itself a powerful and generative act of artistic creation.

Making Space Sacred: Latin American Church Architecture from Monasteries to Oratories In the first two centuries after the conquest, the mission-monastery compounds and the remote Indian reductions (reducciones) marked Latin America as Christian territory. By the mid-colonial period, vast cathedrals, shrines, basilicas, and churches defined the sacred as urban and cosmopolitan. Liturgical life across the continent continues to be anchored around these imposing examples of colonial ecclesial architecture.31 At the same time, a seemingly haphazard network of smaller and more informal neighborhood chapels (capillas) and household oratories dedicated to locally significant saints has come to anchor the sacred in domestic space and daily practice. For believers, these structures are continuous with, rather than autonomous from, more formal expressions of Christian architecture: woven together in a powerful spiritual network through collective ritual practice. Many architectural articulations of material religion in Latin American Christianity demarcate Christian space in ways that are consonant with preexisting indigenous cultural mores in which the community is spatially bounded and defined by linked sites of worship.32 Over time, the religious architecture and art of Latin America acquiesced in sometimes surprising ways to indigenous preferences, desires, and engagements with the holy.33 Across the continent, Latin American mission architecture symbolized the renewal of Christendom as signaled by the mass conversion of the “Indians.” An insistent sort of optimism characterized the original missionary architecture in Latin America, present

66   Jennifer Scheper Hughes even in the ascetic simplicity, the “austere severity,” of the Mexican convento.34 Yet this missionary fantasy often obscured and denied the profound struggle of native peoples who languished under colonial rule, including under the forced imposition of European religion. As the principal location for the indoctrination of newly converted indigenous Christians, the conventos functioned as centers of evangelism, education, and art. With walled atrial courtyards that encompassed church and priory, anchored at the center by a monumental stone cross, the New World convento compounds appeared as great stone fortresses against the horizon. Nevertheless, historian Fernando Cervantes describes how indigenous communities (pueblos de indios) throughout Mexico came to see the parish churches, the conventos, and the missions (and eventually the baroque cathedrals) as their own. Overwhelmingly, church structures in the sixteenth century were built by indigenous laborers and then were maintained by the traditional structures that organized care for the sacred. Eleanor Wake notes that while indigenous communities refused other key manifestations of Christianity (eschewing attendance at Mass and at the indoctrination schools), they embraced the construction of churches.35 Observing the “enthusiasm” of indigenous communities for building churches, the friars record that they could complete an entire church building from the ground within six or seven months, a stunning expression of dedication and effort. Under the steady, careful hand of indigenous craftspeople and artisans, a preponderance, almost saturation, of indigenous symbols imbued and infused the sacred into the churches erected in this generation. Indigenous painting, masonry, and stonework defined the architecture of the “Indian churches” of New Spain. Indigenous communities usually took entire credit for building the main church.36 Given indigenous authority over a large part of their construction and maintenance, it is not surprising that in many of the mapas churches appear as traditional indigenous portals or gateways to the sacred, as cave or mountain-like. An indigenous Mexican map of Suchitepec, Oaxaca, from 1579 contains several church glyphs that appear as irregular and rounded caves. The central church of Suchitepec appears as a “mountain-church with jaguar skin threshold.”37 In the Mesoamerican setting, the material matrix of Christian church and Christian saint’s image rearticulated the territorial jurisdiction of the Nahua ethnic state, or altepetl, after the conquest. Historian James Lockhart charts how the original Catholic parishes were coextensive with the indigenous altepetl, the parish church replacing the community’s territorial temple. The Nahua therefore regarded the construction of the Catholic parish church or convento-missionary compound as similarly “magnifying the central tangible symbol of the altepetl’s sovereignty and identity.”38 In essence, the convento or parish church “belonged to the altepetl” even before it belonged to friars, priests, or to Christendom itself.39 Even as these churches materially marked the presence of Christianity in the New World, they were even more immediately symbols of the unshakable persistence of local indigenous identity. Great stone atrial crosses anchored the liturgical and spiritual space of the monastery courtyard and incorporated indigenous Nahua motifs and iconography, revealing the presence of an indigenous artistic hand.40 These sixteenth-century crosses sometimes included flint mirrors, traditional portals to the sacred in Nahua art, and other indigenous

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   67 symbolic elements. One such stone cross from the Mexican state of Hidalgo depicts a stalk of maize where the body of Jesus would typically appear: articulating the association between Christ and corn, the multivalent Mesoamerican religious symbol for the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The murals painted on the interior walls of New Spanish colonial-era conventos narrated key stories of Christian mythology for a newly converted indigenous audience, but many of these frescoes also evidence the presence of an indigenous artistic hand.41 In the Ecce Homo image of Jesus’s arrest at the Augustinian convento in Epazoyucan, Hidalgo, Jesus clasps a green scepter of maize in his bound hands. Thus, in the midst of his passion, Jesus wields the indigenous symbol of life-giving sacred power (Figure 4.4). In the seventeenth century, the Jesuit reduction (reducción) churches were characteristic of South American ecclesial architectural. The reducciónes were forced settlements of “Indians” intended to facilitate both Christian conversion and the colonial administration of labor. On the one hand, the reducciones were places of compulsion, cultural loss, fragmentation, and even death for indigenous peoples. At the same time, indigenous communities leveraged the process of consolidation in the reducción for the preservation

Figure 4.4  Indigenized Ecce Homo. Christ with a scepter of maize, symbol of the New World sacred. Church mural detail. Augustinian convento. Epazoyucan, Hidalgo, Mexico. Photograph by Richard Perry, with permission.

68   Jennifer Scheper Hughes of some aspects of indigenous communal life and culture. Within the structure of the reducción, indigenous artisans claimed some latitude to incorporate local styles into Jesuit church architecture. José Lezama Lima writes, In the willful stone mass of the Jesuit complex, in the flow of Baroque accumulation, and in the great tradition of the late Baroque, the Indian Kondori [the Andean church architect of San Lorenzo Potosí] succeeds in inserting the Inca symbols of the sun and the moon, abstractly rendered, and Inca mermaids, oversized angels whose Indian faces reflect the desolation of their exploitation in the mines.42

Andean church architecture increasingly reflected indigenous design elements as the colonial period progressed (Figure  4.5). The Compañía de Jesús church in Quito, Ecuador, is one such example. Rather than a decline over time, art historians note a revival of indigenous forms as the seventeenth century drew to a close. Itinerant teams of indigenous architects, masons, and sculptors influenced the spread of a regionally specific style of Andean hybrid baroque architecture from the mid-colonial period. Characterized by an explosion of indigenous motifs and designs, the style is associated with a prolonged period of indigenous resistance to colonial rule, culminating in Túpac

Figure 4.5  Andean baroque. Mermaids adorn the church façade in San Lorenzo Potosí by the Inca craftsman and artist, Kondori. Wikimedia commons.

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   69

Figure 4.6  Indigenous baroque church interior. Santa Maria Tonantzintla. Wikimedia commons): By Marioli925—Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Amaru II’s uprising in the 1780s. Art historian Teresa Gisbert uses the phrase “a liberation of form” to describe the resurgence of indigenous imagery and aesthetics in the Andes in this period, underscoring the rebellious potency of the baroque in the colonial setting.43

70   Jennifer Scheper Hughes In seventeenth-century New Spain, the mission convento and reducción gave way to the urban baroque cathedral as the architectural anchor of the New World church. Even as the baroque was an urban style, it greatly influenced secondary centers and smaller cities, where the largely indigenous population also pursued the construction of baroque, cathedral-like churches. Jaime Lara refers to the “bicultural splendor” of the baroque church interior in Spanish America, that “bridge[d] the linguistic and cultural divide” and characterized the contradiction and complexity of mid-colonial society.44 Among the most famous examples of an indigenized baroque church may be Santa Maria Tonantzintla in Puebla, Mexico (Figure  4.6). In Brazil, an analogous African hybrid form of church architecture flourished under the inspiration of the architect sculptor, Antonio Francisco Lisboa (1738–1814). The son of a Portuguese man and an enslaved African woman, more commonly known by his nickname, Aleijadinho, he is attributed with articulating Black Atlantic baroque ecclesial architecture.

Housing the Sacred: Domestic Oratories The institutional power of formal ecclesial architecture, with its evocative, hybrid, Latin American elements, defines one pole of materially bounded Christian space. A vast ­network of smaller neighborhood chapels, rural village shrines, and household prayer rooms defines another. Here I do not refer mainly to the private chapels of the wealthy, found on plantations and estates as markers of economic and religious power, but rather to those maintained by poor and ordinary Christians across the continent. As early as 1539, the Junta Eclesiástica in Mexico expressed concern about “a survival of polytheism in the multitude of little chapels erected by the Indians, just like those they had once had for their particular gods.”45 Domestic oratories were common in the homes of indigenous Christians even within a generation of the spiritual conquest, as were informal barrio chapels. Based on her study of Nahua wills spanning over two centuries, historian Stephanie Wood describes how these were understood to be special houses built for family saints: as “his or her [saint’s] home.”46 Today, small chapels similarly dedicated to care for locally significant saints can be found in almost every neighborhood and on almost every street. In this way the holy comes to reside alongside, and preside over, the mundane routines of everyday life. While official church architecture typically strives to regulate sacred space as the preserve of an exclusive ordained male priesthood, domestic prayer rooms democratize access to sacred power and authority. Vastly understudied and poorly understood, the household oratory is a room inside a family home, or even an independent structure within a family compound. Often these domestic chapels are the territory of laywomen, a vehicle for their spiritual leadership in the community, denied to them by official church channels. This is evident in the photograph (Figure 4.1) from Momostenango, Guatemala, that appears at the beginning of this chapter. In her home chapel, relatively

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   71 unencumbered by the structures of male religious authority, this devout woman believer assumes a sacerdotal and liturgical role as she presides over Catholic rites. I have observed this elsewhere, in the indigenous pueblo of Tepoztlán, Mexico, where a local woman maintained a large, domestic chapel with a packed dirt floor, dedicated to the crucifix known as the Señor de Chalma. An impressive, elaborately adorned altar in the saint’s honor occupied the front of the chapel, and several rows of rough-hewn wooden pews crowded the rest of the space. Each week, she presided over a liturgical rite in honor of the famous Cristo, attended by several dozen members of the community as they prepared to make the rigorous pilgrimage by foot to the Chalma shrine. On her knees before the impressive altar, positioned with her congregation seated behind her, she led a solemn ceremony of song, chanted prayer, and communion. In the Caribbean and Brazil, domestic oratories are frequently dedicated to the practice of African-descended articulations of Catholicism, oriented around rituals of spirit possession, most prominently Santeria and Afro-Cuban religions, as well as Umbanda and Candomblé. Occupying the largest room in the house, these home chapels are typically obscured by a curtained entrance, protected from the prying eyes of unannounced visitors. In poorer, rural areas the simple floor may be packed dirt and the walls wattle and daub. Small stools and drums are positioned around the perimeter of the room, leaving an open central space suitable for dancing, ritual, and movement. Inside, the altar abounds with images of Catholic saints, candles, alcohol, cigars, and the favorite food items of the saints. Great care is taken to provide hospitality for the saints and spirits when they arrive at the ceremony. These house churches, or domestic terreiros, afford a certain degree of privacy to practitioners of African Christianity, all too frequently stigmatized. Domestic oratories like these are not primarily for private use, but are typically accessible to the local neighborhood and community. Whether domestic chapels or neighborhood shrines, these humble houses of the holy maintained by lay believers are physical landmarks that anchor the Catholic sensorium in Latin American local cartographies. It may seem strange to treat mission churches, grand baroque cathedrals, household oratories, and domestic terreiros in one breath. Yet these domestic constructions do not stand in defiant opposition to more formal articulations of church architecture, but rather they work in concert with it: lay Catholic devotional labor functions precisely to create continuity between monumental and vernacular works of Christian art and architecture, lending coherence to seemingly disparate forms.

The Rebellious Altar: A Theory of the Sacred Plane The altar in its many forms anchors material Christianity in Latin America. The preeminent space of counter-conquest, the altar is a place of disruptive potency, of infinite possibility and complexity. The altar is a supreme point of access, a zone of contact and actuation: the place for serving and engaging the saints and spirits in their manifold

72   Jennifer Scheper Hughes forms. The altar is a holy plane that collapses the distinction between celestial and ­terrestrial realms. The most potent Christian space in Latin America, the altar is a “sacred precinct,” the privileged place of ritual encounter between human beings and celestial forces.47 The altar possesses the capacity to encompass all of the paradox, potency, and pain of Latin American Christianity itself. Consider, then, the rebellious altar as the preeminent site of counter-conquest. Just as sacred power flows back and forth between Latin America’s great ecclesial architectural structures and the elaborate network of modest chapels demarcating the spiritual cartography of small towns and villages, the one activating and enlivening the other, the same can be said about the web of connection adjoining the sacred power of the high altar of a baroque cathedral and the simple altar in the most humble believer’s home. The baroque altarpiece (reredos or retablo) dominates the reflections of art historians. In its early European origin, the altarpiece was an ordered panel of painted saints’ images hung or standing behind the Eucharistic altar in the church sanctuary. After the Council of Trent, the retablo gained an unprecedented dimensionality and intensity: sculpted saints’ images multiplied beyond imagining; freed from their two-dimensional frame, celestial forms swirled and spun outward and upward with dizzying result. The baroque altarpiece is unruly, easily defying boundaries and order itself. The lavish decadence of the baroque retablo overwhelmed the church interior, dwarfing even the Eucharistic table. In Latin America, working in concert with the rest of the church interior, the baroque retablo drew the beholder’s eyes to heavenly heights—just as the indigenous population of Latin America plummeted to its lowest nadir.48 In the context of lived religious practice, the official church altar is the location of Eucharistic ritual, while the domestic altar is more immediately accessible and anchors daily life. Found in almost every religious home in Latin America in some form, these are discovered especially in the homes of the poor. Physically, the home altar is a plank, a shelf, a table holding an assembly of material sacra. Household altars may be permanent or temporary: assembled on a window ledge, within a glass curio cabinet, under a Christmas tree, on a chest of drawers—a place without contradiction. Here the faithful gather images of various sizes and media, some printed, others cast in plaster or resin, some old, some recently purchased, some long sanctioned by ecclesial authorities, some newly innovated. Here also one can find family relics and photographs, flowers in various stages of vitality and demise, and also drink and food for the spirits, and sometimes urns, caldrons, and other vessels.49 As is evident in the photograph of the domestic ­chapel in Momostenango (Figure 4.1), the potency of the altar is activated by the burning of incense, the lighting of candles, and the aroma of fragrant flowers: here one inhales the scent of the sacred. Ephemeral candles also figure centrally on the altar, their yellow light dancing against hallowed forms, bringing shadows to light and to life. Together, these objects anchor cosmic power in domestic space. The particular arrangement of objects on altars is never static, often in flux: there is often great significance to the positioning of the images and objects in relation to each other. Consider again the elaborate altar that Doña Paula, of Nahua ancestry, ­constructed in her oratory in Tepoztlán. (fig. 4.7) In its seemingly disordered, m ­ ulticentered ­complexity,

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   73

Figure 4.7  Doña Paula in front of her domestic altar with its abundance of saints’ images. Tepotzlán, Mexico.

its exceptional ornamentation, silver and gold garlands, proliferation of saints’ images in diverse media (printed, cast, and sculpted), and abundance of flowers, Doña Paula’s altar is the quintessence of an indigenous baroque aesthetic.50 Some would qualify it as an example of the folk baroque, but I prefer to emphasize a continuity of style between ecclesial and lay forms, without privileging one as original and the other as derivative. In constructing and adorning her altar in this fashion, Doña Paula links her domestic space to the considerable sacred and artistic power of the baroque altarpiece in more formal and monumental ecclesial structures. At the same time, her altar subverts the hierarchical and patriarchal structure of the Church, domesticates it in the sense of bringing it into her home, but without limiting its impressive, even unwieldy, power. The domestic altar is rebellion in material and aesthetic form: the religious space hardest to police, most difficult to legislate, most easily shielded from scrutiny, and the last of all religious spaces to be secularized.51 As Laura Pérez has observed in her studies of Chicana art, the altar lends itself to hybridity of form and content.52 Inside the domestic Brazilian terreiro, the Umbanda altar abounds with images in typical baroque fashion. These include traditional Catholic saints (Saint George, the Virgin Mary, Jesus) along with Afro-Brazilian spirits or entities: Pretos Velhos (slave spirit), Caboclos (Native Brazilian spirits), and regionally potent unofficial saints (Padre Cicero and Frei Damião in the Northeast, for example). More recently adopted Hindu and Buddhist images are sometimes also to be encountered: Ganesh and Shiva Nataraja,

74   Jennifer Scheper Hughes the cosmic dancer, are favorites. The gathering together of seemingly disparate and irreconcilable images and effigies into sacred agglomeration may be where the home altar derives its greatest potency. Anthropologist Hugo Nutini’s detailed study of the Todos Santos (All Saints) celebration in rural Tlaxcala, Mexico, in the 1980s describes the domestic altars he encountered. On these altars printed images of Catholic saints, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus share space with pre-conquest stone deities.53 These figurines, mostly of the Mesoamerican god Tlaloc, had not been carefully preserved for centuries, but rather were more recently unearthed by the mundane activities of agricultural labor in the rural community. The irrepressible persistence of the indigenous sacred refutes the myth of tabula rasa: after centuries of exile, Tlaloc the rain god rises from the earth and reoccupies his place of honor. Highly esteemed by late twentieth-century Tlaxcalan families, these recovered figurines, archaeological treasures, are given pride of place on altars with Christian saints. The association with more traditional Catholic sacred persons and beings augments, rather than diminishes, Tlaloc’s power (and vice versa). Again, the altar is a sacred space that comfortably holds, and even wields, contradiction, complexity, and paradox.

The Living Image: Iconography and Icons Sacred power in Latin America emanates from a particular religio-cultural nexus of image, altar, and chapel/sanctuary. Religious images, material representations of holy personages dedicated for devotional use, especially three-dimensional images in the round, flourish in baroque proliferation in Latin American belief and ritual practice. We have already encountered here the image in its many forms and potencies, venues and vernaculars: destroyed by friars, painted on murals, unearthed by farmers, sculpted on altarpieces, arranged on home altars. One of the key functions of religious images in Latin America has been marking multiple spheres of concentric belonging: my altar, my home, our neighborhood, our pueblo, and (eventually) our nation. In the colonial period, titular saints marked territorial identities and domains, as I have shown. In New Spain, each village or pueblo adopted a particular Christian saint (including ­particular manifestations of the Virgin or Jesus) as its patron. The image of a pueblo’s titular saint was celebrated and honored in the local church and lent its name to the town. Within a given pueblo, each individual barrio similarly boasted a chapel in honor of its particular saint. In some instances, regionally significant images have eventually become symbols of national independence. This is certainly true of the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe, who, ever since the hero of Mexican independence, Fr. Miguel Hidalgo, emblazoned her image on his banner as a symbol of resistance, has been thoroughly conflated with Mexican nationhood. In the colonial period, through the process of counter-conquest, Christian images became markers and preservers of local indigenous identity and African community

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   75 integrity, imbued with sacred power. This is evident, for example, in the seventeenthcentury cristos de caña. Among the most famous New World artistic innovations, these crucifixes were crafted employing a pre-Hispanic technique of molding images from corn pith paste and recycled paper and textiles, reiterating the association of Christ with corn. In Cuba, the Virgin of Copacabana is celebrated as “La Morena,” the brown Virgin, and has protected African slaves and their descendants for centuries.54 In the Andes, the Virgin Mary was honored as the indigenous Pachamama, the sacred mountain mother goddess (Figure 4.8). The Cuzco school of religious painting, illustrated here by the Virgin Mary as Pachamama, was a stylistic rupture that represented a resurgence of indigenous artistic autonomy in the last third of the seventeenth century. These images are material testaments to the veracity, power, and persistence of indigenous Christian faith. The inclusive Spanish term santo pertains to any religious image imbued with sacred power and animus (life) with whom believers engage in ritual relationship. This includes images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, as well as a variety of official and unofficial saints (unsanctioned by the institutional church) from Saint Joseph to Santa Muerte. One of the central identities of a santo, especially at the domestic and local level, is as a vital, dynamic, and even agentive member of the communities to which it pertains.55 Stephanie Wood observed for the colonial period that people understood their domestic images not as objects, but rather as “people who shared the house with them.” In their wills, they often named the particular saints “with whom they lived” and made provisions for their care and maintenance.56 Weeping virgins, moving crucifixes, and self-regenerating statues of Mary are among the vital images populating the religious landscape of Latin America. Inasmuch as the potency of these images arises from miraculous, wonder-working prowess, as in miracles of healing or other divine interventions in human affairs, it also results from the signs of life, vitality, even vulnerability that they display. The latter is, perhaps, what most distinguishes Mesoamerican practice from European cognates: in contrast to European images, Catholic devotion in Mexico has “focused on images that show signs of life.”57 Even crucifixion images that show Christ at the moment of death, limbs limp, head bowed, are imbued with vitality: these are commonly regarded as cristos dormidos, or sleeping Christs. Baroque artistic styles intensified this sense of liveliness as they strove for realism. Images were enhanced through the use of human hair, glass eyes, and even human teeth, and were made in such a way that they needed to be dressed in real clothing. Ritual actions further serve to imbue santos with power and life: dressing and processing them, lighting candles, burning incense, singing songs, holding, stroking, and feeding them are acts that reflect and honor this sensibility. These images are not just vital, they are also often understood to be agentic, as sources of action—agency defined here as the “causal consequences of objects . . . on the course of human activity.”58 The agency of saints’ images does not diminish human autonomy and agency, nor is the human meant to surrender to the saint’s will, but rather agency is “congregational”—distributed horizontally and shared between humans and other materially manifest persons.59 When multiple and diverse santos are gathered together on an altar, their animacy and power are further heightened: they now become “throbbing confederations”60 working in concert with human actors. The power of the religious image in Latin

76   Jennifer Scheper Hughes

Figure 4.8  The Virgin Mary figured as the Inka goddess Pachamama. La Virgen del Cerro, Casa Nacional de Moneda, Potosí, Bolivia. Wikimedia commons.

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   77

Figure 4.9  Repetition, abundance, multiplicity. Crucifixes for sale near the Catholic cathedral in Bogotá, Colombia. Photograph by Noah Evans, with permission.

America is manifest in repetition, abundance, and multiplicity more so than in singularity and distinction, as is evident in the many crucifixes for sale in a shop near the Bogotá Cathedral in Colombia (Figure  4.9). Indeed, a complex economy of regional (and

78   Jennifer Scheper Hughes international) factories, neighborhood shops, and botánicas facilitates the distribution of material sacra, allowing for the material penetration of the sacred into even the most rural and remote areas.61

Conclusions: De profundis: Rupture and Continuity, Profusion and Proliferation The materium tremendum speaks volumes where sacred scripture, text, and word fall silent. In the profound religious disruption of European colonial rule, new kinds of Christian communities formed—and, for the most part, these sought to forge continuity and cohesion out of rupture. Here I have worked to chart the historical emergence of Latin American material Christianity—in physical space, altars, and images—in the context of struggle and survival as colonized peoples labored to reconcile Christianity with their lives, cultures, and spirits. In some sense, Latin American Christianity is a salvage religion, a salvage spirituality, rescued, retrieved, and reclaimed from structures of power, domination, and suffering. Through the counter-conquest of Christianity, indigenous peoples worked an American redemption and ransomed a compromised religion. The cultural complexity of material Christianity in Latin America has proven capable of speaking to and encompassing the paradoxes and contradictions of the colonial and postcolonial experience. Most importantly, these include the paradox of European compulsion and indigenous investment in the Christian project. The fundamental paradox of Latin American Christianity is that it was simultaneously a religion imposed by foreign invaders and has somehow become, through processes only hinted at here in  material terms, an authentic expression of faith practiced by the indigenous and African-descended peoples of the Americas. Placing material Christianity at the center of analysis reveals that Latin American Christianity is itself a creation of the sacred art of counter-conquest.

Notes 1. José Lezama Lima, La expresión americana (Mexico: Fonda de Cultura Económica, 1993), 104 (author’s translation mine). In particular, see chapter entitled, “La curiosidad barroca”, or “Baroque curiosity”. 2. I am grateful to Thia Cooper for her careful reading and response to a manuscript version of this chapter. Pentecostalism represents another powerful form of material Christianity, with its focus on the embodied experience of the Holy Spirit, and, in the case, of Neo-Pentecostalism, its gospel of health and wealth.

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   79 3. Here I engage with Rudolf Otto’s foundational observation of the “mysterium tremendum et fascinans.” 4. See Manuel Vasquez, More than Belief: A Materialist Theory of Religion (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010). 5. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Monika Kaup, editors’ note to Chapter  11, Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 210. 6. Insightful scholarly engagements with European Christian practice in the early modern period include the work of Caroline Walker Bynum, William Christian, Peter Brown, and others. 7. Although I have emphasized indigenous expressions of Latin American materiality here, there is a significant and substantive literature that treats material religion within the context of African Latin American cultures and communities, with greater or lesser relation to Christian practice. See, for example: Jalane Schmidt, Cachita’s Streets: The Virgin of Charity, Race, and Revolution in Cuba (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015); Todd Ramón Ochoa, Society of the Dead: Quita Manaquita and Palo Praise in Cuba (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010) and “Prendas-Ngangas-Esquisos: Turbulence and the Influence of the Dead in Cuban-Kongo Material Culture,” Cultural Anthropology 25 (2010): 387–420; David  H.  Brown, Santeria Enthroned: Art, Ritual, and Innovation in an AfroCuban Religion (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2003); Stephan Palmié, Wizards and Scientists: Explorations in Afro-Cuban Modernity and Tradition (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002) and “Thinking with Ngangas: Reflections of Embodiment and the Limits of ‘Objectively Necessary Appearances,’” Comparative Studies in Society and History 48, no.4 (2006), 852–886. Important considerations of materiality that are not the primary focus of the work can also be found in: F. Gómez, “The Circulation of Bodily Knowledge in the Seventeenth Century Black Spanish Caribbean,” Social History of Medicine (August 2013) and Vincent Brown, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010). 8. A large scholarly literature by art historians and anthropologists considers syncretism and hybridity. See, for example, Carolyn Dean and Dana Leibsohn, “Hybridity and Its Discontents: Considering Visual Culture in Colonial Spanish America,” Colonial Latin American Review 12, no.1 (2003), 16–19. 9. Diego Durán, The History of the Indies of New Spain (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971), 51. 10. On the perseverance of African culture in the Americas, see Sterling Stuckey, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987) in which the African drum functions as an anchor of material memory. 11. For recent works on pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican material culture from within the field of religious studies, see Jennifer Scheper Hughes, “Cradling the Sacred: Image, Icon, and Affect in Mesoamerican Material Religion,” History of Religions 56, no.01 (2016) 55–107; and Molly Bassett, The Fate of Earthly Things: Aztec Gods and God-Bodies (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2015). See also Miguel Astor-Aguilera, The Maya World of Communicating Objects: Quadripartite Crosses, Trees, and Stones (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2011). For the Maya, see also the many works of archeologist Karl Taube. 12. Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (Cambridge, MA: Zone Books, 2011).

80   Jennifer Scheper Hughes 13. Serge Gruzinski, Images at War: Mexico from Columbus to Blade Runner (1492–2019) (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001). 14. The auto de fe was both a formal and informal ritual in Latin America. For works on  “idolatry” and extirpation campaigns in the Andes, see Kenneth Mills, Idolatry and Its Enemies: Colonial Andean Religion and Extirpation, 1640–1750 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997); and Sabine MacCormack, Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991). 15. Carolyn Dean, A Culture of Stone: Inka Perspectives on Rock (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010). 16. Inga Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517–1570 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). 17. Carolyn Dean and Dana Leibsohn, “Scorned Subjects in Colonial Objects,” Material Religion 13, no.4 (October 2, 2017), 414–436, 18. Kristen Norget similarly observes for Oaxaca that constraints on indigenous Christianity increased after Trent. Kristen Norget, “Hard Habits to Baroque: Catholic Church and Popular-Indigenous Religious Dialogue in Oaxaca, Mexico,” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 33, no.1 (2008), 131–158, 140. 19. Celorio writes of a religious void (a “vacío religioso”): “Pero el vacío no solo es religioso. También es político . . . .” Gonzalo Celorio, Ensayo de contraconquista (Mexico City: Tusquets, 2012), 83. 20. See, for example, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, “Os pronomes cosmológicos e o perspectivismo ameríndio,” Mana 2, no.2 (1996) ( See also Fernando Santo Granero and Philippe Descola, particularly the latter’s Beyond Nature and Culture. A current ontological debate in anthropology considers a post-humanist view of agency. 21. José Antonio Maravall’s 1975 groundbreaking study explores the emergence of European baroque culture in the context of “imperial mass civilizations.” La cultura del barroco (1975), 104; Culture of the Baroque: Analysis of a Historical Culture (English translation 1986). 22. Maravall, Culture of the Baroque, 263. 23. Leonardo Acosta, “El barroco de Indias y la ideología colonista,” in El barroco de Indias y otros ensayos (Havana: Casa de Américas, 1985), 24. 24. José Lezama Lima, “La curiosidad barroca,” in La expresión Americana (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993). See also English excerpt and translation: “Baroque Curiosity” in Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest, eds. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Monika Kaup (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 212–240, 213. Celoria subsequently picks up the theme of counter-conquest in his Ensayo de contraconquista (2001). 25. Gauvin Alexander Bailey, The Andean Hybrid Baroque: Convergent Cultures in the Churches of Peru (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame, 2010), 19. 26. Angel Guido invents terms “indo-barroco” and “indígena-barroco.” See his Redescubrimiento de América en el arte (Rosario, Argentina: Imprenta de la Universidad Litoral), 194. 27. Alejo Carpentier, “The Baroque and the Marvelous Real” [1975], translated in Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community, eds. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995), 89–108, 100. 28. Carpentier, “Baroque and the Marvelous Real,” 100.

The Sacred Art of Counter-Conquest   81 29. Celorio, “From the Baroque to the Neobaroque,” in Baroque New Worlds, 501. 30. Celorio writes, “¿Habrá, acaso, una definición mas certera, sobre todo por su fundamento científico, que la exime de exageración, del horror vacui, que suele presentarse como argumento causal del arte barroco?” “Del Barroco al neobaroco,” in Ensayo de contraconquista (82). 31. See, for example, Elaine Peña, Performing Piety: Making Space Sacred with the Virgin of Guadalupe (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011). 32. R. T. Zuidema’s account of the ceque system through which the entire Inca Empire was bound together by a system of roads marked by shrines dedicated to particular huacas. John Watanabe’s account of the spatial organization of community defined by sites of worship is also relevant here. John Watanabe Maya Saints and Souls in a Changing World (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1992). 33. The resulting hybrid works have been labeled tequitqui, the Nahua word for “tributary.” Jose Moreno Villa coined the term in 1942. Manuel Aguilar Moreno develops the concept. Cf. Tequitqui Art of Sixteenth-Century Mexico: An Expression of Transculturation, PhD diss., University of Texas, Austin (1999). Elsewhere, Aguilar has referred to tequitqui as “the  art that the conquered made for their conquerors.” Manuel Aguilar Moreno, Handbook to Life in the Aztec World (Oxford University Press, 2007), 263. 34. Clara Bargellini describes them as “rudely massive . . . with a look of austere severity, frowningly somber . . . primitive,” but her description belies the optimism of the architectural form. “Representations of Conversion: Sixteenth-Century Architecture in New Spain,” in The Word Made Image: Religion, Art and Architecture in Spain and Spanish America, 1500–1600, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, MA: Trustees of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1998), 91–102. 35. Eleanor Wake, Framing the Sacred: The Indian Churches of Early Colonial Mexico (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016), 84–87. 36. James Lockhart, The Nahuas after the Conquest: A Social and Cultural History of the Indians of Central Mexico, Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries, 1st ed. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994), 257. 37. Wake, Framing the Sacred, 116. 38. Lockhart, Nahuas after the Conquest, 206. 39. Ibid., 209–210. 40. William B. Taylor writes about the spatial dimension of the Christian cross, “Placing the Cross in Colonial Mexico,” The Americas 69, no.2 (2012), 145–178, 152. 41. Baragellini, “Representations of Conversion,” 100. See also Pablo Escalante’s essay, “El patrocinio del arte indocristiano,” Patrocinio, colección y circulación de las artes (Mexico City: 1997), 215–235, on this topic. 42. Lezama Lima, “Baroque Curiosity,” 236. 43. Cited by G. Bailey, Andean Hybrid Baroque, 38. 44. Jaime Lara, “Church: Interior” Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque: Transatlantic Exchange and Transformation, eds. Evonne Levy and Kenneth Mills (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2013), 49. 45. Robert Ricard, Spiritual Conquest, 269. 46. Stephanie Wood, “Adopted Saints: Christian Images in Nahua Testaments of Late Colonial Toluca,” The Americas 47, no.3 (January 1991), 259–193, 281–282. Private collections of saints on altars were also common in European Catholicism.

82   Jennifer Scheper Hughes 47. Hugo Nutini writes of the altar as sacred precinct. Todos Santos in Rural Tlaxcala: A  Syncretic, Expressive, and Symbolic Analysis of the Cult of the Dead (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988), 188. 48. I owe this observation, and my curiosity regarding the “curious baroque” in Latin America, to a lecture given by William B. Taylor in his introduction to Colonial Latin America at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2005. 49. In some expressions of Cuban religion, packed urns and cauldrons are animate spirits for communing with the agentic dead. Ochoa, “Prendas-Ngangas-Esquisos.” 50. Nutini observes the inherently baroque aesthetic of the domestic altar, Todos Santos, 188. 51. The last secularized, says Nutini, Todos Santos, 196. 52. Laura Pérez, Chicano Art: The Politics and Poetics of Chicana Spiritual Altarities (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), 93. 53. Nutini, Todos Santos, 182. 54. Schmidt, Cachita’s Streets. 55. Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham, NC: Duke University Press: 2010). 56. Wood, “Adopted Saints,” 280. 57. William  B.  Taylor, Shrines and Miraculous Images: Religious Life in Mexico Before the Reforma (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico, 2011), Introduction. 58. Journal of Archeological Method and Theory (special issue on Agency) (2008), 297. See also Matthew Day’s piece on Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (“Keeping it Real”). 59. Bennett, Vibrant Matter, 34. 6 0. Ibid., 23. 61. Patrick Polk, Botánica Los Angeles: Latino Popular Religious Art in the City of Angels (Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 2004).

chapter 5

I n digenous Chr isti a n itie s Commensuration, (De)Colonization, and Cultural Production in Latin America Andrew Orta

From the earliest moments of the colonial encounter, indigenous Christianity has been an object of scrutiny. Insofar as missionary efforts of evangelization and conversion were woven throughout the colonial process, assessing the condition and the potential of indigenous Christianity was a technique of colonial rule. Amerindians’ status as either apostates, or idolaters, or ignorant children unready to consent to conversion, shaped the form and legitimacy of colonial violence. Colonial missionaries were among the earliest Spaniards to develop a profound knowledge of indigenous societies and languages; their work included efforts to locate elements of Christianity in indigenous cultures, those that cast echoes of earlier evangelization, or represented “seeds of the divine word” sown in another cultural fields. Insofar as Christianity was a hegemonic backdrop of moral assessment, of administrative legibility, and of all forms of colonial commensuration, anything indigenous was, inescapably, more or (usually) less Christian. Any examination of indigenous Christianity is, therefore, focused on a founding problem of Latin American studies; the asymmetrical encounter of indigenous communities with external powers and the resulting complex of social, political, and economic entanglements is the origin story of the project. Christianity was there at the beginning. This chapter does not tell the story of that encounter. Nor does it survey the varieties of indigenous Christian experiences in Latin America today. Rather, this essay is framed around two correlated arguments. The first is the plainly visible, but easily overlooked point that Christianity, like many other “Spanish” forms, was quickly insinuated as a self-evident and potent component of indigenous experience. This had cosmological as well as more prosaic implications. Within this context, indigenous locality—the ground of indigenous Christianities—is best examined not as an insular embattled survival

84   Andrew Orta (the “closed corporate community” of classical social science),1 but as an ever-emergent project of cultural production undertaken always with respect to a more inclusive sacred and social universe. This introduces the second argument, which concerns the ways this founding entanglement has become constitutive of indigenous locality, and advocates approaching Christianity less as an index of degrees of assimilation or change, and more as a dynamic cultural resource and frame of continuing encounter that remains a generative component of an emerging indigenous modernity. Taken together, these discussions seek to move beyond the convert/resistor binary that has hobbled inquiry into indigenous religion in Latin America, as it has research on many other facets of local indigenous cultural forms.

Conversion and Coercion: Reciprocal Understanding on Unequal Terms Christianity was constitutive of the earliest moments of the Iberian invasion of the New World, coming on the heels of the Reconquista and the re-establishment of centralized Christian orthodoxy on the peninsula.2 This is clear from the founding moments of encounter, perhaps most potently in the Requerimiento. Spaniards read this text aloud to inform Amerindians that they were there with authority delegated by the Crown, derived in turn from the Catholic Church, itself founded in the authority delegated to Saint Peter by Jesus Christ. Amerindians were invited to acknowledge the universal legitimacy stemming from this line of descent through their willed subordination as part of a God-given feudal regime. As Todorov notes, “the Indians can choose only between two positions of inferiority: either they submit of their own accord and become serfs; or else they will be subjugated by force and reduced to slavery.” Pagden similarly points out the double bind of the Christian ontology that undergirded Spanish understandings of themselves, of their Amerindian others, and of the unprecedented colonial project on which they were embarking.3 Although the Requerimiento appears cartoonish for its assertion of (at best!) oneway communication, the evangelizing impetus of the conquest was a frame for a more dyadic, if still asymmetric, project of understanding. Missionaries were among the most schooled of the earliest generations of colonial officials; many brought an evangelical zeal modulated by a comparative sense of society shaped by knowledge of classical antiquity. Missionaries in contact with Amerindian societies that—in their view, most approximated the achievements and complexities of classical antiquity—entered into fraught scholarly relationships vexed by ambivalences of admiration of another society and profound frustration over its failures to follow the evangelical script.4 In her study of Andean missionary encounters, MacCormack tells a story of missed opportunities of intercultural understanding, as an Old World vocabulary for making

Indigenous Christianities   85 sense of difference met its margins and lost its flexibility in the New World encounter. An impressive cohort of learned missionaries and jurists followed the conquistadores in the Andes. Although these men made important strides in documenting the languages, histories, and practices of indigenous societies, their efforts toward mutual understanding and recognition of the richness of Andean spiritual traditions nonetheless end in a turn to a hard line extirpative position.5 Consider the advice to priests in the 1583 Confessionario prepared by the Third Council of Lima and attributed to the Jesuit Jose de Acosta. The Confessionario begins with a gesture of commensurability, locating the rich Andean religious tradition within a shared human desire for meaning in the world and knowledge of God: . . . [T]here are not people so barbaric that they do not have some form of superstition, and their own opinions about the things of god and human souls and the afterlife. And in these provinces of Peru it is a thing of admiration to see the number and variety of superstitions and ceremonies and rites and divinations and sacrifices and fiestas that all of these Indians have, and how convinced and accustomed the Devil has them in their follies and errors.

Father Acosta’s ambivalence in the face of the abundance of indigenous ritual life is clear. And the extirpative sting is in the tail of his advice: And while they will not be disabused of their errors by those who preach to them, it is too much to think that these Indians will receive the faith, however much they repeat and make them repeat the Christian doctrine, as it would be as hopeless and fruitless as sowing seeds in land dense with brushwood without cutting it down and breaking it up.6

Consider a similar arc elsewhere in the hemisphere: the Franciscan Diego de Landa’s careful study of Maya codices and socio-ritual life, developed in close collaboration with native consultants during the early 1550s. Landa’s work came to a violent halt after the discovery of a network of Maya ritual specialists practicing Maya rites in Catholic chapels. In a dramatic auto-da-fé punishing native idolatry, Landa oversaw the exhumation of one his closest Maya consultants who had died some years earlier, as well as the burning of the codices they had together labored to understand.7 Acosta’s advice to doctrineros that, without extirpative force, their evangelizing would be in vain came on the heels of the Andean religious movement known as Taqi Onqoy, or dancing sickness. Andeans in the central highlands in the 1560s found themselves possessed by wak’as: place deities that were powerful interactants in local Andean political and ritual world. Denied traditional offerings, the wak’as possessed Andeans to express their concerns. While the movement expressly instructed Andeans to shed Christianity and other attributes of association with the Spanish (clothing, food, etc.), among the leaders of the movement were Indian women who “called themselves Santa Maria and Santa Maria Magdalena and other names of saints . . . in order to be revered as saints.”8

86   Andrew Orta In these cases, a reciprocal process of commensuration was underway. Spaniards were assimilating indigenous worlds within the categories of Iberian experience. Chief among those categories was the organizing and universalizing rubric of religion, asserting a hierarchizing framework of comparison across the cultural boundaries. At the same time, the actions of Andeans (and Mayans) suggest that even in the earliest post-conquest generations, Christian symbols, places, and practices were recognized as sources of power and incorporated in local indigenous action. This was, of course, a valenced potency. Missionary readings of indigenous practices ascribed to them a position framed as an alternative “pagan” other to Christianity. And this generated a commensurability of indigenous practices and power with respect to those of the Christian world. This was nowhere more significant than in Spanish recognition of the work of the Devil in indigenous religion. As Abercrombie notes, the intensifying Spanish demonization of indigenous practices in the wake of Taqi Onqoy generated new semantic and pragmatic entanglements between indigenous religions and Christianity: The result of this concerted repression and increased surveillance was double. On the one hand, Andeans were taught a new difference between public and private activities; their heterodox practices were channeled into clandestinity, where they could be carried out only by small groups of people behind closed doors or on faraway mountaintops. On the other hand, these private and clandestine practices were simultaneously ever more closely tied to the rituals that could still be carried out in public as large-scale collective performances. Those, of course, were Christian festivities, directed towards the Virgin and the Holy Trinity and towards a host of images that for Spaniards were not idols: the saints and advocations of Christ and the Virgin.9

This field of difference constituted a coherent system, generative of the complexly entangled indigenous present. Dillon and Abercrombie detail the point more cosmologically in their treatment of the “Myth of the Destroying Christ.” Here, a prehistoric population of rude savages once inhabited the Andes. Traces of them are evident in burial chambers and mummified remains called chullpas by Aymara today. To say that the chullpas lived without any vestige of civilization and that they inhabited an unformed world without the spatial differentiations of mountains and valleys, or diurnal differentiations of day and night, would be to say the same thing. The arrival of the destroying Christ is the dawn of the sun, whose fiery advent burns the chullpas (thus their desiccated mummies) and introduces a set of distinctions constitutive of the Andean world: the oscillation of night and day, and the variegated Andean landscape of highlands and lowlands. These differences condense a broader cosmological order spanning an inner/lower realm connected with chthonic place deities (and the Devil), and outer/upper realm of sky deities linked to Jesus Christ (and the solar cult of the Inca). The middle realm, the space of human experience, draws from and depends upon this scheme of difference and symbolic potential energy, the mediation of which is the stuff of human life and history.10

Indigenous Christianities   87

Christianity and the Production of Indigenous Locality Not only was Christianity imbricated in the very constitution of the post-conquest indigenous cosmos, under colonial administration Christianity became integral to the constitution of indigenous selfhood. Baptism, marriages, deaths—indigenous life was marked by a sequence of Christian rites indispensable to the legitimate expression of sociopolitical agency. Similarly, Christianity provided the setting for some of the most palpable experiences of indigeneity: waiting for names to be inscribed, for tribute payments to be made, for blessings to be conferred. Guevara-Gil and Salomon have written about visitas de indios—tours of inspection by representatives of the Spanish crown: For millions of colonial people, periodically standing in lines in the sun, wondering when they might get back to their workshops or herds while waiting for a lawyer and a translator to set their names into the paper simulacrum of society, was the drudge which invested “Indian”-ness with death-and taxes inevitability. . . . Inspection deserves to be seen not only as an instrument of finance but as a performative action, constitutive rather than representative of “native” social structure and “Indianness” itself.11

And just as such techniques of statecraft were themselves components of indigenous experiences of the repertoires of Christianity—in parish record books, for instance—so Christianity was an integral component of the context of the administrative visitas, as Indians were summoned by the sounds of church bells, lined up in the shadow of the church, answered questions about their faith, and likely heard a Mass as part of the visita. The visitas were testing the colonial reformation of indigenous society, and, particularly for the case of the Andes, the implementation of a systematic reorganization (reducción) of local indigenous polities carried out by Francisco de Toledo, the fifth viceroy of Peru. In the areas I know best (Aymara areas of the Bolivian altiplano, and particularly the region of Jesús de Machaqa), elements of local indigenous structure, involving social groups known as ayllus, moiety relations, and modes of political authority ranging from rotating leadership positions to forms of inherited authority, were reinvented through the reducciones to create a transformed space-time of indigenous experience. Christianity was integral to the warp and weft of this space-time. In a pattern familiar across the Americas, Jesús de Machaqa is anchored by a central town with a peripheral network of rural hamlets. The town is the site of a central parish church. The construction of the massive church over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries involved financing mobilized by successive generations of indigenous Andean nobility. Called cacique by the Spanish, they were renowned for their abilities to coordinate the actions of component social groups, circulating products across distant ecological zones of the Andean mountain system. Also known for their gluttonous splendor, caciques embodied Andean

88   Andrew Orta political ideals concerning the mediation of local and distant values and the potential plenitude implicit in the valenced social order.12 Caciques endured by translating traditional modes of indigenous authority into the terms and values of the colonial system. Thus, it was that a powerful family of caciques took it upon themselves to localize a key foreign value: financing the construction of the enormous church.13 The location of the church bears additional comment. The town, surrounded by smaller communities (ayllus), is a symbolic center: a microcosm of the region. The regional (Toledan-established) cabildo, comprising leaders from the surrounding ayllus, meets here. The central plaza contains a grid of inlaid stones, with each square belonging to a component ayllu. The plaza is most evidently a microcosm of the region during the Catholic feast of Rosario, when ayllu groups come to dance on their respective squares. In these data, the complex position of Catholicism is evident: on the one hand, Catholicism appears as an external value harnessed and localized in a pattern familiar from other Aymara practices; on the other, Catholicism has become constitutive of many dimensions of Aymara sociopolitical life. The church anchored a parish that interlaced regional communities and families in new ways. Ayllu leaders participated in town festivals; a network of dispersed chapels in the communities and a calendar of saint’s day celebrations provided the framework for a sensuous catechism suffusing Aymara time and space.14 The institutional routines of the church echoed and reinforced elements of the multi-scalar structure of Aymara sociopolitical organization, and helped shape its reproduction over time, even as Aymara engagement with the church drew on local practices and sensibilities. For instance, the church comprised a network of twelve altars. Through the mid-twentieth century, indigenous mayordomos cared for the altars, with different communities responsible for sending mayordomos to attend to specific altars. The altars were ranked and sorted into a moiety-like system of “left” and “right,” designations also applied to Aymara social groups. Mayordomo obligations for each community rotated annually, with mayordomos from a given community moving through the ranked set of altars in a pattern that matched the service of ayllu leaders in the regional cabildo. Aymara refer to the mayordomo/altar/ saint complex as a jisk’a kawiltu, or little/junior cabildo. The analogy is apt, evoking both the structural parallels and the broader pattern of burdensome “cargo” service that functioned as a channel for extracting indigenous labor and wealth. Mayordomo service is also compared to pongueaje, a despised institution of indentured domestic service obligating indigenous Andeans to powerful rural elite. In Bolivia, pongueaje was abolished in the 1950s as part of a land reform breaking up rural estates (haciendas). The mayordomo complex ground to a halt soon after, reflecting the position of the Church in a system of extractive and violent exploitation. At the same time, the rotative system of mayordomos echoes a similarly complex pattern linking the biographies of cargo service that mark every adult Aymara life to the production of regional indigenous society. As this extended example makes clear, Christianity is an integral component of indigenous experience. Fiestas, cabildos, myths, and clandestine rituals—all components of the machinery for the reproduction of indigenous locality and indigenous

Indigenous Christianities   89 subjects—rely as foundation or counterpoint on Christianity. Notwithstanding the tendency to see Christianity and indigeneity at odds, they have been enmeshed from the get-go. There is no conceiving one without the other. Indeed, it is instructive to recall Mill’s observation that by the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries much of the evangelizing labor had shifted from efforts to introduce Christianity toward efforts to control and limit the ways in which Indians were taking it up.15

Idols behind Altars: “Folk Catholicism” Facing the New Evangelizations So far, this chapter has argued that indigeneity and Christianity in Latin America are inconceivable apart from one another. Indigeneity comes into being in a context suffused with Christianity. The Christian project in Latin America depends upon its indigenous alter (and altar) for its contours. They are reciprocally required components of a more complexly entangled situation: a more inclusive map of the sacred universe, and a more comprehensive map of the sociopolitical universe. An irony of Latin American indigenous studies is that this complex amalgamation of indigeneity and Christianity, reflecting their mutually implicated histories, has routinely been viewed by contemporary observers as “shackled to the past.”16 There are two paradoxes tangled together here. The first is that such a historically dynamic cultural formation would be seen as frozen in time. The second involves the “Christian” elements of this formation—saints, fiestas, the necessity of priests, and so on. On the one hand, these are taken as evidence of a superficial evangelization, a veneer covering an enduring and resistant indigenous identity.17 At the same time, these very practices appear as metonyms of contemporary indigeneity, defining attributes of a closed corporate refusal of modernity. As Platt has noted, analyses of indigenous religion have “emphasized a distinction between new Christian forms and an underlying concrete logic of pre-Colombian origin, suggesting that pagan mythic thought, accompanied by many practical concepts and ideas, has been able to survive unobtrusively till today, beneath the deceptive appearances of a dominantly European public aesthetic.” He describes his encounter with an “eccentric ex-priest” in the 1970s who exclaimed, “these Indians don’t believe in God at all. They’re not really Christians. It’s the sun they worship—the sun! the sun!”18 Twenty years later, priests who had come to Bolivia in the 1960s and 1970s spoke with me in similar terms of the “shallow roots” of Christian evangelization among the Indians, resulting in a “patina” of Christianity overlaying indigenous forms.19 The priests I spoke with were in Bolivia as part of a twentieth-century pastoral ­re-engagement with Latin America, with important implications for indigenous Christianity. During the Second World War, as missionary orders like Maryknoll moved personnel from mission fields turned battlefields in East Asia and the Pacific, there was a

90   Andrew Orta marked intensification of Catholic pastoral presence in Latin America. Alongside the pragmatic reasons of moving missionaries out of harm’s way, this re-engagement was shaped by other concerns, including a Cold War preoccupation with communism, an emerging focus on the role of Catholicism in a modernizing world, and intensifying missionary efforts by Protestant churches in Latin America. The Catholic Church was not the only one that focused on Latin America. Over the twentieth century, Latin American Protestantism moved away from the European immigrant communities that brought it to the region.20 The growing influence of Protestant missionization in the region indexed an intensifying hemispheric connection between the United States and Latin America, reflecting similar geopolitics and preoccupations with modernization that shaped the Catholic effort. These various missionary efforts of the mid-twentieth century (dubbed a “Second” or “New” Evangelization in the Catholic Church) shared important features in their readings of indigenous Christianities.21 Of course, they found them wanting. They saw an index of the failures of colonial evangelization, which yielded a set of superficial and poorly understood rote practices. Protestants condemned the focus on Catholic iconography and, with many Catholic pastoral agents, condemned the sensuality and excess of indigenous Catholic ritual: the dancing, the drunkenness, the sex, the gluttony, and the sheer duration of the events. An irony of the period is that for many Catholic priests, their sense that the original evangelization failed was coupled with a profound frustration over the apparent necessity of their presence to the reproduction of daily indigenous life. Missionaries found themselves in demand: for fiesta Masses, baptisms, and so on. However, many chafed at the fact that they could not control, or fully understand, the terms of their local significance. They decried their experience as mere functionaries of the sacraments, and dismissed what they saw as meaningless memorization and recitation of Catholic prayer and doctrine, all confirming their sense that indigenous Christianity was incomplete. As the Canadian missionary Jacques Monast phrased it: the Indians had been “baptized but not evangelized.”22 Watanabe tells a similar story from Guatemala. The Chimalteco Maya of the early twentieth century considered themselves muy bien católicos. They were served by itinerant priests who struggled to visit the many communities under their care, and considered the Indians to be “barbarians and brutes” with no chance of becoming good Catholics. Despite the lack of priestly attention (and no lack of priestly contempt), Indians in the region were apparently good enough Catholics to reject the earliest evangelizing of Protestant missionaries in the region in the 1920s.23 Maryknoll missionaries arriving in the 1940s were soon frustrated by the demands of circuit riding to attend to a large pastoral zone. The new missionaries adopted new pastoral tactics. At their core was the training of indigenous catechists: local religious specialists who would multiply the presence of priests by delivering doctrinal instruction in their communities. Priests looked to catechists to certify the preparation of candidates for sacraments such as marriage or baptism, to attest that sponsors of fiestas were undertaking their cargo with appropriate religious devotion, and to broker a host of other interactions between indigenous community members and periodically visiting

Indigenous Christianities   91 clergy. The strategy was employed throughout indigenous Latin America, with catechists appointed to lead local faith groups and some serving as ministers of sacraments. Networks of pastoral courses and pastoral institutes designed to promote lay religious leadership sprang up across the region, some affiliated with institutional movements such as Catholic Action. However, all participated in a re-engagement of the Church with indigenous Latin American communities and with the syncretic legacy of the colonial evangelization.24 This had profound results for indigenous Christianities in Latin America, with impacts that resonate through the present. One upshot was a neo-orthodoxy. Priests seeking to curb the excesses of syncretic ritual practices often insisted on a return to the gospel and foundational catechetical knowledge. This fit with the pastoral possibilities presented by the native catechists, who were tasked with enforcing new styles of Catholic worship. This neo-orthodoxy valued a facility with catechetical knowledge, biblical texts, and a growing corpus of hymns (in native languages), and condemned a swath of other ritual practices ranging from “indigenous” rites, such as offerings to place deities, to saint-focused worship and related folk Catholic practices. The result was a twentieth-century extirpation campaign, with priests and catechists in some regions aggressively denouncing local indigenous Christianity, and catechist-led faith groups appearing as a schismatic branch of Catholicism. When I asked Bolivian Aymara about “kinds” of Christians in their communities, respondents often listed catequistas as part of a list also including Protestant churches, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, all distinguished from the more typical of the folk Catholic variety. Warren reports a similar separation of catechist-led Catholic Action followers from Catholic costumbristas among the Trixano of Guatemala.25 The native categorization stems from a shared condemnation of Catholic ritual excess. But there are other commonalities connecting these critiques. Like many “neoCatholics,” Protestants saw the amalgamation of indigenous and Catholic religiosity as indexing the subordination of Indians in Latin American societies. In his study of indigenous Protestantism in Guatemala, Annis characterizes folk Catholicism (“milpa logic”) as a system enabling the reproduction of an Indianness marked by economic and social inequality vis-à-vis Guatemalan society. He describes “the replication from one generation to the next of colonial relations. What is replicated is Indianness, a permanent state of unequal separation.”26 Protestantism, he argues, offers an alternative system for the production of indigenous Christians, and particularly those at the margins of a traditional corporate community. Where that community is thought to be inward looking and status quo driven, the Protestant Indian is committed to change: economic advancement, engagement beyond the rural community, and modernization in skills and lifeways. Other discussions cast the contrast in even more dramatic terms: Catholicism keeps Indians in chains, blind, like slaves, and so forth. Protestantism entailed a sharp break from the Catholic past, seen as “a time of ignorance, idolatry, drunkenness and degradation.”27 In Ecuador, where Catholicism was closely connected with the hacienda mode of production, one of the most momentous mass conversions to Protestantism in Latin America (in the Colta Lake region) occurred in the wake of land reforms abolishing haciendas and the servitude of Kichwa peasants.28

92   Andrew Orta Protestant missionaries to the Kichwa communities of the Colta Lake region described the Indians they encountered as miserable and downtrodden. This oppressed condition became a fulcrum for Protestant conversion, cast as offering a new path and new opportunities.29 A similar promise can be found in Catholic pastoral activities. Warren discusses the ways that efforts to instill a modern Catholic orthodoxy in Guatemala provoked profound rethinking of indigenous ethnic identity and relations between indigenous Trixano and their ladino neighbors, as well as relations between Trixano converts to Catholic Action and those continuing to follow costumbre.30

Commensurating the Vernacular: Indigenous Christianities and Modernity This moment is marked by two important developments for indigenous Christianities in Latin America. The first involves a focus on a self-consciously modernizing break in indigenous religiosity. This was not unprecedented; independence brought its own promises of modernity and a push to participate in a postcolonial future. (There, too, Catholicism was often invoked as a metonym of the colonial conditions being put in the past; there, too, the entanglement of costumbre with the production of indigenous life made it difficult to sever these connections.) However, here, newly missionized Christianities offered new ontologies of self and new moral frameworks that enabled and authorized new aspirations and actions in the world. Counter to the pat narrative that conversion to Protestantism and neo-Orthodoxy entailed the fragmentation and breaking up of indigenous communities, they provoked new ways of making indigenous community.31 Although it would be anachronistic to describe these modernizing efforts with the rhetoric of de-colonialization that marks the leading edges of contemporary indigenous thought, there are seeds here of current efforts to shed the hobbling inheritances of colonialism and to articulate an alternative indigenous modernity. A second development stemming from this moment is that local indigenous Christianity became networked in new ways to global religious institutions. Again, this is not a strictly new development. The Catholic Church was, arguably, the earliest global institution, and colonial Catholicism connected indigenous Christians within an institutional network of translocal reach, stretching from parish and doctrina to Madrid and Rome. At the same time, the folk Catholicism of the post-independence period involved a relatively inward-focused set of practices, keyed on the reproduction of indigenous community through the production of competent and morally authoritative social persons. Notwithstanding the fact that the communities of classical community ethnographies were never as “closed” as the literature implied, in many areas of Latin America, intensified by the weakening of the Church in the face of postindependence anticlericalism, nineteenth- and early twentieth-century indigenous

Indigenous Christianities   93 Christianity was relatively local or regional and was not well connected to the broader institution of the Catholic Church. This intersection of decolonializing and modernizing aspirations and the thickening of translocal institutional linkages was a rich growth medium for indigenous Christianities. Liberation theology, which stemmed from the second evangelization and the critique of the subordinate status quo, reflects a systematic effort to anchor a revitalized religious identity with respect to local circumstances.32 A good deal of liberationist pastoral work continued in the reformist neo-orthodoxy vein: heavily text-based, critical of colonially derived forms of piety, and suspicious of indigenous, syncretic, or folk religious practices.33 Unsurprisingly, these movements were controversial and made considerably less headway in community-based indigenous areas of Latin America than they did in urban or proletarianized rural areas.34 A successor movement to liberation theology, dubbed the theology of inculturation, represents a more explicit attempt to inspire and codify indigenous Christianities. The concept of inculturation has a long pedigree, dating back to sixteenth-century efforts to identify seeds of the divine word in indigenous practices, and correlated missionary strategies focused on finding local functional equivalents for Christian practices. The term appears with growing frequency in church documents from the 1970s on, at once reflecting the growing attention to local practices and a concern with mediating cultural differences, and embodying the thickening institutional apparatus within which these efforts were unfolding. Indigenous pastoral agents play a key role in this process of mediation. Inculturationists point to the life of Jesus as the exemplar of inculturation: giving the universal Christian message life in the cultural and historical time and place of the gospel accounts. They challenge indigenous Christians to do the same in their lives. Missionaries I observed in Bolivia suggested that just as Jesus built upon the existing religious traditions of his day, Aymara catechists must view the practices of their own communities through the eyes of Jesus, “writing” through their actions an Aymara New Testament. Maya catechists are characterized as “indigenous apostles,” engaged in a similar task through worship practices focused on a newly empowered Maya exegesis of the Bible.35 In such exhortations, the figure of Jesus plays a double role. On the one hand, Jesus is a man of his place and time: embodying the message of Christianity in his lived context. On the other, as the bridge between context and the assumed universal message, Jesus is a point of access to an essential Christianity, distilled from any particular cultural or historical setting. Garrard-Burnett describes inculturationist practices among Guatemalan Maya as an effort to “decontextualize” Christian narratives from their Western referents and recontextualize them in local Maya circumstances.36 The inculturationist message is realized in contingent ways in different local communities. For some catechists, an increased use of the native language in the liturgy, or a greater willingness to participate in communal events once regarded with suspicion, may be the limit of their inculturationist practices. Others, more closely realizing the aims of the missionaries, may embrace selected indigenous practices and seek out new ways to collaborate with traditional ritual authorities in public rites. Elsewhere, inculturationist

94   Andrew Orta catechists seem to reject more completely elements of the costumbre complex linked to saint festivals. In the Tzoltzil Maya case, missionaries have criticized the financing of these expensive rituals as compelling Maya participation in a local political economy that maintains the dominance of non-indigenous landholders. Inculturated Tzoltzil worship focuses more on acts of exegesis by catechists. In a rite of baptism, for instance, catechists evoke analogies between Maya conceptualization of three creations and the Christian trinity, and also gloss the baptism as bestowing a vocational “gift” linked to a capacity to work, on the initiate. This is resonant with a focus in inculturationist Mayan communities on an entrepreneurial work ethic linked to coffee production and indigenous control of lands.37 This range of outcomes, beyond missionary control, is certainly not new. However, in the context of inculturation this capillary part of the process is considered integral to an inculturated indigenous Christianity. An emphasis on key traits and practices as at once representative of indigenous tradition and potential vehicles for inculturated Christian meaning is evident in other cases. In her discussion of an emergent “teología Maya,” Garrard-Burnett describes the systematization of key elements of Maya spirituality. Cultural values such as “peace”—with the natural world, with people, and with place deities—along with concepts like soul shifting, centeredness, or complementary opposition, become the Maya framework within and through which inculturationists seek to identify and express Christian meanings.38 Lyons describes the ways an inculturationist turn in Ecuadorian Kichwa communities focuses on the social value of “respect” toward elders. This rhetoric of respect conflates contemporary elders with idealized distant ancestors, while uncomfortably echoing a different language of respect deriving from the hacienda social hierarchy dominant in the region through the mid-twentieth century.39 Doing theology in these ways involves complex metacultural interpretations— assertions of what it means essentially to be “Maya” or “Kichwa—that are themselves historically conditioned. Contemporary expressions of indigeneity are inseparable from their fraught history of entanglement with Christianity. Noting the “hermeneutic puzzle” entailed by inculturationists’ renderings of Mayanness, Garrard-Burnett discusses the key role of the Popul Vuh: a historic text that at once provides some basis for commensurability between Maya tradition and the textually encoded core of Christianity and, as it was produced as a text during the earliest moments of Maya-Spanish engagement, seems to offer a glimpse of a pre-Columbian Maya spirituality.40 A related challenge of systematizing any sort of “teología_” involves the standardization of what are inevitably diverse and ever-changing identities within any one cultural group. Inculturationists are not alone here, as the broader turn toward “official multiculturalisms” has had a paradoxically homogenizing effect, marking cultural differences in increasingly similar and comparable ways.41 The inculturationist elaboration of a serial set of indigenous theologies, each with key features highlighting putatively core values, runs precisely these risks. Yet these limitations do not contain localizing efforts such as inculturation, which establishes spaces for improvisation and channels for reciprocal changes. Conversionlike accounts of spiritual and political transformation are staples of contemporary

Indigenous Christianities   95 missionary autobiographies in Latin America.42 The increasing use of indigenous languages similarly opens up new arenas of challenge, recalibrating received categories routinely expressed in dominant languages. Writing of inculturationist-influenced work by Nasa Uwe speakers in Colombia, Rappaport describes intercultural processes whereby documents in Spanish are translated into Nasa Uwe and then “back translated” into Spanish. The reversal of the translational arrows creates new semantic fields for key terms and meanings in the “original” documents.43 The Nasa activists were focusing on the Colombian constitution; the biblical exegesis of the “indigenous apostles” among the Tzoltzil or elsewhere does potentially similar work. Comparable developments are evident for non-Catholic indigenous Christianities. Recent research reports high growth in Protestantism among indigenous populations.44 In some regards, this is continuous with earlier scholarship detailing the tensions between Protestantism and folk Catholicism and the ways the unraveling of the corporate Indian community is a growth opportunity for Protestant evangelists. However, as this recent work makes clear, Protestantism has also been an important context for a reimagined indigeneity. As with the case of neo-Catholicism, Protestantism has served as “a vehicle for indigenous renewal” and forms of indigenous social mobilization that connect with a broader ethos of multicultural valorization across Latin America.45 The Ecuadorian Indigenous Evangelical Federation (FEINE) has attracted attention in this regard. In addition to upending conventional understandings about evangelical Christianity as being antithetical to political mobilization, studies point out the ways FEINE and similar organizations came to represent indigenous peoples’ regional and national claims, as Protestant practices became local sites for indigenous cultural reproduction.46 To judge from recent work with second- and third-generation converts in Chimborazo, Ecuador, younger generations draw from a rich cultural repertoire, including elements of a revalorized indigenous identity, to assert locally compelling modes of indigenous Protestantism.47

Christianities in Process Like all local communities, indigenous faith communities have been adapting received orthodoxies for generations, producing vernacular religious forms. Yet there is something new in the insights to be drawn from current research on indigenous Christianity. This returns me to my opening comment: indigenous Christianity has long served as an index of the transformation of the region, classically figured as the forces of change introducing the contemporary and the future from without, while the local stands as the recalcitrant vernacular, lagging always behind the curve of contemporary modernity. The story, of course, is quite different. Indigenous Christianity is much more than a litmus test of the impact of external change. It is an index of the dynamic production of indigeneity deeply engaged with contemporary local and translocal circumstances. Indigenous Christianities offer a powerful illustration of the production of indigenous

96   Andrew Orta modernities: as a setting for the commensuration of identities within universal frames of reference, as an engine for the production of individual and collective moral subjects authorized to act with respect to those frameworks, and as a vector connecting highly local and individualized practices with more inclusive scales of action. Similarly, indigenous Christianities exemplify the potent political engagement of local indigenous cosmologies with matters of contemporary local, regional, national, and global concern. In an essay on “indigenous cosmopolitics,” de la Cadena discusses “an insurgence of indigenous forces and practices with the capacity to significantly disrupt prevalent political formations, and reshuffle hegemonic antagonisms, first and foremost by rendering illegitimate (and, thus, denaturalizing) the exclusion of indigenous practices from nation-state institutions.”48 She is commenting on the political salience of “earth practices,” as offerings to place deities and invocations of a cosmological and ecological balance between human communities and the earth become part of a grammar of indigenous political action: staking out an indigenous footing for political participation and evoking a qualitatively different politics unsettling a separation of the natural and social world characteristic of Western modernity. De la Cadena begins her essay quoting a letter from Humberto Cholango, president of the indigenous organization Ecuaruni, to Pope Benedict XVI in 2007: It’s inconceivable that in the 21st century, God still has to be defined according to the European standards. . . . We think the life of Jesus is the Great Light coming from Inti Yaya (Paternal and Maternal Light that supports it all), whose aim is to deter anything that doesn’t let us live in justice and brotherhood among human beings and in harmony with Mother Nature. . . . The Pope should note that our religions NEVER DIED, we learned how to merge our beliefs and symbols with the ones of the invaders and oppressors.

Cholango’s letter was provoked by a statement by Benedict asserting that “at the time of the Conquest Indians had already been longing for their conversion, which had been nonviolent.”49 Conventional models of conversion and assessments of indigenous Christianities have figured the process as encompassing indigeneity within a universal framework. Even the culture-friendly categories of inculturation aim to celebrate local tokens of universally meaningful types. Anything confounding such encompassment is taken as evidence of an incomplete or incoherent process. But a growing body of work on contemporary indigeneity—not all of it engaging explicitly with “religious” themes—provokes new analytic approaches to this chestnut of Latin American studies. What if Christianity (or modernity) is itself encompassed as an integral (and not alien) component of other ways of being in the world—transforming them in the ­process, but not defining or determining them? Such questions call attention to differently positioned processes of meaning making and the ways, as in the Nasa strategy of back translation, Christianity can never fully set the terms. Such a view need not discount the asymmetry, compulsion, and violence of Christian missionization. Complete refusal or

Indigenous Christianities   97 ignorance of these projects is not an option; the Nasa, after all, were wrestling with the Colombian Constitution. The indigenization of Christianity remains framed by a process of incorporation rooted in acts of imposition. Nonetheless, the long arc of Christianity traces a process of syncretic entanglement of which the formal institutions never had full control. Thus, inculturation can be figured by theologians as the latest in a series of cultural encounters. Other work draws attention to the limits of modernizing projects, which inevitably meet their match in the messy vernacular practices of middle- and localrange scales of social life.50 Shaped and constrained by unequal conditions of entanglement, these are the spaces of world-making action. In this light, the classical framing of indigenous Christianities are all the more limiting, as they mask what such processes may tell us about the alternative modernities and agencies of indigenous peoples. Vernacular indigenous Christianities necessarily exceed the orthodoxies with which they are linked. The inevitable incompletion of conversion is not an index of failure; it is integral to a broader human condition that is forever an unfinished project, pushed forward by the creative and varied processes of human cultural production. Indigenous Christianities exemplify this, challenging us all to grapple, as they inevitably must, with the complex legacies of a long history of unequal evangelical entanglements.

Notes 1. In this view, indigenous communities exhibited an “active denial of outside alternatives” preserving internal homogeneity and cultural continuity. Eric Wolf, “Types of Latin American Peasantries: A Preliminary Discussion,” American Anthropologist 57 (1955), 452–471, 459. 2. William A. Christian, Local Religion in Sixteenth Century Spain (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981). 3. Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1984), 148; Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). The absurdity of the Requerimiento was pointed out at the time by the Dominican Friar Bartolomé de las Casas; see Lewis Hanke, All Mankind Is One (Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1974), 93. 4. E.g., Inga Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniards in Yucatan, 1517–1570, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987); Sabine MacCormack, Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991). 5. MacCormack, Religion. 6. Catholic Church, Province of Lima, Concilio Provincial, Confessionario para los curas de indios: Con la instrucción contra sus ritos y exhortación para ayudar a bien morir…1583, Proemio A2, 7. Clendinnen, Ambivalent. 8. Luis Millones, ed., El retorno de las huacas: Estudios y documentos sobre el Taki Onqoy, siglo XVI (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1990), 89, 99; Jeremy Mumford, “The Taqi Onqoy and the Andean Nations: Sources and Interpretations,” Latin American Research Review 33, no.1 (1998), 154.

98   Andrew Orta 9. Thomas  A.  Abercrombie, Pathways of Memory and Power: Ethnography and History among an Andean People (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998), 262. 10. Mary Dillon and Thomas A. Abercrombie, “The Destroying Christ: An Aymara Myth of Conquest,” in Rethinking History and Myth: Indigenous South American Perspectives on the Past, ed. Jonathan D. Hill, 50–77 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988). 11. Armando Guevera-Gil and Frank Salomon, “A Personal Visit: Colonial Political Ritual and the Making of Indians in the Andes,” Colonial Latin American Review 3, nos.1–2 (1994), 6, 24. 12. Thierry Saignes, “The Quechua-Aymara Heartland 1570–1780,” in Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the America (vol. 3, pt. 2), eds. Frank Salomon and Stuart B. Schwartz, 59–137 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Abercrombie, Pathways. 13. Roberto Choque Canqui, “Las haciendas de los caciques Guarachi en el alto Perú (­ 1673–1734),” América Indígena 39, no. 4 (1979), 733–748; Andrew Orta, Catechizing Culture: Missionaries, Aymara and the “New Evangelization” (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2004), 40–46. 14. George Kubler, “The Quechua in the Colonial World,” Handbook of South American Indians, vol. 2: The Andean Civilizations, ed. Julian H. Steward, 331–410 (Washington, DC: Bureau of American Ethnology, 1946). 15. Kenneth Mills, Idolatry and Its Enemies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997). 16. Jeremy Adelman, ed., Colonial Legacies: The Problem of Persistence in Latin American Histories (London: Routledge, 1999). 17. See Jacques Monast, Los Indios Aimaraes: ¿Evangelizado o solamente bautizados? (Buenos Aires: Carlos Lehle, 1972). 18. Tristan Platt, “The Andean Soldiers of Christ: Confraternity Organization, the Mass of the Sun, and Regenerative Warfare in Rural Potosí,” Journal des socíeté des américanistes 73, no. 140f. 19. Orta, Catechizing, 155. 20. See Garrard and Doran, Chapter 16 in this volume. 21. E.g., Victor Codina, “Evangelizar 500 Años Después,” Cuarto Intermedio 5, nos. 34–51; Edward Fedders, “How the Aymara See Our Priesthood,” LADOC 53, nos. 30–35; Monast, Los Indios; Paulo Suess, La nueva evangelización: desafíos históricos y pautas culturales (Quito: ABYA-YALA, 1991). 22. Monast, Los Indios, 313. 23. John M. Watanabe, Maya Saints and Souls in a Changing World (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1992), 194. 24. E.g., Ruth J. Chojnacki, Indigenous Apostles: Maya Catholic Catechists Working the Word in Highland Chiapas (Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi, 2010); Edward Cleary, “New Voice in Religion and Politics in Bolivia and Peru,” in Resurgent Voices in Latin America: Indigenous Peoples, Political Mobilization, and Religious Change, eds. Edward Cleary and Timothy J. Steigenga, 43–64 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004); Orta, Catechizing; Warren, Symbolism; Watanabe, Maya Saints. 25. Warren, Symbolism, 109. 26. Cf. Sheldon Annis, God and Production in a Guatemalan Town (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1987), 28. 27. Barry Lyons, Remembering the Hacienda: Religion, Authority, and Social Change in Highland Ecuador (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2006), 287. 28. Kathleen  C.  O’Brien, “After Conversion: Gender, Indigenous Modernity, and the Re-Generation of Evangelical Christianity Across Three Generations in Chimborazo, Ecuador” (PhD diss., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2016); Blanca

Indigenous Christianities   99 Muratorio, “Protestantism, Ethnicity, and Class in Chimborazo,” in Cultural Transformation and Ethnicity in Modern Ecuador, ed. Norman E. Whitten, Jr., 506–534 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1981). 29. O’Brien, “After Conversion.” 30. Warren, Symbolism. 31. Cf. Ricardo Falla, Quiché Rebelde: Religious Conversion, Politics and Ethnic Identity in Guatemala (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2001); Orta, Catechizing. 32. See Berryman, Chapter 9 in this volume. 33. Bruce Calder, “Interwoven Histories: the Catholic Church and the Maya, 1940 to the Present,” in Resurgent Voices in Latin America: Indigenous Peoples, Political Mobilization, and Religious Change, eds. E. Cleary and T. Steigenga, 104 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, 2004); see also José Miguez Bonino, ed., Faces of Jesus: Latin American Christologies (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1984); Lyons, Remembering; Orta, Catechizing. 34. Exceptions here include regions under the pastoral leadership of Bishops Samuel Ruiz in Chiapas, Mexico, or Leonidas Proaño in Chimborazo, Ecuador. 35. Chojnacki, Indigenous. 36. Virginia Garrard-Burnett, “ ‘God Was Already Here When Columbus Arrived’: Inculturation Theology and the Maya Movement in Guatemala,” in Resurgent Voices in Latin America: Indigenous Peoples, Political Mobilization, and Religious Change, eds. E.  Cleary and T. Steigenga, 125 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, 2004). 37. Chojnacki, Indigenous. 38. Garrard-Burnett, “God Was Already Here.” 3 9. Lyons, Remembering. 40. Garrard-Burnett “God Was Already Here,” 114. 41. Charles R. Hale, Más que un Indio/More than an Indian: Racial Ambivalence and Neoliberal Multiculturalism in Guatemala (Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press, 2004); Richard Wilk, “Learning to Be Local in Belize: Global Systems of Common Difference,” Modernity through the Prism of the Local, ed. D.  Miller, 110–133 (London: Routledge, 1995). 42. E.g., Andrew Orta, “Living the Past Another Way: Reinstrumentalized Missionary Selves in Aymara Mission Fields,” Anthropological Quarterly 75, no.4 (2002), 707–743. 4 3. Joanne Rappaport, Intercultural Utopias: Public Intellectuals, Cultural Experimentation, and Ethnic Pluralism in Colombia (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), 94ff. 44. Carolyn Gallaher, “The Role of Protestant Missionaries in Mexico’s Indigenous Awakening,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 26, no.1 (2007), 88–111; James W. Dow, “The Expansion of Protestantism in Mexico: An Anthropological View,” Anthropological Quarterly 78, no.4 (2005), 827–850. 45. Gallaher, “Role of Protestant Missionaries,” 109; see also O’Brien, “After Conversion”; Jose Antonio Lucero, “Representing ‘Real Indians’: The Challenges of Indigenous Authenticity and Strategic Constructivism in Ecuador and Bolivia,” Latin American Research Review 41, no.2 (2006), 31–56. 46. Lucero, “Representing”; Muratorio, “Protestantism”; Jill  M.  Wightman, “Healing the Nation: Pentecostal Identity and Social Change in Bolivia,” Conversion of a Continent: Contemporary Religious Change in Latin America, eds. Timothy J. Steigenga and Edward L. Cleary, 239–255 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2008). 47. O’Brien, “After Conversion.” 48. Marisol de la Cadena, “Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections beyond ‘Politics,’ ” Cultural Anthropology 25, no.2 (2010), 336.

100   Andrew Orta 49. De la Cadena, “Indigenous,” 334f.; Benedict XVI, “Inaugural Address to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean,” May 13, 2007. http:// spe_20070513_conference-aparecida.html. 50. E.g., James  C.  Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999); Anna L. Tsing, Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).

chapter 6

( U n ) M a k i ng Chr isti a n it y The African Diaspora in Slavery and Freedom Rachel Sarah O’Toole

Promoted as a candidate for canonization soon after his death, Fray Martín de Porres inhabited a celebrated, yet marginal, position within the colonial Catholic Church. As a man of African descent, he could not be ordained as a priest or even make vows as a lay brother, and so he donated himself to Lima’s Dominican convent in 1594.1 Like many other Afro-Latin American donados and donadas, Fray Martín (though literate) worked in a menial capacity, ringing bells for prayer, washing clothes, and serving in the infirmary.2 His divine gifts of levitation, prophesy, and healing were celebrated by ecclesiastical authorities.3 In addition to his self-mortifications—denials of food and comfort—he greeted racial insults with a smile, asking all to “treat this mulato dog as he deserved.”4 In many ways, the qualities of an exalted, humble servant of God mirrored what slaveholders, Crown authorities, Catholic clerics, and others of the colonial Iberian world expected from a man of African descent. At the same time, he, like other Afro-Latin Americans, called on the Church, a critical force in the early modern state, in their devotions as Catholics. The Catholic Church was a tepid ally for enslaved and free people in colonial Latin America. Most Church authorities in Spanish and Portuguese America remained silent regarding the violent exploitation of the transatlantic slave trade and did not object to the enslavement of Africans.5 Moreover, members of its religious orders, as well as secular ecclesiastic individuals, profited from enslaved African and African-descent labor in the Americas and in Spanish America. Until the later eighteenth century, African descendants were prohibited from making religious vows due to a perception of their illegitimate descent and non-Christian ancestry, with a few exceptions in Brazil.6 Nonetheless, the Church provided an entry point for Africans and their descendants, since canon law allowed Africans, as Crown subjects, to be baptized as Catholics.7 To secure their place in Catholicism, men and women of the African Diaspora remade

102   Rachel Sarah O’Toole aspects of Christianity into their own religious beliefs, while constructing a way to protect their persons and families. Understanding the contrast between what the Church ordered and how people responded is critical to the aims of this chapter. For example, Africans and their descendants appear to have run the everyday affairs of black and mulato confraternities, organizations that were critical to the coherence and identity articulation of African Diaspora communities. However, supervising clerics easily undermined Afro-Latin American leadership in the name of paternalistic concern.8 “Protection” was a means of control. In the case of colonial Latin America, the Catholic Church could simultaneously act as a protectorate of its enslaved Catholic subjects while exploiting their labor contribution, or their value as propertied objects. Welfare, in other words, was conjoined to exploitation, but one conceived under metaphors of care.9 More explicitly, Catholic inclusion of enslaved Africans and their descendants coexisted with the economy of slaveholding. Slaveholders inflicted punishments that exceeded the restraints ordered by the Church and Crown, suggesting an approach to colonial Catholicism that included an understanding of its actual economy, as well as its economy of governance. As a result, Catholicism, like many other aspects of colonialism, simultaneously invited and denied, and admitted and rejected, enslaved and freed people. Regardless, enslaved and free people of African descent worshipped as Catholics throughout the colonial period, shaping practices and beliefs, while at the same time destabilizing the institution’s exclusionary mandates.

Church and State: Defense of Slavery The question, for Catholic clerics and to some extent the Spanish Crown, was the legality and morality of purchasing Africans who had been captured unjustly. As the slave trade increased to the Americas throughout the sixteenth century, clergy and other observers reported that slave traders sold captives who were not Muslim (but Catholic) and had been sold by their rulers for petty or nonexistent crimes, rather than resisting conversion. While the Portuguese Crown appeared not to have questioned the legality of the transatlantic slave trade, Dominican Tomás de Mercado (d. 1575), warned that the commerce, including the illegal capture of Africans (some newly baptized) by Portuguese traders, was unjust and a mortal sin.10 Ultimately, Jesuit Luis de Molina (1536–1600) argued that the responsibility to ascertain who was justly or unjustly captured lay with the kings, bishops, and merchants who oversaw the trade.11 In this way, the paternalistic protection of the state, which included secular, religious, and commercial authorities, allowed the slave trade to continue within a Catholic sphere. In the Americas, clerics explained how enslavement was a way to save indigenous populations and provide Africans with the opportunity to convert to Christianity.12 The few clerics who condemned slavery of Africans and their descendants in the Americas met with reprisals. Jesuit Miguel Garcia (1550–1614) refused to hear anyone’s confessions,

(Un)Making Christianity   103 or basically perform his duties as a cleric, because he believed that none of the indigenous or African slaves had been justly captured, meaning that everyone in Brazil was living in sin.13 As a result, he and his compatriot were returned to Europe.14 Articulating further criticism of slavery in the Americas, Capuchin friars Francisco José de Jaca (1645–1690) and Epifano de Moirans (1644–1684) declared that the pope had condemned slavery, and argued that if all people were naturally free, then no one could be enslaved. In a radical move, Jaca and Moiran declared that the Christian monarchs, who oversaw the transatlantic slave trade as well as the profits of the colonial economy, were at fault. Threatening the basis of the colonial economy, Jaca suggested that a slave who had become a Christian should be freed and their enslaved labor repaid. As a result, Jaca and Morian were detained by Crown authorities and excommunicated by Church authorities, processed by the recently established Office of Propaganda Fide. They also were jailed, removed from Cuba to Europe, and forbidden to return to the Americas.15 Throughout the later seventeenth and into the eighteenth centuries, Church and Spanish Crown authorities, and provoked by concerned clerics, continued to debate the limitations of slavery. In 1685, the king of Spain, Carlos II (1661–1700) called a council to decide if the slave trade and slavery were legitimate within the Spanish realm. The Consejo de Indias responded, assuring the Crown that captives were justly enslaved and black people were born to serve.16 Merchants, slaveholders, other colonizers, and both Iberian Crowns benefited too much from the sale of captive Africans and their labor to tolerate this level of dissent. As the slave trade to the Americas grew, along with the enslavement of Africans and their descendants in the sixteenth century, Spanish colonial authorities further racialized Afro-Latin Americans. Beginning with mid-fifteenth-century texts that invoked the biblical account regarding Noah’s curse of his son and descendants of Ham, Iberians equated blackness with slavery.17 Catholic authorities suggested that because of their supposed innate infidelity to Christianity and association with slavery, blacks could not fully participate in the Church as Christians. Simultaneously, Spanish writers began to identify blackness with divine punishment—and one that could not be removed.18 According to historian María Elena Martínez, the Spanish transformed the Iberian religious anxiety about Jews and Muslims into a racial fear rooted in a perception of genealogical impurity. People of African descent, therefore, would also be excluded from economic, political, and cultural institutions—such as the corporate governance unit of a republic or leadership roles such as the priesthood—because their blood was perceived to be “impure.”19 Colonial officials and ecclesiastical authorities, then, created discourses that separated Africans and their descendants from Indians and Spaniards, who could claim legitimate membership in the Spanish kingdoms that included the Americas. In many ways, the Crown was interested in fulfilling its Catholic duties. Faced with the increasing numbers of captive Africans traded into the Viceroyalty of Peru, in 1603, the king ordered that slaveholders should pay a priest to teach, confess, and administer communion to their slaves on Sundays.20 Parishes would facilitate the claims of Africans and their descendants for inclusion within a society organized by corporate or collective locations. However, the Crown and the Church were unable to marshal the necessary

104   Rachel Sarah O’Toole clerics to oversee the evangelization of enslaved people and so attempted to force individual slaveholders to Christianize slaves.21 Repeatedly, the Crown ordered slaveholders to treat slaves well and to provide adequate food and clothing.22 The Crown also ordered slaveholders to ensure that slaves prayed regularly and were taught Christian doctrine and baptized.23 As mandates were issued from distant Spain and transmitted through colonial authorities—who also owned slaves—the likelihood of enforcement was questionable. In an effort that signaled desire for protection as well as control, the Spanish Crown, however, took a particularly strong position against the excessive punishment of enslaved people. While slaveholders were allowed to discipline slaves, cruel physical acts were prohibited.24 By the eighteenth century, the Crown mandated that slaveholders honor daily wage agreements with slaves who worked outside of the household and refrain from branding captives on the face or back.25 These mandates could have been (and have been read) as an indication of Spanish America’s protection of enslaved populations. These same orders, however, also indicate that the Crown was more interested in representing itself as the defender of Catholic rites, but not necessarily the bodies and persons of Afro-Latin Americans. For example, the repetition of mandates to protect slaves in the 1785 Codigo Negro Carolino for Santo Domingo, and again in 1789 and 1794, suggests that slaveholders were reluctant to provide enslaved people with access to Catholic doctrine or to refrain from abusive treatment.26 The Crown, at the same time, was ineffective and reluctant in its enforcement due to its need to control a large population of Africans and their descendants in the Americas. Rather than destabilize slavery—and thus introduce a host of questions regarding the legal location of black people beyond the Republic of the Spaniards and the Republic of the Indians—the Spanish Crown revealed its reluctance to interfere in the practice of slaveholding, just as the Catholic Church offered a theology that, while sympathetic with the slave, justified slaveholding.27 Spanish royal orders concerning black people appeared to be more concerned with controlling, rather than protecting, the African-descent population. For example, when the Crown mandated that slaveholders Christianize and provide basic necessities to their slaves in 1545, the same order also prohibited enslaved men from riding horses, thereby asserting control over the enslaved. In this act of governance, the Crown exercised both a form of control as well as protection.28 Theorist Michel Foucault would call this aspect of Spanish governance an economy, or the “correct manner of managing individuals, goods and wealth within the family,” including the enslaved under the purview of their owners.29 According to the Spanish Crown’s order, enslaved men were also not supposed to carry weapons, move around without written permission from an owner or overseer, or shelter fugitive slaves.30 “Protection,” thus, was also a form of surveillance. Still, the Crown warned in the eighteenth-century Codigo Negro Carolino that excessive punishment would induce enslaved people to flee and to rebel.31 In these ways and others, the Crown sought methods to rein in the slaveholders. The Crown’s repeated orders indicate that slaveholders had different priorities than Christianizing their slaves.

(Un)Making Christianity   105 Simultaneously, the Spanish monarch targeted enslaved and free people of African descent (and other people of indigenous and mixed descent) within the Christian kingdoms of Latin America who were perceived as unruly. A 1638 mandate demanded that people of color attend Mass and confession, as well as baptize their children. By imposing “a political and religious life” on these communities, the Spanish Crown hoped to eliminate robberies and other lawlessness in Panama.32 According to the Catholic monarchs, governance through religious practice would create an orderly society. To produce this Catholic world in the Americas, the Christian monarchs also worked to govern the external representations of its subjects. In 1672, the Crown mandated that enslaved and free men and women, especially those belonging to ecclesiastics, dress appropriately in Cartagena and other provinces. This order was not due to the lack of clothing but was a matter of discipline, because colonial authorities reported they were violating standards of Christian decency by drinking at night or having relationships outside of marriage.33 Following up, in 1710 the Crown ordered slaveholders to cease (supposedly) prostituting enslaved women who went out to earn their daily wage.34 While certainly referencing the sinful nature of these activities, the main concern pertained to maintaining public order. In 1725, the Crown was more explicit. The mandate claimed that the supposedly luxurious dress of women of color in Peru was supported by money gained from thefts, causing extreme lawlessness.35 In the later eighteenth century, sumptuary laws to outlaw black women from wearing pearls, emeralds, and silver underlined elite anxieties about maintaining the increasingly strict regulations of race and class.36 As Tamara Walker has argued, by wearing elegant clothing, an enslaved or freed woman “could literally dress like a white woman.”37 The Crown’s orders against dress choices therefore illuminate a need to rein in supposedly errant Africans and their descendants, whose actions threatened not only public order, but also the basis of Catholic society in the Americas. If women of African descent could present themselves as white women, then the racial hierarchy of the Americas that included the justification for slavery of Africans could be questioned.

Jesuits: Slaveholding Justifications Just as the Crown defended the transatlantic slave trade and promoted slaveholding, Catholic religious orders profited from their extensive use of enslaved labor. Secular clergy and religious clerical orders, such as Augustinians, Dominicans, and Benedictines, as well as female religious orders, owned slaves who worked in their convents or monasteries and also on large sugar operations, farms, textile mills, vineyards, and ranches.38 In particular, the Jesuit missions in the Americas depended on slaveholding. In northeastern Brazil during the seventeenth century, the Jesuits owned six sugar mills, each housing between forty and eighty slaves. By the late colonial period, the Jesuits became Brazil’s largest slaveholder.39 In the early eighteenth century, the Jesuits in Mexico owned

106   Rachel Sarah O’Toole a significant number of slaves. Each Jesuit estate on the Peruvian coast included, on average, 240 slaves.40 By the later eighteenth century, the Jesuits throughout Río de la Plata relied almost exclusively on enslaved labor, and their Paraguayan estates included 25 percent of all the region’s slaves.41 Profit coexisted with Jesuit ministry. On estates, administrators scheduled regular prayer, Christian teaching, and either had a resident priest or one who visited take confession and administer the sacraments on Sundays.42 Jesuits also encouraged other slaveholders to allow their slaves to marry, so that all could fulfill their duties as Catholics. They also distributed rosaries to slaves who lived on other estates, and exhorted secular administrators to allow slaves to rest on holidays.43 Jesuit slaveholders were intent on protecting their investments. Corporal punishment was still essential to Jesuit enterprises. As the number of enslaved laborers grew, slave quarters were divided by sex and locked in at night.44 The Society allowed members to use hot tallow to burn a slave’s body. Jesuit estates paid the rural guard to capture fugitive slaves, and kept stocks, shackles, collars, as well as other tools designed to punish errant or resistant slaves.45 In addition to enduring epidemics that affected the general population, slaves on Peruvian Jesuit estates suffered from protein and Vitamin A deficiencies due to their poor diet.46 The Jesuit estates generally included a low number of childbearing-age women, and Jesuit records indicate a low birth rate.47 The Jesuits, therefore, replaced their slave populations through purchase rather than encouraging reproduction.48 Jesuit practices indicate that the Society identified Africans and their descendants primarily as sources of labor, even as they targeted Afro-Latin Americans to convert and practice Catholicism. With other Jesuits from Cartagena, Father Alonso de Sandoval and Father Pedro Claver met slave-trading ships with water, interpreters, and an intention to administer basic Christian doctrine.49 Repeatedly, the regular missives from the Cartagena house— whose members witnessed the forced arrival of thousands of captives—reported that newly arrived Africans were capable of receiving Christian teaching and living as Catholics.50 According to these clerics, Africans and their descendants were thwarted from living as Catholics due to logistical barriers. There were not enough Jesuits to administer to a growing number of slaves, and the Spanish Crown made only weak attempts to provide slaves with access to clergy.51 In the Spanish Americas, the monarch repeatedly ordered slaveholders to pay a priest who made a regular circuit to rural estates.52 Once face to face, Jesuits struggled to learn the languages of enslaved Africans, as this was necessary to understand enslaved confessions.53 The tortured exchanges, though, often passing through a chain of interpreters, could not be trusted to communicate the nuances of Christian faith. The process of baptism, as a result, could be quite rudimentary. Missionaries engaged potential converts by offering them water, sweets, biscuits, tobacco, or another token.54 The gifts provided Jesuits with an entry into a mediated exchange that even they doubted resulted in true conversion. Jesuits reported that Africans and their descendants appeared unable to maintain Catholic practice and faith.55 Enslaved men and women, Jesuits and other clerics observed, employed Sundays for their own celebrations, failed to attend religious instruction, and

(Un)Making Christianity   107 did not marry or have their children baptized. Sandoval, who dedicated his life to the conversion of newly arrived captives in Cartagena, did not question the humanity of Africans and their descendants. He understood that even though their bodies were enslaved, their souls could be saved.56 Still, like many early modern theologians, Sandoval followed Aristotle, and believed that some people were born to be slaves and that the conditions of slavery had made Africans and their descendants intellectually inferior.57 Jesuits, supposedly the defenders of slaves, thus divided Christianity by constructing Africans and their descendants as lesser Catholics. The purpose of the Jesuit missionizing project was to create good slaves as well as good Catholics—what could be understood as mutually constitutive goals. For example, Sandoval was confused by the rich diversity of the African Diaspora. As a result, he reduced distinctions among Africans into ethnic categories or castas that made taxonomical sense to his project of baptism.58 In the process, Sandoval erased differences among Africans to recreate captives and slaves as cyphers to be filled with new, and correct, identities and religious practices.59 As Sandoval worked to evangelize Africans, he created slaves from newly arrived Africans.60 At the same time, Jesuits assumed that converted Africans were to adopt the role of an obedient slave. A Jesuit hagiographer of Pedro Claver described the ideal transformation of Africans into slaves as similar to domesticating African lions.61 In 1675, the author of the Jesuit annual letter recounted how a blind and barbarous slave resisted his owner, was wounded, and then was cured by Jesuits. The miracle, though, was not the survival of the African-descent man. Instead, the Jesuits celebrated the enslaved man’s metamorphosis from a fierce black to a good and docile slave who served his master.62 The spiritual protection offered by the Jesuits harnessed enslaved Africans and their descendants to the slaveholding economy. Jesuit missionizing, therefore, created a space for African Catholics in the Americas, but one that demanded conformity with the expectations of slavery.

Authority and Agency through Catholicism Iberian Crown mandates, much like Jesuit evangelization, worked to incorporate Africans and their descendants into a colonial society as obedient slaves, servants, or laborers. For example, royal orders suggested that marriage could deter enslaved men from becoming fugitives or otherwise resisting.63 Working against a customary assumption that marriage facilitated freedom, the Crown urged enslaved people to marry, while ensuring that once they had children, the parents and their offspring would remain enslaved.64 The Portuguese Crown, in general, paid less attention to its colonial population, and a weak institutional Church with a chronic shortage of clergy characterized Brazilian Catholicism.65 Afro-Latin American Catholic participation, however, tied enslaved and

108   Rachel Sarah O’Toole free people to the state. In 1602, the Spanish Crown insisted that the confraternities of Indians and blacks maintain decency and restrain themselves from excessive festivities. The purpose of the Christian institutions, the mandate underlined, was to instruct and to maintain “good customs.”66 In a similar manner, the colonial authorities sanctioned Afro-Brazilian religious conduct by issuing licenses to confraternities to carry their own coffins, or by granting them permission to solicit donations in the streets.67 Despite these limitations, enslaved men and women seized upon Catholic practices to create their families and communities. When Afro-Latin Americans got married in the Catholic Church, they participated in a Christian sacrament of all those baptized, consenting, single people who were not related.68 By doing so, enslaved men and women created new kinship bonds. West Central Africans married others from the same region, while brides and grooms legitimized family relations, including those of “shipmates” or people who had survived the Middle Passage together.69 Likewise, enslaved and free people employed baptism and confirmation to build their kinship networks. Slaveholders were supposed to oversee baptism, but enslaved parents could choose free or enslaved people as godparents for their children, thus creating or sustaining wider social network.70 With these elections, parents and sponsors solidified current, reciprocal relationships or formalized economic ties among the participating parties.71 Matrimony, though officially protected and encouraged, was not automatically awarded to enslaved men and women. The Catholic bond impeded slaveholders’ control of their property since the Church and the Spanish Crown prohibited owners from selling married slaves away from their spouses. Moreover, matrimony meant that spouses had the right to a married life that included regular conjugal visits.72 As a result, slaveholders in the Spanish Americas regularly refused to give their slaves permission to marry and discouraged matrimony with threats, punishment, and selling children away from a family.73 When denied either the ability to get married or maintain a marriage, enslaved men and women could petition the ecclesiastical courts for the ability to live together or to be sold to an owner in the same city where their spouse had been relocated.74 As Herman Bennett has shown, enslaved men and women called on clergy and other legal representatives to astutely argue their cases. They presented themselves as respectful wives and honorable husbands. In doing so, enslaved men and women challenged core assumptions of slavery by calling on the Catholic Church (backed by colonial authority) to supersede an owner’s control.75 In addition to the goal of reuniting with their spouses, Africans and their descendants petitioned Church courts for recognition of their freedom. They called on the promises made in owners’ testaments, and they inserted themselves in disputes over the agreed price of manumission.76 Enslaved people also employed one of the most dreaded ecclesiastical courts, the Inquisition, for their own ends. In some cases, enslaved men and women renounced God when they were being punished, causing the beating to stop and the Inquisition to intervene.77 Enslaved men and women claimed to the ecclesiastical tribunal that by whipping their slaves so severely, the slaveholders had provoked slaves to blaspheme.78 In effect, the slaves pointed to their colonial masters as the real sinners.

(Un)Making Christianity   109 Christianity, therefore, was part of the structure of slavery and racial hierarchies that disciplined Afro-Latin Americans, while it also provided the means for individual and collective inclusion.79 Fray Martín de Porres, who would become a Catholic saint, served with humility and obedience, identifying with the dog, the lowliest of devoted creatures.80 After his death, his image—a black man dressed in a Dominican lay-brother’s habit, holding a broom and often overseeing his first miracle of a mouse joining a cat and a dog to eat from the same bowl—signified a black man who accepted, yet transcended, his place in colonial society.81 At the same time, Fray Martín was a known ally to people of color throughout the city of Lima. He attended to the sick, poor, enslaved and freed. People of all castas and classes attended his funeral.82 He called young black men “son” and older black men the respectful term of “uncle,” signifying his acknowledged kinship within communities of color.83 Hardly contradictory, Fray Martín attended to the illnesses of and gave advice to powerful limeños and was buried in a clerics’ tomb.84 In this way, Fray Martín, in his person and resulting image, could reflect a position as both a lowly slave and an African-descent man who deserved divine praise. The donada who took vows to obey the rule of the Sisters of the Franciscan Order, the Rule of Saint Clare (also known as the Order of the Poor Clares), former slave Ursula de Jesús also presented the characteristics of an obedient slave while critiquing the racial hierarchies of colonial Lima. In the Convent of Santa Clara, she was known for her exceptional humility; she supported the hierarchy of her religious community, and like Fray Martín, she understood that slaves were property.85 At the same time, Ursula de Jesús critiqued the system from her position as a laboring woman of color. After securing her freedom, she hesitated to take vows as a donada because she would then become the servant of the convent.86 She expressed frustration that she could not devote time to her spiritual exercises because she was called upon to work.87 From her position as a practiced healer and a powerful mystic, who reportedly communicated with the souls in purgatory, Ursula de Jesús called attention to the daily inequities of her position.88 She had visions of Christ admonishing the nuns of her convent for their inattention to ­spiritual devotions, and she declared that her mystical experiences revealed how heaven would be a just place for all, regardless of color or status.89 The authority of Ursula de Jesús’s religious devotion was not unique. Other lay religious women who were not members of official orders, or beatas, such as Rosa Maria Egipcíaca da Vera Cruz, developed significant communities and followings. Born on the Gold Coast of West Africa and enslaved in Rio de Janeiro in the first part of the e­ ighteenth century, she served as a spiritual adviser to Brazilian elites and clergy, as well as to colonial bureaucrats.90 Images and hagiographies of Rosa Maria Egipcíaca da Vera Cruz, Ursula de Jesús, and other mystic women of color provided a model for obedient slaves, while also demonstrating the power that Africans and their descendants could gain through the Catholic Church. Africans and their descendants employed institutions such as confraternities to develop religious communities as well as express an alternative religiosity. These lay religious brotherhoods annually celebrated their chosen saint(s), raised funds to build chapels

110   Rachel Sarah O’Toole and churches, led prayers, and organized burials for their members.91 In addition to performing acts of charity and devotion, confraternities could be meticulously o ­ rganized, with members electing a board, treasurers, judges, and other positions, as well as composing statutes to govern themselves. For example, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, the confraternity of Our Lady of the Rosary (one chosen by Africans and their descendants throughout the Americas since its popularity among Lisbon’s black population in the late fifteenth century) elected a king and a queen who paid the highest membership fees and thus supported the group’s activities.92 Similar to other confraternity royalty throughout the Americas, they dressed in robes, grasped scepters, held court during their coronations, and received foreign ambassadors.93 In contrast to the executive administration of the brotherhoods, the court, led by the king and queen, organized the revelry, securing permission to solicit charitable contributions during parades through city streets dressed in regal splendor and accompanied by dance and song.94 Some confraternities collected funds to free their members and empowered their leaders to force reticent slave owners to allow manumission for a just price.95 In some cases, the saint of a confraternity corresponded to deities such as the Yoruba Ogún (who manifested as Saint George), the patron of blacksmiths, or Yemanjá, with iconography melding with that of Our Lady of the Rosary, just as rosary beads were repurposed as protective amulets.96 Signifying collective representation, the confraternity royalty and leadership also presented colonial officials and slaveholders a defiant display of their autonomy. State and Church officials certainly monitored confraternities. Their statutes had to be approved, and account books were to be reviewed annually.97 Lima’s municipal authorities declared that the public celebrations were too boisterous, and attempted to prohibit gatherings of more than three Afro-Peruvians. Africans and their descendants, though, continued to congregate in the Peruvian viceregal capital and elsewhere. Moreover, their annual processions allowed members of confraternities to participate in what were often significant municipal displays of belonging. In Minas Gerais during the early eighteenth century—the height of the gold boom—the Our Lady of the Rosary confraternity processed with personages representing the sun, moon, and planets, as well as members in long, white silk robes carrying statues of their saints adorned with gold and diamonds.98 In addition to displaying their wealth, the confraternity took its place alongside other lay religious organizations, as well as clerical authorities and municipal officials. Confraternities built themselves into the urban colonial landscape by constructing their own churches that they opened to lesser confraternities in exchange for promised obligations. But even so, differences among confraternities mattered. Festive or funeral processions organized by the brotherhoods also included articulations of hierarchies of the religious associations emphasizing the higher status of free or militia men, as opposed to enslaved and recently arrived Africans.99 The primary function of confraternities, to organize the funeral and burial of their members, also allowed Africans and their descendants to claim a public space and to present themselves as a cohesive group. Confraternities assured their members a proper burial in a cemetery or in and around their church, as opposed to being abandoned

(Un)Making Christianity   111 or thrown in collective pits by slaveholders.100 Brotherhoods assembled for a burial procession, and with music and dance accompanied, mourned, and collected funds to pay for the funeral.101 Assembling allowed a community to articulate its allegiances, as demonstrated in the common phrase repeated at early nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro funerals: “We are weeping for our kin.”102 Leadership and identity could also be articulated at funerals. Rulers and their offspring who died in nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro were afforded elaborate funerals by the people of their nation, which included delegations from other communities. Followers lined the procession route, clapping their hands, singing, dancing, and playing drums.103 Through these practices, and others, enslaved and free men and women adapted institutions such as the lay religious brotherhoods to develop community leadership. By joining and creating Catholic institutions, enslaved and free Africans and their descendants (especially in urban areas) inserted themselves into positions of Catholic vassalage. Through their usage, Afro-Latin Americans remade Christianity in their own image.

A Hostile Church Regardless of how Africans and their descendants worked to include themselves, Church authorities, overall, discouraged black religious practices while insisting on conversion. In particular, the Inquisition targeted Afro-Latin Americans (especially women) for witchcraft, but also for the crime of bigamy, a common offense of enslaved men and women who were often sold away from their spouses. Beginning in the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth century, the Holy Office prosecuted Muslims in the Americas who had originated from northern Africa, Iberia, or the Senegambian coast.104 Ecclesiastical authorities feared that, like other non-Christians, these practitioners would contaminate the Americas with their heresies. Likewise, the Holy Office targeted Afro-Latin Americans who engaged in “superstitions” that mixed Iberian, African, and indigenous beliefs that also can be understood as alternative spiritual practices. Cases from Lima’s Inquisition reveal that Afro-Peruvians developed strong spiritual ties with Andeans, as well as with other colonial inhabitants, and even joined forces against slaveholders and colonizers. Enslaved men and women contracted with Andean ritual specialists to inflict revenge on their abusive owners, or employed indigenous religious materials such as coca.105 The Church, therefore, discouraged any forms of heterodoxy that were also acts against elite control. Inquisitorial prosecution often revealed Afro-Latin American attempts to resist or at least survive their current conditions of enslavement. Accusations against Afro-Latin Americans were often tied with a generalized Iberian fear of blackness, or of associated darkness with the Devil.106 Owners reported that their slaves and servants stole, but also attempted to poison them or commit other acts of witchcraft.107 Though accused by the Inquisition for the crime of witchcraft, enslaved men and women were often attempting to protect themselves from slaveholders. For example, in the 1640s, the Inquisition in

112   Rachel Sarah O’Toole Brazil accused a freed Angolan man of witchcraft for having two women bathe “in a tub of water that contained crushed leaves, a rattle, and a jaguar tooth.”108 The ritual, however, was an attempt to shield the enslaved women from their abusive mistresses. In this case and many others, Africans and their descendants understood that the mistreatment and violence of slavery was proof that slaveholders and other colonial authorities were witches themselves.109 The only thing that could counter witchcraft, they astutely hypothesized, was better witchcraft. Though officially prohibited, non-Catholic practices were not categorically discouraged. In 1685, a slaveholder in Bahia hired an enslaved Central African diviner, Gracia, to locate the person who murdered his slaves through witchcraft. She employed a Congo divination ritual to ascertain who, among the white and black inhabitants, was a “witch.”110 While historian James Sweet explains that the African divination practice operated to mediate conflicts within the enslaved Brazilian community, apparently slaveholders were also interested in harnessing these powers. Even some Catholic clergy were not immune to the potency of African Diaspora religious practices. In the early eighteenth century, a parish priest in northern Brazil sent for a black “sorcerer” to divine the reasons why his lover, a black woman, had taken ill.111 In the meantime, the Inquisition as an institution targeted Afro-Latin Americans for practicing sorcery, witchcraft, and other forms of heterodox religiosity.112 Nonetheless, in daily life, African Diaspora religiosity in some cases flourished, in part due to the participation of those charged with overseeing enslaved and freed people’s Catholic orthodox practices. Catholic institutions were often locations where Afro-Latin Americans could practice their own religions and belief systems. As a result, colonial and church authorities often suspected that confraternities, especially those with exclusive black memberships, engaged in unorthodox practices.113 Historian Joan Bristol has discussed the case of an illicit confraternity that erected a chapel with an altar in a private home, where they processed Saint Nicholas and said Mass in Latin without clerical supervision. While witnesses reported that the religious organization was Afro-Mexican, only 50 percent of the accused were identified as black, mulato, or of color. Bristol’s analysis of the Inquisition case—which includes the valuable objects confiscated from the improvised chapel—reveals that Afro-Mexicans and lower-status Spaniards developed an alternative “devotional environment.”114 Rather than renegade, the worshippers of Saint Nicholas appear to have wanted to engage in orthodox practices, with their makeshift pulpit, worn altar covering, and cheap tallow candles. Still, as they included themselves within Catholicism, the Inquisition (with the assistance of testifying neighbors) policed the participation of Afro-Latin Americans as well as others who would join their worship. In the later eighteenth century, the Catholic Church faced new threats. In the Spanish sphere, the Real Pragmática (extended to the Americas in 1778), and subsequent marriage legislation, required that parents provide permission for whites to marry. Disputes over marriage, as a result, came before civil courts as the Bourbon state worked to remove ecclesiastical authority and to strengthen private inheritance law.115 One consequence was a more public and official stance against interracial marriage that encouraged

(Un)Making Christianity   113 church authorities to underline what had been customary racial distinctions in their parishes.116 Under Joseph I of Portugal (1750–1777), the reformer Marquis of Pombal encouraged indigenous and Portuguese intermarriage in Brazil, but there were similar moves by the clergy to separate potential marriage partners because they were perceived to be of different races.117 Even as Afro-Latin Americans continued to participate in the Church, Enlightenment ideals took hold in colonial Latin America, including increased racial classifications that resulted in more explicit forms of racial discrimination. Accompanying eighteenthcentury ideals of individual liberty, Protestantism also proved increasingly tempting in the Iberian Americas. Since the sixteenth century, there had been enslaved and freed people who had entered the Iberian colonies as practicing Jews or Protestants due to their previous enslavement or origins.118 By the mid-nineteenth century in the city of Recife in northern Brazil, free black Agostinho José Pereira preached that the word of God superseded the importance of the images of saints.119 Known as the “Divine Teacher,” Pereira explained that his Protestant inspirations had come from a divine vision. When the British offered refuge to the beleaguered Portuguese Crown, the resulting treaty between the two nations allowed Anglican merchants to establish a church in Recife.120 However influenced by Anglican teachings and the abolitionism favored by the British Crown or the rebellions that rocked the Brazilian Northeast during the period, Pereira taught other Afro-Brazilians to write using models of popular verses that threatened the end of slavery from a revolution similar to the one that had occurred in Haiti.121 Catholicism, therefore, was no longer the only way for Afro-Latin Americans to engage in collective activities, and some turned to new secular forms of organization. The coming century would see Afro-Latin Americans increasing their membership in artisanal guilds and expanding their leadership positions in militias and militaries. Outside of the Catholic Church, into the nineteenth century, men and women of color would advocate publicly for their freedom and right to citizenship.

Conclusions Ecclesiastical officials proclaimed that Africans and their descendants, as Catholic subjects of the Crown, had the obligation to participate in Christian religious practices such as getting married and attending Mass. Nonetheless, black participation was limited by the early modern clerical assessments of enslaved and freed abilities to comprehend religious principles. Catholic ritual, ideology, and doctrine, in many ways, was part and parcel of Iberian colonial control, and provided what Michel Foucault has suggested was the thinking involved in practices of government.122 As a result, Catholic ideas and actions served the Crowns’ interests in justifying the transatlantic slave trade and the enslavement of Africans in the Americas. As a major financial and political institution of the early modern world, the Catholic Church participated in and developed the nefarious fiction that black people could be sold and purchased because of their racial

114   Rachel Sarah O’Toole identity. As part of the Iberian empires, and the colonial state, bishops and priests, as well as dioceses and monasteries, profited from the transatlantic and domestic slave trade as well as enslaved labor. Nevertheless, enslaved and free people included themselves within the Catholic Church, participated enthusiastically in Catholic worship, and employed ecclesiastical structures to organize their communities. The Church that enslaved, denied, and excluded them also provided refuge and infrastructure for African-descent communities and individuals who were faithful. With these limited openings, Afro-Latin Americans remade colonial Latin American Catholicism in their own image and in order to establish social bonds in the Americas. At the same time, Africans and their descendants placed the worship of black saints and confraternities at the center of colonial municipal celebrations and called on Iberian ecclesiastical courts to defend their families against the definitions of property by slaveholders. In this way, Afro-Latin Americans claimed the Catholic Church as a location to develop kinship and collectivity in the Americas. As a result, Afro-Latin Americans played a central role in the formation and development of Latin American Catholicism.

Notes 1. J. A. del Busto Duthurburu, San Martín de Porras: (Martín de Porras Velásquez) (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 1992), 56. 2. Ibid., 64, 84, 88. 3. Busto Duthurburu, San Martín, 119; J.  P.  Tardieu, “Genio y semblanza del santo varón limeño de origen africano (fray Martín de Porras),” Hispania Sacra 45 (1993), 563. 4. Tardieu, “Genio,” 561–562; Busto Duthurburu, San Martín, 141. 5. Laënnec Hurbon, “The Church and Afro-American Slavery,” in The Church in Latin America 1492–1992, ed. Enrique Dussel (Tunbridge Wells: Burns & Oates, 1992), 368; Frederick P. Bowser, The African Slave in Colonial Peru 1524–1650 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1974), 27. 6. Eduardo Hoornaert, “The Church in Brazil,” in The Church in Latin America 1492-1992, ed. Enrique Dussel (Tunbridge Wells: Burns & Oates, 1992), 204; María Elena Martínez, Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008), 220–224; Patricia A. Mulvey, “Black Brothers and Sisters: Membership in the Black Lay Brotherhoods of Colonial Brazil,” Luso-Brazilian Review 17, no.2 (1980), 266; Mary  C.  Karasch, Slave Life in Rio de Janeiro 1808–1850 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987), 87. 7. Herman L. Bennett, Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570–1640 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2003), 33. 8. Nicole von Germeten, Black Blood Brothers: Confraternities and Social Mobility for AfroMexicans (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2006), 112. 9. C. Gordon, “Governmental Rationality: An Introduction,” in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, ed. G. Burchell et al. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 12. 10. J.  Andrés-Gallego, La esclavitud en la América española (España: Ediciones Encuentro, 2005), 36; David  G.  Sweet, “Black Robes and ‘Black Destiny’: Jesuit Views of African Slavery in 17th-Century Latin America,” Revista de historia de América 86 (1978), 92; A.  J.  R Russell-Wood, “Iberian Expansion and the Issue of Black Slavery: Changing

(Un)Making Christianity   115 Portuguese Attitudes, 1440–1770,” American Historical Review 83, no.1 (1978), 35; Alida A. Metcalf, Go-betweens and the Colonization of Brazil, 1500–1600 (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2005), 159, 310. 11. Andrés-Gallego, La esclavitud, 39–40. 12. Hans-Jürgen Prien, Christianity in Latin America (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 135. 13. Ibid., 93. 14. Ibid., 137. 15. Andrés-Gallego, La esclavitud, 42–49. 16. Ibid., 50. 17. Metcalf, Go-betweens, 167. 18. Martínez, Genealogical, 158. 19. Ibid., 221. 20. “R.C. que los negros sean bien doctrinados” (1603), in Richard Konetzke, ed., Colección de documentos para la historia de la formación social de Hispanoamérica 1493–1810 (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1953–1962) II, no.1, 99. 21. “R.C. al Gobernador de Cartagena que informe” (1611), in Konetzke, Colección II, no.1, 179–180. 22. “Ordenanzas acerca de la orden” (1545), in Konetzke, Colección I, 237; “R.C. a la Audiencia de Guadalajara” (1685), in Konetzke, Colección II, no.2, 762; “R.C. al gobernador de la Habana diciéndole” (1693), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.1, 40. 23. “Ordenanzas acerca de la orden” (1545), in Konetzke, Colección I, 238. 24. “R. C. al virrey del Perú que al esclavo” (1681), in Konetzke, Colección II, no.2, 722. 25. “R.C.  para el remedio de los daños” (1752), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.1, 260; “R.O. aboliendo la práctica de marcar a los negros” (1784), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.2, 543. 26. “Extracto del Codigo Negro Carolino” (1785), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.2, 554; “R. Instrucción sobre la educación” (1789), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.2, 644–645, 648–649; “Consulta del consejo de las Indias” (1794), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.2, 726–727. 27. Hurbon, “Church,” 366, 368. 28. Michel Foucault, “Governmentality,” in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, ed. G. Burchell el al. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 92. 29. Ibid., 92. 30. “Ordenanzas acerca de la orden” (1545), in Konetzke, Colección I, 238–40. 31. “Extracto del Codigo Negro Carolino” (1785), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.2, 555. 32. “R.C. que los negros, mulatos, zambos y mestizos” (1638), in Konetzke, Colección II, no.2, 365. 33. “R.C. que los negros y negras anden vestidos” (1672), in Konetzke, Colección II, no.2, 587–588. 34. “R.C. que los gobernadores y justicias” (1710), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.1, 113. 35. “R. C. aprobando un bando del virrey” (1725), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.1, 187. 36. “Extracto del Codigo Negro Carolino” (1785), in Konetzke, Colección III, no.2, 562. 37. Tamara J. Walker, “ ‘He outfitted his family in notable decency’: Slavery, Honour and Dress in Eighteenth-Century Lima, Peru.” Slavery and Abolition 30, no.3 (2009), 392. 38. J.P. Tardieu, Los Negros y la iglesia en el Perú: Siglos XVI–XVII (Quito: Centro Cultural Afroecuatoriano, 1997), I: 116, 119; Paul Lokken, “Angolans in Amatitlán: Sugar, African Migrants, and Gente Ladina in Colonial Guatemala,” in Blacks & Blackness in Central America: Between Race and Place, ed. Lowell Gudmundson et al. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 31, 36; John Frederick Schwaller, The History of the Catholic Church

116   Rachel Sarah O’Toole in Latin America: From Conquest to Revolution and Beyond (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2011), 106; Kathryn Burns, Colonial Habits: Convents and the Spiritual Economy of Cuzco, Peru (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), 115. 39. Stuart B. Schwartz, Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society, Bahia, 1550– 1835 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 96, 149; Dauril Alden, “Late Colonial Brazil, 1750–1808,” in The Cambridge History of Latin America. Volume II. Colonial Latin America, ed. Leslie Bethell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 613. 40. H. Konrad, A Jesuit Hacienda in Colonial Mexico: Santa Lucía, 1576–1767 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1980), 244; N.  Cushner, Lords of the Land: Sugar, Wine, and Jesuit Estates of Coastal Peru, 1600–1767 (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1980), 91. 41. Sandra Olivero Guidobono,“Producción y mano de obra en las haciendas jesuíticas del Buenos Aires colonial: La Chacarita y Las Conchas en el siglo XVIII,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos 69, no.2 (2012): 643; Ignacio Telesca, “Esclavos y jesuitas: El Colegio de Asunción del Paraguay,” Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 77, no.153 (2008), 202. 4 2. Tardieu, Los negros, I:215, 216, 251, 255; C.A.  Palmer, Slaves of the White God: Blacks in Mexico, 1570–1650 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976), 54; Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI). Peruano Litterae Annuae, vol. 16 “Letras annuas de la Prova del Perú del año de 1655,” 29v. 4 3. Schwartz, Sugar, 385; ARSI, Peruano Litterae Annuae, vol. 16, “Letras annuas de la Prova del Perú de los años de 1660 y 1661 y parte de 1662,” 91–91v. 4 4. Cushner, Lords, 93. 4 5. Tardieu, Los negros, I:243, 247, 248. 4 6. Cushner, Lords, 95; P. Macera, “Instrucciones para el manejo de las haciendas jesuitas del Perú (ss. XVII–XVIII),” in Nueva corónica 2, no.2 (1966), 39–49, 48. 47. Cushner, Lords, 102, 103. 48. Rosa María Martínez de Codes, “De la reducción a la plantación. La utilización del esclavo negro en las haciendas jesuitas de la América española y portuguesa,” Revista Complutense de Historia de América 21 (1995): 92, 105; J.P. Tardieu, “Compra de esclavos por el colegio jesuita de San Pablo Lima (1691–1729),” Hispania Sacra 56 (2004): 279. 49. Ronald J, Morgan, “Postscript to His Brothers: Reading Alonso de Sandoval’s De Instauranda Aethiopum Salute (1627) as a Jesuit Spiritual Text,” Atlantic Studies 5, no.1 (2008), 80. 50. María Cristina Navarrete Pelaéz, “Las cartas annuas jesuitas y la representación de los Etíopes en el siglo XVII,” in Genealogías de la diferencia: Tecnologías de la salvación y representación de los africanos esclavizados en Iberoamérica colonial, ed. María Eugenia Chaves Maldonado (Bogotá: Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 2009), 37. 51. Bowser, African, 238. 52. Ibid., 242. 53. Tardieu, “Los negros,” I:431, 484, 487–488; Bowser, African, 245. 54. ARSI, Peruano Litterae Annuae, vol. 16, “Letras Annuas de la Provincia de el Perú de los años de 1664, 1665, 1666,” 112v. 55. María Cristina Navarrete, “La Representación jesuítica de los etíopes del siglo XVII desde las Cartas Annuas,” Memoria & Sociedad 10, no.21 (2006), 98. 56. V.P. Franklin, “Alonso de Sandoval and the Jesuit Conception of the Negro,” Journal of the Negro History 58, no.3 (1973), 356.

(Un)Making Christianity   117 57. Franklin, “Alonso,” 356, 357, 359; E.  Vila Villar, “Introducción,” in Un tratado sobre la esclavitud, (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, [1647] 1987), 22; Catalina Ariza Montañez, “El viaje dantesco de los etíopes: la construcción del ser esclavo en el periodo colonial,” in Genealogías de la diferencia: Tecnologías de la salvación y representación de los africanos esclavizados en Iberoamérica colonial, ed. María Eugenia Chaves Maldonado (Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 2009), 151, 154. 58. Margaret M. Olsen, Slavery and Salvation in Colonial Cartagena de Indias (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2004), 139. 59. Ibid., 63. 60. Rachel Sarah O’Toole, “From the Rivers of Guinea to the Valleys of Peru: Becoming a Bran Diaspora within Spanish Slavery,” Social Text 92 (2007), 24–25. 61. J. Fernández, J, Apostólica y Penitente Vida de el V. P. Pedro Claver de la Compañía de Jesús sacada principalmente de informaciones jurídicas hechas antes el Ordinario de la Ciudad de Cartagena de Indias (Zaragoza: Diego Dormer, 1666), 143. 62. ARSI, Peruano Litterae Annuae, vol. 16, “Letras Annuas de la Provincia de la Compañía de JHS,” 225. 63. “R. Provisión para que se casen los negros” (1527), in Konetzke, Colección I, 99. 64. “R. Provisión que no sean libres” (1526), in Konetzke, Colección I, 81; “R.C. que los esclavos negros a quienes” (1538), in Konetzke, Colección I, 185; “R.C. que los negros se casen con negras” (1541), in Konetzke, Colección I, 210; “R.C. para que los negros se casen” (1553), in Konetzke, Colección I, 318–319. 65. Mulvey, “Black,” 270. 66. “R.C. que en las cofradías,” in Konetzke, Colección II, no.1, 88. 67. Mariza de Carvalho Soares, People of Faith: Slavery and African Catholics in EighteenthCentury Rio de Janeiro (Durham: Duke University Press [2000] 2011), 125, 154. 68. Bennett, Africans, 97, 101. 69. Ibid., 100, 111. 70. Stuart  B.  Schwartz, “Opening the Family Circle: Godparentage in Brazilian Slavery,” in Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery, ed. Stuart Schwartz (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 140, 152, 154. 7 1. Jane Landers, Black Society in Spanish Florida (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1999), 121. 72. Bennett, Africans, 127. 73. Bowser, African, 255; Kathy Waldron, “The Sinners and the Bishop in Colonial Venezuela: The Visita of Bishop Mariano Martí, 1771–1784,” in Sexuality & Marriage in Colonial Latin America, ed. Asunción Lavrin (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), 163. 74. Maribel Arrelucea Barrantes, Replanteando la esclavitud: estudios de etnicidad y género en Lima borbónica (Lima: CEDET: Centro de Desarrollo Étnico, 2009), 65–66. 75. Bennett, Africans, 150. 76. Michelle McKinley, “Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Legal Activism, and Ecclesiastical Courts in Colonial Lima, 1593–1689,” Law and History Review 28, no.3 (2010), 768. 77. Kathryn Joy McKnight, “Blasphemy as Resistance: An African Slave Woman before the Mexican Inquisition,” in Women in the Inquisition: Spain and the New World, ed. Mary E. Giles (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), 234. 78. Javier Villa-Flores, “ ‘To Lose One’s Soul’: Blasphemy and Slavery in New Spain, 1596–1669,” Hispanic American Historical Review 82, no.3 (2002), 438, 458.

118   Rachel Sarah O’Toole 79. Herman  L.  Bennett, Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2009), 32. 80. Busto Duthurburu, San Martín, 68. 81. Celia Cussen, Black Saint of the Americas: The Life and Afterlife of Martín de Porres (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Alex García-Rivera, St. Martín de Porres: The ‘Little Stories’ and the Semiotics of Culture (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995), 6. 82. Busto Duthurburu, San Martín, 93, 274. 83. Ibid., 248. 84. Ibid., 201, 276. 85. Nancy E. van Deusen, “The World of Ursula de Jesús,” in The Souls of Purgatory: The Spiritual Diary of a Seventeenth-Century Afro-Peruvian Mystic, Ursula de Jesús, ed. Nancy E. van Deusen (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2004) 1, 4, 53, 54; Alice  L.  Wood, “Religious Women of Color in Seventeenth-Century Lima: Estefania de San Ioseph and Ursula de Jesu Christo,” in Beyond Bondage: Free Women of Color in the Americas, ed. David Barry Gaspar et al. (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 307. 86. van Deusen, “The World,” 4. 87. Ibid., 53–54. 88. Nancy E. van Deusen, “ ‘The Lord Walks among the Pots and Pans’: Religious Servants of Colonial Lima,” in Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora, ed. Sherwin Bryant et al. (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 142, 151. 89. van Deusen, “The World,” 55–56. 90. João José Reis and Herbert S. Klein, “Slavery in Brazil,” in The Oxford Handbook of Latin American History, ed. José  C.  Moya (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 191; Herbert S. Klein and Ben Vinson III, African Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean. 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 162. 91. Karasch, Slave, 82–83. 92. Linda  M.  Heywood, “The Angolan-Afro-Brazilian Cultural Connections,” Slavery & Abolition 20, no.1 (1999): 10; Elizabeth  W.  Kiddy, “Ethnic and Racial Identity in the Brotherhoods of the Rosary of Minas Gerais, 1700–1830,” The Americas 56, no.2 (1999): 240. 93. Elizabeth W. Kiddy, Blacks of the Rosary: Memory and History in Minas Gerais, Brazil (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005), 130, 133. 94. Soares, People, 138. 95. Mariana  L.  R.  Dantas, “Humble Slaves and Loyal Vassals: Free Africans and Their Descendants in Eighteenth-Century Minas Gerais, Brazil,” in Imperial Subjects: Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America, ed. Andrew B. Fisher et al. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), 134. 96. Karasch, Slave, 85; Kiddy, Blacks, 60; Mulvey, “Black,” 256. 97. Kiddy, Blacks, 86. 98. Ibid., 88. 99. Soares, People, 116. 100. Ibid., 129. 101. Ibid., 128. 102. As reported by Jean-Baptiste Debret; Soares, 128. 103. Karasch, Slave, 251–252. 104. Bowser, African, 251. 105. Ibid., 252.

(Un)Making Christianity   119 106. Laura  A.  Lewis, Hall of Mirrors: Power, Witchcraft, and Caste in Colonial Mexico (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 147–149. 107. Ibid., 157. 108. James H. Sweet, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441–1770 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 164. 109. Ibid., 164–165. 110. Ibid., 120–121. 111. Ibid., 222. 112. James  E.  Wadsworth, “Jurema and Batuque: Indians, Africans, and the Inquisition in Colonial Northeastern Brazil,” History of Religions 46, no.2 (2006), 159; Martha Few, Women Who Live Evil Lives: Gender, Religion, & the Politics of Power in Colonial Guatemala (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002) 29. 113. Joan Meznar, “Our Lady of the Rosary, African Slaves, and the Struggle against Heretics in Brazil, 1550–1660,” Journal of Early Modern History 9, no.3–4 (2005), 380. 114. Joan Cameron Bristol, “Afro-Mexican Saintly Devotion in a Mexico City Alley,” in Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora, ed. Sherwin  K.  Bryant et al. (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 128. 115. Susan Socolow, “Acceptable Partners: Marriage Choice in Colonial Argentina, 1778–1810,” in Sexuality & Marriage in Colonial Latin America, ed. Asunción Lavrin (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), 210–211. 116. Patrick J. Carroll, Blacks in Colonial Veracruz: Race, Ethnicity, and Regional Development (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, [1991] 2001), 149. 117. Peter Wade, Race and Sex in Latin America (London: Pluto Press, 2009), 93. 118. Sweet, Recreating, 97. 119. Marcus J.M. de Carvalho, “Agostinho José Pereira: The Divine Teacher,” in The Human Tradition in Modern Brazil, ed. Peter M. Beattie (Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 2004), 24. 120. Ibid., 25–26. 121. Reis and Klein, “Slavery,” 193; Carvalho, “Agostinho,” 29. 122. M.  Dean, Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society (London: Sage, [1999] 2010), 25.

chapter 7

Millena r i a n Mov em en ts Carole A. Myscofski

Millenarian movements, rooted in the Christian expectation of the thousand-year ­kingdom ruled by Jesus at the end of time, developed in the Spanish and Portuguese New World colonies alongside the more conventional practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Hopes for spiritual revitalization in indigenous communities, religious renewal among peasant groups, and ecclesiastical autonomy among dissident parties similarly inspired rebellion as the imperial conquests of Latin America disrupted native religions, and colonial and postcolonial governments created intolerable social and religious conditions for disenfranchised peoples. Because of the power of religious institutions in the creation and maintenance of political systems in Latin America, millenarian movements—whether among indigenous peoples, slaves, peasant workers, or urban poor—manifested the inescapable links between religious worldviews and political ideology and found their social expression through resistance and revolution.

The Apocalyptic Heritage Expectations for the Second Coming of Jesus diminished not long after his death and by the second century had been replaced with more elaborate prophecies. The last book in the New Testament, Revelation to John, or The Apocalypse, dramatized the conviction that divine intervention would end the known world in a series of spiritual and physical battles directed by Jesus and his saints against Satan and his minions. That imagery combined with popular stories and ecclesiastical interpretations to support predictions that physical catastrophes and social chaos would precede the imminent Last Days. Millenarian groups also anticipated a prophetic leader, like Jesus himself, to end earthly oppression and lead a small number of true believers with secret prophecies into an

122   Carole A. Myscofski earth-bound peaceful utopia enjoyed by God’s faithful alone. While a few early theologians elaborated these apocalyptic teachings, Christian authors in the fourth century, such as Jerome and Augustine of Hippo, opposed this disruptive interpretation of Scripture. Later medieval commenters and popular traditions contributed as much to the millennial movements of Latin America as did the scriptural canonical tradition.1 In the Christian tradition, few radical religious movements espoused all of the details of the apocalyptic message from Revelation, particularly the expectation of a thousand-year kingdom while the Devil lay enchained (Rev 20:2–3), but groups may still be designated “millenarian” if most of the elements characteristic of that symbolic discourse centered their worldviews. Thus, millenarian movements are those that featured the dualism of good and evil, imminent transformation, cosmic upheaval, messianic intervention, and the divine kingdom as “key symbols,” in Sherry Ortner’s terms, to summarize their religious perspectives. Some symbols in particular—signs of the end, heavenly visions, and promises of a renewed monarchy—acted as “root metaphors” to both elaborate and organize cultural understanding of cosmic events as they unfolded in Europe and South America.2 This description corresponds with Norman Cohn’s proposal to define as “ ‘millenarian’ any religious movement inspired by” a vision of salvation that would be “collective,” “terrestrial,” “imminent,” “accomplished” by spiritual powers, and accompanied by “total” destruction throughout the known world.3 It is worth noting, however, that most Latin American movements suggest a narrower definition—one drawn from the Christian symbolic worldview and centered on the restoration of the believing community under a messianic leader. The emergence of such religious defiance in Latin America suggests that the colonial encounter itself inspired sufficient motivation for the new millenarian movements. Some ­ illenarian scholars, including Eric Hobsbawm and Ralph Linton, have theorized that m movements were nascent political movements utilizing repressed or fragmented ­religious imagery.4 Brazilian anthropologist Roberto da Matta placed religious movements within a “dual social system” in which marginalized communities challenge colonial or m ­ odern political ideologies.5 Other theorists emphasized the “relative deprivation” of the socially or economically repressed groups, who then attempt to improve their conditions under the guidance of a millenarian prophet. By contrast, Patricia Pessar has argued that these approaches diminish the importance of dynamic religious beliefs in individual and communal life. Millenarian groups comprehend their lives “in cosmological and moral terms,” and their beliefs provide both a richer understanding of their problems and viable solutions in both the mundane and spiritual realms.6 Rather than reduce religious movements to other types of social behavior, this chapter argues that millenarian movements in Latin America arose during historical moments of radical decline in the social and political autonomy of marginalized communities and dramatic deterioration in the support expected from religious leaders and rituals. These conditions reminded the participants or incipient leaders of their traditional apocalyptic beliefs, whether rooted in indigenous cosmologies or unfolding within the teachings of the Catholic Church. Interpreting cataclysmic events, including the disintegration of their social networks, primarily as religious events, millennialists recognized

Millenarian Movements   123 patterns derived from their religious traditions, a network of symbols that made up the long-cherished millenarian beliefs. This chapter reserves the term “millenarian” for those movements that were either Christian in origin or that demonstrated influence or heritage from Christian eschatological traditions. This will allow the inclusion of indigenous movements and religious rebellions that exhibit many of the characteristics of millenarian movements, but nonetheless stop short of the prophecy of the thousandyear reign of Jesus in a utopian kingdom on earth.

The Iberian Traditions The concepts of apocalyptic struggle from the Book of Revelation persisted in European Christianity through the Middle Ages and merged with messianic legends surrounding the Holy Roman Emperors, Charlemagne, and King Arthur, and with mystical numerology calculating the eras of European history. Persistent prophecies of a “future eschatological ruler” corresponded with the Iberian beliefs in a hidden king who would inaugurate a universal Christian kingdom—a king later identified as Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452–1516) and Sebastião I of Portugal (1554–1578).7 Eschatological concepts of divine intervention, along with papal support initiated during the military crusades against Islamic powers, brought the first Christian millennialist ideas from the “most Catholic” King Ferdinand across the Atlantic. Franciscan authors had constructed their own visions of the ­conquest of the Americas from biblical passages and affirmed that the papal concession of the rights of patronage mandated a messianic destiny for Spain and its rulers. Anticipating the conversion of all inhabitants of the newly encountered lands, Fray Gerónimo de Mendieta considered the Spanish king “to be the Promised One, the Messiah-World Ruler” whose missionary empire would overthrow the forces of evil and establish a millennial peace “on the eve of the Last Judgment.”8 In Portugal, national identity since the eleventh century had included legends of visionary rulers and messianic destiny for the people as a whole. These heightened ­during the reign of Sebastião I, called o desejado, or “desired one,” and immediately afterward. Sebastião acceded to the Portuguese throne at age three, but died during a misguided venture into northern Africa to avenge the destruction of Portuguese territory. His tragic death resulted in the temporary rule by his childless great-uncle Cardinal Henrique and the eventual loss of Portuguese autonomy to Spanish rule (1580 to 1640). That period of the “Portuguese captivity” furthered enthusiasm for lost kings and millenarian dreams in Portugal and its colonies, so that centuries later, Sebastião was still evoked as the hidden messiah who might restore Portuguese or Brazilian greatness in an apocalyptic empire. These religious and political traditions inspired Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries in early colonial Brazil and the Spanish colonies to perceive their missions in accord with messianic eschatology and to propel a handful of immigrant or creolized religious communities to defy ecclesiastical authorities so that they might realize the utopian dream of a Christ-led kingdom on earth.9

124   Carole A. Myscofski

Indigenous Revitalization and Millennial Movements Transformative religious movements occurred among indigenous and enslaved communities in South America from the earliest colonial moments through the twentieth century, comprising not only religious revitalizations but also political insurrections against monolithic power and oppressive neo-colonial regimes. Tupí-Guaraní Indian prophets in Paraguay and Brazil led followers on pilgrimage toward the “Land-withoutEvil” and enacted both a characteristically utopian worldview and, later, resistance to European domination. Rebellions among the Maya people in the Yucatán peninsula and among Andean peoples articulated similar millennial themes of cosmic battles centered on the restoration of earthly kingdoms and messianic promises for autonomy, especially in reaction to the colonial hegemony of the Spanish Roman Catholic Church and imperial state. And, as Alida C. Metcalf has argued, African and mixed-race participants in the Santidade movement in Jaguaripe, Brazil, incorporated millennial beliefs into their new religious movement in the 1580s.10 Inspired by their own interpretations of cosmic events and local tragedies, indigenous communities in Paraguay, Brazil, and Mexico followed messiah-like leaders to establish utopian societies in pre-colonial Latin America. The earliest recorded movements among these were the Tupí-Guaraní in Brazil and Paraguay, who undertook lengthy religious pilgrimages in search of the land of the immortals in the sixteenth century. For the Tupí communities in the Amazon basin, the world had already passed through one cycle of creation and destruction at the hands of the Creator. The few survivors were the immortal spirits in the Land-without-Evil, whose power could still be felt in the second world inhabited by their descendants. Led by their great shamans, Tupí families abandoned their villages, agriculture, and social customs so that they might purify themselves through an arduous life and find the Land-without-Evil. Hélène Clastres argued that the demands of those shamans articulated the tension between religious and sociopolitical powers among the Tupí-Guaraní, and their followers broke that tension by abandoning all non-religious activity so that they might attain the earthly paradise of plenty and ease, the Land-without-Evil.11 Recovered evidence has suggested that the Tupí on the northeast coast of Brazil showed little familiarity with seaside living, and since they were “relatively recent arrivals to the area,” their resettlements might have been inspired by their search for a perfected land not unlike the millennial kingdom expected by medieval Christians.12 In the 1500s, Europeans reported on at least two migrations taking the Tupí-Guaraní toward their Land-without-Evil. The first brought 300 Tupí from Brazil to Peru, where they claimed that their ten-year trek through the Amazon rainforest had taken them through regions rich with gold and jewels. Between 1562 and 1609, several other migrations took the Tupí-Guaraní from their ancestral lands toward the Land-without-Evil, each group led by great shamans. In that era, the very presence of Europeans may have been taken as a

Millenarian Movements   125 sign of the expected cataclysm that was to destroy the world, so that the shamans ­hastened their plans. In 1605, for example, the French Franciscan Claude d’Abbeville reported that a Portuguese or mestiço shaman leading his community toward the Landwithout-Evil had stopped so that they might cultivate crops and hunt for food. Having met and battled with the French near the Amazon delta, the disappointed migrants turned again toward home and abandoned their religious dreams.13 The Tupí-Guaraní pilgrimages were powerful revitalization movements that shared many elements with millenarian movements elsewhere in Latin America. Reliant on powerful shamans, rather than messiahs, the pilgrims undertook the difficult personal and social journey to reach the divine realm here on earth. They expected to transform themselves through their sacrifices, so that one small group of survivors in the ­Land-without-Evil might live through the fires that would destroy the rest of the world.14 The more powerful aspects of this prophetic religion persisted through the twentieth century, so that the Guaraní shamans invoked the Land-without-Evil to mount resistance to the dominant colonial powers. In the 1970s, motifs from Tupí-Guaraní “cosmological beliefs” formed part of Roman Catholic services, and the Tupí migrations were likened to the ancient Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt as another quest for spiritual freedom.15

Colonial Movements While some of the Tupí-Guaraní pilgrimages were completed as Portuguese explorers arrived, the first millenarian movement in colonial Brazil might have begun in the 1580s in the Santidade, or Holiness, movement at Jaguaripe in northeastern Brazil that attracted Indians, enslaved Africans, mixed-race residents, and Portuguese colonists after years of disease, war, and famine. The visiting Portuguese Inquisition recorded claims that prophets, or pajés, enacted rituals for personal and cosmic transformation and united Tupí-Guaraní symbols and actions with Catholic titles and sacred powers. The small group revered indigenous divine beings merged with God, Mary, and incarnate saints, and expected supernatural intervention in their lives. The two leaders called themselves “Pope” and the “Mother of God,” led the community in “baptisms, prayers, speaking in tongues, ‘drinking’ the sacred smoke of tobacco, and falling into trances,” and promised that God would eliminate the white oppressors and restore freedom and fertility to the devotees.16 While the short-lived movement clearly included social and political resistance and efforts to restore Tupí-Guaraní religious traditions alongside new religious powers and concepts, the participants did not proclaim the Second Coming of Jesus to inaugurate a millennial kingdom. Rather, their hopes for natural cataclysms and inverted social roles centered on emancipation from colonial oppression and, more importantly, built on the religious foundation of indigenous cosmologies such as the expectations for the Land-without-Evil among the coastal Tupí.17 In the Spanish colonies, the peoples of present-day Mexico and Peru struggled not only to preserve their own ancient religious traditions, but also to develop an ­independent

126   Carole A. Myscofski understanding of the Roman Catholic doctrines that they were forced to accept. The Aztec, Maya, and Inca cultures held traditional worldviews that mirrored some of the fundamental characteristics of Christian millenarian movements, for they understood the world to undergo periodic renewals, with creative and destructive spiritual forces arrayed on each side to complete the cycle. Accordingly, proper rituals and proper p ­ ersonal behavior guided by religious leaders would enable the dutiful to withstand the waves of devastation and emerge triumphant in a new and ideal world. The most important aspect of these movements, as Alicia Barabas has argued, was their “religious worldview,” held as a “relatively coherent and integrated symbol system” and providing “one of the principal spheres of expression of resistance for oppressed groups.”18 The earliest religious revolts began in central and southern Mexico, where the most severe repression of native beliefs and practices engaged the Spaniards in the enslavement of the inhabitants and destruction of sacred objects and places. Surviving indigenous people from the 1500s through the 1600s followed charismatic leaders who promised the restoration of an ideal world for the devoted few after cosmic retribution against the oppressors. Insurrections in Mexico near Zacatecas and in the Yucatán in the 1540s were “inspired by a profound religious sentiment” to eradicate the Spaniards and their new doctrines from the region.19 These violent religious rebellions and others later in the 1500s and 1600s in Chiapas and the Yucatán might be categorized as nativistic movements, for their participants fought to retain Maya religious traditions and revitalize them on their own terms. While Maya resistance to Catholicism accompanied their opposition to colonization, some religious leaders concealed sacred objects and practices supporting their hopes for restoration of their validity, while others organized to weave “Christian symbols, rituals, and organizational practices into the complex fabric” of ­traditional Maya life.20 After decades of indoctrination, most native religious cultures were fragmented beyond recognition, but some persisted while interwoven with Catholic teachings. Local rebellions against Spanish domination did not cease, but in the early 1700s these coalesced with independent devotional groups focused on the Virgin Mary, just as Dominican preachers introduced Marian brotherhoods into indigenous villages. In central Mexico, Native Americans had already witnessed the incorporation of the cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe and its indigenous perceptions of spirituality and practice into the Catholic tradition. Among the most marginalized mestizo and indigenous communities, visionaries transformed the introduced religion into a vital spiritual practice. In Zincantán, Chiapas, for example, an aged hermit drew crowds for worship and repeated arrests by the Spanish governors with his claims of visions of the Virgin Mary in 1709. And in Santa Marta and Chenalhó, wooden statues of the Virgin demanded new shrines and new devotions, while the leaders prophesied that Mary would reciprocate food and incense offerings with “maize, beans, and many children” for her devotees.21 These and similar devotional cults expressed only a few millenarian elements, but certainly represented indigenous interpretations of Catholic symbols and rituals; all met with severe repression at the hands of the colonial religious and political authorities.

Millenarian Movements   127 Later in the eighteenth century, millenarian movements after the Zincantán revolt in Mexico battled the disruption of locally inspired religious activities and the elimination of personal and property rights. With material and spiritual disintegration imminent, Maya people in the Yucatán and in Chiapas expected the complete inversion of the social order under a new priest-king and his salvific reign. Native peoples sought to seize control of religious and governmental institutions in order to revitalize their own ancient traditions in light of their new understandings of cosmic time and renewals developed from Christian teachings. These religious revolts incorporated both indigenous and imported concepts of power and time, and their visions and prophecies drew on the ancient Maya symbolism of the great cycles of the cosmos, re-enacted by religious heroes—creating “a synthesis of Maya destiny and the Christian millennium.”22 The leaders, indigenous men who were conversant with both Maya and Spanish perspectives on cosmic cycles and morality, linked the immorality of the colonial institutions with the disintegrating social order to predict the end of time and the subsequent redemption of the indigenous culture by the Virgin Mary.23 In 1712, “a young Indian woman called María de la Candelaria” experienced a vision of Mary, near the town of Cancuc, Chiapas, and demanded a new shrine and devotional community for the Mother of God.24 This movement and later similar examples incorporated not only warnings about approaching cataclysms that resounded from ancient Maya cosmology, but also a distinctive role for Mary as the savior of her followers, t­ aking Jesus’s place as the eschatological victor. While other indigenous people also claimed miraculous interventions and cures by Mary and other saints, a new prophetic priesthood whose activities and hierarchy replaced both Maya and Catholic functionaries performed baptisms and other recurring ceremonies resembling Roman Catholic ­sacraments. Calls to neighboring villages drew thousands to a new Marian religion, “forging a heterodox popular faith that, once repressed by the clergy, became the basis for millennial insurrection.”25 Although the Spanish militia ultimately defeated the armed devotees, this ideology survived and provided a more powerful platform for the creation of a new violent millennialism in Mexico. By the 1750s, increasing violence across Chiapas and the Yucatán destroyed indigenous religious communities and social solidarity, and heightened the sense that the world order had been irrevocably disrupted. The end of foreign dominance was imagined not just in the religious but also in political realms, while utopian prophecies encouraged violent rebellions against Spanish rule in the name of a new king or priest chosen by the Virgin Mary. Here the ancient concepts of cycles of renewal were informed by the eschatological calendar from Christian apocalyptics, while indigenous structures and concepts of ritual, divinity, and priesthood were thoroughly “permeated” by the symbols and hierarchies of the Catholic Church.26 The ensuing rebellions reasserted religious autonomy through their focus on local religious concerns such as family health and agricultural success, the emphasis on female divine power, and unmediated access to divinity and sacred power through dreams and visions.27 Thus in the late 1750s in Yautepec, visionary Antonio Pérez led the opposition to the reported abuse and greed of the local clergy. Pérez drew hundreds of followers who

128   Carole A. Myscofski sought refuge with Virgin Mary of the volcano Popocatépetl, salvation in visions of Jesus, and cures from Pérez. Pérez prophesied “earthquake and epidemic, events which would announce the destruction of Spanish rule, especially of its three agents—tribute, viceroy and archbishop.”28 Pérez began as teacher and curandero, promised that he would be priest and king, and finally proclaimed his own divinity. His miracles would sustain the community under his reign until the rebirth of “the Holy Christ” who had been buried for one thousand years.29 Calling indigenous followers to retake sole possession of their lands, Pérez created a new religious landscape in which Catholic millenarian teachings enhanced traditional Indian beliefs in earthly power and cyclic renewals. The millennial vision of Marian salvation continued on the feast day of Our Lady of Conception in Quisteil, Yucatán, when “another indigenous movement exploded that combined the presence of traditional religious beliefs with a radical rejection of Spanish domination.”30 In November 1761, Jacinto Canek represented resistance to Spanish religious and governmental functionaries with threatening prophecies of the coming End Times. Canek’s supporters barely survived a disorganized revolt before proclaiming him “king of the Yucatan” and his consort “the Blue Virgin of the Conception.”31 The Spanish defeated the resistance decidedly that same month, brutally tortured and killed the leaders, and razed the town of Quisteil itself to eradicate its influence. A brief resurgence of similar millenarian fervor brought a small group of devotees in Tulancingo to proclaim a local prayer leader as God and his companion the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1769. Supporters rallied to his prophecies of “the death of the Spaniards, the creation of an Indian government, abolition of the Catholic hierarchy, its replacement by an Indian priesthood, and the end of tributes,” but swift reprisals ended their cause that same year.32 The followers of Canek, like those of Pérez and other visionaries, envisioned the ­re-emergence of long-repressed Indian traditions in a new world unhindered by Spanish Catholic dominion. But their millennial communities actually merged Catholic and Mexican religious ideas as they articulated their support for the messianic leadership of newly educated but marginalized men, and hoped for liberation among the suffering underclass following the demise of imperial evil. In the 1750s and 1760s, central-southern Mexico witnessed an essential shift in religion, two centuries after the first encounters between indigenous cultures and Catholic evangelism. Summoning messianic intervention against their foes, Indian communities there generated a radical reassessment of the cosmos and reasserted their own religious autonomy by fusing Christian and indigenous concepts.33 Millenarian movements in Peru similarly reassessed their world with a syncretic vision of a messianic Inca ruler promising liberation. In the 1560s, Andeans openly resisted Spanish Christianity and reaffirmed the power of traditional rituals to drive out evil, disease, and the Spanish themselves. Two concepts of time and transformation— the Andean concept of pachacuti, which entailed the “termination and reveal of an established order” and “the Christian concept of the Last Judgment”—merged to support hopes for the renewal of the Inca Empire from pre-colonial times.34 With the promise of  regeneration from the Inca ruler Túpac Amaru, slain by the Spanish in 1572, and the indigenous worldview of repeated cycles of destruction and renewal, millenarian

Millenarian Movements   129 movements predicted the restoration of Andean autonomy in a kingdom that still ­incorporated elements of the colonial world. Political rebellions formed in the 1600s, and revolts led by descendants of the last rulers of the Inca Empire followed in the 1700s, but the most widespread movement was the “Great Rebellion” led by Túpac Amaru II in the 1780s. The groundwork for the rebellion had been laid by the coalescent religious worldviews and the “progressive deprivation” of indigenous peoples at the hands of the Spanish.35 A “matrilineal descendent of the last Inca, Felipe Tupac Amaru,” the mestizo leader and cacique José Gabriel Condorconqui y Thupa Amaro called for the overthrow of the ­religious and political realms of Spanish Peru to mirror the devastation visited upon the Inca empire. Using eschatological mythology of Inkarrí and the Andean divinity of ­“cataclysmic change,” Túpac Amaru II offered himself as the savior to end colonial injustices but preserve the locally run councils, schools, and churches. Catholic priests opposing the abuse of the Andeans supplied biblical quotations for the millennial kingdom and nominal support for the first attacks near Cuzco in 1780. Thousands of Andean rebels massacred their Spanish and Creole opposition, despite previous promises of accommodation, and carried their battles to the surrounding regions, but even the addition of his brother Diego Túpac Amaru could not prevent the  disastrous end of this rebellion in 1781. Túpac Amaru II was captured, tortured, and killed in May 1781, and successive leaders who laid siege to La Paz, Bolivia, were ­executed within the year.36

Millenarian Movements in the Post-Colonial Era At the end of the colonial era, local uprisings against political and religious reorganization drew on popular millenarian ideology to challenge the modernism and centralization resulting from independence movements across Latin America. The first wave of millenarian movements during the 1800s in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico unified regional conflicts with devotional passions that echoed colonial and early-modern concepts of religious organization and salvific intervention. In Brazil, the nonviolent transition from colony to independent empire had failed to unify the disparate population, and the increased assertion of papal control over the local Church, along with political, social, and environmental problems, seemed to represent the end of the recognizable world. In the sertão, or backlands, marginalized rural poor and working classes interpreted their losses as signs of the apocalypse and welcomed messianic leaders to guide them to the millennial kingdom. Participants in the movements at Serra do Rodeador, Pedra Bonita, and Canudos, devastated by the economic struggles and secularism of the Brazilian Empire and their own abandonment by the Catholic Church, fought against federal troops with swords, guns, and apocalyptic visions of the lost king Sebastião.37

130   Carole A. Myscofski The millenarian movement at Serra do Rodeador lasted only three years, but left an indelible mark in the history of messianism in northeastern Brazil. In 1817, the former soldier Silvestre José dos Santos began preaching the End Times in Pernambuco and joined his followers to establish a village by a shrine in the Serra do Rodeador near the town of Bonita. As the community grew, the Santa Milagrosa, or “miraculous Saint” of the Rock, spoke to Santos and his assistant Manoel Gomes das Virgens about their endeavors and altered their future. Most importantly, she revealed to them that “King Sebastião and his army would emerge” from a nearby ridge to make the two men “princes of his new Realm and their followers wealthy nobles.”38 Santos organized his village as a sort of religious brotherhood and led the backlanders in litanies, rosaries, austerities, and “self-flagellation in order to perfect their own religious devotion to the sect and the saint.”39 The combination of revived Sebastianism and devotional Catholicism proved persuasive, especially when enacted daily by Santos himself, and the growing community of laborers, soldiers, and peasants eventually abandoned their families and religious ties to await the end. As the population of the millenarian village exceeded two hundred, Santos resisted the advice of visiting clergy to adapt his enthusiastic new religiosity to the institutional structures of the local Roman Catholic Churches. The promises from the Santa Milagrosa, perhaps from the Virgin Mary herself, accelerated so that witnesses later recalled that they expected to “ransom the holy places of Jerusalem” itself as they inaugurated the “City of Earthly Paradise.” In 1820, however, the militaristic governor of Pernambuco, Luiz do Rego Barreto, destroyed the city and killed over ninety devotees and most of the leaders. Santos and Virgens evaded capture, and popular outrage forced the release of the women and children who had been imprisoned after the attack. The millenarian movement, subsequently eulogized as a miraculous connection between the messianic past of Portugal and the future of the Brazilian Republic, marked the beginning of a series of religious revolts in the sertão.40 The millenarian vision of the transcendent Portuguese monarchy continued at Pedra Bonita, and the millenarian movement there formed twice, under João Antonio dos Santos and João Ferreira, before coming to a violent end amid group suicides and repression by the local militia. Santos revived the interest of backlanders in the return of Sebastião in 1836, announcing that he had discovered the enchanted army of the lost king immured in mysterious rock formations. Showing “two brilliant little stones” recovered from an “enchanted pond,” Santos claimed that the rock spires nearby were a nearly buried cathedral and royal buildings that would re-emerge when Sebastião was drawn out by communal prayers and religious devotions.41 His family responded to his call, but Santos himself was dissuaded from his own messianic role by local Catholic priests; at his abrupt departure, João Ferreira claimed his own kingship in the community and organized housing, sanctuaries, and a ritual centered on an intoxicating “enchanted wine.”42 Ferreira promised nobility, rule, and riches to those among the two hundred families who gave their goods and livestock to support the growing movement, but he finally demanded that they give their lives as well. On May 14, 1838, Ferreira preached that the hidden king despaired of his people, and that only one last sacrifice was needed to break

Millenarian Movements   131 the enchantment: the sacred rocks around the center spires must be bathed with the blood of voluntary human sacrifices. After sharing enchanted wine with participants, Ferreira sacrificed his own father and proceeded with the help of his companions to kill dozens of Sebastianists on the “Stone of the Sacrifice.” His assistant, brother to the original leader, slayed Ferreira himself as the ultimate offering, but when Brazilian militia men and national guards under Major Pereira da Silva entered the scene, few survivors were willing to engage the final battle. Reports from observers put the death total at fifty-three—and most sources add that fourteen dogs were also carefully sacrificed for the apocalyptic prophecy.43 The final millenarian movement of the nineteenth century emerged under the inspired leadership of Antônio Mendes Maciel, who denounced both the emergent Brazilian republic for its creation of a newly secular state and the Catholic hierarchy for its failure to support popular devotions. Antônio Conselheiro—called “counselor” by his supporters—was recognized as a learned and ascetic holy man, prophet, and perhaps messiah, but most of his early efforts in the 1870s took him across the northeastern sertão to rebuild decrepit chapels and lead residents and fellow beggars in traditional prayers and processions. At first, he was invited by Church officials to take the pulpit for his dramatic sermons, since his themes echoed acceptable teachings on sin and salvation, but by the 1880s he faced expulsions and arrests for his subversive prophecies about imminent upheavals that would end the oppressive authority of state and Church alike. His followers echoed his themes in their calls for the re-establishment of the monarchy in Brazil with the return of Sebastião as their sacred king.44 Gathering landless peasants to establish a holy refuge in 1893 at a remote ranch in Bahia, Conselheiro offered an apocalyptic wisdom embodied in scriptures and popular religious pamphlets. The village of Canudos was organized as a self-sufficient community dedicated to strict religious devotions and drew not only religious pilgrims, but also roaming bandits from the backlands as well. With thousands of displaced supporters, Conselheiro warned of the impending doom faced by the poor and working classes in Brazil and impelled committed disciples to fast and pray alongside him. Local press reports, however, characterized the members of the growing settlement as dangerous fanatics, and the Church abandoned its support for the popular religious enthusiasm that Conselheiro represented. When the bloody defeat of three expeditions by regional and national troops “scandalized” the readers of melodramatic journalists, a full military attack was launched against Canudos in 1897.45 The troops razed the town and slaughtered remaining residents, but their messianic leader—weakened by his own penitential fasts—had died before the last onslaught, probably of dysentery.46 As Brazilians rallied to the promise of a renewed spiritual monarchy, other late ­nineteenth-century rebellions similarly bore traces of millenarian threats and messianic guidance. While the belief system in Argentina drew most heavily on Catholic doctrines in a series of political rebellions, Mexican millenarian movements included ancient Maya or Aztec cosmologies, folk Catholic practices, messianic ideals, special devotions to the Virgin Mary, and a determination to reinstate political and religious autonomy in the face of brutal neo-colonial repression of indigenous and mestizo villagers. In 1872,

132   Carole A. Myscofski in Tandil, Argentina, for example, rebels attacked immigrant workers who were seen as displacing local gauchos. Local preacher Jacinto Pérez rallied the gauchos to a millenarian fight and promised that the healer Gerónimo de Solané, or “Tata Dios,” would bring an end to evils and salvation in a transformed world for those who fought.47 Mexican movements in the late 1800s and early 1900s responded to the Mexican ­revolution, demanding the reinstatement of Roman Catholic lands and privileges and the end to political and social abuses suffered since the 1600s. When local communities saw little political or social improvement, religious leaders again welcomed visions of the Virgin Mary to announce the apocalypse. In Chihuahua in the 1890s, the village of Tomochic became the center for religious resistance following years of ecological disasters and social deprivation. Two religious healers, the holy man Carmen María López and visionary Teresa Urrea, challenged the absent Catholic Church to help the communities and intercede on their behalf. They offered anticlerical diatribes intermixed with miracles inspired by the Virgin Mary in the new religious community at Tomochic, but their messianic leader, Cruz Chávez, led them into a losing battle with federal forces and their ultimate defeat in 1892.48 Different factors supported millenarian movements in the early 1900s, with movements across Latin America utilizing nationalistic rhetoric as part of their cosmological understanding of religious renewal. The call for millenarian renewal galvanized ­dissidents in the Cristero Rebellion to fight for their religious, economic, and political demands in the 1920s in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Michoacán, and Zacatecas. Catholic officials and lay leaders first favored passive resistance to the strict anticlerical provisions of the Constitutions of 1857 and 1917, upheld by state and municipal governments. As villagers challenged civil law with the cry of Viva Cristo Rey! and called for “deliverance” from the evils of the secularizing state, armed rebels in other western states formed Christ’s Army to fight in “defence [sic] of an identity rooted in orthodox religious practice.”49 While some cristeros were certain of “the fundamental righteousness” of their battles to restore the sacred world order, most continued to demand religious freedom, land reform, and political autonomy without mention of an apocalyptic kingdom.50 Political movements in Argentina and Peru around the same time similarly evinced messianic or millenarian motifs as part of their rhetoric, without directly invoking divine intervention in battles against the evils of modernism and militarism there. In Brazil, dreams of messianic liberation brought a series of leaders to national prominence as heirs to the powers of Sebastião and the late Conselheiro. Notable among these was the religious movement at Juazeiro, revering Padre Cícero Romão Baptista as a miracle-worker and living saint. Padre Cícero defied the local elites on behalf of the impoverished nordestinos in his parish in Ceará and taught a distinctly millenarian faith, based on his own visions of Jesus and the imminent end of the world. Enthusiasm for his status as messiah exploded after he gave communion to a devout woman in March 1889, and the consecrated host turned to blood in her mouth. Repetition of the miracle led to prophecies of the Second Coming, even while the Roman Catholic hierarchy denied the transformative events and curtailed his religious practices. Nonetheless, the chapel at Juazeiro became a center for pilgrimage in the Northeast, and Padre Cícero

Millenarian Movements   133 wielded both religious and political power and remained the center of personal devotion even after his death in 1934. The millenarian fervor of the early movement has since changed, however, into a devotional cult focused on the priest and his dedication to the rural poor.51 In the Contestado movement, rural Brazil witnessed another monarchist prophet ­initiating a millenarian rebellion to resist political and religious corruption. In 1912, the charismatic preacher Miguel Lucena Boaventura, then called José Maria, collected a small following at his traditional religious and healing services and attempted to found communitarian agricultural oases in a contested region between Paraná and Santa Catarina. The rural laborers who joined him had lost both traditional workerlandowner relationships and the underlying spiritual values of cooperation during a wave of European immigration and labor disputes in the area. Facing further violence and land seizures, workers and a few patrões (bosses) prayed together for divine intervention.52 Although José Maria died during fighting with state militia, visions of his imminent resurrection alongside King Sebastião and an enchanted army inspired the millenarianists under José Eusébio Ferreira dos Santos to create a new holy city. Once established, the Contestado communities grew to over ten thousand residents, but struggled through a series of battles to retain their autonomous lands.53 By 1916, military excursions had crushed their hopes of replacing the “evil republican form of government” with a new sacred kingdom.54 In perhaps the final moment of the millenarian tradition of northeastern Brazil, Pedro Batista, like Antônio Conselheiro and Padre Cícero before him, was called to ­religious leadership for the End Times. His reliance on charity and “miraculous cures” suggested a saintly identity to his followers, who founded their “new Jerusalem” at Santa Brígida, Bahia.55 Batista neither claimed a messianic role nor preached of imminent cosmic upheavals, but his community expressed traditional millenarian values even as they accommodated modernism. Following his death in 1967 and disappointment at his failure to return, Batista’s pilgrims commemorated his life with a small museum and festival. Like those who flock to the annual cavalcade to Pedra Bonita and to the eightyfoot statue of Padre Cícero in Juazeiro do Norte, they contribute to the next epoch for  millenarian movements in Brazil, with the pilgrims and curious alike joining in ­“religious tourism.”56 The religious movements of the late twentieth century have sought what Michael F. Brown identified as “utopian renewal” with a conscious return to centuries-old motifs for their inspirations.57 In Mexico, religious movements centered on local folk saints and visions from the Virgin Mary to realize their apocalyptic dreams once more. Among the rebels in Andean countries, two powerful Andean religious symbols recurred in local millenarian movements; the first is the concept of pachacuti, depicting “the ­termination and reversal of an established order,” merged with Roman Catholic eschatology, and the second the reappearance of the divine king Túpac Amaru in various forms through the late 1970s.58 In Brazil, two traditions have run parallel through the ­millenarianism: the Sebastianist ideology perpetuating violent messianic uprisings in the rural Northeast, and native concepts of religious renewal blended with Catholic

134   Carole A. Myscofski apocalyptics among the descendants of Brazilian indigenous peoples. In these ­communities, we see the most recent enactments of the drama of cataclysmic upheaval followed by ­salvation for the chosen few, as the would-be survivors share their religious problems and create new solutions from ancient traditions. The histories of two movements in particular indicate that apocalyptic expectations may decline as participants accommodate broader social demands. The Mexican ­community of Nueva Jerusalén began under the guidance of visionary Gabina Romero, when revelations from the Virgin Mary in the mid-1970s identified local pastor Nabor Cárdenas as the religious guide to “lead the Catholic world out of corruption and apostasy, and back to the true doctrine of the Church” so as to avoid the imminent destruction of the world.59 But the millenarian views among the peasant residents have receded as new members expressed other personal and spiritual motives for their presence there. In the 1963 religious movement begun among in the Canela communities in the Amazon, leaders first reinterpreted an older myth of the culture hero Aukhé and claimed that the imminent birth of a new female hero would reverse the balance of powers to restore religious and social autonomy to her native village. The movement revived ­communal dances and inspired attacks on outsiders to the Amazonian culture. The movement ended under the harsh repression of Brazilian authorities, but it had already abandoned many of its central religious claims when prophecies based on the intertwined indigenous and Christian cosmologies failed.60 By the twenty-first century, alternative religions and evangelical Protestantism ­introduced new directions for millenarianism in Latin America, leaving little room for the monarchic dreams of Brazilian movements or the Marian salvation envisioned by Mexican movements in the Yucatán. Missions undertaken by the Church of Latter-Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses have also appealed more directly to those hoping for cosmic changes at the turn of the millennium. While few communities still predict Jesus’s Second Coming, recent religious movements have incorporated apocalyptic symbols and eschatological visions in their perception of world history. Two important cases confirm these new directions. Contemporary Santo Daime groups in Brazil, for example, have developed an eclectic worldview in support of their use of ayahuasca, a hallucinogen enabling participants, or daimistas, to experience divine union. Some daimistas ­perceived ecological disasters as harbingers of the End Times and created rural outposts so that they might shelter themselves under the neo-messianic leadership of founders Irineu Serra and Mota de Mello during the battles between good and evil. With the increasing presence of messianic rhetoric from national leaders such as General José Efraín Ríos Montt, Pentecostal Christians in Guatemala have also brought millenarian claims to the foreground.61 While some anticipate building the Kingdom of God, many Guatemalan millenarianists have more recently read their own political disasters as signs of the End Times as well. These newer examples and innovations suggest that millenarian motifs and related cosmological interpretations of history are deeply embedded in the worldview of Latin American Christianity and will continue to inform the development of religious ideologies.

Millenarian Movements   135

Notes 1. Bernard McGinn, Visions of the End: Apocalyptic Traditions in the Middle Ages (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1979), 14–27. 2. Sherry  B.  Ortner, “On Key Symbols,” American Anthropologist, New Series, 75, no. 5 (October 1973), 138, 139–140. 3. Norman Cohn, “Medieval Millenarism: Its Bearing on the Comparative Study of Millenarian Movements,” in Millennial Dreams in Action, ed. Sylvia L. Thrupp (New York, NY: Schocken Books, 1970), 31. 4. E. J. Hobsbawm, Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries (New York, NY: Praeger, 1963), 1, 4–6; Ralph Linton, “Nativistic Movements,” American Anthropologist, New Series, 45, no. 2 (1943), 232. 5. Roberto da Matta, Carnavais, malandros e heróis: para uma sociologia do dilema brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro: Zahar Editores, 1979), 20–21. 6. Patricia Pessar, “Millenarian Movements in Rural Brazil: Prophecy and Protest,” Religion 12, no. 3 (1982), 187, 189, 193. 7. Bryan Givens, Judging Maria de Macedo: A Female Visionary and the Inquisition in Early Modern Portugal (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2011), 16. 8. John Leddy Phelan, The Millennial Kingdom of the Franciscans in the New World, 2nd ed. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1970), 7, 12. 9. John Lynch, “The Quest for the Millennium in Latin America: Popular Religion and Beyond,” in Latin America between Colony and Nation: Selected Essays (London: Palgrave 2001), 210–211. 10. Alida C. Metcalf, “Millenarian Slaves? The Santidade de Jaguaripe and Slave Resistance in the Americas,” American Historical Review 104, no. 5 (December 1999), 1531–1559. 11. Hélène Clastres, The Land-without-Evil: Tupí-Guaraní Prophetism (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 22–45, 49. 12. Judith Shapiro, “From Tupã to the Land without Evil: The Christianization of TupiGuarani Cosmology,” American Ethnologist 14, no. 1 (February 1987), 130. 13. Clastres, Land-without-Evil, 49–51. 14. Ibid., 36–45, 55–57. 15. Shapiro, “From Tupã to the Land without Evil,” 133–135. 16. Metcalf, “Millenarian Slaves,” 1531. 17. René Ribeiro, “Brazilian Messianic Movements,” in Millennial Dreams in Action: Studies in Revolutionary Religious Movements, ed. Sylvia L. Thrupp (New York, NY: Schocken Books, 1970), 57–58; and Metcalf, “Millenarian Slaves,” 1531–1533. 18. Alicia M. Barabas, Utopías indias: Movimientos sociorreligiosos en México (Mexico City: Plaza y Valdés, 2002), 99. 19. Enrique Florescano, Memory, Myth, and Time in Mexico: From the Aztecs to Independence, trans. Albert G. Bork and Kathryn R. Bork (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1994), 108. 20. Barabas, Utopías indias, 104–114; Matthew Restall, The Maya World: Yucatec Culture and Society, 1550–1850 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997), 165. 21. Florescano, Memory, Myth, and Time in Mexico, 145–148, 151. 22. Lynch, “The Quest for the Millennium,” 211. 23. Ibid., 210–211; cf. Barabas, Utopías indias, 168–169. 2 4. Florescano, Memory, Myth, and Time in Mexico, 154.

136   Carole A. Myscofski 25. Frank Graziano, The Millennial New World (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999), 120. 26. Barabas, Utopías indias, 159. 27. Ibid., 159–160. 28. Lynch, “The Quest for the Millennium,” 212. 29. Florescano, Memory, Myth, and Time in Mexico, 165. 30. Ibid., 157. 31. Lynch, “The Quest for the Millennium,” 211. 32. Florescano, Memory, Myth, and Time in Mexico, 166. 33. Lynch, “The Quest for the Millennium,” 213; Florescano, Memory, Myth, and Time in Mexico, 157–161. 34. Sabine MacCormack, “Pachacuti: Miracles, Punishments, and Last Judgment: Visionary Past and Prophetic Future in Early Colonial Peru,” American Historical Review 93, no. 4 (October 1988), 961. 35. Nicholas  A.  Robins, Genocide and Millennialism in Upper Peru: The Great Rebellion of 1780–1782 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002), 51. 36. Ibid., 59, 40, 63–70. 37. Patricia  R.  Pessar, “Millenarian Movements in Rural Brazil: Prophecy and Protest,” Religion 12, no. 3 (1982), 190. 3 8. Carole A. Myscofski, When Men Walk Dry: Portuguese Messianism in Brazil (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1988), 166. 39. René Ribeiro, “O episódio da Serra do Rodeador (1817–20): um movimento milenar e sebastianista,” Revista de Antropologia 8, no. 2 (dezembro 1960), 142; Myscofski, When Men Walk Dry, 167. 40. Ibid., 136, 138, 140–142. 41. F.  A.  Pereira da Costa, “Folk-lore pernambucano,” Revista do Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, LXX, Pte. II (1907), 35, 36. 42. Antônio Attico de Souza Leite, “Memória sobre a Pedra Bonita ou reino encantado na comarca de Villa Bella, província de Pernambuco,” Revista do Instituto Archeológico e Geográphico Pernambucano XI (1904), 228. 43. Costa, “Folk-lore pernambucano,” 40, 41. 4 4. Myscofski, When Men Walk Dry, 175–182. 4 5. Robert M. Levine, Vale of Tears: Revisiting the Canudos Massacre in Northeastern Brazil, 1893–1897 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992), 194, 178. 46. Ibid., 184–185; Myscofski, When Men Walk Dry, 179–181. 47. Lynch, “The Quest for the Millennium,” 215, 213–215. 48. Ibid., 219–220. 49. Matthew Butler, Popular Piety and Political Identity in Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion: Michoacán, 1927–29 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004), 208. 50. Ibid., 212. 51. Candace Slater, Trail of Miracles: Stories from a Pilgrimage in Northeast Brazil (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1986), 32–39. 52. Todd  A.  Diacon, Millenarian Vision, Capitalist Reality: Brazil’s Contestado Rebellion, 1912–1916 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991), 24–43, 135–140. 53. Levine, Vale of Tears, 222–223. 54. Diacon, Millenarian Vision, 116. 55. Patricia Pessar, From Fanatics to Folk: Brazilian Millenarianism and Popular Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), 43, 98.

Millenarian Movements   137 56. Ibid., 215–221. 57. Michael  F.  Brown, “Beyond Resistance: A Comparative Study of Utopian Renewal in Amazonia,” Ethnohistory 38, no. 4 (Autumn 1991), 388, 389. 58. MacCormack, “Pachacuti,” 961; Rosalind C. Gow, “Inkarri and Revolutionary Leadership in the South Andes,” Journal of Latin American Lore 8, no. 2 (1982), 201–209. 59. Miguel C. Leatham, “Rethinking Religious Decision-Making in Peasant Millenarianism: The Case of Nueva Jerusalén,” Journal of Contemporary Religion 12, no. 3 (1997), 297. 60. René Ribeiro, “Messianic Movements in Brazil,” Luso-Brazilian Review 29, no. 1 (Summer 1992), 73–74. 61. Andrew Dawson, “Religious Identity and Millenarian Belief in Santo Daime,” in Religion and the Individual: Belief, Practice, Identity, ed. Abby Day (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008), 183–186; Pierre Beaucage and Gerardo Ducos, “Après le Règne de Jésus: Aperçus d’imaginaire des autochtones pentecôtistes de l’Ouest du Guatemala,” Anthopologica 19, no. 1 (2007), 95–111.

chapter 8

The Cou rse of Catholic History i n L ati n A m er ica Fernando Cervantes

On the eve of the discovery of America, the Church seemed woefully unprepared for the task that awaited her. Ferdinand and Isabel deplored the situation in Spain in the 1480s, lamenting that the Church had “never been in such ruin.” As in much of Europe, a worrying number of clerics often preferred to squander “all the income that they should devote to the poor . . . on their worldly greed.”1 For their part, despite their genuine reforming efforts, Ferdinand and Isabel can hardly be praised for their enthusiastic ­support for the Spanish Borgia pope, Alexander VI, who became a firm ally of Spanish colonial interests, going as far as granting the “Catholic monarchs” their famous title as well as the right of royal patronage over the Church in all the newly discovered lands, while happily turning a blind eye to Ferdinand’s endless searches for ecclesiastical sinecures to bestow on his numerous illegitimate children. However, to dwell on such abuses can be misleading. There can be little doubt that Catholic reform in Spain long predated the Protestant Reformation and was animated by a deep spiritual and intellectual revival that was no mere reaction to perceived shortcomings. Despite the limited success of Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros in his efforts to reform the secular clergy, his commitment to the reform of his own order, the Franciscans, was paralleled by similar reforms undertaken by the Dominicans, Hieronymites, and Augustinians. The standards of the Mendicant orders, which became the main engines of the early decades of evangelization in the New World, were noticeably higher in Spain than elsewhere in Europe.2 Moreover, the Cardinal was committed to the strengthening of theological studies, most notably in his foundation of the University of Alcalá, soon to become a leading center of learning in Europe. Together with the University of Salamanca, it would contribute significantly to the debates about empire and indigenous rights, leading to the creation of a moral climate that made the Spanish crown acutely aware of its obligations toward the indigenous peoples and

140   Fernando Cervantes brought about a commitment to ensuring justice throughout the Hispanic world. A legal system thus developed that thought in terms of incorporating all the subjects of the monarchy into an organic and hierarchically constituted society, one that would give the indigenous peoples the chance of defending their rights by appealing, if necessary, to the summit of the judicial system.3 These two important developments suffice to call the bluff of any too-ready dismissal of the late-medieval Spanish Church as ill equipped for mission. “Mission,” however, is not a word that would have made much sense to the early Mendicants. It is easy to forget that, well into the mid-sixteenth century, Europeans had no notion of the novelty of the “New World.” The early friars never called themselves “missionaries” in the sense in which we have become accustomed to understand the term—a specialized sector of the Church’s personnel entrusted with the instruction and conversion of non-Christians through the careful exposition of a clear set of doctrines and beliefs. In fact, they worked under assumptions much closer to those expressed as far back as the fourth century by the official panegyrist of Emperor Constantine, Eusebius of Caesarea. “One God,” he had written, “was proclaimed to all mankind; and at the same time one universal power . . . arose and flourished.” Thus “by the express appointment of the same God, two roots of blessing, the Roman Empire and the doctrine of Christian piety, sprang up together for the benefit of mankind.”4 This association of the Church with the Roman state was actually perceived as a providential development, for it implied that the Apostles had indeed preached the message of Christ “to the ends of the world.” Therefore, conversion was not so much a matter of going out into the ­wilderness to persuade those outside to accept the Christian truth; rather, it was a matter of incorporating those already inside the universal society of Christendom into the full sacramental life of the Church. This widespread universalist perspective made it practically axiomatic that the gospel must have reached the indigenous peoples of the “New World” at some stage in the past. The Andean chronicler Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (1534–1616), for instance, found little difficulty in fixing the beginning of New World history at the time of the arrival of a descendant of Noah sometime after the great Flood. “Idolatry,” he argued, had been introduced by Manco Capac, leading to the evil rule of “the serpent demons”; but its effects were mitigated by the mission of Saint Bartholomew, whom he believed to have arrived during the reign of the second Inca, bequeathing to posterity the famous cross of Carabuco.5 Some years later, the Augustinian friar Antonio de la Calancha (1584–1654) pointed to evidence in indigenous sources that spoke of a great bearded white sage called Tumupa who had set up the famous stone cross. Rather than Saint Bartholomew, Calancha pointed to Saint Thomas as the more likely Apostle. But the evidence seemed incontestable. If Christ had commanded the disciples to preach the gospel to all nations, it would be contrary to divine mercy and natural justice to have left them to languish in darkness and sin.6 There was no lack of precedent for such speculations. In one of Hernán Cortés’s letters to Charles V, for instance, the conqueror of Mexico explained how he had made it clear to Moctezuma that man-made idols were false. The reply he put in the mouth of the

The Course of Catholic History in Latin America   141 Aztec emperor is startling: he had said that “owing to the very long time that had passed since the arrival of their ancestors to these lands, it was perfectly possible that they could be mistaken in their beliefs . . . and that I, as a recent arrival, should know better the things that they should hold and believe.”7 This attitude harks back unmistakably to Eusebius. How else could we make sense of Cortés’s recurrent practice of replacing indigenous idols, whose destruction he himself had ordered, with Christian images whose care he entrusted to the very same indigenous ministers who had been responsible for the care of the defeated idols? The practice stemmed from the certainty that as soon as the gospel was preached, the natives would remember their true origin. Since there was no question about their humanity, there could be no question about their innate susceptibility to divine grace. As humans, they already belonged to the universal society of Christendom; they were merely in need of being fully incorporated into the sacramental life of the Church. The frequent neglect of this tradition largely explains the widespread but grossly ­misleading assumption that the spread of Christianity in Latin America was characterized almost exclusively by violence. In fact, the early modern Spanish monarchy did not even remotely have the resources to impose its authority by force. Just as the conquests of Mexico and Peru would have been impossible without the collaboration of tens of thousands of Indians, so the spread of Christianity was the result of a gradual process of adaptation and accommodation. The genuine enthusiasm with which the natives flocked to receive baptism was evidence enough, from the perspective of the first evangelizers, that they already belonged to Christ. These clerics accordingly opted to instruct their neophytes not so much by the imposition of a given set of doctrines as by the enactment of a new spiritual power that the natives quickly came to claim as their own. In tune with the bulk of European and African immigrants, the majority of Franciscan, Dominican, and Augustinian friars, just like the Jesuits who arrived some decades later, had no qualms about deferring to what they perceived as the superior knowledge of native leaders, not only about the physical environment but also about the local spiritual forces. As they embraced and gradually reduced to order a large number of conflicting systems of explanation, the Mendicants and Jesuits soon came to take over the roles previously played by indigenous religious leaders and began to instill in the minds of their neophytes an image of Christianity as filled with a power that seemed stronger than the local spiritual traditions but was not in the least incompatible with them. This was essentially a liturgical culture, one where enacted worship had a much more profound and lasting impact than any use of force. The process was not, of course, without serious shortcomings. The bitter disappointment of many friars upon discovering that their neophytes had not entirely abandoned their “idolatrous” practices produced some violent reactions. Already in the early 1530s, the frequent discovery of clandestine native rites among the allegedly Christianized natives led the Franciscan Archbishop of Mexico, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, to implement the first inquisitorial practices against indigenous “idolaters.”8 A few years later, the Junta Eclesiástica of 1539 advised caution with the use of native-style dances and songs and

142   Fernando Cervantes specifically forbade their performance in churches.9 By 1555, the First Provincial Council was laying down detailed rules to restrict the free use of native songs and dances to avoid confusion between Christian and pagan rites.10 The trend reached a dramatic climax in Yucatán in 1562 after the discovery of widespread “idolatry” in the region of Mani, when the Franciscan Diego de Landa authorized a succession of cruel interrogations that are reminiscent of the campaigns of extirpation of idolatry that had begun to spread throughout Peru at this time.11 Thereafter, the bulk of the documentation reveals a paternalistic attitude toward the natives as simple-minded souls to be pitied and protected, belying a more fundamental preoccupation with the demonic inspiration of indigenous rites, which would become the norm in the various movements of “extirpation of idolatry.” Naturally, general histories tend to pay keen attention to these confrontations of evangelizers and their neophytes, for by their very nature they are apt to produce ­abundant documentation. But the tendency has also encouraged a skewed picture of what were, after all, essentially sporadic and circumstantial movements that did little to undermine the extraordinary resilience of the religious cultures that emerged in the early years of evangelization. There are, moreover, clear dangers in taking the process of disillusionment among the evangelizers too much at face value. Not the least of them is to assume that Spanish legislation was effective or easy to implement. Much recent research shows that the majority of the Crown’s legislative initiatives were circumstantial, generally ineffective, and, more often than not, subject to the widespread Hispanic practice of interpreting and adapting the law in the context of local needs, a trend aptly captured in the frequent use of the phrase obedezco pero no cumplo—“I obey but I do not implement.”12 The same could be said of the various legalistic prohibitions concerning the dangers of mixing indigenous and Christian practices. To assume that they were effectively implemented is to ignore the essentially reciprocal nature of the interaction. Even after the narrowing strictures of the Tridentine decrees gave way to a more cautious approach, for instance, the Dominican Diego Durán (1537–1588) could still write enthusiastically about the idea of turning the sacrificial receptacles known as cuauhxicalli—literally “eagle basins”—into baptismal fonts: for “it is good that . . . what used to be a container of human blood, sacrificed to the devil, may now be the container of the Holy Spirit.” His Jesuit contemporary, José de Acosta, heartily agreed: “on those points in which their customs do not go against religion and justice, I do not think it is a good idea to change them; rather . . . we should preserve anything that is ancestral and ethnic.”13 In such a climate, the performative qualities of indigenous public worship were ­readily made to converge with a vibrant and surprisingly adaptable European liturgical tradition that sank roots in the allegorical exegesis of Scripture as developed by Origen, Eusebius, Augustine, and Gregory. It had found a particularly forceful expression in the thought of the thirteenth-century liturgist William Durandus, whose Rationale divinorum officiorum circulated widely in sixteenth-century Spanish America. The indigenous Christian cultures that emerged from this interaction were neither a covert survival of preHispanic paganism nor a pessimistic surrender to conquest, but genuinely spontaneous

The Course of Catholic History in Latin America   143 developments. Fed by the vibrant liturgical imagination of Mendicants and Jesuits, they made possible the development of a corporate identity and a social continuity by which practically every community and every town came to find its liturgical representative and patron. These developments are more in evidence in Mexico than elsewhere in Latin America. The reasons for this are not far to seek: the decade that separates the conquests of Mexico and Peru also marked the establishment of Protestantism in Europe, so by the time the bitter disputes that followed the conquest of Peru had been resolved, the best Mendicant minds in Europe had become more concerned with the threat of Protestantism. Consequently, the Andean region never experienced the degree of Mendicant dedication that was the case in Mexico. Moreover, the rugged structure of the Andean terrain rendered the local structures comparatively more resilient, and the growing financial needs of the metropolis—which gave rise to a much more insistent demand for gold and silver, forced native labor, and the endorsement of slavery in large areas—led to many more instances of active resistance. In the 1560s, for example, a movement called Taki Onqoy (“dancing sickness”) spread throughout the southern-central Andes with indigenous prophets announcing the imminent doom of Christianity. The few inroads achieved by the Mendicants seemed increasingly precarious, and the task of incorporating the indigenous communities into the emerging parish structure fell in large measure to the diocesan clergy, centered now around the various reducciones de indios set up to resettle the natives during the draconian administration of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo. By the early seventeenth century, a change from parish-centered religious instruction to a growing interest in heterodoxy had become much more conspicuous, leading to the growth of a perception in official circles that “idolatry” constituted a concerted attempt on the part of the natives not only to preserve their pre-Hispanic religious beliefs, but also to oppose Christianity. However, a more careful analysis of the documentation reveals that such reactions were largely the result of the sporadic efforts to “extirpate” idolatry, and that such efforts were not characteristic of the Christian experience in the Andes. The Taki Onqoy itself already featured Christian elements; even its most determined adherents had been affected and informed by the new religion. Indeed, the bulk of native celebrations that many extirpators found particularly objectionable managed to survive largely undisturbed and under the benign supervision of clerics inclined to view them as perhaps crude but essentially harmless features of an emerging native Christianity. Even the s­ o-called “dogmatizers,” who did their best to dissuade the natives from listening to the extirpators, had as a rule developed a feeling for the claims and demands of the local Christian ­ministers in a way that suggests a conscious incorporation of the Christian message. This was all perfectly in tune with a process of adaptation and incorporation that closely resembles developments in Mexico. The dances and songs used to commemorate the ancestors and their deeds during the festival of Vecosina, for instance, although unmistakably Andean in origin, were gradually made to coincide with Christian feasts such as Corpus Christi. Intriguingly, many Andeans would make a point of visiting their ancestral towns to make offerings to the mummified bodies of their ancestors and to persuade

144   Fernando Cervantes them to give them permission to attend the Catholic celebrations. Although such ­practices gave much cause for concern in official circles, there is nothing in them that an early medieval Christian would not have readily recognized as a perfectly acceptable expression of genuine pietas.14 This same attitude was quite widespread across Latin America in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Indeed, invariably the very same people who made a point of observing the indigenous festivals of renewal were those whom the local clerics regarded as dedicated and devout Christians. The voluminous Mendicant and Jesuit hagiographical literature of the period reveals very similar patterns. Through it, we enter a world remarkably similar to that depicted by Saint Gregory of Tours in sixth-century Gaul.15 This was a world in which the spread of Christianity impressed the natives with the ­presentation of a way of life and a scale of values that contrasted sharply with everything they had hitherto known. The Christian message was primarily one of divine judgment and salvation, seeking expression in the distinction between the present world and the world to come. But this “otherworldliness” differed sharply from what we are likely to associate with the term with its modern individualist and subjective connotations. Nothing could be further from the otherworldliness that emerges from these writings, which was collective, objective, and realist. It expressed itself in the corporate experience and c­ ommunion with the eternal world that the Church claimed to possess in the liturgy and the sacraments, and thus came to provide a new principle of unity. From this new perspective, the passing of the pre-Hispanic ritual order was raised onto a plane where the material world seemed to have been brought back into contact with the one spiritual source that kept it in being. Just as Eusebius of Caesarea would have hoped, the natives of America had been successfully incorporated into the sacramental life of the Church. In the process, they had also become part of a system of government that cannot be understood in isolation from the religious culture that animated it. Without taking this aspect into account, it is impossible to explain the remarkable survival of a worldwide empire for a period of nearly three centuries and in the absence of a standing army or police force. In a political culture that drew no sharp dividing line between the secular and the sacred—in which, indeed, it would have made no more sense to run one’s life without reference to the divine order than to cultivate the soil without reference to the course of the seasons—the Church, with the multifaceted yet unified religious culture that it encouraged, was a key element of the local practice of legitimacy and authority. Often historians depict the diocesan hierarchy and the parish clergy as distant and aloof from their congregations, and too ready to condemn practices deemed suspicious or heretical to the ever-vigilant officers of the Inquisition. This picture has been progressively eroded by recent investigations. The Inquisition, which had no jurisdiction over native peoples, seems to have been a rather ineffective and generally benign body in charge of overseeing the moral behavior of a broad range of people whom it encouraged to reform their lifestyles through the imposition of surprisingly lenient “salutary penances.” Nor is the picture of an indolent and corrupt clergy supported by the evidence.

The Course of Catholic History in Latin America   145 As William Taylor has demonstrated, “for every notoriously unpriestly cura, four or five apparently satisfied their parishioners and superiors.” Even the various elements that might seem to separate parish priests from their parishioners also served as a powerful point of union through which the various strata of the population could share in a ­common religious culture that incorporated and gave legitimacy to a broad range of local identities and corporate expressions.16 This common religious culture has not been given the attention it deserves, but it was an integral part of the world of the Baroque, which embraced the entirety of Catholic Western Europe and possessed a wide zone of diffusion in Central and Eastern Europe, expanding overseas from Goa and the Philippines to the Americas, finding expression in vigorous local religious symbols that at the same time could be transported intact to remote corners of the Baroque world without losing a jot of their universal significance. Perhaps the best known of these is the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the dark Virgin alleged to have appeared to the indigenous neophyte Juan Diego in the hill of Tepeyac, north of Mexico City, in December 1531. As the story has come down to us, it dates from the mid-seventeenth century and is a supreme example of Spanish American Baroque spirituality. Written by the criollo priest Miguel Sánchez, the story seems to be based upon an oral tradition that suggests the existence of a predominantly indigenous cult to the Virgin Mary in Tepeyac, the site of the native goddess Tonantzin, dating back to the mid-sixteenth century. The cult had been the object of some suspicion in the early years, since it seemed to pose a danger to the Mendicant evangelizing efforts by associating the mother of God with a native deity. By the time Sánchez composed his treatise, however, the devotion seemed firmly established; it was vigorous enough to transcend racial and social boundaries, having indeed become an incomparably powerful symbol of corporate religious unity for indigenous communities, criollo patriots, and everyone in between.17 And this is but one in a myriad of instances that mark the spiritual topography of Latin America. The scattered movements of extirpation across the continent in the sixteenth and ­seventeenth centuries often show a marked discomfort with what appeared to some as “sacrilegious” mixtures of Christianity and paganism. As we have seen, however, too much can and has been made of these reactions, and the result has been a skewed picture of the remarkably variegated yet unified Christian culture that emerged across the continent during the Baroque era. Still, this religious culture came under a much more concerted and determined attack in the eighteenth century. The decisive event that would give rise to this development was the extinction of the Spanish Hapsburg dynasty with the death of Charles II in 1700 and the subsequent establishment of a new Bourbon dynasty after the war of the Spanish Succession (1701–1713). After this, the Hispanic world would be decisively divorced from the culture of the Baroque and incorporated into the new international society of a Gallicized Europe. The Hispanic world suddenly found itself in the unenviable position of having to begin afresh, as a backward pupil of French philosophes who had nothing but contempt for the culture of the Baroque and no qualms about attacking and proscribing vibrant cultural expressions, notably the religious drama that had been one of the great organs of popular culture throughout the Baroque period.

146   Fernando Cervantes In Latin America, the attack began to be felt in earnest from the middle of the century. The Bourbon ministers of King Charles III (1759–1788) made no secret of their dislike of the Baroque, finding mysticism distasteful and corporate piety wasteful in its encouragement of a sumptuous and elaborate liturgy. This formed part of a strategy to impose a view of the state that aimed to render the Church humbly subservient to royal authority. Yet, at the same time, Bourbon reformism sought to reaffirm the Council of Trent’s insistence on the importance of episcopal authority. Using the prerogative given to them  by the right of royal patronage, the Bourbons invariably appointed bishops with the Crown’s interests at heart. Drawing their inspiration from a tradition labeled “Jansenist”—more because of its marked opposition to the Jesuits than because of any clear affinity with the spirituality of Port-Royal—18the bishops soon began to adhere more faithfully to the centralizing policies of the Bourbon state. Thus, the stage was set for an inevitable conflict with the corporate popular devotions that had been as central to the Mendicant and Jesuit evangelizing enterprise as they now were to the local ­communal identities throughout Latin America. This resulted in a number of violent rebellions across the continent.19 Up until relatively recently, it was not uncommon to class these movements as antiEuropean and therefore anti-Christian in inspiration. Most recent studies, by contrast, have shown that they were in fact all inspired by religion and that even their frequently irreverent flavor can be explained as directed against intrusions that threatened local religious identities. Far from a clash between European Christianity and native recidivism, the phenomenon was the expression of the confrontation between two different kinds of Christian culture: the liturgical and corporate legacy of the early evangelization on the one hand, and the centralizing and secularizing Bourbon reforms on the other. The confrontation reached a dramatic climax with the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. With a single stroke, this initiative removed the most dynamic group of missionaries and deprived all of Latin America of the one religious order that had shown itself capable of meeting the challenge of the Enlightenment upon grounds still capable of preserving a traditional vision of the world. The glaring gap left in education and the missions was justified with the argument that the Society had posed a dangerous threat to the absolute sovereignty of the Bourbon state because its members would not disown their potentially subversive loyalty to the pope. Although the other religious orders were not quite so pointedly affected, the trend was one of widespread secularization. Nor was any effort made to introduce any coherent program that could take the place of the old order. Having succeeded in dividing and weakening the forces of tradition, Bourbon “Jansenism” itself became a lost cause, soon finding itself the victim of the forces it had helped to unleash.20 Thus, when the Bourbon state collapsed after the Napoleonic invasion of Spain in 1808, the Catholic hierarchy was left in the lurch. It continued to look to the state for protection, and it regarded insurgent movements as posing comparable dangers to those that the French Revolution had posed to the ancien régime. Not surprisingly, the Church hierarchy tended to identify the cause of religion with royalism. At the same time, it soon had to face the uncomfortable paradox that a large number of parish priests—not least, as was the case in Mexico, the leaders of the movement—were firmly behind the

The Course of Catholic History in Latin America   147 insurgency. The Napoleonic invasion had, in fact, triggered a dilution of power away from the center to the periphery, a movement that sought its natural expression in the traditional, contractual understanding of the monarchy as an organic community. Hints of such a response were already discernible in the various anti-Bourbon revolts mentioned earlier. But the 1808 crisis was brought about by the absence, not the ­perceived abuse, of royal authority. Consequently, the initial course of events was ­dictated by the search for legitimacy. The absence of a monarch made it seem natural to resort to a doctrine of popular sovereignty rooted in the age-old Hispanic tradition of medieval contractualism.21 This, in turn, encouraged those who had assimilated revolutionary notions of popular sovereignty to view the crisis as an opportunity to reconstruct the old order upon liberal foundations. Yet, the common language remained rooted in tradition, and the fact that now the monarch was perceived by the insurgents not as the oppressor, but as the oppressed, imbued the insurgency not with the antiSpanish ethos of nationalist historiography, but with a subtle and deeply monarchical anti-absolutism.22 This explains why the organs of government that filled the vacuum of power from 1808 to 1812 were precisely the old regional municipal corporations. Moreover, the local elites chose to support the Liberal Constitution of Cádiz not because they saw it as a modern, forward-looking document, but because it allowed for the preservation of traditional liberties.23 The Constitution thus filtered down through the vivid ritual re­presentations characteristic of traditional official and religious functions, marked by a profusion of feasts, processions, symbols, allegories, and images of saints.24 Indeed, old expressions of monarchical and Catholic identity were revived and reinforced during this period, as belated reactions to the Bourbon attacks against the Baroque. After the Spanish revolution of 1820, the insurgents began to sway the Catholic ­hierarchy. A bizarre combination of radical liberalism and imperialism effectively turned the Spanish monarchy into an enemy of the Latin American Church, thus giving its leaders ample reasons to side with the patriotic sentiments of the local elites. But these sentiments were not understood in Europe, least of all by popes Pius VII (1800–1823) and Leo XII (1823–1829), who had no understanding of the religious patriotism of the Latin American criollos. Deeply affected by the effects of the French Revolution on the fortunes of the Church, these two popes always equated insurgency with revolution and had no doubts about their duty to give their full-hearted support to the Spanish Crown. The mission sent to Latin America in 1823, led by Monsignor Giovanni Muzi, included the young priest Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti—none other than the future Pius IX, for whom liberalism was an execrable disease. The result was the widely derided encyclical Etsi iam diu (1824) in which Leo XII supported the claims of Ferdinand VII and deplored the evil of rebellion. Not surprisingly, in the proportion that the hierarchical Church became increasingly focused on Rome, so the emerging national states across Latin America began to find the liberal ideology more congenial. The Catholic faithful, in other words, had been left with no middle ground between a proscribed liberalism and an endorsed ­ultramontanism. The impasse gradually led to a liberal backlash in which the Church

148   Fernando Cervantes acquired enemies who “hated it with an intensity born of frustrated conviction,” as John Lynch has wryly remarked.25 The inevitable clash differed from place to place. It was bitterest where the Church was large and wealthy—hence the bitter civil war in mid-nineteenth-century Mexico and the violent confrontations in late nineteenth-century Brazil, developments that contrast sharply with the relative acquiescence of the Andean region. For instance, take the case of Gabriel García Moreno, twice president of Ecuador in the second half of the nineteenth century; he was a keen admirer of Joseph de Maistre and Donoso Cortés, and his Constitution of 1861 took Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors carefully into account. As is well known, the Syllabus had condemned liberalism, secularism, freedom of thought, and religious toleration. Catholic moderates seeking a middle way in Latin America were often embarrassed by its intransigence. To be fair, the papacy was beleaguered at this time: the Piedmontese government had annexed the Papal States and proceeded to imprison priests and bishops who opposed its secularist agenda. The Syllabus was therefore an understandable defense mechanism, and the perception that it introduced a new “Romanized” faith in Latin America is misleading. It was the reiterative tone of the papal definitions, not the unquestioned acceptance of papal authority, that was new. Yet, hand in hand with this reiterative tone went the undeniable papal conviction that the much-needed modernization of the Latin American church had to be undertaken by European prelates. The need to increase the number of good-quality seminaries was undertaken by the Colegio Pío Latinoamericano, founded in 1856 by Pius IX and subsidized by Latin American diocesan contributions. The initiative led to a marked renewal in the quality of bishops and seminary professors, which in turn prepared the ground for the widespread acceptance of the “social Catholicism” that was initiated during the pontificate of Leo XIII (1878–1903), especially after the publication of his famous Encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891. The reception of this document was also accompanied by a new impetus given to missionary activity throughout the region. All these initiatives were now very much centered around a European model that took little notice of the strength and resilience of the legacy of the early Mendicant and Jesuit evangelization. This neglected aspect of Latin American Christianity emerges with surprising vigor in the least expected popular movements. For example, when carefully analyzed, the popular anticlericalism that marked the mid-nineteenth century emerged as a mere dislike of clerical interference in corporate and communal affairs.26 In this, the reforming efforts sponsored by Rome sometimes played into the hands of their opponents. What the new missionaries failed to see was that, as a rule, the popular classes embraced liberalism for reasons diametrically opposed to those of liberal ideologues, often depending on the ease with which liberal solutions could be adapted to address existing local problems—typically, the defense of communal holdings or local religious traditions. This suggests that the reasons why nineteenth-century European Catholic piety found such strong echoes in Latin America had much less to do with the effectiveness of the missionary enterprise than with the vitality of what already existed there.

The Course of Catholic History in Latin America   149 Peasants as a rule resisted the secular impositions of the emerging national states in areas where the villages retained effective control over their landed base and politicoreligious institutions. In areas where villagers failed to do this, by contrast, the population was often willing to embrace secularism. But the motives in both cases were fundamentally similar: in the first case, secularism was seen as an unwelcome encroachment on traditional agrarian and politico-religious organizations; in the second, as a welcome opportunity to contest the dominance of local elites by using the state’s power to their own advantage. In both cases, the primary motive was fundamentally the same: the defense of local, traditional forms of land tenure and politico-religious organization against external threats. The most illustrative example of this trend was the rebellion of the Cristeros in ­post-revolutionary Mexico. This uprising was a predominantly peasant revolt against the anti-clerical policies of the government of Plutarco Elías Calles between 1926 and 1929. Interlocking religious and agrarian grievances proved crucial in filling cristero ranks with peasant fighters. Even amidst the state’s anticlerical educational reforms, it is possible to detect, among those implementing them in the localities, the persistence of traditional forms of religious culture. In order to maximize their efficiency, revolutionary reformers sought to replace Catholicism through conscious imitation of its ritual forms. They did this, as Matthew Butler has demonstrated, on four levels: ideologically, through the “sacralization” of revolutionary doctrines with quasi-religious programs; institutionally, through efforts to replace churches with schools; socially and ethically, through an attempt to replace Catholic devotions, pilgrimages, and catechesis with ­revolutionary marches and morality codes; and physically, through efforts to replace the blood sports held on holy days with team sports, and to demystify natural phenomena through the promotion of agronomy and pediatrics.27 Religion’s presence as a massive, objective, unquestionable power was implicit, even in the minds of revolutionaries who opposed it and sought to replace it. This awareness was not so much in evidence among Catholic reformers. Their approach was in fact more reminiscent of the extirpators of idolatry and the Bourbon reformers than of the liturgical and corporate approach that had given the early Mendicant and Jesuit evangelization its vigor and resilience. In any case, there is not much evidence of any concerted effort to implement thoroughgoing reforms in traditional rural areas, whose care was left to parish priests only too willing to comply with local customs rather than risk unnecessary upheavals. The renewed, modern brand of Catholicism was, therefore, a primarily urban affair. In the cities, the growing middle classes best became attuned to the voices of European Catholic renewal that had ushered in the wake of the social encyclicals of Leo XIII. By the 1930s, the works of renowned European Catholic intellectuals such as Jacques Maritain and Christopher Dawson were read as enthusiastically in Latin American cities as anywhere in Europe, and the growing social conscience of middle-class Catholics led to an increased awareness of matters of social justice, which were reflected in various legislative initiatives that have a clear basis in Catholic social doctrine and which drew their inspiration from parallel movements in Europe.28

150   Fernando Cervantes Unfortunately, the rise of totalitarian dictatorships in the interwar years and the Church’s determined opposition to atheistic Communism encouraged more cautious attitudes, which, in turn, allowed for the persistence of exploitative forms of capitalism that had long disappeared in Europe. This is at the root of what are often seen as examples of shameful complicity between the hierarchy and repressive regimes. It is also the ­origin of what is undoubtedly the most influential theological movement to emerge from Latin America in the twentieth century: a concerted effort to shake the Christian conscience out of its apparent complacency in the face of glaring social injustices. The movement emerged in the wake of the Second Vatican Council where, ironically, the influence of Latin American theologians was minimal. Yet, a succession of theological meetings in Latin America between 1964 and 1965 began to insist upon the need for what they called a “historic theology”; that is, a theology that showed more engagement with contemporary culture in order to provide a convincing critique of it. At the Latin American Episcopal Congress (CELAM) that met in Medellín, Colombia, in 1968, the bishops put a marked emphasis on the need to address glaring economic, political, and educational shortcomings. These efforts ushered in two important publications. The first, which appeared in 1971, was the work that actually gave the movement its name: A Theology of Liberation by the Peruvian Gustavo Gutiérrez. This seminal work argues that theology should give priority to the poor and the oppressed over the Church’s magisterium. Although Scripture was to remain the ultimate source of reference, it would never yield “right action” unless those who read it were aware of their own political, social, and economic situation. As Saint Augustine had amply shown in his great classic, The City of God, ­theology was “critical reflection on historical praxis.”29 Evangelization should therefore not so much be centered on the proclamation of a doctrinal message about the divine as on the revitalization of the world through criticism and prophecy. The second publication, which appeared a year later, was Leonardo Boff ’s Jesus Christ Liberator. In it, the Brazilian Franciscan proposed what he called a “new hermeneutic” that would give ­primacy to anthropology over ecclesiology, to the utopian over the factual, to criticism over dogma, and to the social over the personal. Both books agreed that the new theology was to be done by the people. The prime authority would no longer be the tradition of the church, but the historical process itself. In many ways, liberation theology was a response to the gap that the new urban Catholicism had left in the rural areas of Latin America, a gap that can be traced back to the movements of secularization introduced as far back as the late eighteenth century. But liberation theology was by no means the first movement to try to address these concerns. Indeed, the base communities so closely associated with it long predate liberation ­theology. First set up in the early 1950s, their aim was to relieve the hard-pressed parish priests by taking over activities such as teaching the catechism or running schools and hospitals. However, under the influence of liberation theology, the majority of base communities developed into organs of exegesis and political mobilization. In the process, they began to lose much of their ecclesial character, raising understandable concerns among some sectors of the hierarchy. These were summarized in the

The Course of Catholic History in Latin America   151 early 1970s by the then secretary of CELAM, Alfonso López Trujillo, who argued, from what increasingly emerged as a somewhat unsympathetic and partisan perspective, that it was intellectually dishonest to use Marxist methods of analysis while claiming that this entailed no indebtedness to the broader claims of the Marxist ideology. In fact, he argued, many base communities were claiming that there was no possibility of reconciliation between classes, and they often presented revolutionary movements as genuine carriers of the history of salvation.30 These concerns were echoed by Pope Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi (1975), where he specifically criticized liberation theology for its tendency to jeopardize the very raison d’être of evangelization. With these reservations in mind, the newly elected Pope John Paul II, on his first trip  abroad, addressed the CELAM conference that met in Puebla, Mexico, in 1979. The starting point of the Congress, the pope admitted, would have to be the conclusions reached at Medellín, but without forgetting “incorrect interpretations” that called for “calm discernment.” This set the tone for the critique penned by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his early years as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. In a document issued in 1984, Ratzinger pointed out that it was a mistake to single out the biblical theme of liberation merely by juxtaposing it to particular human situations so as to generate a theology that could ignore tradition. Although it did not dispute that theology needed the help of other disciplines, the 1984 document argued forcefully that these disciplines could in no way dictate the content of theology. To drive the point home, Leonardo Boff, whose theology had shown more concern with presenting a ­critique of the power structures within the Church than with any explicit subordination of theology to the social sciences, was summoned to Rome and instructed to observe an “obedient silence” for an unspecified period. Despite its generally negative tone, the 1984 document nevertheless singled out the value of the notion of liberation for Christian reflection and practice and even pointed to a forthcoming second document to address these issues. When this second document was issued in 1986, the tone was much more conciliatory. The text had been undoubtedly influenced by the bitter critiques of the negative tone of the 1984 document, notably Juan Luis Segundo’s Theology and the Church ominously subtitled A Response to Cardinal Ratzinger and a Warning to the Whole Church (1985). In sharp contrast to the first document, the 1986 sequel was an unconditional endorsement of liberation theology, provided its task was limited to relating Catholic social doctrine to the doctrine of salvation. This amounted to an implicit acknowledgment that liberation theology had been misread in the context of the polarized atmosphere of the 1970s and early 1980s, and an explicit call to move away from attempts to implement Catholic social doctrine through an overwhelming reliance upon natural law thinking, opting instead to bring together political economy and the economy of salvation. The document acknowledged that liberation theology could claim much of the credit for this development. Even Boff took an optimistic view of it, and his “obedient silence” was temporarily brought to an end. Unfortunately, Boff ’s 1986 study E a Igreja se fez povo (And the Church Became People) led to the reopening of the doctrinal process against him. Boff ’s claim that the poor must assert “hegemony” and his attempt to

152   Fernando Cervantes r­ edefine the four attributes of the Church contained in the Creed (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic) with a specific view to serving this hegemony, did not endear him to the Congregation.31 There can be little doubt that the central message of liberation theology—what has become known as the “preferential option for the poor”—has been enthusiastically endorsed by the official Church. Nevertheless, until quite recently, liberation theology itself took rather a defensive backstage since the late 1980s. To some extent, this was due to the intellectual rigor with which Cardinal Ratzinger dealt with some of the more questionable aspects of liberation theology’s exegesis, which in turn gave powerful ammunition to opponents of the movement in Latin America, who began to call for a replacement of liberation theology with what they called a “theology of reconciliation.” The new movement was partly inspired by the pastoral constitution Reconciliatio et ­paenitentia, promulgated after the 1983 Roman Synod on the sacrament of confession. Yet, it is pointedly significant that Cardinal Ratzinger himself turned down an invitation to attend a Congress that met in Caracas in 1988, organized by this new movement of opposition to liberation theology. Clearly, the future Benedict XVI did not think it prudent to be associated with a group that made no secret of its opposition to a theological movement whose central message the official magisterium had only recently offered tepid support. In the meantime, events moved on dramatically from the late 1980s. The general ­disorder into which Marxist-Leninist—or, indeed, any political system associated with socialism—fell after the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the widespread abandonment of revolutionary programs. Governments found themselves forced to commit themselves to the acceptance of democratic accountability, and this often went hand in hand with the endorsement of the free market. Additionally, the period witnessed a steady advance of evangelical Protestantism in the region, a phenomenon undoubtedly fueled by a quick succession of shallow transitions to democracy marked by widespread violence and corruption, as well as the transformation of gender roles and the elective affinity between gospels of health and wealth and neoliberal capitalism. But the ­phenomenon also suggests that the certainty about salvation associated with the appeal of evangelical Protestantism was more fundamental to the religious instincts of large sectors of Latin American Christianity than any commitment to ensuring social justice through political engagement. All the same, the glaring social injustices that gave liberation theology its persuasive sense of urgency have, if anything, grown deeper and more intractable, and the Church’s commitment to the poor, personified in the endearing image of the first Latin American pope, elected in 2013 as Francis, has become more entrenched than ever before. There can be no doubt that the Church’s “preferential option for the poor” will be at the center of the agenda for the foreseeable future. If it is to have any chance of success, however, it must eschew any simplistic historical generalizations about the legacy of Christianity and its depiction as a faithful ally of exploitative forms of capitalism. Above all, there is a need to reassess the enormous vitality and enduring resilience of the Christian cultures

The Course of Catholic History in Latin America   153 that emerged as a result the early Mendicant and Jesuit evangelizing enterprises, for they are at the center of modern Latin American religious identities, and any approach that ignores their dynamic legacy will be doomed.

Notes 1. Quoted in Miguel Ángel Ladero Quesada, La España de los reyes católicos (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1999), 245. 2. Ladero Quesada, La España de los reyes católicos. More generally, see Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided (London: Allen Lane, 2003), and Euan Cameron, The Reformation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991). 3. See J. H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492–1830 (New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2006), 77. 4. Oration in Praise of Constantine, XVI.3–4, trans. htm. 5. Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno, ed. J. V. Murra, R. Adorno and J. L. Urioste, 3 vols. (Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno, 1980 [1615]), i, 39–53, 63, 70–72, 89–97. 6. Antonio de la Calancha, Corónica moralizada del orden de San Agustín en el Perú, ed. Ignacio Prado Pastor, 6 vols. (Lima: Universidad de San Marcos, 1974), ii, 701–769. 7. Hernán Cortés, Cartas de relación, ed. M. Alcalá, 10th ed. (Mexico City, Porrúa, 1978), 65. 8. See Richard  E.  Greenleaf, Zumárraga and the Mexican Inquisition (Washington, DC: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1961), 68–74. I have dealt with this process of disillusionment in more detail in Fernando Cervantes, The Devil in the New World: the Impact of Diabolism in New Spain (New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 1994), 13–17. 9. José A. Llaguno, La personalidad jurídica del indio y el III Concilio Provincial Mexicano (Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1963), 17–18. 10. Ibid., 34, 134, 140, 176, 286. 11. Inga Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 76–77. See also, by the same author, “Disciplining the Indians: Franciscan Ideology and Missionary Violence in Sixteenth-Century Yucatán,” Past and Present 94 (Feb. 1982): 27–48. On Peru, see Nicholas Griffiths, The Cross and the Serpent: Religious Repression and Resurgence in Colonial Peru (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966); Kenneth Mills, Idolatry and Its Enemies: Colonial Andean Religion and Extirpation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997); and Sabine MacCormack, Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991). 12. A good discussion is Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, Politics and Reform in Spain and Viceregal Mexico: The Life and Thought of Juan de Palafox 1600–1659 (Oxford: Clarendon, 2004), 36–45. 13. Diego Durán, Historia de las indias de Nueva España e islas de Tierra Firme, 2 vols. (Mexico City: Porrúa, 1967), ii, 3; José de Acosta, Historia natural y moral de las Indias, ed. E.  O’Gorman (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1962), 281. See also José de Acosta, De procuranda indorum salute (Cologne: Officina Brickmania 1596), 150, 483, 517. 14. See Kenneth Mills, An Evil Lost to View? An Investigation of Post-Evangelisation Andean Religion in Mid-Colonial Peru (Liverpool: University of Liverpool, 1994).

154   Fernando Cervantes 15. See Franciscan Jerónimo de Mendieta, Historia eclesiástica indiana, the Dominican Francisco de Burgoa, Palestra historial de virtudes y ejemplares apostólicos, the Augustinian Matías de Escobar, Americana thebaida, vistas patrum de los religiosos ermitaños de N.  P.  De San Agustín, and the Jesuit Andrés Pérez de Ribas, Historia de los triunfos de ­nuestra Santa Fé entre gentes de las más bárbaras y fieras del nuevo orbe. 16. William B. Taylor, Magistrates of the Sacred: Priests and Parishioners in Eighteenth-Century Mexico (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), 191, 222. 17. The best study is David. A. Brading, Mexican Phoenix: Our Lady of Guadalupe: Image and Tradition across five centuries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 18. Port-Royal was the Parisian convent that became the center of a movement of theological reform in seventeenth-century France. It drew inspiration from the study of the early Fathers of the Church, particularly Saint Augustine, laying special emphasis on original sin, human depravity, the necessity of grace, and the doctrine of predestination, thus i­ nevitably coming into conflict with the Jesuits. The movement derived its name, “Jansenism,” from its earliest advocate, the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jansen. For Latin America, see the first chapter of D. A. Brading, Church and State in Bourbon Mexico (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 19. See Anthony McFarlane, “Rebellions in Late-Colonial Spanish America: A Comparative Perspective,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 14, no.3 (1995), 313–338. 20. See Owen Chadwick, The Popes and European Revolution (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981). 21. Mario Góngora, Studies in the Colonial History of Spanish America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 68–79. 22. Tamar Herzog, Defining Nations: Immigrants and Citizens in Early Modern Spain and Spanish America (New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2003), 144–145. 23. Elliott, Empires, 378; Demetrio Ramos, “Las Cortes de Cádiz y América,” Revista de Estudios Políticos 126 (1962), 488. 24. Annick Lempérière, “¿Nación moderna o República Barroca? México, 1823–1857,” in Imaginar la Nación, eds. François-Xavier Guerra and Mónica Quijada (Münster: Lit, 1994), 135–177. François-Xavier Guerra, “La Independencia de México y las Revoluciones Hispánicas,” in El Liberalismo Mexicano, eds. Antonio Anino and Raymond Buve (Münster: Lit, 1993), 15–48. 25. John Lynch, New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America (New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2012), 130. 26. Matthew Butler, Popular Piety and Political Identity in Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion: Michoacán, 1927–29 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 34. 27. Butler, Popular Piety, 84. 28. See Manuel Ceballos, El catolicismo social: Un tercero en discordia. Rerum Novarum, la  cuestión social y la movilización de los católicos mexicanos (Mexico City: Colegio de México, 1991). 29. Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation, trans. C. Inda and J. Eagleson (London: SMC Press, 2001), 50. 30. See, especially, Alfonso López Trujillo, Liberación marxista y liberación cristiana (Madrid: Editorial católica, 1974). 31. I draw on Harvey Cox, The Silencing of Leonardo Boff: The Vatican and the Future of World Christianity (London: Collins, 1989), 146–188. According to Cox, Boff presented apostolicity as a “praxis,” holiness as “service to the poor,” catholicity as a “de-centering,” and unity as “venturesome love.”

pa rt I I


chapter 9

Liber ation Th eol ogy History and Trends Phillip Berryman

Do the particular circumstances of Latin America—that it is Catholic and a majority of its people live in dehumanizing poverty—raise issues that require their own theology? That was the novel question raised by young Latin American theologians in meetings and writings in the 1960s. These explorations were soon baptized “liberation theology.” What attracted attention was not only the novelty of the ideas, but also the fact that they were being worked out in conjunction with grassroots church activity, and thus had implications for society and politics. In contrast to an older pastoral work and theology focused on saving one’s soul from the snares of the world, these theologians insisted that salvation included remedying conditions of hunger and deprivation through people’s own actions in solidarity, all as an integral part of a single journey toward ultimate union with God. They found the term “liberation” more apt than “development,” because it entailed a notion of a break with present systems, through revolution if necessary, and had biblical overtones (Exodus from slavery in Egypt). Liberation theology has unfolded primarily within the Catholic Church because of its majority weight in society, although some Protestant theologians have played important roles. It has never been a mass phenomenon—only a fraction of priests and sisters drew pastoral inspiration from it—but it has been qualitatively important and arguably has entered into the bloodstream of contemporary Christianity. This chapter surveys the movement by considering its changing contexts, its relationship to pastoral activity, some of its major theological themes and their political implications, its relationship to official Church authority, and its continuing relevance in the twentyfirst century.

158   Phillip Berryman

Changing Contexts Liberation theology has unfolded within changing political and church contexts over a half century, as indicated in Table 9.1. The first sketches were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as intellectuals and others became impatient with existing models of development. One key moment was the election of a socialist candidate for president, Salvador Allende, in Chile (1970). The next period was characterized by brutal military dictatorships in Chile and elsewhere in South America, and a cycle of conflict in Central America. The end of the Cold War, a return to democracy, and the peace processes in Central America signaled the advent of a third period. It should be noted, however, that various countries (Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela) did not follow that pattern. Less dramatic movements were at least as significant as political changes, especially the massive movement of people from the countryside into cities and towns, advances in schooling and health care, and generally sluggish economic growth, especially during the “lost decade” of the 1980s, triggered by the foreign debt crisis. The Church context can be examined around the various CELAM (Latin American Bishops Conference) meetings starting with Medellín (1968), which was charged with providing guidelines for implementing Vatican II in Latin America.1 The Medellín documents provided the lexicon for a new pastoral approach. In a key passage, the bishops described economic and social development as the “transition from less human to more human conditions for each and every person,” and compared it to the biblical Exodus from slavery. Efforts to overcome poverty were situated within a continuum that moves from meeting basic needs and overcoming injustice, to promoting human unity and peace, culminating in union with God. The Medellín documents denounced violence, including the structural violence of extreme inequality, and called for “sweeping, bold, urgent, and profound renovating changes.” They freely used the term “liberation,” and called for a kind of education in which people become “agents of their own development”; as a pastoral methodology, they encouraged the formation of Christian base communities, small lay-led discussions of the gospel and people’s lives. An entire document was devoted to poverty from three angles: the evil of dehumanizing poverty; the special place of the poor in God’s eyes; and a call for solidarity with the poor. Each of the documents had a similar structure: examine the situation, reflect on it theologically and pastorally, and propose guidelines for commitments of actions. This “see-judge-act” procedure was called the “Medellín method,” and was applied locally to the particular circumstances in countries, dioceses, and parishes. Medellín was a magna carta for an entire generation of pastoral agents (priests, sisters, and active laypeople).2 By the time of the Puebla conference (1979), some Latin American bishops were uneasy with post-Medellín trends, and CELAM itself, under the leadership of Colombian bishop Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, was combating liberation theology. In preparing for the

Liberation Theology   159

Table 9.1   



1992 –present

Political and economic developments

Cuban revolution

Two-thirds of Latin America under military dictatorship in mid-1970s Sandinistas overthrow Somoza dictatorship (1979) Decade of war in Central America (1980s) Dictatorships give way to civilian governments (1980s) Sandinistas voted out of office (1990) End of communism in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union (1989–1991) 500-year anniversary of discovery/conquest of the Americas (1992)

Democracy becomes normal in most of Latin America Globalization and neoliberal economic policies Resistance in popular movements and World Social Forum Financial crises: Mexico (1995), Brazil (1998), Argentina (2000–2002) Elected left-wing governments in most countries in 2000s

CELAM III: Puebla, Mexico (1979)   Priests-in-government controversy in Nicaragua (early 1980s)

Progressive bishops replaced by Vatican loyalists   CELAM V: Aparecida, Brazil (2007)

Pope John Paul visits Central America (1983) Ratzinger Letter criticizes liberation theology Leonardo Boff is silenced

Argentine cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, head of Aparecida drafting committee, elected pope (2013)  

Military coup in Brazil (1964)

Military coup in Chile (1973)


Vatican II (1962–1965) National priests groups formed in Argentina, Peru, and elsewhere CELAM II: Medellín (1968)   Christians for Socialism in Chile (1972) Backlash among Latin American bishops (early 1970s)


Sustained growth in most countries 2000–2015; modest reduction in poverty, expanding middle classes. Crucial issues are crime and corruption

CELAM IV: Santo Domingo (1992)

Meetings of young Latin American theologians

Christologies by Jon Sobrino and Leonardo Boff

Gutiérrez talk to priests in Chimbote (1968)

Boff, Church, Charism and Power (1981)

Theologians (Gutiérrez, Sobrino, Boffs, Dussel, Richard, Comblin) continue to publish but far fewer titles Gutiérrez, Las Casas: In Search of the Poor of Jesus Christ (1992)

(continued )

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Table 9.1  Continued  

Manifestos, conferences, articles Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation published in Peru (1971) Similar works by Assmann, Ellacuría, Dussel, and others Meeting of theologians in Mexico City (1975)

Liberation and Theology: collaborative project involving dozens of theologians (1980s)  

Leonardo Boff, Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor (1995)

Work of Ivone Gebara and other Latin American ecofeminists   Gutiérrez coauthors volumes with Vatican doctrinal authority Gerhard Müller Mysterium Liberationis: (2004) and physician two-volume compendium Paul Farmer (2015) of major areas of theology from liberation perspective (1990)    

Note: Publication dates are those of Spanish and Portuguese originals.

Puebla meeting, Lopez Trujillo sought to control the agenda and expressly excluded the well-known liberation theologians from the meeting. They nevertheless gathered in the city, and communicated with sympathetic bishops inside the meeting, especially the Brazilians. The final document reflected the tug-of-war that had taken place there. Some new elements were added, notably a condemnation of the “national security ideology” that was used as justification by the repressive dictatorships then in place. The expression “preferential option for the poor” came into use at Puebla. By the time of the meeting in Santo Domingo (1992), the Cold War was over, civilian governments had replaced military dictatorships, and the conflicts in Central America were coming to an end. John Paul II had been pope for over a dozen years, and thus the deliberations were under thorough Vatican control. When the bishops met at Aparecida, Brazil (2007), the climate had changed further. The theme of Aparecida was “missionary discipleship,” implying that the Church had to leave the comfort of the sacristy and go out to the highways and byways. The head of the drafting commission at Aparecida was Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, who would be elected pope in 2013. The liberation theologians welcomed the thrust of Aparecida and the advent of Pope Francis even more. These developments were the context in which liberation theology emerged and unfolded. In a talk to a nationwide meeting of priests at Chimbote, Peru in 1968, Gustavo Gutiérrez proposed that conditions in Latin America required a “theology of liberation” and offered some initial sketches of what it might entail.3 Over the next several years, similar proposals were aired in conferences and journal articles. In late 1971, Gutiérrez published A Theology of Liberation. Hugo Assmann (1976), Ignacio Ellacuría (1976), Enrique Dussel (1974), José Miguez Bonino (1976), and others published similar

Liberation Theology   161 book-length theological explorations.4 These early works devoted considerable attention to analyzing what was happening in society and the Church, and to the methodology entailed in this new approach to theology. Some theologians wrote book-length treatments of traditional areas of theology, such as Christology and ecclesiology, from a liberation standpoint. In the early 1970s, the Latin American theologians consciously separated themselves from the European matrix in which they had been trained, including in its post-council developments. European theologians were concerned with how to make Christian faith persuasive in a secular environment where atheism and agnosticism were commonplace. In Latin America, the issue was not whether God existed, but how God was envisioned, and whether religion bolstered the unjust status quo (“God’s will”). The theologians likewise agreed to avoid controversies then coming to the fore in Europe and North America, such as contraception, papal infallibility, ordination of women, homosexuality, or abortion, because such “bourgeois” issues were not relevant to the situation of the poor in Latin America, and taking positions on them might unnecessarily aggravate tensions with the bishops and the Vatican and thus undermine their efforts to bring the Church on to the side of the poor. In the 1980s, under the coordination of the Chilean exile Sergio Torres, the major theologians embarked on an ambitious project to cover all areas of theology from a liberation standpoint. The initial volumes began to appear in the mid-1980s, but by the end of the decade the project was foundering from poor sales. Ignacio Ellacuría and Jon Sobrino (1990, 1993) rescued something of the project by having authors write shorter pieces, which they compiled into a two-volume collection of forty-eight chapters titled Mysterium Liberationis.5 As conflictive as the 1980s were in both society and church, they were in some ways the high-water mark of liberation theology. Impelling this theology was a sense—more assumed than expressly articulated—that the direction of history was toward “a new Church in a new society.” The 1990s brought a rude awakening: capitalism seemed triumphant, and under John Paul II, Vatican loyalists often replaced the “Medellín generation” bishops and dismantled their work. The most important thematic new development was perhaps that of the Brazilian Leonardo Boff (1997), who linked ecology and justice—“the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” The status of liberation theology today is taken up later in this chapter.

Pastoral Impetus The Medellín generation of theologians were not primarily classroom teachers: Gutiérrez was a chaplain to university groups, a pastor in a Lima barrio, and a counselor to many active lay people and pastoral agents; José Comblin worked alongside progressive bishops; Juan Luis Segundo was part of an interdisciplinary team of Jesuits in Montevideo. For a time, Clodovis Boff spent half of each year with a pastoral team

162   Phillip Berryman among rubber tappers in the Brazilian state of Acre.6 Even those who taught in universities, such as Enrique Dussel, Jon Sobrino, and Ignacio Ellacuría, were in close contact with pastoral activity. Starting in the 1960s, priests and sisters attempted to come closer to the poor, sometimes leaving more comfortable quarters in a religious community to live in a shantytown. Many of them were missionaries from Europe and North America who had come in response to appeals from the Vatican to assist the Church in Latin America. Liberation theology was an attempt to grapple with questions arising out of the questions of pastoral agents seeking to move beyond the traditional model of pastoral activity largely centered on ritual actions (mass, confessions, baptisms, marriages, funerals). Gutiérrez insisted that action comes first; theology is reflection based on that action (in contrast to a theology learned in classes and books and then “applied”). Much of A Theology of Liberation examined published reports and statements by lay groups, priests and sisters, and bishops. Priests in various countries had formed national organizations and had issued manifestos expressing their impatience with matters in society and church and raising questions about their own identity as priests and religious. Individual bishops, especially in poor areas, and entire bishops conferences, were denouncing injustices. Gutiérrez traced common threads of concern in this regionwide ferment. His primary interlocutors were not other theologians, but those engaged in pastoral activity. At Medellín, the bishops had urged evangelización concientizadora—consciousnessraising evangelization. The term concientización was from the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose influence is visible throughout the Medellín documents. Although concientización was associated with literacy work, it had a wider application, particularly in efforts to help poor people come to a sense of their own dignity and worth and capacity for action. In Freirean terms, poor people, who have been conditioned to defer to the powerful and accept things as they are, have a “submerged consciousness.” Concientización was aimed at encouraging them to emerge from their oppression, to unite among themselves, become organized, and press for their rights. Pastoral work—evangelization— was integral to this process. People’s passivity was often reinforced by a sense of God’s will. Thus popular religiosity could be understood as an obstacle to liberation, an “opiate.” Early on, however, the liberation theologians determined that the religion of the people should not be regarded as a deficient form of Catholicism, as it had been by outsiders, but rather should be understood and appreciated as part of the popular culture. Thus considerable attention has been placed on studying popular religion, and on the need for the faith to be “inculturated” into the people’s culture. In Argentina, theologians—notably, Lucio Gera and Juan Carlos Scannone proposed a “theology of the people,” rooted in popular culture.7 The theologians worked with sympathetic bishops.8 In El Salvador, the Jesuit theologians Jon Sobrino and Ignacio Ellacuría were advisors to Archbishop Oscar Romero and helped him prepare the sermons he delivered in the cathedral every Sunday. After he was assassinated in 1980, they wrote extensively on the theological significance of his witness and martyrdom. Bishops conferences made hundreds of formal statements on

Liberation Theology   163 situations in their countries, sometimes with input from theologians. Theologians were involved in the preparation and implantation of the CELAM conferences, but bishops were generally reluctant to explicitly endorse liberation theology, especially after the advent of Pope John Paul II (1978).

Major Theological Themes Theology—literally “God-talk” (Greek theos and logos)—is about God’s ways with humankind, as understood in revelation and faith. Liberation theologians are believers, and their usual interlocutors are fellow believers.9 The essays in Mysterium Liberationis cover traditional theological topics (God/Trinity, Christ, Holy Spirit, Church, sacraments, eschatology), but the angle is that of pastoral work from a perspective of liberation. This section illustrates a few such themes and notes some characteristic features of this approach to theology. Consider how Leonardo Boff (1993) treats the doctrine of the Trinity, seemingly quite remote from this world. He begins by noting that although the Trinity is central to Christianity, it has often been eclipsed in history by a kind of monotheism that reinforces monarchical unequal relationships in the family, society, and Church. If the Trinity is to mean anything to the poor in Latin America, it should be that the egalitarian communion of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a prototype of all reality; society ought to be transformed along trinitarian lines. Examining how the doctrine of the Trinity arose in disputes in the ancient Church, Boff retrieves the concept of perichoresis, a Greek term for the reciprocal interpenetration of the divine persons, sometimes translated as “circumincession.” This “trinitarian dynamic” serves as a basis for a critique of conditions in both society and the Church. “Undeniably, human beings share a basic aspiration for participation, equality, respect for differences, and communion with God,” he writes, but these values are by and large denied. “Hence the longing for liberation . . . and the age-old struggles of the oppressed for their life and freedom.” These values, he says, are denied under capitalism, socialism, and in the Roman Catholic Church. He closes his article with brief references to the trinitarian aspect of the human person, the human family, and human society, before concluding that human concepts are inadequate and that ultimately we must honor the Trinity with our silence.10 In The God of Christians (1990), the Chilean theologian Ronaldo Muñoz devotes considerable attention to the situation of people in urban shantytowns, especially youth. Because they can no longer find God in terms of the natural processes of sun, rain, crops, the beauty of nature, and the feeling of dependence, they experience a crisis of inherited images of God. That in turn opens the possibility of “new perspectives” found in the Bible, first the God of the Old Testament and then the God of Jesus Christ. Muñoz’s procedure is in striking contrast to European theology, which devotes a great deal of attention to the difficulty educated people in the West have of making sense of God, surrounded as they are by untroubled atheists and agnostics. Likewise, Muñoz pays very

164   Phillip Berryman little attention to the history of theology—virtually no mention of Augustine or Aquinas, for example—but moves back and forth between the contemporary culture of the urban poor and the world of the Bible. Like other liberation theologians, Muñoz presents scriptural texts seemingly at face value, not belaboring disputes or contested meanings. A reader can sense that what he says has been influenced by years of Bible discussions in shantytown chapels. Everyday experience is brought to bear in interpreting the scripture; and those scriptures shed light on one’s life. In this “hermeneutical circle,” being close to the poor offers a privileged insight. Jesus Christ has been utterly central to liberation theology, from the Christologies of Boff and Sobrino in the 1970s to the posthumous work found in the computer of José Comblin when he died in 2011.11 Contemporary theology has sought to probe the significance of the humanity of Jesus, which historically had often been eclipsed by his divinity in theology and preaching. Latin American theologians have highlighted the conflictive side of Jesus’s ministry and the connections between his ministry and his fate: he was executed by the religious authorities and the empire because he was perceived as subversive; the resurrection represents God’s vindication of his person and message. That aspect has been heightened by the contemporary experience of persecution and martyrdom. Latin American theologians developed further the ecclesiology (theology of the Church) that came to prominence in Vatican II. The council had proposed that the Church is a “sign” of God’s saving grace, which is at work in all people. Latin American theologians emphasized that as a Church of the poor, it should be a “historical sacrament of liberation.”12 For centuries, the “Kingdom of God” had often been identified with the Church, over against the “world.” Now the Reign of God, a central theme in the scriptures, is understood to be broader than the Church; the Church is to serve the realization of God’s reign in history. Building a more just society can be seen as a partial but real advance toward the wish expressed in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy Kingdom come!” In the 1980s, “grassroots Christian communities,” small lay-led groups meeting as church in private homes, attracted considerable attention. They seemed to hearken back to the “house churches” of early Christianity; some theologians went so far as to call them a “new way of being church,” and to assume that they would become the predominant model of the Church as parishes were reconceived as networks of such communities. The phrase iglesia popular (people’s church) was used to denote this new phenomenon: the Church being born among the people.13 Base communities never became a mass phenomenon. Only a small fraction of parishes used the base-community model, and they required a great deal of pastoral input. However, they were qualitatively important; many grassroots leaders and activists got their start in base communities or similar pastoral initiatives. By the 1990s, however, the movement was stalled, if not waning. In this instance, the enthusiasm of some theologians got ahead of the reality on the ground.14 For these theologians there is no sharp line between spirituality and theology; although they sometimes treat it separately, they regard spirituality as prior to theology.15 They insist first on the lived spirituality of many pastoral agents and lay people, often

Liberation Theology   165 under difficult circumstances in which the threat of violent death is real. Writings about spirituality are a systematization of that lived experience. They note that all human beings have a spirituality, an interiority, which is not to be identified with an immaterial “soul,” as was held for centuries. Spirituality in this sense has to do with being rooted in reality, being willing to take it on, to bear it, an ethical indignation at the injustice of the world, solidarity with others, a spirit of joy as seen in the celebrations of the people. Specifically Christian spirituality is rooted in following the historical Jesus, of being incarnate in ongoing history as he was. Some theologians, notably Boff, Comblin, and Gutiérrez, have written short meditational works accessible to ordinary literate Christians, typically exploring themes in the Bible or the life of Jesus. Moral theology and ethics occupy a somewhat ambiguous space within the overall liberation theology enterprise. Historically, moral theology was developed primarily for priests hearing confessions, and it emphasized sin and prohibitions. In the midtwentieth century, it was reconceived primarily as a theology of Christian living using scriptural categories. Building on that work in Europe, Latin American theologians critiqued its narrow focus on the (middle-class European) individual, and sought to give it a more social dimension, pointing, for example, to idolatries of wealth and power, and critiquing the ethos of capitalism. The author of the article on sexuality in Mysterium Liberationis, for example, a male religious, vaguely admitted the need to re-examine sexuality, but showed no sign of even being aware of a feminist critique, and he dismissed the promotion of birth control as foreign assault.16 The Medellín generation of theologians viewed their individual work as part of a larger collective endeavor. With rare exceptions, they did not break ranks or criticize one another in public. Individual theologians nevertheless had their own distinctive features. Leonardo Boff was perhaps the most prolific writer, and turned out dozens of works on classic Christian themes of theology (Christ, Trinity, the Church, grace). After leaving the priesthood in the early 1990s, he continued to publish primarily in the field of spirituality, with an emphasis on ecology. The Argentine layman Enrique Dussel, who has spent most of his career in self-exile in Mexico, has worked in three fields: he is primarily a philosopher who developed an ethics of liberation; he wrote and edited histories of the Church in Latin America; and he was part of the inner circle of liberation theologians. The Belgian-born José Comblin wrote dozens of volumes in Portuguese, Spanish, and French, in many theological genres, often on non-traditional topics (theologies of nationalism, peace, the city, revolution), scripture commentaries, observations on pastoral work, and various studies of the Church, drawing on two thousand years of history. Perhaps the most idiosyncratic was the Uruguayan Jesuit, Juan Luis Segundo, who typically raised his own questions, and then pursued them drawing on an eclectic mix of sources, often non-theologians. For many years, he met regularly with a group of educated middle-class laypeople who were his interlocutors. All of the forty-eight articles in Mysterium Liberationis were written by Catholics, mostly Catholic priests or religious; even the article on Pentecostals (“Sects”) was by a Catholic cleric. Protestants such as the Argentine Methodist José Miguez Bonino and the Mexican Elsa Támez, who taught at a seminary in Costa Rica, made significant

166   Phillip Berryman contributions to liberation theology, but when most liberation theologians spoke of “the Church” they meant Roman Catholicism. Only four of the contributors were women. The male theologians might mention women when listing the “oppressed,” but they showed little awareness of the deeper critique of patriarchy in society and the Church, let alone its presence in religious symbols and language, which was then being demonstrated by feminist theologians elsewhere.17 Starting in the mid-1970s, Latin American theologians were in dialogue with theologians in Asia and Africa, and Black theologians in North America. That dialogue became institutionalized in EATWOT (Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians), which periodically held conferences and published essay collections.

Political Implications Liberation theology attracted attention beyond the churches because of its apparent political—even revolutionary—implications. Yet aside from occasional mentions of “socialism,” the theologians did not sketch out what a new society would look like.18 The “passage from less human to more human conditions” was assumed to mean a qualitatively different kind of society, one that the theologians, along with many intellectuals and social scientists, assumed would be socialist.19 The theologians largely avoided discussing existing socialism and apparently assumed that a “Latin American socialism” would be different from existing models.20 They likewise devoted surprisingly little attention to how this new society was to come about. Insofar as they did so, it was to make distinctions between the existing violence of the present order, revolutionary violence, and counter revolutionary violence. From the social sciences they borrowed “dependency theory,” which provided an account of how Latin America came to be underdeveloped, particularly how it was brought into the international division of labor as a supplier of raw materials for the industrialized nations. Third World nations must break free from their peripheral role in the world economy and develop in terms of their own needs. The theologians largely accepted this quasi-consensus among Latin American intellectuals. Marxism was part of the atmosphere in universities and intellectual life in general in the 1960s and 1970s. The theologians borrowed concepts such as class structure. When accused of fomenting class struggle, they replied that it already exists; their task was to consider how Christians should deal with it. The relationship between the theologians and Marxism varied. Jon Sobrino, for example, paid virtually no attention to the secular ideology. Enrique Dussel devoted considerable attention and even did scholarship on Marx. Juan Luis Segundo included some unorthodox Marxists among the eclectic mix of thinkers with whom he engaged in his writings. Marxism was peripheral to the work of most of the theologians; none embraced Marxism as a comprehensive philosophy, nor were they members of Marxist political organizations (with the exception of some Chileans in the Allende years).

Liberation Theology   167 Throughout Latin America, priests and sisters understood the “preferential option for the poor” to mean more than simply serving their religious needs or assisting them. The aim was to help them to become organized to address their own problems and defend their rights, to become “agents of their own destiny” (Medellín). After the initial awakening of consciousness and organizing, pastoral agents “accompanied” people, not leading as caudillos, but supporting their efforts to press for their rights. For this they often faced threats or violence. Dozens or even hundreds of instances of modern “martyrdom” have been documented.21 They believed they were simply carrying out the mandate of their pastoral work; their murderers believed that they had poisoned the minds of previously docile people and were agents of communism.22 Modern martyrdom for defending the cause of the poor became a theme of theology.

Internal Church Controversies Opposition to liberation theology among bishops and the Vatican, dating from the early 1970s, came to a head in the mid-1980s, triggered by events in Central America. Unlike what had happened in Cuba twenty years earlier, priests, sisters, pastors, and laypeople had supported the resistance to Nicaragua’s long-time dictator, Anastasio Somoza, and when the leftist Sandinista revolution took power—a victory made possible in part by the participation of liberation-theology-inspired Catholics—they began to participate in efforts to transform Nicaragua, for example, in the 1980 literacy campaign. Three priests were appointed to cabinet-level positions. Especially in the heady early days, the revolution seemed to embody what liberation theology sought—a new model of society—although liberation theologians were generally circumspect in speaking about Nicaragua. Similar revolutionary struggles were underway in El Salvador and Guatemala, and hence what happened in Nicaragua had wider implications. In less than a year, however, the Nicaraguan bishops, with Vatican support, turned publicly against the government and ordered the priests to leave their posts. The priests managed to temporize, and agreed not to act publicly as priests. Shaped by a lifetime of resistance to communism, Pope John Paul II on a 1983 tour through Central America reprimanded the Minister of Culture, Fr. Ernesto Cardenal, on the airport tarmac. Proand anti- Sandinista factions turned an evening outdoor Mass into a shouting match between them. Cardenal was soon stripped of his priestly duties and his ministry was not reinstated until Pope Francis did so in 2019.23 These events were no doubt on the mind of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, in 1984 when he issued a document criticizing liberation theology, cataloging its errors: use of Marxism, politicizing the Church, turning theological concepts into sociology, and so forth.24 Most of the major theologians ignored or tried to sidestep the critique, or said that it had caricatured their theology.25 At around the same time, Ratzinger’s office silenced the Brazilian Franciscan Leonardo Boff, primarily for his book Charism, Church and Power (1983), which besides proposing

168   Phillip Berryman changes in ministry, including ordination for women, included a fierce critique of the way the Vatican wields power. Throughout his ordeal, Boff enjoyed the support of important Brazilian cardinals and bishops, and his disciplining was understood as a rebuke to the hierarchy as well.26 The pope took a somewhat more conciliatory stand in a 1986 document, and recognized the legitimacy of liberation theology. By the 1990s, the tone was softened, mainly because the collapse of communism had changed the context. Nevertheless, individual theologians were disciplined: the Brazilian Ivone Gebara was ordered to take two years of study in Europe, apparently for offthe-record statements about poor women having abortions, and the Vatican Office on Doctrine issued a critique claiming that the Christology of Jon Sobrino was not orthodox.27 Over time, the Medellín-era progressive bishops were systematically replaced by Vatican loyalists. As already noted, by the time of the CELAM meeting at Aparecida (2007), the liberation theologians felt that they had been welcomed back into the fold.28 This became even clearer with the election of Pope Francis, who personally met with Gustavo Gutierrez, and conferred with Leonardo Boff in preparing his encyclical on the environment. He also reinstated the priesthood of those priests who had been suspended for serving in the Sandinista government in the 1980s.

Twenty-first Century: What’s Left, What’s New? Into the 1980s the theologians had expressed a hope that the crucifixion of the present was leading to a resurrection: a new Church in a qualitatively different society. With those hopes apparently dashed in the apparent triumph of capitalism in the early 1990s, some theologians admitted the need for rethinking, but for years they largely adhered to the slogan of the World Social Forum: “another world is possible.” This survey samples the more recent work of four individual theologians (Gutiérrez, Boff, Gebara, Comblin), then considers some aspects of the Aparecida document, and concludes with some observations about where matters stand in the second decade of the twenty-first century. In surveying a half-century of work by Gustavo Gutiérrez, one is struck by the continuity. His characteristic work is the essay, prompted by a particular occasion, and his books are typically collections of essays. Many of his works, such as We Drink from Our Own Wells and On Job, are in the genre of spirituality. Gutiérrez’s most ambitious and scholarly work (1992) is a study of Bartolomé de las Casas, the sixteenth-century Dominican missionary in Mexico and Guatemala, who later spent decades in Spain defending native American peoples and exposing the cruelty of the colonial enterprise. The work is not intended to augment the extensive work on Las Casas by historians, but is a distillation of his themes and regards him as a theologian. The reader is struck by the resonances between that distant time and the

Liberation Theology   169 present: the violation of the rights and dignity of the Indians, the use of power, lust for gold, imposition of the state. Both scholarly and beautifully written, the work is perhaps underappreciated because it defies easy categorization. In 2004, Gutiérrez co-authored a book with German Bishop Gerhard Müller, who had done pastoral work in Peru, and was later named the head of the Vatican office overseeing doctrine, to the chagrin of Peruvian conservatives who had questioned Gutierrez’s orthodoxy. He also co-authored a book with the American physician Paul Farmer, of Partners for Health, who was inspired by liberation theology and later spent time dealing with cholera in Peru. Farmer makes the intriguing observation that disease has a “preferential option for the poor,” that is, their poverty makes them vulnerable, and hence the medical profession should likewise privilege the poor. The affinity between Farmer and Gutierrez, despite the generational, disciplinary, and cultural differences, suggests that liberation theology should not be lightly dismissed as passé.29 In what he calls a “swan song,” Leonardo Boff attempts to summarize the core of Christian faith and set it within a contemporary understanding of the unfolding of the universe.30 Christianity in a Nutshell (2013) has reflections on the mystery of God and the cosmos, the Trinity, Jesus, and Christianity in history. The topic of liberation appears at various points, and Boff notes the pathologies of power to which the churches have been prone. At various points, he portrays popular Christianity not as a defective version of official Christianity, but as an authentic embodiment of Christian faith. Pope Francis’s 2013 visit to Brazil prompted Boff to write short essays, which led to a book organized around Francis of Assisi and the pope, expressing his hopes and laying out an ambitious reform agenda. At one point, he raises the question of whether the pope supports liberation theology and dismisses it as “irrelevant. The important thing is not to be for liberation theology, but for the liberation of the oppressed, the poor, and victims of injustice, and that he is without question”.31 Sr. Ivone Gebara has lived and worked among poor women in Camaragibe in northeastern Brazil for decades. She was among the few women who contributed to the large collective projects in what she calls the “golden age” of liberation theology. Although she sees parallels between that theology and the feminist theology she now pursues, she emphasizes the distance. Her closeness to the everyday reality of poor women makes her wary of grand ideas, including those from theology. She critiques traditional assumptions and symbols from a gender standpoint, for example, how the notion of “sacrifice” and bearing one’s “cross” reinforces domination over women. This critique extends to the liberation theologians: she cites examples from the work of Ronaldo Muñoz and Leonardo Boff that betray an unconscious patriarchal vision.32 Gebara achieved some notoriety in the 1990s when an off-the-record remark she made to a journalist, refusing to judge poor women who have abortions, ended up in the press. Although she had not intended to question official Catholic teaching on abortion, she refused to retract her remark and later she was silenced, and under Vatican pressure was sent to France to study for two years. The Gebara case illustrates several aspects of liberation theology from a feminist standpoint. The vast majority of liberation theologians are male, mainly clerics. While

170   Phillip Berryman the male theologians will list women among the “oppressed,” they continue to use biblical terms and theological concepts, with no awareness of the feminist critique. Some women theologians have formed networks among themselves, but to the degree that they raise reproductive issues, they find themselves marginalized from Church circles. The most thorough attempt to rethink liberation theology is that of José Comblin (1998). The book itself is a reading of the “signs of the times.” Each chapter has many observations about trends in Latin America and the world, and particularly the Catholic Church. At the core of the book are five chapters of observations, under the headings of social, economic, political, cultural, and personal liberation. For example, he makes sober observations on the gap between the illusions of political activists in the 1960s and 1970s, who dreamed of revolution, and the poor themselves, who were moving from the countryside to the city seeking a better life: they would participate in community organizations seeking concrete benefits, but did not share the grand visions of activists and Church pastoral agents. Liberation theologians enthusiastically welcomed the 2007 CELAM meeting at Aparecida as a return to the Medellín method, and also as a kind of return from exile for them. Three key themes in Aparecida are “disciples,” “missionary,” and “life”: the Church is called to “missionary discipleship” in order to serve the life of the peoples of Latin America. The examination of Latin American society appears at several points, and the situation of parishes, dioceses, ecumenism, and various church ministries are discussed with some frankness. Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires headed the drafting committee, and hence the voice is not only that of Latin American bishops collectively, but that of a man who would become Pope Francis.33 Amerindia, a continent-wide network of pastoral agents and theologians, published a book of twenty-five essays, including those by several well-known theologians as well as some of a younger generation.34 In an early section, noting that “reality has become ever more opaque and complex for human beings,” the bishops say, “this has taught us to look at reality more humbly, knowing that it is greater and more complex than the simplistic ways in which we used to look at it in the not very distant past, which often introduced conflicts into society, leaving many wounds that have still not been able to heal.”35 Contrary to Medellín, which  implies a task of transforming society, Aparecida shifted the focus from economics and politics to culture: how is the Church to relate to people in today’s varied cultures? The “missionary” thrust of the document is not understood in the narrow sense of proselytism: it expresses the sense repeated by Francis as pope that the Church must go beyond itself, out to the “perimeters,” particularly to serve the poor. The Aparecida document has dozens of proposals for what should be done, in the Church’s internal structures and training and in its service to society. Fifty years ago, young Latin American theologians proposed that the peculiar features of Latin America—that it is Catholic and overwhelmingly poor—called for its own theology. That theology has in fact developed and has been influential, even if it remained a minority current within Catholicism. However, the premises of the original question may call for revisiting.

Liberation Theology   171 The percentage of people identifying as Catholics has been dropping in the region. Even two decades ago, the number of Protestants, mainly Pentecostals, attending church services was on a par with Catholics in Brazil, Guatemala, and other countries. Perhaps just as important, surveys show growing numbers of people who are not affiliated with any church, and some who identify as agnostic or atheist, especially among the growing numbers of university graduates. Although the Aparecida document makes some references to pluralism and diversity, the bishops still generally speak as though they are addressing Catholic societies. That is especially the case when they speak as presumed moral arbiters, not to simply present their position, but to declare some topics (particularly those related to reproductive matters and sexuality) as illegitimate and as foreign impositions.36 Perhaps surprisingly, progress has been made in reducing poverty. The middle classes have been expanding to the point where they are over half the population in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere. Poverty rates declined in most countries since the first decade of  the 2000s. Thirty million Brazilians rose out of poverty in the first decade of the twenty-first century; Chile is within striking distance of achieving a standard of living like that of some European countries, such as Portugal. In the first years of the 2000s, most countries began steady growth, impelled partly by high world prices for commodity exports. Latin America, with the exception of Mexico, suffered little from the post-2008 depression, partly because of sound economic policies instituted earlier.37 Governments of both right and left turned more pragmatic, and interesting innovations were made at municipal levels. Drug gangs ruled in some neighborhoods and corruption was endemic, but these problems were being addressed. The title of a special report in The Economist in September 2010 summarized the new situation: “Nobody’s Backyard: The Rise of Latin America.” This progress notwithstanding, around a third of Latin Americans, 200 million, remained in poverty. They were subsistence farmers or people in urban slums, disproportionately indigenous or Afro descendant, often in single-parent families, in neighborhoods controlled by gangs and served by poor schools. That last item was significant because education is increasingly required for employment, and hence the danger remains of some people being trapped in generational poverty. Liberation theology and its ideals had entered into Church life, arguably to the papacy itself.38 The now classic works of the Medellín generation are part of Catholic theology. Whether there is a post-Medellín generation of theologians not simply repeating but engaged in a similar endeavor in the twenty-first century39 remains unclear. 

Notes 1. See Erika Helgen, Chapter 11 in this volume. 2. For a selection of texts from Medellín, see Alfred  T.  Hennelly, Liberation Theology: A Documentary History (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990), 89–120. 3. Text in Hennelly, Liberation Theology, 62–76. 4. Dates of the Spanish originals are two or more years earlier than the English translations.

172   Phillip Berryman 5. The title was an implicit reference to Mysterium Salutis, a multi-volume systematic theology suitable for seminary use, prepared by a team of German-speaking theologians, translations of which were being used in Latin American seminaries. Ellacuría did not live to see the publication since he was murdered, along with five fellow Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter, in November 1989, by US-trained Salvadoran troops in their home in San Salvador. 6. Gutierrez invoked Antonio Gramsci’s term “organic intellectual” for this type of theologian: Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988). 7. Juan Carlos Scannone, “Theology, Popular Culture, and Discernment,” in Rosino Gibellini, Frontiers of Theology in Latin America (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1979). 8. During this period, bishops could be classified into conservatives, progressives, and a large moderate group in the middle concerned particularly about the unity of the church. 9. This sets theology apart from the academic discipline of “religious studies,” in which religion is studied as a human phenomenon, and in which scholars and students bracket their own faith convictions. 10. Ellacuría and Sobrino (eds.), Mysterium Liberationis, 389–404, citation on 400. These ideas are developed more fully in Leonardo Boff, Trinity and Society (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988), 10. 11. José Comblin, O Espírito Santo e a tradição de Jesus (São Bernardo do Campo: Nhanduti Editora, 2012). 12. Ignacio Ellacuría, “The Church of the Poor, Historical Sacrament of Liberation”, in Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J.  and Jon Sobrino, S.J., Mysterium Liberationis: Fundamental Concepts of Liberation Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993), 543–564. 13. Leonardo Boff, Ecclesiogensis: The Base Communities Reinvent the Church (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1986). 14. For a rare critical view by a theologian, see José Comblin, “Algumas questões a partir da prática das comunidades eclesias de base no nordeste,” in REB (Revista eclesiástica Brasileira) vol. 50, fasc. 198 (1990), 335–381. 15. Pedro Casaldáliga and José Maria Vigil, Political Holiness: Toward a Spirituality of Liberation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1994); Jon Sobrino, “Spirituality and the Following of Jesus,” in Ellacuría and Sobrino (eds.), Mysterium Liberationis (1993), 677–701. 16. Antônio Moser and Bernardino Leers, Teologia Moral: Impasses e Alternativas (São Paulo: Vozes, 1988); and Antônio Moser, “Sexualidad,” in Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., and Jon Sobrino, S.J., eds., Mysterium liberationis: Conceptos fundamentales de la teología de liberación, 2 vols. (San Salvador: UCA Editores, 1990). 17. Elsa Tamez, ed., Against Machismo (Oak Park, IL: Meyer-Stone, 1987), consists of interviews with the major male theologians on women and machismo. 18. In the thirty-five essays and 750 pages of Mysterium Liberationis (1993) there is no discussion of what a just world order would entail, aside from assertions that it would be ­organized around meeting the needs of all and that people would be the agents of their own destiny in solidarity. 19. Socialism was more plausible in the 1970s, when half the world lived under some form of it. 20. A curious exception is the “theological letters” Clodovis Boff wrote after visits to Cuba, the  Soviet Union, and China—shortly before the collapse of communism: Boff, Cartas teológicas sobre o socialismo (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1989). 21. See Brett, Chapter 13 in this volume.

Liberation Theology   173 22. In El Salvador, bombs were set off in the Jesuit University in the mid-1970s and death threats were issued, blaming the Jesuits for creating unrest, long before they were murdered in 1989. For a masterful account, which weaves together events in El Salvador and the work of the Jesuits, especially Ellacuría, see Theresa Whitfield, Paying the Price: Ignacio Ellacuría and the Murdered Jesuits of El Salvador (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1994). 23. Far less noticed was the fact that the pope urged “dialogue” in El Salvador’s civil war at a time when right-wing death squads regarded that as treasonous, and embraced Guatemalan indigenous people when the army was engaged in systematic massacres in their communities. 24. Text in Hennelly, Liberation Theology, 393–414. 25. Juan Luis Segundo broke ranks and wrote a book-length reply, disputing Ratzinger on individual points and charging that the document as a whole represents a reversal of a major thrust of Vatican II. Segundo, Theology and the Church: A Response to Cardinal Ratzinger and a Warning to the Whole Church (Minneapolis, MN: Seabury, 1985). 2 6. Harvey Cox, The Silencing of Leonardo Boff: The Vatican and the Future of World Christianity (Oak Park, IL: Meyer-Stone, 1988). 27. For essays on Sobrino’s Christology and the controversy, see Stephen Pope, ed., Hope and Solidarity: Jon Sobrino’s Challenge to Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008). 28. Robert Pelton, Aparecida: Quo Vadis? (Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press, 2008). 29. Gustavo Gutiérrez and Gerhard Müller, On the Side of the Poor: The Theology of Liberation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2013); Gustavo Gutiérrez and Paul Farmer, In the Company of the Poor (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2015). 30. Almost two decades earlier he had linked the “cry of the earth” and the “cry of the poor” Leonardo Boff, Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997). 31. Leonardo Boff, Francis of Rome & Francis of Assisi: A New Spring in the Church (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2014), 76. 32. Ivone Gebara, Out of the Depths: Women’s Experience of Evil and Salvation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002), 161–164. 33. In many places, Aparecida sounds like Francis: “We cannot passively and calmly wait in our church buildings, but we must move out in all directions to proclaim that evil and death do not have the last word” (548). “We are asked to devote time to the poor, provide them kind attention, listen to them with interest, stand by them in the most difficult moments, choosing to spend hours, weeks, or years of our life with them, and striving to transform their situation from within their midst” (397). [The parish] “must follow the path of Jesus and become Good Samaritan like Him. . . . It cannot stand apart from the great suffering endured by most of our people often in the form of hidden poverties…” (176). The church must take up a “prophetic critique” on behalf of migrants and work with civil society “to achieve a migration policy that takes into account the rights of people on the move” (414). 34. Collected in Aparecida, renacer de una esperanza (Montevideo: Indo-American Press Service, 2007). 35. Aparecida, 35. The “we” is perhaps ambiguous: do they mean themselves as bishops, or are they perhaps implying that activists decades ago were partly responsible for the repression that followed? 36. In some countries, many of their fellow citizens do not accept their positions and have voted in favor of gay marriage and legalization of abortion.

174   Phillip Berryman 37. For data on economic and social changes in Latin America, see Phillip Berryman, Latin America at 200: A New Introduction (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2016). 38. In early 2017 around forty Latin American, Spanish, and Latino/a theologians met at Boston College to explore common themes in the light of the papacy of Francis, including that of migration. For the proceedings, Luis Aranguren Gonzalo and Félix Palazzi, Desafíos de una teología Iberoamericana inculturada en tiempos de globalización, interculturalidad y exclusion social: Actas del primer encuentro Iberoamericano de teología (Miami, FL: Convivium Press, 2017). 39. See Phillip Berryman, “La generación Medellín y sus sucesores,” in A esperança dos pobres vive: Coletânea em homenagem aos 80 anos de José Comblin (São Paulo: Paulus, 2003).

chapter 10

Catholicism, R evolu tion, a n d Cou n ter-R evolu tion i n T w en tieth- Cen t u ry L ati n A m er ica Stephen J. C. Andes

Violence and bloodshed scarred the human and moral landscape of Latin America’s twentieth century. The 1910 Mexican Revolution resulted in at least one million deaths. Colombia’s urban and rural civil war, La Violencia (1946–1958), produced another 300,000 casualties. In Bolivia, the Nationalist Revolution of 1952, remarkably benign by these standards, managed relatively few casualties. Cuba’s insurrectionary period (1952–1958) claimed another 2,000–3,000. Authoritarian military regimes, backed by US money, materiel, and Cold War anti-communism, deployed increasingly sophisticated and repressive state apparatuses. In Brazil, twenty years of military rule (1964–1985) brought at least 475 state-sponsored murders. In Argentina, 30,000 were “disappeared” or killed in the so-called Dirty War, from 1976 to 1983. The dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973–1990) in Chile led to 2,920 documented cases of human rights violations. In Central America, Guatemala and Nicaragua underwent civil war at mid-century and again in the 1970s and 1980s. In all, perhaps as many as 200,000 people died or were “disappeared” in Guatemala’s conflict from 1960 to 1996. Nicaragua’s successful 1979 Sandinista Insurrection resulted in 50,000 deaths, and the counter-insurgency waged against it in the 1980s produced another 30,000 killed and 180,000 displaced peoples. El Salvador’s twelve years of civil war (1980–1992) added 75,000 to the list.1 The terror of the Maoist Shining Path in Peru was perhaps matched only by government repression to stop it: 69,000 were killed and 6,000 “disappeared” during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori (1990–2000). In short, Latin Americans suffered a century of civil war, ­violence, and death.2

176   Stephen J. C. Andes Catholics were integral participants in the bloodbath. The Catholic Church shaped, and was shaped by, the cycles of insurgency, counter-insurgency, and state terror, which defined Latin America’s twentieth-century violence. Religious commitments, rituals, and cultures forged political identities, melded with gendered, ethnic, and class distinctions, and colored social relations, marking boundaries within and between groups, communities, institutions, and Churches. This situation was not peculiar to Latin America. As James K. Wellman reminds us, “religion creates symbolic and social boundaries that include and exclude.”3 Catholicism provided the rationale for various theories of “just war,” while religious discourses strengthened, even sanctioned, the use of torture and terror in the interests of both Church and state. Catholics took up all sides in twentieth-century conflict, from revolutionary priests, accommodationist bishops, and lay counter-revolutionaries, to Catholic generals who massacred their own citizens with state-sponsored death squads. Yet, Catholicism also became a dynamic force in the emerging quest for human liberation in the region. Catholics established networks of protest against economic and social inequality, opposed poverty and exclusion, and decried injustice and disenfranchisement. Latin America’s revolutionary century splintered Catholic political identities on an unprecedented scale. Conservative and progressive, revolutionary and counter-revolutionary, belligerent and peaceful, the Catholic Church’s Janus face was unmasked in the twentieth century. Despite all the social upheaval, only three insurgencies resulted in revolutionary “success” in Latin America: in Mexico (1910), Cuba (1959), and Nicaragua (1979). All three of these insurgencies dismantled the old regime, established a new and durable political status quo, and implemented a profound reorganization of social classes and economic relations. Thus, unlike anywhere else in Latin America, the Catholic Churches of Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua were confronted with the reality of a revolutionary society in which they too had to vie for space and adapt. Three interlocking factors, associated with revolutionary state-formation, were crucial determinants in pushing Catholic hierarchies, many lay Catholics, and some Protestant Churches toward a counter-revolutionary position: anticlericalism, agrarian reform, and public (especially non-religious) education. Despite the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), its progressive interpretation at the meeting of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) at Medellín (1968), and the emergence of liberation theology, bishops in Cuba, and even more so in Nicaragua, reacted in the much the same way to the nascent revolutionary governments as the Mexican episcopate had responded to similar challenges more than half a century earlier. In all three cases, Catholics viewed the fall of corrupt and long-standing dictatorships as positive. But after initial enthusiasm wore off, the Church viewed revolutionary governments as inimical to institutional survival, theological identity, and a challenge to their role as moral legitimators of society. Differences between Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua centered on the unity of counterrevolutionary forces. In Mexico, a strong institutional Church base before the revolution allowed a more sustained and long-lasting challenge to the state. In Cuba, a weak Catholic Church, although united in counter-revolutionary sentiment, forced the Church to adapt and cooperate to regain a foothold in the revolutionary process. In

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   177 Nicaragua, a strong organizational base did not allow a concerted counter-revolutionary threat to the state. The internalization of conciliar reforms in Nicaragua produced a more decentralized, and ultimately divided front, where a growing “popular church” aligned more closely with the aims of the revolutionary forces associated with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). The Latin American Catholic Church, as institution, was therefore predisposed toward counter-revolutionary opposition. Revolutionary social reorganization presented a very real threat to the institutional interest of Christian churches, both before and after the Cold War, as well as before and after the Second Vatican Council. Despite marked continuity in Catholicism’s counter-revolutionary position over the course of the twentieth century, the Church’s relationship with revolution revealed a shift toward moderation. Scholars have argued that the shift occurred after the 1960s. In a recent survey of the Catholic Church in Latin America, John Schwaller contends that three main positions characterized the attitude of Catholics toward revolutionary social change after Vatican II and the 1968 CELAM meeting at Medellín.4 First, lay Catholics, priests, nuns, and religious brothers were counted among various rebel and left-wing political movements throughout the region. They embraced revolution, and justified the use of force for obtaining liberation as a defensive violence used against the “institutional violence” of social inequality. Second, conservatives, especially among the episcopate, worked to impede the pace of change, to fight against secularization, Protestant evangelization, and institutional decline. Third, the majority—moderates—caught in the middle, became more conscious of deficiencies in pastoral action, awakened to the plight of the poor in their midst, but were suspicious of the temptation to tie the Church to a ­particular political movement.

Catholics and the Mexican Revolution (ca. 1910–1940) Catholicism’s first encounter with revolution came in Mexico in 1910. Between 1876 and 1911, President Porfirio Díaz established relative peace and stability, albeit through authoritarian and undemocratic rule. Francisco I. Madero, a member of the landed elite, galvanized the popular opposition in late 1910 and successfully brought an end to Díaz’s dictatorship in the spring of 1911. National elections were held in October, which selected Madero as president. He served fifteen months in office until a successful palace coup d’état by General Victoriano Huerta brought about Madero’s downfall and the expansion of large-scale revolutionary upheaval. The Catholic Church’s position toward national upheaval falls into three phases: loyal opposition during the waning years of the Porfiriato; participation, although critical, during Madero’s democratic aperture; and contingent counter-revolutionary collaboration with the regime of Victoriano Huerta. During the long rule of Porfirio Díaz, the

178   Stephen J. C. Andes Catholic Church in Mexico experienced an institutional restoration, facilitating the hierarchy’s moderation toward the regime. However, by the 1890s, Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891) focused the social vision of lay Catholics and clergy alike in Mexico. A younger generation of bishops, trained at Rome’s Pontificio Colegio Pío Latinoamericano (Pontifical Pius Latin American College), returned to Mexico from European studies and organized mutualist societies, Catholic labor associations, and lay confraternities with a social bent.5 Lay Catholics and priests developed an alternative to the liberal state-building project.6 As Madero’s 1910 Revolution removed Díaz from power, Mexican Catholics had already begun to work for change within the boundaries of the old regime. The organizing of a Catholic social movement at the end of the Porfiriato positioned Catholics to benefit from the democratic opening supplied by Madero’s Revolution, but popular revolutionaries did not come from Church ranks. Madero’s democratic experiment allowed Catholics to organize a political party, the National Catholic Party (PCN, Partido Católico Nacional), in 1911. The PCN backed interim president Francisco León de la Barra for the vice presidency over the candidacy of Pino Suárez, Madero’s chosen running mate. Although unsuccessful in electing de la Barra, the PCN had enormous success in the elections of 1911, especially on the state and local levels. Deputies were elected in states such as Jalisco, Michoacán, and México. Social Catholic reform legislation was enacted that sought to provide safety insurance benefits for workers and the ability for wages to be negotiated between labor and management. Catholic lay associations were organized, and gained force and momentum, especially the Knights of Columbus, the Association of Catholic Ladies, and the Young Men’s Catholic Association (ACJM).7 The Jesuit Alfredo Méndez Medina, recently returned from European training in the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, established the first modern trade unions.8 Catholics continued their alternative project to liberalism, but remained skeptical, and even hostile, to Madero’s administration. Thus, as Madero’s regime unraveled in February 1913, the majority of the hierarchy, and many within the PCN, rejoiced. General Huerta appeared to be a return to order.9 The Church was contingently aligned with the counter-revolution.10 From these circumstances arose a fierce anticlerical reaction from revolutionaries who mobilized against Huerta’s dictatorship. Anticlericalism became a major characteristic of the Mexican Revolution after 1914. Northern revolutionaries under Pancho Villa mounted sporadic violence against foreign clergy, especially Spanish priests, displaying a good deal of xenophobic fury in the process.11 Southern peasant soldiers led by Emiliano Zapata were more benevolent, often carrying banners dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. The Constitutionalists, so called for their stated purpose in drafting a new National Charter, contained factions of Jacobin anticlericals, others of a more pragmatic stamp, and old-styled liberals such as Venustiano Carranza, who emerged as the First Chief of the Revolution.12 This last group emerged as the Revolutionary “winners” and wrote a new Constitution in 1917. New, more forceful, restrictions on the Church were written into the document: prohibiting primary religious instruction, prohibiting political speech by priests, and empowering states to regulate the practice of the Catholic cult. By 1925, the Church was an

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   179 amalgam of contradictory positions: progressive in the efforts of many lay Catholics and priests to unionize workers, but counter-revolutionary in its opposition and rejection of the 1917 Constitution. The Church’s Obregonian renaissance came to end when the new president, Plutarco Elías Calles (1924–1928), directed his energies at implementing the anticlerical restrictions of the Constitution. The Mexican hierarchy declared a Church strike, a moratorium on the sacramental functions of clergy within Church buildings, until the anticlerical laws were modified. The beginning of the Church boycott was set to go into effect the same day that enabling legislation ordered by Calles had been scheduled: August 1, 1926. A Catholic defense league, the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty (LNDLR), seconded the clerical strike with its own economic boycott. In August, the first reports of Catholic insurrection were received. Small bands of Catholics reacted violently to the local implementation of the anticlerical laws. The Catholic insurgency would be known as the Cristero Rebellion. Between August 1926 and June 1929, perhaps as many as 50,000 Catholics in thirteen states of the Republic took up arms against federal troops and their local government-allied militias, called agraristas. Approximately 90,000 combatants died in the fighting, mainly in the rural center-west region of the nation.13 The Mexican hierarchy, virtually unanimous in its decision to declare the sacramental interdict, was more divided in its attitude toward Catholic rebellion. The thirty-eight archbishops and bishops that comprised the episcopate at the time split between a small number of bellicose prelates who encouraged armed defense (four), a slightly larger contingent who wrote and spoke against it (ten), and the majority who remained indecisive.14 Theological rationale for armed defense drew from Aquinas’s theories of just war: Catholics were within rights to oppose a tyrant to protect religious ritual and practice. Bishops Leopoldo Ruiz y Flores and Pascual Díaz, who had been exiled in the United States, increasingly viewed the Cristero insurgency from a realist perspective. They believed that without help from the Americans the rebellion had no real chance of success.15 When it became clear by late 1927 that the Cristero forces would not gain the aid of money or materiel from the United States, and that Cristero victories on the ground had not materialized, Rome actively sought a settled diplomatic solution to the conflict. A modus vivendi was reached in June 1929 through the aegis of US Ambassador Dwight Morrow, the two Mexican prelates Ruiz y Flores and Díaz, and the new Mexican President, Emilio Portes Gil. The laws had not changed, however—only an agreement by both sides to end hostilities.16 Mexican priests endured persecution in a number of ways. Relatively few became rebel leaders during the uprising; some of the most famous included José Reyes Vega and Aristeo Pedroza from Jalisco, José María Martínez of Coalcomán, and Federico González Cárdenas from northwestern Michoacán.17 These were the exceptions, however, and the clergy did not lead the rebellion. Many priests under threat of summary execution deserted their parishes for the relatively safe environment of cities. Nevertheless, a large number of priests remained in the countryside, ministering to their parishioners. Well-known accounts that state that 3,500 clergymen fled for the safety of the cities are overblown. Approximately ninety priests were executed during three years of civil war.18

180   Stephen J. C. Andes These numbers suggest that martyrdom, although a potential danger, was not as ­common or usual as in other comparable conflicts, such as the Spanish Civil War, where some estimates set the number at 6,832 clergy killed in the wake of Red Terror.19 More common was what Butler describes as “a litany of minor vexations in a long, anxious human martyrdom.”20 Catholic organizations played an important role in Church-state conflict throughout the era. Since the waning years of the Porfiriato, lay Catholic associations gained in strength, numbers, and notoriety. In 1925, President Calles helped encourage a schismatic Catholic movement, which caused Catholic lay leaders to combine efforts and create a Catholic defense league. The LNDLR sought to provide for the civic defense of the Church, coordinate public opinion, organize protests, and disseminate pro-Catholic propaganda. An official memorandum was presented to the episcopate asking the bishops to support a strategy of armed defense, to appoint chaplains to minister to Catholic rebels, and to urge wealthy Catholics to donate funds. The bishops rejected the latter two requests, but could not deny Catholics the right to defend the faith with recourse to arms. The League, although it had built a nationwide network of affiliated centers, was unable to coordinate the largely autonomous bands of Catholic rebels. But rural lay Catholics took up the onus of the rebellion, many without formal membership or connection to the more urban lay Catholic associations such as the League. When the Mexican hierarchy negotiated the ceasefire agreement in 1929, members of the League would be its most vocal critics.21 Most Catholic rebels came from rural parishes and provincial towns, hamlets, and villages. Rebel makeup was cross-class and ethnically diverse. Only the wealthiest hacienda owners were largely absent from the ranks, belying the argument of the government, and some subsequent scholars, that priests led the rebels, supported by conservative landowners.22 Historian Jean Meyer argued that, economic considerations aside, partisanship in the rebellion was defined by religious commitments.23 The rebellion was strongest and most sustained in the country’s clericalized center-west. However, recent research by Jennie Purnell questioned this thesis, revealing that anti-Cristero militias (agraristas), who were recruited from the same region, often declared themselves to be Catholic as well.24 For Purnell, the answer lies in the extent of capitalist modernization, the strength of Catholic lay associations, and the continuity of local politico-religious authority. Partisanship in the Cristero Rebellion was therefore not predicated on religious commitments, but by political and economic cultures and traditions, historically embedded within the experiences and memories of communities.25 The “religious question,” what Ben Fallaw defines as “the place of the Church in a Catholic country after an anticlerical revolution,” was not settled at the end of the Cristero Rebellion, and despite general Catholic acceptance of the regime that would become the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), it continued to be a problem without an immediate solution.26 Catholic opposition to local anticlerical policies, socialist and sexual education promoted under President Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940), and agrarian reform frustrated the revolutionary regime’s program of state- and nation formation. Sporadic violence continued during the 1930s, and a second rebellion, known as La Segunda,

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   181 recruited some 7,500 Catholics to again take up arms against federal troops and their allies. Vatican calls for pacification and incorporation into Catholic Action met with foot dragging, resistance, and outright disobedience. And yet, both projects, forwarded by the state and Church, splintered the trajectory of Catholic activism. Many ex-Cristeros and lay militants joined the conservative Unión Nacional Sinarquista (National Synarchist Union), which continued to mobilize ­resistance to state projects. Because Catholic Action barely got off the ground until late in the 1930s, Catholics called for civic associations, which would boycott state schools, and provide confrontational, though in the main peaceful, modes of resistance. Finally, politicized Catholics, especially university students, helped form a political party called the National Action Party, founded with members of the conservative business, educational, and intellectual elite as a secular opposition party. The Catholic alternative to revolution therefore took a decidedly conservative, counter-revolutionary turn during the Cristero Rebellion and throughout the remainder of the 1930s.

The Catholic Church and the Cold War in Latin America: Cuba The development of superpower rivalries between the United States and the Soviet Union after 1947 exacerbated long-standing struggles over social and political arrangements in Latin America, and added a new dimension to the scope and reach of American interventionism in the region. The Catholic Church faced new challenges that superseded previous conflicts between Church and state. In the 1940s and early 1950s, Catholic leaders recognized the threat of socialist and communist movements, but the successful Cuban Revolution in 1959 made the threat palpable. The rapid radicalization of the Cuban movement, from anti-imperialist insurgency to communist state by the early 1960s, reverberated around the region. The pre-revolutionary Cuban Church of the 1950s was institutionally weak, predominantly established in Havana, and lacking personnel. A 1957 survey of 400 rural heads of households found that over 80 percent never attended services, only a little over 4 percent went to Mass three or more times per year, and only 3 percent believed the Church would help improve social and economic conditions. The Cuban Church was an urban institution, with 85 percent of priests, nuns, and brothers ministering in Havana, often in elite religious schools. Catholic Action and the Young Catholic Workers (JOC, Juventud Obrero Católico) had made some modest gains in forming associations, with the latter claiming approximately 20,000 members. On the eve of revolution, therefore, the Cuban Church was ill equipped to direct the course of the insurgent movement, and would remain marginal to the revolutionary process in subsequent decades.27 Nevertheless, many Cuban Catholics opposed the corruption and dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista (1940–1944; 1952–1959), and welcomed the fall of the regime in

182   Stephen J. C. Andes January 1959. Members of the lay organization Agrupación Católica Universitaria even joined the Twenty-Sixth of July Movement in the mountains, as did eight priests.28 However, the hierarchy was more cautious, and decided not to issue a pastoral statement about the insurrection in late 1958. After Fidel Castro’s victory, the hierarchy published a communiqué cautioning the government against “utopian egalitarianism,” which was code for Marxism/Leninism.29 During the course of 1959, Catholics felt threatened by two projects set in motion by the Castro administration: agrarian reform and education. Both programs inspired opposition from the Church. The bishops at first were cautiously optimistic about the agrarian reform legislation, and Bishop Enrique Pérez Serantes even approved of it generally. In June 1959, Jesuits organized a meeting of sixty-two members of the clergy to discuss the legislation. The majority emerged from the conference critical of the government, and afterward political denunciations of the Castro regime came increasingly from pulpits throughout the country. Moreover, Agrupación Católica steered toward a more conservative stance and opposed agrarian legislation. In education, the hierarchy and lay Catholics were more unified. Castro offered a reform proposal that mandated a unified public and private school curricula. Catholics wanted guarantees that religious education would be protected, and feared that Marxist ideology would indoctrinate the young. As Margaret Crahan argues, the issue of Catholic education, especially parents’ right to choose how to educate their children, became a major rallying point for government opposition, and an important cause of massive emigration to the United States by the mid-1960s.30 Catholic reactions to agrarian reform and education legislation galvanized opposition to the revolution even before the government officially declared itself communist in 1961. The largest public manifestation of Catholic opposition took place in Havana in November 1959. Approximately one million Cubans participated in the National Catholic Congress. Fidel Castro attended the opening ceremony, revealing that the government saw the Catholic constituency as an important force in Cuban society, especially as many political parties disintegrated. Many of the speakers steered away from overtly political statements. But a clear statement of opposition was announced by Agrupación Católica leader José Ignacio Lasaga who, in finishing his talk, declared: “Social justice yes; redemption of the workers and the farmers yes; Communism no!” The crowd responded enthusiastically, “Cuba yes, Communism no!”31 The confrontational stance deepened over the next months. A lay Catholic leader of Agrupación Católica, Manuel Artimé had organized the Movimiento de Recuperación Revolucionaria in the final months of 1958. He then left Cuba and made contact via a Jesuit priest with a CIA contact. Artimé, along with several lay Catholics, three Spanish priests, and a number of other dissidents, helped lead the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. The failed coup solidified the counter-revolutionary credentials of the Cuban Church. Although the Church unified in opposition to Castro, its weakness and lack of popular support in rural Cuba prevented significant Catholic influence on the regime during the 1960s and 1970s.32 The Cuban government’s enclosure of the Cuban Church in the 1960s prompted some Catholics to rethink their strategy. Younger Catholics and members of Catholic Action

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   183 argued that the Church needed to reinvigorate education and work with the government toward the common good. Vatican diplomats and the hierarchy supported a slow process of détente with the Castro administration, even as the government sought to build alliances with organizations across the political spectrum.33 In 1969, the bishops published two pastoral letters that criticized the US trade embargo and encouraged Catholics to support government projects. By the mid-1970s, the government published an explicit statement, incorporated into the new Constitution, which declared that Cubans could profess any religious belief as long as they did not align themselves with the counter-revolutionary opposition.34 By 1986, the Catholic Church hosted its first large public gathering in nearly three decades, the Cuban National Ecclesial Encounter (ENEC, Encuentro Nacional Eclesial Cubano), which hosted 181 church leaders—bishops, priests, nuns, and brothers, and numerous lay activists. In contrast to 1959, ENEC declared itself open to dialogue, still opposed to Marxism, but willing to cooperate with the government for the good of Cuban development. In the 1990s, the Cuban Church continued to work toward rapprochement, welcomed the 1992 constitutional changes, which removed statements declaring Cuba an atheistic state, and in 1998 hosted an iconic meeting between Pope John Paul II and Fidel Castro.35 The revolutionary environment forced the Cuban Catholic Church slowly to come to terms with the status quo.36 Yet, rapprochement also represented a clear victory for the Cuban Catholic Church. Despite its institutional weakness at the time of the 1959 revolution, Church leaders and Catholic activists succeeded in pressing the Castro government not only to accept its existence, but also to allow a greater measure of religious freedom.

The Progressive Church in Latin America’s Cold War Several developments within the Church in the 1950s, many preceding the Cuban Revolution, led some Catholic sectors toward a more progressive direction. The first was a shift within the Catholic Action movement.37 The Roman model of Catholic Action was based on a corporatist structure (i.e., branches composed of Men, Women, Young Men, Women, Workers, and Students). Its most successful national establishment took place in Spain during and after the Civil War, and promoted a conservative orientation in the churches of Latin America. This came particularly through the avowedly non-party political nature of the movement, which had been especially welcomed by the episcopates in the region. An alternative model of Catholic Action came to the fore by the 1950s in Latin America, based on the Belgian conception of the movement, developed by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn.38 This promoted a specialized form of Catholic Action, focused on training students and workers. Cardijn forwarded a pedagogical strategy known as “see, judge, act.” Through small study groups, Catholic students and workers, often guided by

184   Stephen J. C. Andes socially committed secular and Jesuit priests, educated themselves in the actual social problems of the country, considered what steps could be taken within the actual contexts where students and workers were active, and then acted to produce change. What differentiated groups such as the Young Catholic Students (JEC) and Young Catholic Workers (JOC) from other older, established branches of Catholic Action was their focus on confronting social and economic issues within national contexts. In other words, JEC and JOC promoted a deeper knowledge of Latin American society, its problems, and potential solutions. Whereas the Roman model of Catholic Action placed a priori boundaries around certain kinds of action—often excluding political activism or labor unionization—from the movement, JOC and JEC allowed for social analyses to guide action, without preconceived notions of a separation between religious, political, or social activism.39 The second factor in positioning sectors within the Catholic Church toward a more progressive stance was the development of the Christian Democratic movement. In the 1930s and 1940s, especially in Chile, Catholic social activists in Catholic Action began to seek an alternative to the Conservative Party, one that more robustly promoted the social doctrine of the Church and was distanced from the Church hierarchy. Influenced by Jacques Maritain’s ideas on rapprochement with liberal democracy, Catholic Action youths such as the Chileans Eduardo Frei and Manuel Garretón, and from Venezuela Rafael Caldera, helped establish Christian Democratic movements in the region. In the course of the 1950s, these became more secular in character, detached from Church direction, but with the stated desire to implement Christian social policies as an alternative to laissez-faire capitalism and socialist economies.40 Third, in Brazil and Chile, socially progressive bishops came to leadership positions. In Brazil, Dom Hélder Câmara established the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) in 1952, which in essence bolstered his position as a leading figure among his more moderate colleagues in the episcopate. In Chile, Manuel Larraín supported the Christian Democrats, and increased ministries to the working class. These successes enabled both in their promotion of a region-wide Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM). CELAM held its first plenary meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1955. This organizational framework provided a forum for new cooperation among Latin American bishops toward policies of development. Top Latin American bishops got behind an emerging mission to address social inequality, exclusion, and poverty in the region, often sidelining the older battle against secularization. Added to the endogenous changes within Latin America, including JEC, JOC, Christian Democratic Parties, and progressive leadership of CELAM, was a new pope. Pope John XXIII’s (1958–1963) call for a fresh wind to update the Church to the modern world encouraged developments in Latin America. John XXIII published Mater et magistra (1961) calling for social justice and integration of the poor, and he seconded this call in his opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. Then, in 1963, his encyclical Pacem in terris called for international cooperation instead of Cold War hostility. Vatican II endeavored to rework the definition of the Church, moving it from identification with the hierarchy toward unity of all the faithful, the pilgrim people of God, whose

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   185 mission was to journey alongside the world. The 1968 plenary session of CELAM in Medellín, Colombia, applied these findings to a Latin American situation. This was a major victory for the progressive sector of the Latin American leadership. The official documents produced by the bishops at Medellín ensconced the position of the Church as the people of God. It helped forge a new pastoral strategy focused on critiquing the prevailing system of social exclusion and poverty, and exposed the corporate nature of sin as reflected in social inequities.41 These institutional and leadership changes gave life to grassroots change. In Brazil, under Dom Hélder Câmara, so-called Base Ecclesial Communities (CEBs, Comunidades Eclesiales de Base) grew during the late 1950s and 1960s. These were essentially parishbased local meetings of Catholics to study scripture, support one another, and contextualize the gospel within their local communities. The base communities expanded after Medellín with official support from clergy and many bishops. By 1978, there were some 150,000–200,000 CEBs in Latin America.42 Moreover, an intellectual critique of Catholic Action also emerged. Former Catholic Action leaders such as Gustavo Gutiérrez in Peru provided a framework for a movement away from developmentalism as a strategy to address Latin American poverty. After the council, their theological positions radicalized, especially in response to increasingly repressive military regimes. Dissatisfaction with state-directed economic development grew from the grassroots, as lay Catholics participated in programs of consciousness-raising (concientización), developed by Paulo Freire in the context of literacy campaigns in Brazil, but later adapted to the CEBs to help “discern the signs of the times.”43 CEBs became forums where gospel-oriented critiques of Latin American societies emerged. Using Marxist social analysis as a basis for understanding dependency and the failure of development, many priests called for liberation as a guiding theme to the pastoral strategy of the Church. The movement represented a shift, detaching the Church from relations with the state, and taking the side of poor, the dispossessed, and those who were oppressed by political systems that excluded them from participation in society. The emerging liberationist perspective developed in dialogue with Protestant intellectuals and theologians in the region. In the mid-1950s, main-line Protestant missionaries in Latin America echoed much of the dissatisfaction with developmentalist strategies, embodied in American-led projects like John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress. Led by Presbyterian missionary Richard Shaull in Brazil, an organization called Church and Society in Latin America (ISAL) developed a “theology of revolution,” which sought to articulate a Christian strategy of rapid and radical social transformation.44 Although the theology did not necessarily endorse the use of violence, Shaull, with the support of the World Council of Churches based in Geneva, provided an institutional forum in which many young theologians were able to develop their ideas. Between 1965 and 1968, ISAL became a location were Catholic and Protestants theologians such as Gutiérrez, Juan Luis Segundo, and Luis Alberto Gómez de Souza met, exchanged ideas, and pushed their critiques of dependency theory in new, more progressive directions. After the Medellín conference, Gutiérrez and Rubem Alves, a Brazilian Protestant and seminary student at Princeton, were invited to a meeting in Switzerland.45

186   Stephen J. C. Andes Gutiérrez had been given the title of his paper by the organizing committee: “The Meaning of Development.” However, on the plane to Europe, Gutiérrez changed the title of the presentation to “Notes on a Theology of Liberation.” At the conference, Alves and Gutiérrez recognized that they were thinking similarly, that “the question is not development, but how to break dependency and create conditions for radical social transformation.”46 They presented jointly at the conference, and thereafter, participated in numerous subsequent meetings that brought together the leading theologians from the region. These included Hugo Assman, Juan Luis Segundo, José Míguez Bonino, and Julio de Santa Ana. Within this context emerged a multitude of publications, articulating an emerging “theology of liberation.”47 The development of a liberationist perspective encompassed a growing set of concerns about the place of the Church in the world, the nature of salvation, history, and a new pastoral strategy. Essentially, Gutiérrez and others reversed the traditional way of doing theology, arguing that praxis, living out the gospel in society, should be the true starting point of theology, instead of a traditional approach that privileged intellectual principles.48 For them, the mission of the believer and, by implication, the Church was to emulate Christ’s identification with the poor, and to participate in the liberation of the human person. This “praxis” of liberation, then, led to a need to understand the social impediments to freedom, the structural sins, institutional violence, and social inequality, which stunted the social and spiritual growth of individuals and communities. Thus, liberation theology provided a context in which dialogue with Marxism could be fruitful for both Christians and the political left.49

The Catholic Church and the Cold War in Latin America: Nicaragua In the 1970s and 1980s, liberation theology came under fire from both an ascendant CELAM leadership and from the Vatican during the pontificate of John Paul II (1978–2005). Meanwhile, insurgent movements spread in Central America, testing both the Church hierarchies in the region and the emerging Catholic progressive and radical sectors. Bishops would be challenged by the profound tensions caused by the implications of revolutionary change. On the one hand, Central American bishops became increasingly critical of long-­ standing and corrupt regimes. On the other hand, prelates remained fearful of the threat of Marxist-Leninist ideology promoted by revolutionary movements. Progressive and radicals risked censure from bishops if they collaborated too closely with leftists, but were also in danger from counter-revolutionary repression and right-wing paramilitaries. Thus, Central America became an important region in which reforms initiated at Vatican II and at the CELAM conferences of 1968 and 1979 were severely tested. At Puebla in 1979, the bishops had officially endorsed the “preferential option for poor”

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   187 as the mission for the Latin American Church. But what exactly did that mean? On all sides, Catholics interpreted the mission of the Church in the last quarter of the twentieth century according to conscience and institutional necessity. In the summer of 1979, a second wave of insurgency in Latin America, initiated after the Cuban Revolution, culminated in the victory of the Frente Sandinista Liberación Nacional (FSLN, or Sandinistas) in Nicaragua.50 The revolutionary success of the Sandinistas came after a long process of social and political conflict in the country. The victory was not an inevitable outcome. Four important factors enabled the Sandinistas to do what numerous other insurgent movements in the region had failed to accomplish: topple a dictator and establish a revolutionary government.51 First, the ruling Somoza family (established by Anastasio Somoza García, followed by his two sons, Luis Somoza Debayle and Anastasio Somoza Debayle) suffered a crisis of legitimacy in the 1960s and 1970s. When a massive earthquake shook Nicaragua in 1972, the government’s ineffective and plutocratic response prompted widespread dissatisfaction with the regime. Corrupt officials stole foreign aid earmarked for disaster relief, which damaged support among the middle class. Moreover, repression and human rights violations increased under the junior Anastasio Somoza. In 1978, A leading voice for the opposition, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, editor of the Managua daily La Prensa and scion one of Nicaragua’s most lionized families, was assassinated in retaliation for articles he had published critical of the government; this precipitated increased support for the opposition against the Somoza regime Second, the FSLN, organized in the early 1960s, changed strategies, abandoned the tactic of mounting a vanguard insurgency, and developed support among the urban lower and middle classes as well as among rural peasants, building a broad-based coalition of opposition forces. These included progressive elements in the Church, such as CEBs, Catholic youth and university students, so-called Ministers of the Word (lay preachers), and numerous members of the religious clergy, sisters, and lay coworkers (Dominicans, Salesians, Jesuits, Maryknollers, and Capuchins). Reforms initiated at Vatican II and Medellín were metabolized by foreign-born clergy, missionaries, and were disseminated in social action programs and parish study groups. Thus, the process of organizational renewal within the Nicaraguan Church was accompanied by a politicization of a strengthening “popular Church,” developed in dialogue with FSLN leftists and radicals, who viewed the Somoza regime as illegitimate and anti-Christian. By January 1977, the Nicaraguan hierarchy, led by Archbishop of Managua, Miguel Obando y Bravo, published a document decrying government abuses against its citizens, including Church people, pronouncing that a “state of terror” existed in the nation. The following year, the bishops supported the moral legitimacy of armed insurrection to oust Somoza. Third, the backing of Cuba and other Latin American nations aided the FSLN in garnering broad-based support both nationally and internationally. Finally, the administration of US President Jimmy Carter proved crucial. When the Sandinistas took Managua in July 1979, Anastasio Somoza Debayle fled the country, and Carter recognized the legitimacy of the new Government of National Reconstruction.52

188   Stephen J. C. Andes The initial unity of the Catholic Church in opposition to the Somoza regime splintered relatively quickly after the Sandinistas took power. Two extremes buffeted the attitudes of Catholics toward the revolutionary state. First, priests, sisters, and lay activists participated in the Government of National Reconstruction. Miguel D’Escoto, a Maryknoll priest, was named Foreign Minister. A diocesan priest, Ernesto Cardenal (originally trained as a Trappist), took up a position as Minister of Culture. The Jesuit Xabier Gorostiaga worked in national planning, while another Jesuit, and brother of Ernesto, Fernando Cardenal, became director of the national literacy campaign, and later Minister of Education. Edgard Parrales first served as Minister of Social Welfare, and then was appointed Nicaraguan Ambassador to the Organization of American States. Other priests and lay Catholics took up positions as well, supporting the Sandinistas’ reformist project.53 Second, the Nicaraguan hierarchy gave qualified support for the Sandinistas, but in November 1979 cautioned against the risks and dangers of the revolutionary process, criticized the national literacy campaign as a potential source for the spread of Marxist ideology, and urged the FSLN to build a multi-party and pluralistic political system. Qualified support moved quickly to open opposition. Although priests helped direct many of the Sandinista reform projects, Archbishop Obando y Bravo feared the development of a one-party state, and the implementation of public education, aspects of agrarian reform, and compulsory military service. Many of the native-born diocesan clergy, Protestant evangelical and Pentecostal churches, and communities of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-Day Adventists seconded the hard line of the episcopate, while more liberal Protestant groups, such most of them affiliated with CEPAD, the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua), strongly supported the Sandinistas. Conservative Protestants opposed the Sandinistas on issues of anti-communism, military service, and public education.54 The Maryknoll Sisters decried human rights violations against Nicaraguan people, an activist stance initiated during the Somoza regime, and continued under the Sandinistas.55 By the early 1980s, Catholic participation in counter-revolutionary activities increased, as the Vatican under Pope John Paul II encouraged the Nicaraguan bishops’ opposition to the Sandinistas. Political identities split between those in favor of the Sandinistas, many of whom viewed Christian principles within the reformist projects of the government, and those who opposed the government. Moreover, Archbishop (and later, Cardinal) Obando sought to reign in the radical elements of the Church, placing one parish community under interdict (i.e., a ban on ritual worship, including Holy Communion) for allegedly roughing up a bishop who had gone to remove the Eucharist from a Church occupied by lay Catholic protesters.56 In 1982, John Paul II sent a letter to the Nicaraguan hierarchy supporting their critical posture, and exhorting the faithful against divisiveness and class hatred. A year later, the pope made a brief visit to Nicaragua, where he gave two public homilies, supporting parents’ right to choose how to educate their children, and excoriated the progressive sector of the Church for being too ideological, radical, and out of step with the national bishops. He also publicly chided liberationist priest Ernesto Cardenal to that he “must fix his affairs with the Church;” at a large outdoor Mass later in the visit, Sandinista cadres attempted to drown out the pope with political slogans.

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   189 After Pope John Paul’s visit to Central America, the Vatican ordered that clergy must suspend their priestly duties while served in political offices. Priests who served in the government were allowed to retain their holy orders as long as they did not exercise sacramental duties while in civil service. As the administration of US President Ronald Reagan threw its support behind the coalition of armed counter-revolutionaries, the socalled Contras, Nicaraguan bishops developed contacts with right-wing political groups in the United States. As external enemies to the government grew in strength, the Sandinistas began deporting priests and nuns associated with the opposition in Nicaragua. Yet by the late 1980s, North American and European bishops critical of the Reagan policy of arming the Contras began to exert their influence on the Vatican, resulting in a new effort at detente facilitated by the papal nuncio in Managua. As other Central American leaders called for broad-based talks between all parties, Cardinal Obando was positioned to act as a mediator. In 1990, elections were held favoring the National Opposition Union, and the Sandinistas were voted out of power.57

The Catholic Church between Revolution and Counter-Revolution The typology set out at the beginning of this chapter—conservative, moderate, progressive, radical—enable an appreciation of change and continuity over time. Seemingly, the radical position of some Catholics appeared new: the use of violence in the cause of revolution for the extension of the Christian cause. However, on closer examination, Catholics had used violence for political and religious ends throughout the history of the Latin American Church. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Cristeros in Mexico— conservatives and counter-revolutionaries—used violence waged in a “just war” against an anticlerical revolution. The pendulum swung from conservative radicalism at the beginning of the century, to revolutionary and progressive radicalism at the end of it. What truly appears significant in the relationship between Catholics and revolution after Vatican II was that the vast majority of clergy—bishops included—shifted into more moderate and progressive views toward social change. The conservatism of the post-conciliar Church certainly referenced the same institutional concerns as before, but even for them, the liberationist challenge had forced a reconceptualization of the Church’s mission in the world. The Catholic Church in Latin America in the waning years of the century, and into the next millennium, continued to debate the meaning of the “preferential option for the poor,” often appropriating and diffusing the radical edge of its original intent, yet still moving the Church in a more socially conscious trajectory. A final comment helps bring this last point into focus. When Jorge Mario Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis in March 2013, served as Jesuit provincial in Argentina during the years of the military dictatorship, he was viewed as a theological conservative.58 Unlike many of his Jesuit subordinates, he did not embrace a liberationist perspective. Bergoglio distanced himself from radical activism, and has even been accused of complicity, or at

190   Stephen J. C. Andes least silence, as the military imprisoned and tortured priests under his control.59 Bergoglio flatly denied these accusations in the Argentine press, arguing that he had provided protection for seminarians and priests in the Jesuit residence in Buenos Aires, and worked with the resources and influence at his disposal to calm tensions with government authorities. As Francis conceded, his vision of the Church’s mission during the period was not as radical as many other Jesuits. However, his subsequent biography sheds light on the evolving position of the institutional Church in Latin America.60 First as archbishop of Buenos Aires, then as cardinal, Bergoglio evidenced a concern for social inequality in Argentina, especially as the economy crashed and rampant unemployment racked society after 2001. He reflects the synthesis of Cold War Catholicism: conservative on hot button issues such as gay marriage, abortion, contraception, and a married priesthood, but cognizant of the continuing need for a pastoral renewal focused on bettering the lot of the poor, the unemployed, and the victims of economic globalization. The coming of Latin America’s pope was forged in the region’s violent and bloody twentieth century.

Notes 1. Gerald Segal’s, The World Affairs Companion: The Essential One-Volume Guide to Global Issues (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1991), 233. 2. Residual violence in Colombia continued until 1964; see Marco Palacios, Between Legitimacy and Violence: A History of Colombia, 1875–2002, trans. Richard Stoller (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 136; Michelle Chase, “The Trials: Violence and Justice in the Aftermath of the Cuban Revolution,” in A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America’s Long Cold War, eds. Greg Grandin and Gilbert M. Joseph (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 167; Robert Sierakowski, “Nicaraguan Revolution, 1970s–1980s,” in The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, ed. Immanuel Ness (Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell, 2009); Iain S. Maclean, ed., Reconciliation, Nations and Churches in Latin America (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 7, 11, 14, 17, 23. 3. James  K.  Wellman, Jr., “Religion and Violence: Past, Present, and Future,” in Belief and Bloodshed: Religion and Violence across Time and Tradition, ed. J. K. Wellman Jr. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), 5. 4. John Schwaller, The History of the Catholic Church in Latin America: From Conquest to Revolution and Beyond (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2011), 243–244. 5. María Gabriela Aguirre Cristiani, ¿Una historia compartida? Revolución mexicana y catolicismo social, 1913–1924 (Mexico City: IMDOSOC, 2008), 64–67; Lisa Marie Edwards, “Latin American Seminary Reform: Modernization and the Preservation of the Catholic Church.” The Catholic Historical Review 95, no.2 (April 2009), 261–282. 6. Manuel Ceballos Ramírez, Historia de Rerum Novarum en México (1867–1931), Tomo I: Estudios (Mexico City: IMDOSOC, 2004), 41–61. 7. Randall S. Hanson, “The Day of Ideals:’ Catholic Social Action in the Age of the Mexican Revolution, 1867–1929” (PhD diss., Indiana University-Bloomington, 1994), 133–134, 290–293. 8. Stephen  J.  C.  Andes, “A Catholic Alternative to Revolution: The Survival of Social Catholicism in Postrevolutionary Mexico,” The Americas 68, no.4 (April 2012), 529–562.

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   191 9. Alicia Olivera Sedano, Aspectos del conflicto religioso de 1926 a 1929: sus antecedentes y sus consecuencias (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1966), 48–50. 10. Robert Curley, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Catholics and the Political Sphere in Revolutionary Mexico” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2001), 198–200. 11. Robert E. Quirk, The Mexican Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1910–1929 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1973), 50–55. 12. Alan Knight, “The Mentality and Modus Operandi of Revolutionary Anticlericalism,” in Faith and Impiety in Revolutionary Mexico, ed. Matthew Butler (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 26–29. 13. The best survey in English is still Jean Meyer, The Cristero Rebellion: The Mexican People between Church and State, 1926–1929, trans. Richard Southern (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976). 14. Jennie Purnell, Popular Movements and State Formation in Revolutionary Mexico: The Agraristas and Cristeros of Michoacán (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), 96. 15. Stephen J. C. Andes, The Vatican and Catholic Activism in Mexico and Chile: The Politics of Transnational Catholicism, 1920–1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 87–99. 16. David C. Bailey, ¡Viva Cristo Rey! The Cristero Rebellion and the Church-State Conflict in Mexico (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1974), Chapter 9. 17. Purnell, Popular Movements, 96. 18. Matthew Butler, “Keeping the Faith in Revolutionary Mexico: Clerical and Lay Resistance to Religious Persecution, East Michoacán, 1926–1929,” The Americas 59, no.1 (July 2002), 10. 19. Julio de la Cueva, “Religious Persecution, Anticlerical Tradition and Revolution: On Atrocities against the Clergy during the Spanish Civil War,” Journal of Contemporary History 33, no.3 (1998), 355. 20. Butler, “Keeping the Faith,” 31. 21. Ben Fallaw, Religion and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Mexico (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013), 15–19. 22. Ramón Jrade, “Inquiries into the Cristero Insurrection against the Mexican Revolution,” Latin American Research Review 20, no.2 (1985), 53–69. 23. Jean Meyer, La Cristiada, 3 vols. (Mexico City: Siglo XXI Editores, 1973–1974; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2003). 24. Purnell, Popular Movements, 73–110. 25. Matthew Butler, Popular Piety and Political Identity in Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion: Michoacán, 1927–29 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 2–13, 214. 26. Fallaw, Religion and State Formation, 2, 10–12. 27. Margaret Crahan, “Religion and Revolution: Cuba and Nicaragua,” Wilson Center, Latin American Program Working Papers, no. 174 (1987), 4–5. 28. Margaret Crahan, “Fidel Castro, the Catholic Church and Revolution in Cuba,” in Church and Politics in Latin America, ed. Dermot Keogh (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1990), 256. 29. Ibid., 257. 30. Crahan, “Religion and Revolution,” 9. The education issue was tied to an increasingly racialized discourse of anti-communism among exiles to the United States, as the Cuban government began mandating the forced desegregation of social and educational institutions and clubs; see Devyn Spence Benson, “Owning the Revolution: Race, Revolution, and Politics from Havana to Miami, 1959–1963,” Journal of Transnational American Studies 4, no.2 (2012), 1–30. 31. Crahan, “Fidel Castro,” 253; Crahan, “Religion and Revolution,” 12.

192   Stephen J. C. Andes 32. Crahan, “Fidel Castro,” 258. 33. John  M.  Kirk, “From Counterrevolution to Modus Vivendi: The Church in Cuba, ­1959–1984,” in Cuba: Twenty-Five Years of Revolution, 1959–1984, eds. Sandor Halebsky and John M. Kirk (New York, NY: Praeger, 1985), 93–113. 34. Crahan, “Fidel Castro,” 261–262. 35. Aviva Chomsky, A History of the Cuban Revolution (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 184. 36. Crahan, “Fidel Castro,” 253–257. 37. Ana María Bidegain, “From Catholic Action to Liberation Theology: The Historical Process of the Laity in Latin America in the Twentieth Century,” The Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, Working Paper 48 (November 1985), 1–26. 38. John F. Pollard, “Pius XI’s Promotion of the Italian Model of Catholic Action in the WorldWide Church,” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 63, no.4 (October 2012), 776. 39. Madeleine Adriance, “Opting for the Poor: A Social-Historical Analysis of the Changing Brazilian Catholic Church.” Sociological Analysis 46, no.2 (Summer 1985), 131–146. 4 0. Andes, The Vatican and Catholic Activism, 214–224. 41. Christian Smith, The Emergence of Liberation Theology: Radical Religion and Social Movements (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), Chapter 7. 4 2. Ibid., 19–20. 4 3. Ibid., 176–177. 4 4. Angel  D.  Santiago-Vendrell, Contextual Theology and Revolutionary Transformation in Latin America: The Missiology of M. Richard Shaull (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2010), 85. 4 5. Paul E. Sigmund, Liberation Theology at the Crossroads: Democracy or Revolution? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 31. 4 6. Smith, Emergence, 176–177. 47. Ibid., 116–117. 48. Gustavo Gutiérrez, “Notes for a Theology of Liberation,” Theological Studies 31, no.2 (June 1970), 243–261. 4 9. Smith, Emergence, 25–50; Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation; History, Politics, and Salvation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988 [1971]), 8, 60. 50. On the “waves” of Latin American insurgency, see Timothy P. Wickam-Crowley, Guerrillas and Revolution in Latin America: A Comparative Study of Insurgents and Regimes since 1956 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), especially Chapter 9. 51. Hal Brands, Latin America’s Cold War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), 165. 52. Schwaller, History of the Catholic Church, 254–256. 53. Margaret Crahan, “Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Nicaragua,” in Scott Mainwaring and Alexander Wilde, eds., The Progressive Church in Latin America (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989), 41–63. 54. Phillip  J.  Williams, “The Catholic Church in the Nicaraguan Revolution: Differing Responses and New Challenges,” in Progressive Church in Latin America, eds. Scott Mainwaring and Alexander Wilde (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989), “68–79; Crahan, “Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Nicaragua,” 50–51. 55. Penny Lernoux, Hearts on Fire: The Story of the Maryknoll Sisters (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011), 239. 56. Crahan, “Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Nicaragua,” 49. The Catholic Church holds that the Eucharist, after its sanctification by the priest during Holy Mass, is transformed into the literal body of Christ, and the communion wine likewise is transformed

Catholicism, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution   193 into the blood of Christ. This doctrine (known as “transubstantiation”) is an essential understanding of the mechanism by which grace is imparted to the faithful through Holy Communion. Great care and reverence are shown to the Eucharist after its sanctification, and thus the protest at the church and the physical threat to the bishop represented a serious affront to Catholic worship. 57. Schwaller, History of the Catholic Church, 257–258; Crahan, “Religion and Revolution,” 13–14. 58. Jeffrey Klaiber, SJ, The Jesuits in Latin America, 1549–2000: 450 Years of Inculturation, Defense of Human Rights, and Prophetic Witness (St. Louis, MO: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2009), 298–299. 59. Horacio Verbitsky, El silencio. De Paulo VI a Bergoglio. Las relaciones secretas de la iglesia con la ESMA (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2005), 58–61. 60. Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, El Papa Francisco. Conversaciones con Jorge Bergoglio (Buenos Aires: Ediciones B, 2013).

chapter 11

Bishops, Pr iests, a n d CEL A M Erika Helgen

In their “Message to the Peoples of Latin America,” the Catholic bishops gathered at the 1968 Medellín episcopal conference declared: As Latin Americans, we share the history of our people. The past definitively identifies us as Latin Americans; the present places us in a decisive crossroads, and the future requires of us a creative labor in the process of development.1

This bold statement of their ecclesial identity defined their status as particularly Latin American bishops, with a shared history and common duty to engage and develop their community. In the past, the Latin American Catholic Church had not regarded itself as distinct in identity or mission. The sheer geographical size of the continent, combined with underdeveloped transportation and communication networks, ensured that for centuries Latin America’s clergy had operated in isolation from one another, with little sense of belonging to a broader regional community. In the place of horizontal relationships between clergy and churches, vertical relationships among priests, bishops, and Rome dominated ecclesial life. These norms began to change in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as councils, conferences, and organizational meetings brought bishops and priests together. The intensification of contacts heightened awareness of the uniquely Latin American issues that faced the Catholic Church. This chapter addresses how priests and bishops responded to these issues, and how such responses shaped their own experience, self-image, and mission as ecclesial leaders. The history of the Latin American clergy in the twentieth century consists essentially of two related processes: (1) the development of a uniquely Latin American ecclesial identity, and (2) the evolution of the pastoral role of priests and bishops. This work examines these processes in the context of the shifting social, political, and ecclesial situation of the twentieth century, focusing on the creation of new forms of clerical and episcopal organization, such as the Latin American Episcopal Conference, Consejo

196   Erika Helgen Episcopal Latinoamericano, CELAM], as well as the emergence of new ideas regarding clerical training, pastoral care, and hierarchical obedience. This chapter argues that such developments not only shaped the way in which priests and bishops approached social and political issues, but also affected how they thought about the most basic ecclesiological questions regarding the Catholic Church’s nature and mission. Throughout this period of transformation, Latin American Catholics projected their influence beyond their immediate national and regional churches to shape the future of the universal Church as a whole.

CELAM and the Development of a Latin American Clerical Identity The first attempts to organize the Latin American Catholic clergy as a cohesive group did not originate from the region’s Church leaders themselves, but rather from Rome. The nineteenth century was full of challenges for the Church. Ideas associated with liberalism, secularism, positivism, and atheism threatened the Church’s moral authority, while the rise of liberal state regimes undermined its political strength. The Church saw itself as participating in an epic struggle against the forces of godless disorder that threatened the traditional fabric of society, and believed that its divine duty was to employ all of its energy, strength, and resources in an effort to ward off impending chaos. Priests and bishops, as the direct representatives of Church authority, were the first line of defense.2 However, by the second half of the nineteenth century, Vatican authorities examining the state of the priesthood in Latin America found it woefully unprepared to meet the challenges of the new era. They viewed Latin American priests as backward, uneducated, morally lax, and lacking respect for their hierarchical superiors. The reputation of Latin American priests was so poor that Rome believed that this caused the Church’s other “crisis”: the shortage of priests. As Lisa M. Edwards has noted, the Vatican believed that “if the clergy was not respected, the people would be less likely to follow its moral exhortations, and parents would be less likely to encourage their sons to enter the priesthood.”3 In response, the Church implemented wide-ranging reforms aimed at modernizing and professionalizing the Latin American clergy. Central to these reforms was the curricular overhaul of seminary education with additional courses and lengthened subjects. Using European and North American seminaries as models, Latin American seminary rectors renewed emphasis on clerical discipline, scholastic theological education, language training, and Catholic social doctrine. New seminaries were founded, many which brought together seminarians from disparate dioceses, consolidating seminary education and promoting national unity (and uniformity) amongst Latin American priests. However, the most famous new seminary was not in Latin America, but in Rome. Founded in 1858, this Colegio Pío Latino Americano brought the region’s most promising seminarians together to give them an orthodox, Roman Catholic

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   197 education. Graduates became the bishops, archbishops, and cardinals who would lead the future Latin American Church.4 Seminary reform was one part of a broader project known as “Romanization.”5 In the nineteenth century, as emerging Latin American republics severed official ChurchCrown relationships, ties between Latin American national churches and the Vatican were reinforced. The Holy See used its newfound influence in the region to promote a series of “Romanizing” reforms with two main goals: (1) to strengthen Vatican control over local churches, and (2) to make the Latin American Church more orthodox and modern. This effort was at once an administrative and cultural project, seeking to “purify” Latin American religious culture through the privileging of “universal” (that is, “European”) devotions, liturgical practices, and organizational structures over their national counterparts. Romanized attempts to generate a specifically “Latin American” Church were less about cultivating a Latin American Catholic ecclesial or cultural identity than about bringing the Latin American Church more firmly under Roman influence, both hierarchically and culturally. In this spirit, the Vatican convoked the 1899 Latin American Plenary Council in Rome.6 This first-ever meeting of Latin American bishops represented a key moment in the development of the Latin American Church; for the first time, Latin American bishops came together as a cohesive group, met one another, and saw themselves in regional terms. Yet the most immediate effect was to bring the Latin American bishops closer to Rome, and to ensure that the issues important to the central hierarchy were taken seriously. The next official gathering of the Latin American hierarchy would not take place for another fifty-six years. This time, however, the hierarchy created a lasting institution that had a profound effect on the future of the Latin American Church: the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano, or CELAM. Still, the groundbreaking nature of CELAM was not immediately apparent. When it was founded at a 1955 conference in Rio de Janeiro, the organization seemed as if it would be a mere extension of Romanizing reform projects begun nearly a century before. Vatican officials predetermined the conference agenda, which consisted of age-old issues: the lack of priests and of clerical vocations, the decline in religious piety and fervor, the ignorance and superstitions of the faithful, and the Church’s many historic “enemies,” such as liberals, Masons, Protestants, Spiritists, and atheists. The conference’s concluding document was a bit more forward-looking, giving more attention to “the Social Question” and the role of Catholic social doctrine in addressing the crises brought on by rapid industrialization and urbanization. In a rather unconventional move, the text also spoke of the need to improve, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, the Church’s presence in indigenous communities, in order to ensure that “indigenous persons and possessions be sheltered and protected, always and everywhere.”7 For the most part, however, the conference was a reflection of the Romanizing concerns of the previous century. The bishops emphasized a defensive strategy meant to combat the Church’s competitors, control social tensions, strengthen top-down ecclesiastical hierarchies, and “purify” the faith of a supposedly superstitious and heterodox laity.

198   Erika Helgen Thus, CELAM was originally intended as simply an organizational body to better coordinate and communicate between Latin American church leaders and to achieve the conference’s goals with more precision and efficiency, all while remaining under the watchful eye of the Vatican. In this spirit, the conference endowed the Council with four defined functions: (1) to study the issues facing the Latin American Church; (2) to coordinate the Church’s activities in the region; (3) to promote and aid Catholic charitable organizations; and (4) to prepare future conferences. There was little sense that CELAM would be anything more than a conduit through which Vatican directives and traditionalist reform projects would be implemented in Latin America.8 Nevertheless, the creation of a permanent transnational leadership organization headquartered in Latin America, not Rome, was a deeply significant development. Bishops and priests who were previously organized into individual dioceses and archdioceses, each reporting directly to Rome were now part of a wider regional network that crossed national borders. Similarly, members of religious orders (both male and female) were now part of a transnational organization, the Confederation of Latin American Religious (CLAR), whose creation the Vatican had approved in 1959. The shift had both concrete and intangible consequences. The annual meetings of CELAM and CLAR, as well as the various works of their advisory councils and study commissions, were opportunities for bishops, priests, men and women religious, and theologians to meet one another, exchange ideas, and form new networks of communication. More importantly, clerics, women and men religious, and other laypersons could now begin to view themselves as Latin American ecclesial leaders, with a mission at once common and unique. Yet the creation of a uniquely Latin American ecclesial identity—what Edward Cleary called the “Latinamericanization” of the Church—was not a foregone conclusion.9 Though the structures were in place, the sense of a common unique mission did not exist. This started to grow gradually over the following years, until it was “jolted into existence” by one of the most important events of Catholic history: the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The significance of this historic gathering of prelates is difficult to overstate. Convoked by the newly elected John XXIII (October 1958–June 1963) and held from 1962 to 1965, this Council dramatically changed the Church’s relationship with modern society.10 Catholicism would now embrace the world, reforming itself in order to better interpret and respond to the “signs of the times.”11 These Vatican II reforms were wide-­ ranging as they were game-changing: priests would celebrate Mass in the vernacular, rather than in Latin; the Church would foster respectful and ­collaborative relationships with non-­Catholic churches and secular groups; theologians would abandon purely Thomistic formulaic approaches and promote broader theologies—some that Vatican authorities had previously deemed heterodox. The very nature of the Church would change; from a top-down model that emphasized rigid hierarchies and clerical primacy to a model that saw the Church as a “People of God” and promoted horizontal leadership structures and lay participation. The Church would become a place in which “all are called to sanctity and have received an equal privilege of faith through the justice of God.”12 Of the 2,860 bishops who attended the Council, 601 were from Latin America. During three years of Council sessions, Latin American ecclesial leaders strengthened and

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   199 expanded the connections that had been previously forged at the annual meetings of  CELAM. Under the leadership of Chilean Bishop Manuel Larraín and Brazilian Archbishop Dom Hélder Câmara, Latin American Council participants in Vatican II began to view themselves—and to be viewed by other Council fathers—as a cohesive group.13 While the Latin Americans did not have a decisive impact on the larger Council, they did influence a number of of the Vatican II documents, particularly those that dealt with social justice, such as Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)14 Furthermore, the Council’s support of collegiality—the doctrine that bishops, in communion with the pope, have “supreme and full power over the universal church”—gave episcopal conferences such as CELAM new importance.15 As a result, CELAM was no longer limited to administrative and coordinative responsibilities; instead, it functioned as an authoritative voice on theological, ecclesiastical, and social issues.

“Go to the People”: Social Justice, Human Rights, and the Clergy In 1965, the Vatican II participants returned to Latin America, they were determined to implement the Council’s reforms in their dioceses and parishes. However, as they examined the “signs of the times,” the region’s bishops confronted a reality very different from that encountered by European prelates. The primary challenges for the Catholic Church in Europe were secularization and religious indifference. In Latin America, secularization was of secondary importance; the issues of poverty, economic and social inequality, land concentration, and political repression were more urgent. As Pablo Richard, a Chilean theologian, declared “[i]n Europe, the theological challenge to the Church was the structural atheism of modern society and its proclamation of the death of God. In  Latin America, the theological challenge was exploitation and underdevelopment which was causing the death of the human being.”16 In the decades following Vatican II, the fight against injustice would become one of the chief activities defining clerical identity in Latin America. Before Latin American Catholics could denounce injustice and work towards eradication, they needed to become aware of the injustice itself. Vatican II had encouraged clergy to leave the isolation of the rectory and engage with the modern world. More than mere distributors of sacraments, the priests and bishops were to be authentic pastors, reaching out to their parishioners to serve their spiritual and social needs. But the Romanized seminaries in Latin America were not preparing priests for such work. Instead, these “closed seminaries” cultivated a self-contained culture designed to instill in priests an otherworldly that separated them from the laity. There was little emphasis on pastoral care or social awareness. As Dom Hélder Câmara described it, seminarians lived lives of constant contradiction, “prepar[ing] ourselves to serve the

200   Erika Helgen people by keeping our distance from them for years and years.”17 Such isolationism formed a clergy ill prepared to engage with Latin American society. Yet, the first calls for reform did not come from the Vatican Council fathers or CELAM bishops, but from the seminarians themselves. As Kenneth Serbin has shown, in the latter half of the 1950s—years before Vatican II commenced—seminarians in southern Brazil organized themselves in protest against the isolation and discipline of the “closed seminary.” Using the seminary newspaper, O Seminário, to disseminate their ideas, this reform movement quickly spread throughout the rest of the country. By the 1960s, the seminarians were demanding dramatic changes to seminary life and curricula, as they called for the professionalization of the ministry, the introduction of social sciences into seminary curriculum, and even the end to clerical celibacy. Above all, the seminarians wanted more pastoral training and closer contact with the outside world, especially with the poor. Their movement bore fruit: in 1967, the pioneering Instituto Teológico do Recife (ITER) was founded, which sent seminarians to live “among the people” in pequenas comunidades located in the poorest neighborhoods.18 Just as seminary students had precipitated reform, so too members of the clergy would “go to the people,” long before Vatican II or CELAM endorsed such a plan. After World War II, Latin America experienced the rise of labor unions, peasant leagues, popular fronts, and other organizations rallying for social and economic change, forming a movement in favor of “socialized democracy and democratized socialism.”19 There was a recognition that the ever-increasing inequality between the rich and the poor was a problem that needed to be aggressively addressed. While there was little agreement about the exact nature of needed reforms, it was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the extreme poverty and injustice that surrounded the clergy. Consequently, priests’ relationship with society changed as clerics became involved in emerging community movements. In Paraguay, priests became coordinators of Christian Agrarian Leagues providing economic services, cooperative support, mutual aid, and education to rural communities.20 In Peru, Maryknoll missionaries “turned the image of priests upside down by taking a pro-indigenous approach to mission, [by] initiating a range of sociopolitical programs and acting as models of integrity.”21 In Guatemala, Maryknollers, both male and female, promoted the cursillo movement in which groups of youth, clergy, and religious sisters “would meet to discuss their faith and social justice and would act to promote both.”22 In many cases, programs that ecclesiastical leaders had initially introduced in their dioceses with the hope that they would act as conservative (and even Romanizing) forces eventually evolved into vehicles for progressive change. This was especially evident in the case of Catholic Action (CA), which was present throughout Latin America, and particularly active in Brazil, Guatemala, and Chile. CA began as a top-down effort to create a lay apostolate that would “purify” local religious practices and protect the Catholic faithful from communist and Protestant influences.23 By the 1960s, members of CA, both clerical and lay, utilized this apostolate as an organizing tool to enable young Catholic students and workers to advance social and political change. Using the methodology of “see-judge-act,” which was first pioneered by Belgian priest Joseph Cardijn

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   201 and his Young Christian Workers association (JOC), Latin American Catholics began to move away from earlier charitable and corporatist solutions to Latin American social ills, instead proposing more radical solutions to social questions. In 1968, CELAM held its second general conference in Medellín, Colombia. The fact that many Catholic social movements were well underway before 1968 does not diminish the importance of the Medellín conference. Medellín represented a key moment in the creation of a Latin American ecclesial identity, as it sought to place Vatican II reforms alongside emerging Latin American theological and social innovations, allowing them to illuminate one another. The title of the conference, “The Church in the Present-Day Transformation of Latin America in the Light of the Council,” was indicative of its broader significance.24 For many Latin American Catholics, Vatican II’s reconciliation of the Church with the modern world necessitated denouncing the evils of that world: poverty, inequality, and exploitation. While the term “preferential option for the poor” was not officially used until the 1979 Puebla Conference, one could see such an option present throughout the concluding document of Medellín. Gustavo Gutiérrez, the “father” of Latin American liberation theology, described Medellín’s significance in the following terms: “What is demanded by Medellin is to change the focus of the church—the center of its life and work—and to be present, really present, in the world of the poor—to commit the church to living in the world of the poor.”25 Medellín gave official support to Catholics already involved in social movements, and it inspired others to join existing movements or even to start new ones. For many priests and seminarians, this episcopal gathering represented a turning point in their pastoral journey. Not only did they now have permission to venture more boldly beyond the walls of their seminaries and rectories, but the Church’s new identity as a “Church of the Poor” seemed to demand such actions from its clerics. Medellín also changed the way progressive bishops viewed their role in both secular society and the wider universal Church. For the first time, these leaders saw that their collective statements had a broad impact on Catholic life throughout Latin America. Medellín’s final document was widely distributed throughout national and international communities; base communities discussed the conclusions, priests used it as a model upon which to build parish life, and its progressive spirit spread throughout the region. In the aftermath of the conference, the prophetic role of bishops was heightened, as prelates increasingly used their authority to condemn injustice, corruption, and violence. One of the bishops’ most important undertakings was to denounce human rights abuses committed by Latin American authoritarian regimes. As governments embarked upon increasingly violent campaigns of repression, torture, and counterinsurgency, the Catholic Church was often the only institution that had the resources and independence necessary to publicly contest the authority of dictatorial states. Brazilian bishops were some of the earliest voices speaking out against their country’s military regime; prelates in northeastern Brazil, such as Dom Hélder Câmara, clashed with state authorities from nearly the beginning of the dictatorship. In 1971, São Paulo archbishop Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns published the damning results of an investigation into the regime’s

202   Erika Helgen extensive use of torture. In the years that followed, the Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) would become one of the strongest voices defending human rights.26 In Chile, Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez and the Chilean national bishops’ conference published multiple open letters criticizing the Pinochet regime, while also supporting the creation of the human rights organization known as Vicaría de la Solidaridad.27 As was the case in many places, the Vicaría created in response to regime violence against everyday Chileans, also became a prime target for violence. Nowhere was this pattern of escalating government violence more tragically apparent than in El Salvador, where state-sponsored assassinations and forced disappearances compelled the once-moderate Monseñor Oscar Romero to publicly and passionately defend human rights and social justice, which brought him into direct conflict with the Salvadoran dictatorship and ultimately ended in his assassination. Not all episcopates entered into confrontational relationships with the state. In countries such as Argentina, anti-communist bishops cultivated a closer relationship with the military regime. Furthermore, recent scholarship has demonstrated that even in countries with outspoken anti-regime episcopates like Brazil, both conservative and progressive bishops participated in discussions and negotiations with military regimes in an attempt to reduce state-sponsored violence and torture.28 Bishops’ conferences not only significantly impacted national events, but also influenced the development of the universal Catholic Church as a whole. One of the first and most famous documents issued after Medellín was the Peruvian bishops’ “Justice in the World,” published on the eve of the world synod of bishops in 1971. The missive used unequivocal and bold language to support liberation theology and progressive social policies, declaring: [T]o construct a just society in Latin America and Peru is to be liberated from the present situation of dependency, oppression, and plunder in which the great majority of our people live. On the one hand, liberation implies the rupture with all that keeps persons from self-fulfillment, as an individual and in community; on the other hand, it means the construction of a new society which is more human and fraternal.29

In addition to making concrete “requests for government action,” the document also addressed itself to the world synod of bishops to call upon the universal Church to condemn injustice throughout the world. Accordingly, when the synod met in Rome in November 1971, the contribution of the Latin American bishops played a decisive role in shaping the tone of the conference. The final document reproduced both the spirit and many of the concrete reforms put forth in the Peruvian bishops’ preparatory document, which used liberationist language and imagery, giving unqualified support to the Church’s involvement in social justice movements. “Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel or, in other words, of the church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.30

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   203 Observers such as Alfred Hennelly could not help but note the “astonishing” t­ ransformation that had taken place since Vatican II; just a few years after being a marginal and largely overlooked presence at the Council, the Latin American Church was now a “confident and outspoken” force on the international Catholic stage.31 And while not all Latin American bishops’ conferences were as progressive as the Peruvian conference—some, such as the Colombian and Argentine conferences, were decidedly conservative and anti-liberationist—the progressive conferences would have the greatest impact on the international Church in the ensuing decades, and would come to represent the uniquely “Latin American model” for ecclesial and social reform.

The Clergy and the “Church of the People”: Toward a New Ecclesiology The role of bishops and priests in the social and political sphere was not the only element of clerical life that changed in the post-Medellín era. In a process that was in some ways even more conflictive than the Church’s encounter with Latin American social movements, the role of priests and bishops within the Church began to evolve. One of the most significant consequences of the Second Vatican Council was the shift that occurred in Catholic ecclesiology. Ecclesiology deals with questions of a seemingly intangible nature. Who is the Church? Where is the Church? What does it mean to be Church?32 These broad questions are fundamental to the Church’s very existence and, more importantly, are the true determinants of the worldly manifestation and mission of the Church. The answers to these ecclesiological questions determine the answers to another set of questions that are more concretely related to the Church’s worldly presence: How should the Church be structured? How is ecclesiastical authority exercised? What are the roles of bishops, priests, and the laity? At Vatican II, a dramatic shift in ecclesiological thinking took place. Instead of a Church whose identity was rooted in its institutional structures, with power concentrated in the pope, bishops, and priests, the Church rooted itself in the image of the “People of God” whose presence was found in the wider Catholic ecclesial community. This broader sense of the Church implied a more horizontal authority structure that emphasized participation and dialogue over subordination and obedience. Latin American Catholics not only embraced the idea of the Church as the People of God, they expanded upon it and, most importantly, put forth a concrete example of what such a Church could and should look like in the post–Vatican II world. Liberation theologians and progressive Catholics began to advocate for a “popular Church” or a “Church of the People,” which drew its wisdom, theology, mission, and authority from everyday lay Catholic men and women, the majority of whom were poor and oppressed.33 Theologians such as Leonardo Boff spoke of the creation of the popular Church as the “natural end” of the process begun at Vatican II, that is, the moment when the

204   Erika Helgen “hierarchology” that had pervaded Catholic identity for centuries was replaced by a more authentic expression of the Christian experience.34 While theologians developed the theoretical ecclesiological framework for the Church of the People of God, parish priests, in their pastoral and community work, provided the practical foundation upon which this vision of the Church could be built. One of the most direct manifestations of the popular Church’s vision were the Comunidades Eclesiales de Base (CEBs). Base communities were small groups of Catholic individuals and families that met once or twice a week to “hear the word of God . . . , share their comments on biblical passages, create their own prayers, and decide as a group what their tasks should be.”35 On the surface, groups of Catholics gathering to pray and reflect on the Bible were not performing an inherently radical act. However, base communities were far from the image of the passive, obedient, clergy-oriented organization that their description initially evoked. Instead, they were communities in which theological creativity, ecclesial autonomy, and lay leadership were meant to flourish. Their objective was to empower poor and marginalized Catholics, who society had traditionally deemed “insignificant,” “nameless,” and “irrelevant,” to be leaders of the Church, steering it toward the path of justice.36 Priests were supposed to listen to and learn from their poor parishioners, rather than give directives and demand obedience. This viewpoint, inspired by the popular pedagogical methodology of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire pervaded all CEB activities.37 For example, when the group studied the gospel message of the weekly Mass, group members would often propose their own exegeses of the Bible passages, relating the biblical stories to their personal lives and struggles. Progressive theologians and priests believed that the poor had a special knowledge—perhaps even a special purity (often expressed in the form of “simplicity”)— that made them uniquely qualified as moral and spiritual leaders. According to Nicaraguan priest Ernesto Cardenal, one of the pioneers and strongest supporters of popular theologizing, “the commentaries of the campesinos are usually of greater profundity than that of many theologians, but of a simplicity like that of the Gospel itself.” He went on to declare: “This is not surprising: the Gospel, or ‘Good News’ (to the poor), was written for them, and by people like them.”38 Rather than disqualify poor and marginalized individuals from contributing to the Church’s teaching office, poverty singularly endowed these Catholics with a privileged perspective from which to interpret the gospel message. Theology was not the only sphere in which priests ceded space to lay people. As priests became increasingly committed to building a popular Church, lay people in base communities began to take positions of administrative, pastoral, and even sacramental authority, performing tasks usually reserved for ordained clergy. Accordingly, the lay coordenador/a or animador/a of a CEB led celebrations of the Word, organized catechesis, visited the sick, and directed Bible studies.39 Theologians such as Leonardo Boff even suggested that, in addition to baptisms and marriages, coordenadores could also lead celebrations of the “Lord’s Supper,” which were ceremonies that closely resembled the Catholic Mass, complete with the distribution of bread and wine.40

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   205 Although a priest or female religious might “start” a base community and be the initial impetus for its activities, a layperson would often “take over” the leadership by becoming the official coordenador/a or animador/a through democratic election. The democratic nature of base communities was fundamental; their “leitmotif ” was making all decisions through “votes, elections, [and] acclamations.”41 For liberationists, a clear contrast was created between base communities, in which everyone had an equal voice and decisions were made from below; and the hierarchical Church institution, in which laypersons were subordinate to the hierarchy and all decisions were imposed from above. Consequently, the role of the priest changed dramatically as barriers between clergy and laity eroded and weakened the clerical identity so painstakingly cultivated by the “closed seminaries” of the past century. This breakdown of the otherworldly clerical identity was not limited to Latin America; this post–Vatican II phenomenon occurred throughout the Catholic world. However, the Latin American experience demonstrated in unequivocal terms that this breakdown was not a mere “side effect” of the cultural forces unleashed by Vatican II, but rather part of a conscious movement on the part of both Latin American laypersons and priests to address injustice and inequality within the Church. Therefore, the evolution of clerical identity was neither passive in nature nor narrow in scope. Ultimately, priests sought to modify their positions, and the positions of their lay parishioners vis-à-vis the ecclesiastical hierarchy. As Carlos Mesters, a Dutch Carmelite who worked in base communities in Brazil, declared: The base communities represent a process that is developing in the direction of a new Church. Therefore, they should be identified as true Church, since they live in horizontal communion with one another, forming a renewal that calls into question the so-called vertical communion, in which the ecclesial base does not participate. As something new that arises, the people perceive the Ecclesial Base Communities [CEBs] as the “Church of the Gospel” in opposition to the “Church of Tradition.”42

Toward this end, theologians began to view base communities as a model upon which to a build a new version of the Church, in which vertical authority structures gave way to collective decision-making. This potentially radical project posed a direct threat to the conservative Catholic hierarchy. If the new model were to prevail the pope—along with his appointed cardinals and bishops—would no longer be the sole determiners of the Church’s theology, direction, and mission; the Catholic community as a whole, ­organized into and represented by base communities, would now have an authoritative voice. Not all base communities adhered to this ecclesiological vision; nor did all CEBs encourage popular exegesis, lay leadership, or other activities commonly associated with the popular Church. As many scholars have shown, some base communities could be vertically organized, dependent upon hierarchical structures, and representative of only a small sector of the local Church.43 Additionally, some priests saw base communities as little more than vehicles to more effectively organize and control their parishes, and many did not agree that their parishioners possessed theological, pastoral, or sacramental authority on a par with their own. Even in those base communities that did promote

206   Erika Helgen the popular Church model, members did not necessarily see themselves as creating new ecclesiological standards; even fewer viewed their communities as opposing the “official” hierarchical Church. However, this did not diminish the significance of the vision of the popular Church for the Latin American Church and, as time passed, for the universal Church as a whole. The horizontal ecclesiology manifested in base communities changed the ways Latin American priests interacted with their parishioners, as well as struck at the heart of a debate that was consuming the universal Church. In the years following the Second Vatican Council, so-called progressive and conservative theologians and clergy engaged in a struggle over the interpretation and implementation of the ideas expressed in the Council’s final documents. Progressives believed that the Council was more than the sum of its documents; they contended that there was a “spirit of Vatican II” that would continue to propel the Church toward further and more radical reforms, such as the democratic election of priests and bishops, an end to the absolute authority of the Magisterium, and more aggressive ecumenical initiatives.44 In the past, such discussions took place amongst European and North American theologians alone, and Latin Americans were expected to “import” their conclusions. However, by the 1970s, Latin American Catholics had reversed the traditional flow of Church knowledge and practice, and the former “peripheries” of the majority would become the new centers of theological and pastoral innovations that would now be imported by Europe and the United States. Latin American liberationists such as Gustavo Gutiérrez, Leonardo Boff, Jon Sobrino, and Enrique Dussel began to contribute to the main European progressive theological journals such as Concilium, and their thinking moved the discussions in new, and often more radical, directions.45 On a more fundamental level, the Latin American Church as a whole was becoming the model upon which Latin American and North American progressives constructed their ideal. European theologians such as Edward Schillebeeckx began to promote a “theology of basic communities” inspired by Latin American CEBs.46 North American priests such as Father Leo Mahon undertook “reverse missions” in which they introduced ideas and pastoral practices from Latin America to their home parishes in the United States.47 The center of post–Vatican II Catholicism was no longer in Europe, North America, or even Rome—it was in Latin America.

From Puebla to Santo Domingo: Conflict, Restoration, and the Clergy Yet, while the image of the Latin American Church being projected around the world was that of the progressive Iglesia popular, within Latin America itself there was great conflict over the Church’s mission and nature. Not all Catholics agreed with the direction the Latin American Church was taking. Almost immediately following the 1968

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   207 Medellín conference, bishops who opposed the shift toward progressivism embarked on a campaign to reign in the liberationist reforms. A key turning point occurred in 1972, when conservative Archbishop Alfonso López Trujillo was elected secretary general of CELAM. The Colombian archbishop became the leader of the conservative opposition to liberation theology, and CELAM soon established itself as a strong defender of traditionalist ecclesiology and pastoral work. The role of the priest and his relationship with both the laity and his hierarchical superiors was of particular concern to conservatives. Throughout the 1970s, CELAM affiliates published articles and books criticizing progressive priests’ involvement in “Marxist” social movements, organized conferences promoting traditionalist pastoral roles, and brought together conservative theologians to form “Theological-Pastoral Reflection Teams” that condemned, among other things, base communities that fomented “tensions in relation to the hierarchy.”48 In this conflictive atmosphere, CELAM organized the 1979 Puebla Conference. Conservative Catholics viewed the conference as an opportunity to reverse the “excesses” of the previous decade, while liberationists saw it as a stage upon which to defend their ideas and projects, and perhaps even advance them. It was a “drama-filled” episcopal conference. Conflicts erupted before the conference even began. The conference’s preparatory document, written under the direction of López Trujillo, was so controversially conservative that the text had to be thrown out entirely and replaced by a new and more moderate document. National bishops’ conferences prepared their own position papers, which were dissected and analyzed by Catholic observers, eager to see which “side” they supported. Most notably, conference organizers sparked an uproar when they failed to appoint liberationist theologians as participants to the conference. This last act backfired in a spectacular fashion, as the excluded theologians traveled to Puebla and created a makeshift liberationist “headquarters” at a hotel located just a few blocks from the conference seminary. From there, they served as unofficial advisors to progressive bishops, holding late-night meetings in which the theologians critiqued and rewrote conference documents.49 They also spoke at daily press conferences, providing real-time commentary of conference events for the nearly 2,200 journalists in attendance. These press events directly challenged the views being expressed in the official CELAM press conferences, led by CELAM spokesperson Monsignor Darío Castrellón, a Colombian cardinal who later, under Pope John Paul II, became the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. The tension between the two groups was palpable and public. As a result, it is not difficult to understand why liberation theologians later referred to the conference as “the Battle of Puebla”—an exaggeration, to be sure, but nevertheless reflective of the conflictive atmosphere that pervaded Puebla and, more generally, the post-Medellín Church.50 Yet while the much-hyped “battle” between Latin American progressives and conservatives consumed the attention of the international media—and even the theologians and ecclesial leaders themselves—a quieter presence was making itself felt at Puebla. The Vatican had always been involved in CELAM affairs, but the extent to which Rome influenced the workings of the Puebla conference and exerted its authority over participants was truly impressive. Sebastiano Baggio, the Vatican’s prefect of the Congregation

208   Erika Helgen of Bishops, was co-president of the conference, alongside Archbishop López Trujillo and Dom Aloísio Lorscheider, and many believed that he “dominated the [presidential] troika.”51 Rome appointed Vatican representatives in nearly every Working Commission (the groups responsible for the writing of the texts that would eventually form part of the Final Document), and even put two or three representatives on Commissions that dealt with “hot-button” subjects, such as ecclesial base communities.52 This did not go unnoticed by conference participants. One bishop went so far as to publicly denounce the heavy-handed Vatican intervention in a press conference, and to declare that the “intense pressure on behalf of the members of the Roman Curia and even an overbearing treatment on their part” had stifled discussion and intimidated conference participants.53 However, the Vatican official with the most influence over the conference proceedings was neither Sebastiano Baggio nor any of the Working Commission representatives, but rather the recently elected Pope John Paul II. Puebla marked the first international trip of his papacy, and progressives and conservatives alike believed that it would be the moment in which he would give his “verdict” on liberation theology and the progressive Latin American Church. The address the Pope gave at the opening of the conference thus had a profound influence on the tone and scope of the Puebla proceedings. The Pontiff ’s speech was divided into three sections, each of which described a unique role of Catholic bishops: (1) “Teachers of the Truth”; (2) “Signs and Builders of Unity”; and (3) “Defenders and Promoters of Human Dignity.” The first two sections, as the titles suggest, were traditionalist interpretations of episcopal power. They stated that bishops, as part of the Magisterium (in communion with the pope), were the sole sources of biblical and theological authority, and that “an attitude of mistrust fostered toward the ‘institutional’ or ‘official’ Church” was undermining the Church’s unity.54 The third part, however, struck a different tone. In it, Pope John Paul II declared that “an indispensable part of [the Church’s] evangelizing mission is made up of works on behalf of justice and human promotion,” denounced the “massive increase in violations of human rights,” and in one of the most quoted phrases of the inaugural address, stated that “there is a social mortgage on all private property.”55 This did not mean that the pope supported the entire sociopolitical program of liberationists: he was quick to condemn Catholic activists’ “recourse to ideological systems”; he insisted that the bishops needed to broaden (and some would say, dilute) the idea of liberation by promoting a more general “liberation from sin.”56 Overall, the speech was representative of what Penny Lernoux called the pope’s “populist integralist” character: he showed a personal sympathy for the poor and offered qualified support for social justice movements, while at the same time demanding strict hierarchical obedience and doctrinal orthodoxy.57 The most immediate effects of the pope’s speech were seen in the outcome of the Puebla conference: while the conference famously called for a “preferential option for the poor”—a phrase that would become a watchword for universal Church as a whole—and committed itself to promoting social justice and supporting base communities, the conference also condemned those who would “turn [Christ] into a politician, a leader, a revolutionary, or a simple prophet” and lamented how the idea of the popular Church “suggests a division within the bosom of

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   209 the Church and seems to imply an unacceptable denial of the hierarchy’s function.”58 At the end of the day, there were no clear winners in the “battle of Puebla”—except, perhaps, the Vatican. The dynamics present at Puebla would shape the following decade. Progressive Catholics continued to press forward in their efforts to renew both Church and society, making especially radical advances on the ecclesiological front. In 1981, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff published Church, Charism and Power, which attacked the absolute authority of the pope and Magisterium, and advocated for lay leadership and administration of sacraments. At the same time, three Nicaraguan priests were defying the authority of their archbishop and pope by remaining in the Sandinista government after being expressly ordered to step down from their posts. The Vatican, for its part, increased its pressure on the Latin American Church, particularly in matters of hierarchical authority. In 1983, John Paul II made a dramatic and conflict-ridden trip to Central America, in which he publicly scolded the disobedience of one of the Nicaraguan Sandinista minister-priests, Ernesto Cardenal, and condemned the “dangerous and absurd” Iglesia popular.59 The following two years saw the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s publication of the highly critical “Instruction on Certain Aspects of the ‘Theology of Liberation,’ ” as well as its silencing of Leonardo Boff. Yet in the end, it was the Vatican’s episcopal appointments that would have the longestlasting impact on the Latin American Church. Throughout his pontificate, the Pope consistently appointed conservative bishops who shared his sociopolitical and ecclesiological views.60 John Paul II’s appointments not only transformed the makeup of CELAM and the national bishops’ conferences, but also had practical consequences for the day-today workings of parishes, base communities, seminaries, and Catholic social initiatives. One of the most dramatic examples of these consequences was seen in the Brazilian archdiocese of Olinda and Recife, which was led by the progressive pioneer Dom Hélder Câmara until his retirement in 1985. Dom Helder’s successor, the conservative Dom José Cardoso Sobrinho, spent much of his tenure dismantling the programs put in place by his predecessor and making the archdiocese an inhospitable place for progressive Catholics. Within just five years, he closed the groundbreaking ITER seminary, broke ties between the archdiocese and the Catholic Church’s Commission of Justice and Peace, and shuttered the archdiocese’s human rights office.61 The most immediate results of the Vatican “restoration,” as it was called by many, could be seen in the fourth conference of CELAM, held in Santo Domingo in 1992 to mark the five hundredth anniversary of “Christian evangelization in the Americas.” For progressive Catholics, if Medellín and Puebla were “a leap forward” and a “dainty step forward,” respectively, then, in the words of Alfred Hennelly, Santo Domingo would have to be thought of as “a shaky step into the future.”62 Scholars such as João Batista Libânio called it a definitive “rupture” with the ideals of Medellín, as it abandoned the see-judge-act methodology and folded the option for the poor into a broader “evangelizing option” that stepped away from its earlier sociopolitical connotations.63 Liberationist Catholics attributed the conservative spirit of the

210   Erika Helgen document to the “clear imposition of the Vatican over the conference”—in many ways, Santo Domingo was the culmination of a decade of increasing Vatican control over the Latin American Church.64 Yet, on a more general level, one might note that while the “Vatican offensive” in Latin America certainly had a profound effect on the fate of the Church, it was not the sole driver of change. Latin America was entering a new era, with new social, political, and ecclesial realities. As many scholars argued, the return to democracy, the increase in religious pluralism and the rise of Protestant (particularly Pentecostal) churches, the onset of popular disillusionment with the modernist project, and the progressive Church’s own failures to respond to shifting popular needs all profoundly changed the way the Church viewed its role in society.65 That being said, the way the Church hierarchy responded to these new realities—adopting a defensive position and emphasizing moral issues over prophetic social leadership—was undoubtedly shaped by the increasingly conservative perspective of its highest episcopal leaders.

Conclusion: Aparecida and Beyond If CELAM conferences and official Church policies are used as the sole markers of the Latin American Church’s nature and mission, then seemingly the contemporary Church had moved away from earlier paths of renewal and innovation, turning inward to focus on issues of doctrine, orthodoxy, and internal Church authority. An examination of the 2007 CELAM conference in Aparecida offers hope for a more open dialogue surrounding the role of Catholicism in addressing the inequalities of the modern world, but, as Daniel Levine argues, it also depicts a Church overcome with “a pervasive fear of change and loss of control.”66 While the Aparecida conference was more inclusive and ideologically balanced than the Santo Domingo meeting, the final document was heavily concerned with combating the many forces that threatened the Church’s moral authority in the region: Protestantism, secularization, urbanization, “cultural disintegration,” global media, and “ideologies of gender,” to name just a few.67 However, if we follow the lead of Jan Hoffman French and view the reforms of the past half-century not as a concrete set of theologies, organizations, and institutions, but rather as a “flexible project implemented by successive generations of priests, nuns [and other religious] and bishops,” our view of their impact on the present-day Church changes.68 In her analysis of rural clergy in the Brazilian rural Northeast, Hoffman French demonstrates that, while the official Church may have changed its attitudes and language, priests are still committed to their roles as pastors who live among their parishioners and try to serve their needs in the best way possible. Even under the authority of a conservative bishop, Catholic leaders are able to support their communities in their struggles for land rights and cultural advancement, and to create new structures that are more appropriate for the time and place in which they find themselves. Other scholars have pointed to more general “legacies” of the twentieth-century reforms. Anthropologists such as John Burdick have highlighted the Church’s involvement in the

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   211 Black Pastoral and its continuing support for land reform movements such as the Movimento Sem Terra (MST) as evidence of their lasting influence.69 The most dramatic legacy, however, may turn out to be the 2013 election of Pope Francis. The fact that an Argentine prelate who was an avowed opponent of liberationist theology can be the twenty-first-century advocate of a more open and compassionate “Church for the Poor” demonstrates the extent to which key elements of the liberationist message have come to pervade the Latin American hierarchy—and now, the world Church.70 In the first seven months of his papacy alone, the pope expressed his preference for viewing the Church as a “People of God,” declared that the role of bishops is “to serve, not to dominate,” demanded that pastors “go out through [the] door to seek and meet the people,” denounced the developing world’s mistreatment of immigrants, and criticized Catholics who “insist on issues only related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive measures.”71 Even Leonardo Boff, whose persecution by Rome and subsequent departure from the priesthood were deemed one of the clearest examples of the “death” of liberation theology, has seen in Pope Francis a “new direction” for the Church. “With [Pope Francis’s] experience as a pastor, with a new view of things from below, he will be able to reform the Curia, decentralize the administration, and give the Church a new credible face.”72

Notes 1. The Second General Conference of Latin American Bishops, “The Church in the PresentDay Transformation of Latin America in the Light of the Council” in Liberation Theology: A Documentary History, ed. Alfred T. Hennelly, 89–119 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990), 90. 2. For more on the Catholic Church in the nineteenth century, see Austin Ivereigh, ed., The Politics of Religion in an Age of Revival: Studies in Nineteenth-Century Europe and Latin America (London: Institute of Latin American Studies, 2000). 3. Lisa Edwards, “Latin American Seminary Reform: Modernization and the Preservation of the Latin American Church,” The Catholic Historical Review 95.2 (April 2009): ­261–282, 264. 4. Edwards, “Latin American Seminary Reform.” For the Colegio Pío Latino Americano, see: Edwards, Roman Virtues: The Education of the Latin American Clergy in Rome, 1858–1962 (New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2011). 5. For more on the Romanization process in Latin America, see Kees de Groot, Brazilian Catholicism and the Ultramontane Reform, 1850–1930; Kenneth Serbin, Needs of the Heart, 54–109; Manuel A. Vásquez, The Brazilian Popular Church and the Crisis of Modernity, 104; Jeffrey Klaiber, The Catholic Church in Peru, 1825–1985, 45–47; Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens, The Maryknoll Catholic Mission in Peru, 1943–1989, 5–13; Edward Wright-Ríos, Revolutions in Mexican Catholicism, 43–72. 6. For a more detailed description of council preparations and proceedings, see Anton Pazos and Diego Piccardo, El concilio plenario de América Latina: Roma 1899 (Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2002). 7. Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano, Primera conferencia general del episcopado latinoamericano: documento conclusivo, 89(a). The Rio conference and its conclusions are ­analyzed in João Batista Libânio, Conferências gerais do episcopado latino-americano (São Paulo: Paulus, 2007).

212   Erika Helgen 8. François Houtart, “L’histoire du CELAM ou l’oubli des origines,” Archives de sciences sociales des religions 62, no.1 (July–September 1986), 93–105, 95. 9. Edward L. Cleary, Crisis and Change: The Church in Latin America Today (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1985), 22. 10. The literature on the Second Vatican Council is extensive; some of the best overviews are: Giuseppe Alberigo, A Brief History of Vatican II, trans. Matthew Sherry (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006); Giuseppe Alberigo, Jean-Pierre Jossua, and Joseph Komonchak, The Reception of Vatican II, trans. Matthew J. O’Connell (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1987); John O’Malley, What Happened at Vatican II? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008); Raymond F. Bulman and Frederick J. Parrella, eds., From Trent to Vatican II: Historical and Theological Investigations (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006). 11. Gaudium et Spes n.4. 12. Lumen Gentium n.32. 13. The influential role of Bishop Manuel Larraín and Dom Hélder Câmara has been recorded by a number of scholars, including Cleary, Crisis and Change, 20; Enrique Dussel, The History of the Church in Latin America: Colonialism to Liberation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981), 140; and Penny Lernoux, Cry of the People (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1980), 32–33. 14. Houtart, “L’histoire du CELAM,” 100. 15. Lumen Gentium n.22. On the role of collegiality in Vatican II and its importance for Latin American bishops, see Melissa J. Wilde, “How Culture Mattered at Vatican II: Collegiality Trumps Authority in the Council’s Social Movement Organizations,” American Sociological Review 69, no.4 (2004), 576–602. 16. Pablo Richard, quoted in Liberation Theology: A Documentary History, ed. Alfred Hennelly (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 199) 40. Emphasis in original. 17. Quoted in Serbin, Needs of the Heart, 107. 18. Ibid., 144–180; for more on ITER, see 248–291. 19. Greg Grandin, The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America and the Cold War (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 6. 20. Margaret Hebblewaithe, “How Base Communities Started: Paraguay’s Christian Agrarian Societies,” in Unfinished Journey: The Church 40 Years after Vatican II, ed. Austen Ivereigh (London: Continuum, 2003), 240–256. 21. Fitzpatrick-Behrens, The Maryknoll Catholic Mission in Peru, 1943–1989, 81. 22. Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens, “From Symbols of the Sacred to Symbols of Subversion to Simply Obscure: Maryknoll Women Religious in Guatemala, 1953–1967,” The Americas 61, no.2 (October 2004), 189–216, 208. 23. For more on Catholic Action, see, María Luisa Aspe Armell, La formación social y política de los católicos mexicanos: la Acción Católica Mexicana y la Unión Nacional de Estudiantes Católicos, 1929–1958 (México D.F.: Universidad Iberoamericana, 2008); Marina Bandeira, A Igreja católica na virada da questão social (1930–1964): anotações para uma história da Igreja no Brasil (Petrópolis: Editora Vozes, 2000); Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens, “Maryknoll Sisters, Faith, Healing, and the Maya Construction of Catholic Communities in Guatemala,” Latin American Research Review 44.3 (2009): 27–49; Luiz Alberto Gómez de Souza, A JUC, os estudantes e a política (Petrópolis: Vozes, 1984). For Catholic Action in the United States, see Jeremy Bonner et al., eds, Empowering the People of God: Catholic Action Before and After Vatican II (New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2014).

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   213 24. Second General Conference of Latin American Bishops, “The Church in the Present-Day Transformation of Latin America in the Light of the Council,” 89–119. 25. Gustavo Gutiérrez, “Church of the Poor,” in Born of the Poor: The Latin American Church since Medellín, ed. Edward L. Cleary (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990), 18. Emphasis in original. 26. Thomas Bruneau, The Political Transformation of the Brazilian Catholic Church (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974), and Scott Mainwaring, The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil, 1916–1985 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986). 27. Brian H. Smith, The Catholic Church and Politics in Chile: Challenges to Modern Catholicism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982). 2 8. Kenneth Serbin, Secret Dialogues: Church-State Relations, Torture, and Social Justice in Authoritarian Brazil (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000). 29. Bishops of Peru, “Justice in the World,” in Liberation Theology: A Documentary History, ed. Alfred Hennelly, 125–136 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990), 127–128. 30. Synod of Bishops, “Justice in the World,” in Liberation Theology: A Documentary History, ed. Alfred Hennelly, 137–142 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990), 138. 31. Bishops of Peru, “Justice in the World,” 125. 32. For a more detailed discussion of the meaning of “being church” in Latin America, see Daniel H. Levine, Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), 146–148. 33. For more extensive examinations of the popular Church, see Vásquez, The Brazilian Popular Church and the Crisis of Modernity; Daniel H. Levine, “Colombia: The Institutional Church and the Popular,” in Religion and Political Conflict in Latin America, ed. Daniel H. Levine, 187–217 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1984); David Lehmann, Democracy and Development in Latin America: Economics, Politics and Religion in the Postwar Period (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990). 34. Leonardo Boff, “Las eclesiologías presentes en las comunidades eclesiales de base,” Páginas 5–6 (1976), 16–23, 19–20. 35. Leonardo Boff, Church, Charism and Power: Liberation Theology and the Institutional Church (London: SCM Press Ltd, 1985), 125–126. 36. The relationship between poverty and social disempowerment is discussed in Gutiérrez, “Church of the Poor,” 16. 37. Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, trans. Myra Bergman Ramos (New York, NY: Continuum, 2000). 38. Ernesto Cardenal, The Gospel in Solentiname, trans. Donald D. Walsh (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1982), vii. Emphasis in original. 39. See Carlos Zarco Mera, “The Ministry of Coordinators in the Popular Christian Community,” Concilium 176, no.6 (1984), 65–70; Pedro Gilberto Gomes, “A autoconsciência eclesial do leigo nas CEBs,” Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira 43, no.171 (1983), 513–532. 40. Leonardo Boff, Ecclesiogenesis: the Base Communities Reinvent the Church, trans. Robert R. Barr (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1986), 62. 41. Antônio da Silva Pereira, “Participação dos fiéis nas decisões da Igreja (I),” Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira 41, no.163 (1981), 443–473, 447. 42. Carlos Mesters, “Logros alcanzados y problemas relevantes que deben enfrentarse,” Páginas 5–6 (1976), 24–27, 24. Emphasis in original. 43. David Lehmann, Struggle for the Spirit: Religious Transformation and Popular Culture in Brazil and Latin America (Oxford: Polity Press, 1996); John Burdick, Looking for God in

214   Erika Helgen Brazil: the Progressive Catholic Church in Urban Brazil’s Religious Arena (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993); Malik Tahar Chaouch, “La teología de la liberación en América Latina: una relectura sociológica,” Revista Mexicana de Sociología 69, no.3 (July–September 2007), 427–456. 44. These ideas were discussed in issues of Concilium such as Edward Schillebeeckx, “The Christian Community and its Office-Bearers,” Concilium 133 (1980), 95–127. For background on the post-Vatican II struggle between progressive and conservative theologians and its relation to Latin American liberation theology, see Ralph Della Cava, “Vatican Policy, 1978–1990: An Updated Overview,” Social Research 59, no.1 (1992), 169–199; and Harvey Cox, The Silencing of Leonardo Boff: The Vatican and the Future of World Christianity (London: Collins Religious Publishing, 1989). 45. For a small selection, see Gustavo Gutiérrez, “The Poor in the Church,” Concilium 104 (1977): 11–16; Leonardo Boff, “Is the distinction between Ecclesia docens and Ecclesia discens justified?,” Concilium 148 (1981), 47–51; Jon Sobrino, “A Crucified People’s Faith in the Son of God,” Concilium 153 (1982), 23–28; Enrique Dussel, “Exodus as a Paradigm in Liberation Theology,” Concilium 189 (1987), 83–92. 46. Edward Schillebeeckx, “The Teaching Authority of All—A Reflection about the Structure of the New Testament,” Concililum 4, no.180 (1985), 12–22, 20. 47. Robert Pelton, From Power to Communion: Toward a New Way of Being Church Based on the Latin American Experience (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), 65–66. 48. Alfonso López Trujillo, Liberación marxista y liberación cristiana (Madrid: Editorial Católica, 1974); Equipo de Reflexión Teológico-Pastoral del CELAM, “Las comunidades eclesiales de base en América Latina,” in Documentos CELAM, ed. CELAM (Bogotá: Oficina de Prensa y Publicaciones del CELAM, 1977), 2. 49. Many chronicles and “eyewitness accounts” of Puebla were published in the immediate aftermath of the conference. See: Bernardino Hernando, Los pasillos de Puebla (Madrid: PPC, 1979); Frei Betto, 17 días de la iglesia latinoamericana (México D.F.: Centro de Reflexión Teológica, 1979); Teófilo Cabestrero, Los teólogos en Puebla (Madrid: PPC, 1979); Harvey Cox, “A Puebla Diary,” Commonweal (March 1979), 141–145; Enrique Dussel and Felipe Espinosa, “Puebla: Crónica e historia,” Cristus (1979), 520–521; Gary MacEoin and Nivita Riley, Puebla: A Church Being Born (New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1980); Phillip Berryman, “What Happened at Puebla,” in Churches and Politics in Latin America, Daniel  H.  Levine, ed, 55–86 (London: Sage Publications, 1979); Alberto Methol Ferré, Puebla: proceso y tensiones (Buenos Aires: Editorial Documenta, 1979). 50. Juan Ignacio González Faus, ed., La batalla de Puebla (Barcelona: Editorial Laia, 1980). 51. Gary MacEoin, “The Stakes at CELAM III: competing ecclesiologies in Latin America,” Commonweal (August 1978): 495–498, 496. Although there were four members of the Puebla presidency, the “troika” to which the author was referring included the three most influential members of the Presidency: Archbishop López Trujillo, Cardinal Lorscheider and Cardinal Baggio. The fourth member, Archbishop Corripio Ahumada, was appointed for ceremonial reasons, due to his status as the (former) Archbishop of Puebla. For this reason, his presence was usually not taken into account by observers analyzing the power structure of the presidency. 52. Boaventura Kloppenburg, “Génesis del documento de Puebla,” Medellín 5, nos.17–18 (March–June 1979), 189–207, 194–197.

Bishops, Priests, and CELAM   215 53. Hernando, Los pasillos de Puebla, 94. 54. Pope John Paul II, “Opening Address at Puebla,” in Puebla: Evangelization at Present and in the Future of Latin America: Conclusions, ed. National Conference of Catholic Bishops (Washington, DC: National Conference of Catholic Bishops), I, 8. 55. Ibid., III, 2; III, 5; III, 4. Emphasis in original. 56. Ibid., I, 8. 57. Penny Lernoux, People of God: the Struggle for World Catholicism (New York, NY: Viking, 1989), 35. 58. Third General Conference of Latin American Bishops, Puebla: Evangelization at Present and in the Future of Latin America: Official English Edition (Washington, DC: National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1980), no. 1134, no. 263. 59. Pedro Ribeiro de Oliveira, “O Papa na Nicarágua: uma análise dos acontecimentos,” Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira 43, no.169 (1983), 5–9; Penny Lernoux, People of God, 58–62. 60. Ralph Della Cava, “The ‘People’s Church,’ the Vatican, and Abertura,” in Democratizing Brazil: Problems of Transition and Consolidation, ed. Alfred Stepan (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1989). 61. James Brooke, “Two Archbishops, Old and New, Symbolize Conflict in the Brazilian Church,” The New York Times, November 12, 1989, A14; “Roma fecha Seminários em Recife,” Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira 49, no.196 (1989), 964–966. 62. Alfred  T.  Hennelly, “A Report from the Conference,” in Santo Domingo and Beyond: Documents and Commentaries from the Fourth General Conference of Latin American Bishops, ed. Alfred T. Hennelly, 24–36 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993), 24. 6 3. Libânio, Conferências gerais do episcopado latino-americano, 32. 64. Jon Sobrino, “The Winds in Santo Domingo and the Evangelization of Culture,” in Santo Domingo and Beyond: Documents and Commentaries from the Fourth General Conference of Latin American Bishops, ed. Alfred T. Hennelly, 167–187 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993), 170. 6 5. Vásquez, The Brazilian Popular Church and the Crisis of Modernity; Daniel  H.  Levine, Politics, Religion and Society in Latin America (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2012); Edward  L.  Cleary and Hannah Stewart-Gambino, Conflict and Competition: The Latin American Church in a Changing Environment (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1992); John Burdick, Looking for God in Brazil. 6 6. Levine, Politics, Religion and Society in Latin America, 26. 67. Levine, “The Future as Seen from Aparecida,” in Aparecida: Quo Vadis?, Robert S. Pelton, ed., 173–190 (Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press, 2008). 68. Jan Hoffman French, “A Tale of Two Priests and Two Struggles: Liberation Theology from Dictatorship to Democracy in the Brazilian Northeast,” The Americas 63, no.3 (January 2007), 409–443, 413. 6 9. John Burdick, Legacies of Liberation: the Progressive Catholic Church in Brazil (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2004). 70. Robert  W.  McElroy, “A Church for the Poor: Pope Francis Makes Addressing Poverty Essential,” America, October 21, 2013, 13–16. 7 1. Antonio Spadaro, “A Big Heart Open to God,” America, September 30, 2013, 15–38, 18; Joshua  J.  McElwee, “Pope Francis: A bishop serves, not dominates,” National Catholic Reporter, October 24, 2013,; John Allen, Jr., “Francis blasts ‘­globalization of indifference’

216   Erika Helgen for immigrants,” National Catholic Reporter, July 8, 2013, ncr-today/francis-blasts-globalization-indifference-immigrants. 72. Quoted in Thomas C. Fox, “Leonardo Boff: major Pope Francis supporter,” National Catholic Reporter, March 16, 2013,

chapter 12

Acti v ist Chr isti a ns, the H um a n R ights Mov em en t, a n d Democr atiz ation i n L ati n A m er ica Nick Rowell

Introduction Human rights activism with ties to Christianity became a socially organized and politically robust force from the late 1960s until the 1980s. This was in no small measure because prominent religious leaders and activists founded and led many of the region’s earliest human rights organizations. Since the 1980s, religious-based human rights activism has undergone a number of significant changes. Christian human rights activists now operate alongside secular human rights organizations, largely democratic institutions, and within a much more pluralistic religious environment. Before discussing the literature on Christian activism in Latin America’s human rights movement, a few definitions and related conceptual distinctions are necessary. The first pertains to the era of activism discussed in this chapter. A long but uneven ­tradition exists in Latin America of Christian activists who draw on religious notions of human dignity to challenge prevailing socio-political institutions. However, this chapter will focus on the role of Christianity in the human rights movement in Latin America in the post-1964 period. This period follows Vatican II reforms in the Catholic Church, which shifted theological attention toward the modern world, including modern social problems. In various segments of the Catholic Church, these reforms also eroded some of the paternalistic attitudes associated with earlier forms of Christian human rights advocacy.1

218   Nick Rowell The 1960s also roughly coincide with the earliest years of accelerated growth of evangelical Protestant churches in the region, which in subsequent decades would transform the environment in which religious leaders, religious adherents, and Christian activists would operate.2 Finally, 1964 marks the rise of Latin America’s first bureaucratic authoritarian regime in Brazil in late March of that same year, followed by over a decade of democratic breakdowns and periods of intensive human rights abuses.3 The second conceptual distinction pertains to defining “grassroots activism” in the context of Latin American Catholicism. Typically, to speak of grassroots activism implies an emphasis on participatory, “bottom-up” organization. However, to be a Catholic grassroots organization is minimally tacit acceptance of the proposition that various levels of the Church’s hierarchical structure (e.g., local, national, regional) possess some moral authority. While the contours of this shared authority may be disputed and are continually renegotiated, even so at times fundamental aspects of Catholic activism rely on cooperation with or appeal to upper echelons of the hierarchy, including priests, bishops, cardinals, and the pope. When activist lay people work alongside clergy who hold power in the institutional Church, the resulting power asymmetry raises important questions about whether or not such activism can be correctly labeled grassroots. Catholic lay people who organize themselves are undoubtedly grassroots. The same is true for organizations in which clerics participate as members or passive advisors. However, where clergy play leadership roles in organizations, the distinction is blurred because organizations’ tactics, goals, and priorities may be subsumed by Catholic orthodoxy or strategic considerations that emanate from elsewhere in the Church hierarchy. Despite this, deacons, priests, and bishops have led and participated in activism that challenges the state over policies that erode religious notions of human dignity by engaging directly with victims and those sympathetic to their ordeal. This work will confine itself to scholarship describing this form of human rights activism. Organizations or activity that primarily pursue corporatist, elite collusion or participate in conventional modes of partisan competition as a means of achieving political objectives will be excluded. Thus, human rights offices overseen by bishops are included, but secret, pro-human rights negotiations between bishops and military leaders are not.4 Likewise, contentious activism calling for more equitable distribution of land is included, but pro-Chavismo sentiment among Venezuelan evangelicals is not.5 Third, in the context of Latin America, human rights is best defined broadly, including popular demands for what some have termed the expansion of “social rights” within a democratic, capitalist society.6 The basis for most religious advocacy for human rights, such as rights to life, freedom of conscience, various civil liberties, and so on stems from valuing fundamental human dignity over alternative priorities articulated by the state.7 This frame has been used to encompass a broad array of issues. Even during the precedent-setting ecumenical response to human rights abuses in Chile (discussed later in the chapter), the earliest human rights organization not only collected information about political prisoners, disappearances, and other rights abuses, but also provided legal assistance, medical care, food, and other basic social services to students, families

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   219 of victims of repression, and the unemployed.8 Thus, conventional human rights movements that documented state-sanctioned violence against civilians included organizations that called on the state to take action on major social problems. In the political environments that followed transitions to democracy (often accompanied by neoliberal austerity measures and structural adjustment programs), this broad frame became even more relevant. Today, Christian activists engaged in movements that call for greater attention to the urban poor, street children, indigenous groups, unequal land distribution, women’s rights, and gang violence, among other issues, continue the work of organizations that explicitly adopted the rhetoric of human rights in previous decades. Finally, though mentioned explicitly where possible in the following, the last decade of scholarship on religious politics in Latin America has highlighted the importance of acknowledging and studying the internal pluralism among and within religious traditions.9 In other words, adherence to a religious group that teaches a specific theology does not by itself translate into specific beliefs or actions. Thus, recent scholarship has begun to break down overgeneralizations and binary stereotypes about the political attitudes or political engagement of evangelicals, Catholics, or other groups. For example, whereas some evangelical leaders sought close ties with the authoritarian Pinochet regime in Chile, other evangelical leaders have founded strongly progressive movements to confront racism in Brazil.10 Catholic activists, who display remarkable progressivism with respect to poverty, might also display a lack of interest in issues such as violence against women.11

Growth of Christian Activism in Latin America Catholic human rights activism in Latin America grew out of organizational experiments that first appeared in the early twentieth century and doctrinal changes in the Church that occurred before and after Vatican II (1962–1965). Early in the twentieth century, the Catholic Church launched Catholic Action, which initiated new forms of  associational life among Catholic laity. A few commonly noted examples include Catholic women’s organizations, student organizations, class conciliatory trade unions, and peasant organizations. Catholic Action organizations remained under the control of clergy, and by extension, Catholic bishops. Although membership in these organizations began to decline by the 1950s, they were crucial formative experiences for future leaders of many social movements. Daniel  H.  Levine suggests that Catholic Action’s decline is at least partially attributable to basic conflicts that arose between members seeking organizational autonomy and clergy seeking to maintain their control. Levine further suggests that in places like Peru and Brazil, Catholic Action tended to persist longer where clergy granted some level of autonomy.12 Mainwaring’s seminal study of

220   Nick Rowell the Catholic Church in Brazil (1986) supports this observation, as does the experience of Guatemala’s strong Catholic Action movement in rural areas.13 During the 1960s, progressive papal encyclicals and Vatican II reforms shifted attention within segments of the institutional Church toward more direct engagement with social problems and a larger role for the laity within the Church. In the Latin American episcopacy, these changes culminated in CELAM’s Medellín (1968) and Puebla (1979) conferences, which issued statements calling for an end to “institutional violence” and recommending that the Church adopt a “preferential option for the poor.”14 This doctrinal shift opened a new space within the Church for the creation of institutions and popular organizations with new political priorities. In some national contexts, this space was filled with robust new forms of associational life, but in countries such as Argentina and Colombia traditional patterns of organization persisted.15 New, social rights–oriented institutions created under the sponsorship and direct authority of the institutional Church included organizations like Brazil’s Pastoral Land Commission, Indigenous Missionary Council, and Peace and Justice Commission, which were devoted to studying and addressing social problems associated with marginalized communities. Peace and Justice Commissions, which specifically worked on human rights–related issues, were created in other countries during the 1960s and 1970s as well.16 Meanwhile, clergy-led political organizations were increasingly replaced by organizations led by the laity. Key examples of such activism included the creation of peasant unions, rural cooperatives, and early experiments in popular education.17 The 1970s saw the rise of ecclesial base communities (CEBs, comunidades eclesiales de base), which brought together small groups of Catholics to reflect on scripture. CEBs varied widely in their composition and orientation toward political activism. Many were interested only in devotional activity, and many others were political but generally conservative. However, those CEBs that were both politically active and progressive formed the basis of activism tied to the Church throughout the 1970s and 1980s.18 The timing and the political orientation of the Catholic Church’s new political ­postures, institutions, and networks of grassroots activists set the stage for conflict with authoritarian regimes. As authoritarian regimes seized power and initiated waves of repression targeting progressive activists, the Church sometimes was pulled into a conflict over human rights.19

Authoritarian Period The 1964 military coup in Brazil marked the beginning of a new type of authoritarianism in Latin America. The rise of Brazil’s post-coup bureaucratic authoritarian regime presaged the emergence of similar regimes in Argentina in 1966 (and again in 1976), and Chile and Uruguay in 1973.20 These regimes systematically dissolved and repressed democratic institutions and representative channels through the restriction of basic civil rights and liberties and the intimidation or outright closure of legislatures, political

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   221 parties, labor unions, and the press. Targeting activists from the left in particular, authoritarian regimes systematically committed human rights abuse, including murder, kidnapping, torture, and forced exile.21 Among the most notorious examples was the wave of state repression carried out in Argentina between 1976 and 1983, when, security forces murdered or disappeared between 20,000 and 30,000 people, held 30,000 political prisoners, and forced 500,000 people into exile. In neighboring Chile, between 1973 and 1989, security forces murdered or disappeared between 3,000 and 5,000 people, held 60,000 political prisoners, and forced 40,000 people into exile.22 During this period, various other authoritarian regimes often justified repression and broad restrictions on basic political rights with continual references to national security threats posed by real or imagined subversive political activists. In El Salvador, for example, during the civil war between the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the state (1979–1992), of the 22,000 reports of violence, kidnapping, and torture collected by the UN Truth Commission, 95 percent were carried out by state security forces rather than the FMLN.23 In this environment, religious organizations, especially segments of the Catholic Church, played crucial roles in the earliest phases of developing the broader human rights movement. Though theoretical interpretations of the emergence of social movements vary, the most influential perspective remains political process theory.24 Political process theory explains the emergence of social movements through four key processes: (1) the emergence of “political opportunity” in which activists perceive mobilization to be both possible and potentially effective; (2) “mobilizing structures,” or existing networks and sources of material support that facilitate the mobilization of activists; (3) “framing processes,” or the imagination of a conceptual lens through which activists understand and communicate the significance of their movement’s actions and goals; and (4) “repertoires of contention,” the typical public manifestations of the movement such as demonstrations, marches, strikes, and so on. Christian organizations played a central role in providing, sustaining, and shaping these processes as the human rights movement emerged in response to waves of repression.25 In many highly repressive environments, the Catholic Church was the only segment of civil society that was allowed to continue operating with relative autonomy. Where Church leaders saw human rights as an issue worthy of Church involvement, this autonomy created a small but ultimately important political opportunity. Christian activists assumed important early leadership roles in the human rights movement because preexisting religious networks in which they were already embedded afforded them access to mobilizing structures. In many cases, Church leaders themselves assumed early leadership roles in the human rights movement. Óscar Romero in El Salvador, Raúl Silva Henríquez in Chile, and Dom Hélder Câmara and Dom Paulo Arns in Brazil are perhaps the most prominent examples. From leadership positions, such activist figures could draw on existing networks of support to create new organizations, begin gathering information, and devise political strategies. Óscar Romero, for example, engaged in an active dialogue with the progressive academic clergy of the University of Central America (UCA) about

222   Nick Rowell the sociopolitical role of the Catholic Church and Catholic clergy. Though Romero was initially hesitant to involve the Church in political conflicts, this dialogue continued as Romero’s perspective on his own involvement in human rights advocacy evolved throughout the late 1970s. Moreover, Romero’s involvement with UCA faculty helped maintain a space in El Salvador’s Church for their academic work on the region’s oppressive political and economic structures. The same UCA faculty would go on to play a formative role in the development of liberation theology.26 Even where Church leaders did not assume leadership roles, the provision of basic mobilizing structures controlled by the Church, such as meeting places, information, and transportation, was a tremendous boon to early organizers. Critical cases of such support tend to be centered in specific Catholic dioceses or archdioceses under the authority of a sympathetic bishop or cardinal: Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez in the archdiocese of Santiago, Chile; Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns in the archdiocese of São Paulo; Archbishop Hélder Câmara in the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife in Brazil’s Northeast; Archbishops Oscar Romero and Arturo Rivera Damas in the archdiocese of San Salvador in El Salvador; and (after 1984) Archbishop Próspero Penados in Guatemala City and Guatemalan bishop Juan Gerardi.27 Both Oscar Romero and Juan Gerardi were later murdered by right-wing forces for the leadership roles they played in documenting and publicizing human rights abuses in El Salvador and Guatemala, respectively. Among the best comparative accounts of the importance of the role of the Catholic Church in this regard is the work of Mara Loveman.28 Observing that “early risers” in human rights movements engaged in particularly high-risk forms of collective action, Loveman argues that only those human rights organizations under the protective umbrella of a larger organization were sustainable. Loveman highlights the Catholic Church in Chile as a clear example. Despite this, Catholic activists became victims of state repression in every national context. Thus, Loveman’s concept of a protective umbrella is relative to the intensity of repression at the time. As Loveman and others have pointed out, support from Catholic bishops was far from a universal phenomenon. In Argentina, for example, human rights activists who sought Church support were rebuffed. The result was that the earliest human rights activism began under the auspices of other organizations. Human rights activism initiated by the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo was joined by Adolfo Perez Esquivel’s SERPAJ-AL, the Argentine chapter of an international organization with ties to the Quakers. Esquivel and others created the Ecumenical Human Rights movement shortly thereafter.29 The involvement of Catholic bishops in the human rights movement varied both within and across national boundaries. Explaining this variance has engendered a substantial amount of research. Brian Smith has argued that repression specifically targeting the Church motivated different political commitments.30 Scott Mainwaring argues that the experience of bishops working in particularly impoverished regions made them more or less sympathetic to political activists who fell victim to repression, thereby motivating public condemnation of repression.31 Anthony Gill argues that ­competition from evangelical Protestants drove bishops to take more overtly

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   223 ­ ro-democracy/anti-authoritarian stances in an effort to more effectively appeal to p potential adherents and those contemplating a departure from the Church.32 Benjamin Goldfrank and I contend that histories of close Church-state ties impeded independent ideological evolution of bishops’ conferences and created material disincentives to denounce authoritarian regimes.33 Though less prominent than Catholic activism, Protestant activist involvement in the  human rights movement in Latin America was important.34 Beyond relatively local support, the position of both Catholic and main-line Protestant churches in the international community provided critical mobilizing structures by securing international resources and support. International religious networks included universities, religious orders, Vatican diplomatic channels, and the Protestant World Council of Churches.35 Even in Argentina, where Catholic leaders generally avoided participation in the human rights movement, grassroots Catholic activists drew on linkages within the ecumenical networks to lobby the Carter administration to take a tougher line on the Argentine junta’s deplorable human rights record.36 The international network of Protestant churches played a significant role in efforts to lobby Washington about human rights abuses in Latin America as well. Keck and Sikkink point to Joe Eldridge, a Methodist missionary living in Chile during and after the coup, as one high-profile example of the importance of Protestant and ecumenical networks.37 Upon his return to the United States, Eldridge and other activists (some religious, some secular) helped found the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), which began lobbying the US government to respond to human rights abuses in the region. In 1974, the Methodist Church even offered to pay Eldridge’s salary as director of WOLA.38 Missionary activists from the Presbyterian Church also played critical roles in this international network.39 Key figures include Jaime Wright and Charles Harper, Presbyterian ministers who, during the 1970s and 1980s, played leadership roles in coordinating international human rights advocacy among the World Council of Churches, Amnesty International, and various organizations in Brazil. Wright’s close collaboration with Catholic Archbishop Paulo Evaristo Arns produced some of the earliest documentation of not only victims of state-sanctioned violence in Argentina and Brazil, but also individuals accused of carrying out torture. Another major contribution of the involvement of Christian activists in human rights struggles involved framing. Bureaucratic authoritarian regimes tended to justify their seizure of power and subsequent repressive measures as efforts to save “Western Christian civilization.” Where Christian activists became involved in struggles to defend human rights, Christian activists, and religious leaders in particular, were well positioned to frame their opposition in terms of moral authority. This role has been emphasized by Pamela Lowden in Chile and Amy Edmonds in Uruguay.40 Edward Cleary and Daniel Levine have also suggested a relationship between this moral authority frame and the emergence of a repertoire of contention that emphasized nonviolence.41 Christian human rights activism in Pinochet-era Chile is particularly well documented and occupies a prominent place in the literature.42 A number of factors contribute

224   Nick Rowell to its status. First, Keck and Sikkink’s seminal study on the emergence of transnational social movements regards the 1973 coup in Chile as a “watershed moment” in the development of the international human rights movement in Latin America.43 In addition, after a few months of cautious silence, the Chilean Catholic Church’s condemnation of human rights abuses was much clearer and more forceful than other more ambiguous responses in the region.44 Furthermore, Chilean religious activists’ ­organizational response to rights abuses, especially after 1974, set a precedent for human rights activism under authoritarian rule that was later imitated as a “model” for other human rights organizations in the region.45 Within three weeks of the coup, a number of Chilean religious leaders drew on preexisting relationships to form COPACHI (Committee for Cooperation and Peace in Chile), an ecumenical organization that included Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish participants and provided assistance to victims of government repression and their families. Over roughly the next year and a half, repression targeting COPACHI activists gradually increased until Pinochet launched a sustained public attack on the organization. As 1975 came to a close, COPACHI dissolved and was replaced by two leading organizations. Under the auspices of Cardinal Silva and the direct leadership of Father Christian Precht, the Catholic Church launched the Vicariate of Solidarity, which documented allegations of human rights abuses and gathered evidence against the regime. At the same time, a coalition of Protestant groups formed FASIC (Foundation for Social Help of the Christian Churches), which offered social services to victims of torture and political prisoners. After 1978, new human rights organizations began to appear. These tended to be secular, but still drew on Christian activists, including priests. With the retirement of Cardinal Silva in 1982, the institutional leadership of the Catholic Church shifted its focus from explicit work on human rights to facilitating negotiations, first between ­centrist and leftist opposition to the Pinochet regime, and later between the opposition and Pinochet himself. These negotiations ultimately resulted in the formation of Concertación and the 1988 plebiscite on Pinochet’s rule.46

Transitions and the Consolidation of Democracy Between 1979 and 1990, twelve authoritarian regimes in Latin America held democratic elections marking transitions to democratic regimes. These elections represented significant turning points in terms of respect for basic human rights, but after these transitions the socioeconomic environment was still characterized by high levels of poverty, inequality, uneven development, and criminal violence. Similarly, challenges associated with the rule of law, including corruption, impunity, and criminal and state-sanctioned violence, remained persistent features of the region’s political environment. State-led

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   225 attempts to rein in these problems were generally curtailed by neoliberal economic policies that, among other features, relied on structural adjustments that exacerbated unemployment in the short term and tight spending constraints that curtailed social assistance programs. Thus, just as new political space opened up, the ability of civil society organizations and other representative institutions to make demands of the state was reduced to what O’Donnell terms “low intensity citizenship.”47 In the post-transition political arena, Christian activists faced additional new challenges. The region’s transitions facilitated a rise in political pluralism. Social activists no longer needed the protection of the Catholic Church, and alternative sources of mobilizing structures were growing. A multiplicity of civil society organizations, political parties, and various other forms of associational life gradually presented new opportunities for activists. Some of these new vehicles for political activism created opportunities for collaboration with Christian activists, while others offered competing worldviews. As a result, some activists moved from religious organizations to ­secular ones. Furthermore, the institutional Church withdrew support from many human rights organizations it had supported during the authoritarian period. For example, The Vicariate of Solidarity in Chile was closed in 1992. The Church-run Tutela Legal, El Salvador’s most intrepid and respected human rights organization during the years of the civil war, was closed by order of the Archdiocese without warning in 2013. Staff arrived in the morning to find the doors padlocked and guarded by private security, leaving many concerned about the ultimate fate of the records held by the office. Other organizations saw a sharp decline in funding from international sources. Among the most frequently observed trends associated with the transition was the decline of progressive and liberationist CEBs that often formed the basis of grassroots activism in the 1970s and 1980s. This decline has been attributed to a number of interrelated and reinforcing causes. Pope John Paul II, who ascended to the papacy in 1978, systematically appointed conservative bishops, which eroded institutional support for politically progressive Catholic activism and worked in a number of other ways to rein in (and in some cases silence) activist clergy and liberation theologians.48 Others have emphasized the effect of the new strategic environment in which Church leaders abandoned their support for mobilization of adherents through CEBs, instead seeking rapprochement with the state and more successful, less overtly political, forms of evangelization, such as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.49 These changes were reflected in the documents produced by bishops at the major CELAM conferences of the 1990s and 2000s. Unlike the explicitly political output of the Medellín (1968) and Puebla (1979) conferences, documents produced at the Santo Domingo (1992) and Aparecida (2007) conferences emphasized the importance of the Church’s social mission in terms of spiritual evangelization, rather than confrontational political action.50 At lower levels of the Church’s hierarchy, Ottman argues that progressive activism became institutionalized within segments of the progressive Church and therefore dependent on continued clerical support. The result was a gradual delegitimization of Church-based popular movements.51 Perhaps as a culmination of these changes, others

226   Nick Rowell emphasize the departure of Catholic activists from Church-affiliated institutions to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or secular social movements outside of Church control.52 The net result in many contexts is an increase in proportion of new priests who are drawn to the spiritual and devotional aspects of clerical life rather than the Church’s social mission. In Chile, for example, Hannah Stewart-Gambino finds that activist priests of the 1980s have been replaced by a generation more interested in attending to matters such as declining mass attendance and repairing neglected parish infrastructure.53 While CEBs have declined in number and influence, Christian activism has not disappeared with the transition to democracy. Rather, Christian activism related to human rights advocacy has evolved in ways that have both shaped and responded to the challenges of democratic consolidation. Three sometimes overlapping frameworks describing this evolution have arisen in the literature: Catholic episcopacy-led efforts to position the Church “above” politics and isolate activists; religious origins of important secular social movement organizations (SMOs); and Christian activists’ contribution to social capital. Many scholars assess the role of Christian activism in the post-transition environment by tracing Catholic-initiated efforts to demobilize Catholic activists so that the Church might secure a position “above politics.” Where Catholic episcopacies achieved such neutral status, Church leaders were sometimes able to moderate or facilitate negotiations that brought an end to periods of conflict or violence that produced horrific human rights abuses. In some cases, these negotiations helped bring about the transition to democracy itself, as in Chile, or the resolution of more communal-level conflicts, as in the Dominican Republic.54 In other cases, negotiations helped end civil wars, as in El Salvador.55 Most recently, Catholic bishops played significant (if not leading) roles in negotiating truces between warring transnational gangs, substantially reducing homicide rates in El Salvador and Honduras.56 However, in some cases achieving a position “above politics” meant distancing the Church from its “preferential option for the poor” and revoking institutional support for human-rights oriented social movements. Such was the case in El Salvador under the leadership of the once-outspoken progressive Archbishop of San Salvador, Arturo Rivera Damas.57 In an alternative framework, several scholars have argued that important secular social movements in contemporary Latin America can be traced, in part, to work performed by Catholic activists in earlier decades. While related to the social capital approach discussed in the following, this emphasis on direct organizational lineage is more closely associated with political process theory’s focus on SMOs’ responses to political opportunities. Though it is impossible to summarize all such studies and cases, three noteworthy examples illustrate this line of research. Arguably the most well-known example of an important, contemporary, secular SMO with roots in Catholic activism is Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST). The MST, a peasant movement that uses encampments to occupy unused land and gain ownership via state intervention, began in the 1970s. Today, it is arguably one of Latin

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   227 America’s largest and most important social movements, having secured land for millions of families.58 The MST’s origins were encouraged and facilitated by support from the Brazilian Catholic Church’s Pastoral Land Commission (CPT). The CPT provided critical information, telephones (scarce in rural Brazil at the time), access to some international funding, and meeting places during the movement’s earliest occupations. In addition to these mobilizing resources, the CPT helped early MST participants frame their struggle in religious terms that drew on the story of Moses and the people of Israel’s search for the Promised Land. However, since the mid-1980s, the MST has insisted on autonomy from the Church, and many leaders have adopted a MarxistLeninist ideology that severs ideational ties with the progressive Church.59 Another important line of research traces some segments of contemporary indigenous movements to organizing work performed by Catholic activists in earlier decades.60 For example, Carmen Martinez Novo traces the role of progressive Salesian missions in raising consciousness and organizing indigenous communities in rural Ecuador.61 Since the 1960s and 1970s, Martinez Novo explains, this Catholic Order has worked on rural development projects in indigenous areas. As a means to that end, Salesians intentionally sought to build and reinforce a sense of indigenous identity through the creation of schools, self-sufficient development projects, and the creation of other organizations. Since the creation of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) in 1986 and the indigenous uprising of 1990, Ecuador’s indigenous movement has operated independently of the Catholic Church. Today, Ecuador’s indigenous movement remains perhaps the most important, organized, anti-neoliberal constituency. Guillermo Trejo observes a similar pattern in the origins of the indigenous movement in Mexico.62 Trejo, however, problematizes subnational variation in Catholic support for the formation of indigenous identity. Using subnational data, Trejo argues that variable support for the creation of indigenous movements was caused by subnational variation in the religious competition faced by the Catholic Church. Where more competition from competing faiths existed, the Church was more willing to embrace and encourage indigenous organizing.63 Indeed, many trace the emergence of the EZLN (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) in Chiapas to Catholic and Protestant organizing efforts, especially the Indigenous Congress of 1974.64 Since at least the 1994 uprising, however, the EZLN has remained autonomous from Christian organizations. Finally, some scholars trace the spread of segments of the contemporary women’s movement in Latin America to international networks of activists that frame their activism in religious terms.65 Most prominent among these is Catholics for a Free Choice (CFC), an international advocacy NGO unaffiliated with the institutional Catholic Church. Based in North America, CFC supported the creation of Latin American chapters by local activists beginning in the late 1980s. The first chapter appeared in Montevideo in 1989, followed by others in the 1990s, in Argentina, Brazil, and elsewhere. Since that time, the CFC has come to play an important role in terms of

228   Nick Rowell providing information and support to women alongside other organizations in the reproductive rights movement.66 Though the emergence of this activist network represents an important development, its influence in the region is constrained. Access to abortion on request in the first trimester in Latin America is only legal in Uruguay (since 2012), Mexico City (since 2007), and Cuba (since 1965). Meanwhile in Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, abortion remains illegal even after women are raped or when their lives are at risk. In general, public opinion remains largely opposed to broad legalization, though there is greater tolerance for the legalization of abortion in cases of rape and various health concerns.67 Consequently, in the 1990s and 2000s, Catholics for Choice and their allies in reproductive rights movements tended to focus their efforts on decriminalizing abortion in cases of women who were raped or whose lives were in danger.68 This activism provoked widespread condemnation from the institutional church and a counter-mobilization by an international network of the religious right.69 The influence of this movement has varied. In Chile and Argentina, for example, policy stalemates continue despite a long series of left/center-left governments and multiple presidential terms carried out by women presidents who have sought reform. In these contexts, Catholics for Choice has often maintained an important and consistent ­organizational presence, but has struggled to mobilize supporters effectively and win attention from the media.70 Meanwhile, in Brazil, though debates about abortion still trigger sharp criticism from the institutional church, figures such as Catholic nun Ivone Gebara’s public calls for the legalization of abortion, Catholic activist Frei Betto’s discussions of legalizing abortion as a means to protect the lives of women, and Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns’s defense of the rights of women who have been raped to seek emergency medical attention to “prevent” pregnancy, have opened more space for prochoice voices that frame their positions in religious terms.71 At a broader theoretical level, Carol Drogus and Hannah Stewart-Gambino offer an especially compelling explanation for why legacies of Catholic activism have declined in some places and grown in others.72 While the Church was involved in serious human rights activism in the 1970s and 1980s in both Chile and Brazil, over the last few decades, Catholic activism in general appears to have declined in Chile, but not in Brazil. Drogus and Stewart-Gambino argue that in Chile, Catholic activists during the authoritarian period received significant material and moral support from the institutional Church. Upon the transition to democracy, this support was withdrawn, and Catholic activism entered a period of decline. Meanwhile in Brazil, where in previous decades the institutional Church tolerated but provided less support to Catholic activists, those activists had to develop strategies that relied on support from other places. Consequently in Brazil, Catholic activists tended to be more open to alliances with other organizations, a strategy that has allowed Catholic activism to persist during the period of democratic consolidation. Contributors to this literature would do well to investigate this thesis in additional cases, such as Catholic activism in El Salvador, which has experienced a trajectory similar to that of Chile.

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   229 The final post-transition framework focuses on Christian activist, organizing, advocacy, or social work and the effects of these efforts on cultural change within democratization. This framework points to religious organizations’ ability to help generate social capital amidst the social dislocations of contemporary Latin American politics and society.73 This framework asserts that religious organizations are capable of building associational life, engendering a sense of empowerment among adherents, and contributing to a worldview in which increased interpersonal trust facilitates commitments to positive social change. Rubin, Smilde, and Junge emphasize the importance of religion in contemporary Latin American “zones of crisis.”74 In these zones, religion and social movements interact to shape everyday life, beliefs, and the cultural framework in which social and political struggles are understood by marginalized communities. Levine emphasizes the value of this approach as well, though he cautions that religious organizations display a mixed record in their capacity to build social capital. As Levine puts it, in the religious arena, “[c]reative innovation and heroic commitment to mobilization are often accompanied by affirmation of routine and by an insistence on control that stifle autonomy and hinder the emergence of new leaders.”75 Two notable recent examples of this work are Robert Brenneman’s work on religious responses to gang violence in Central America and Kevin O’Neill’s recent work on gang ministries in Guatemala.76 Brenneman observes that recently, gang members who wish to leave gangs are often allowed to do so when evangelical households take them in. Though evangelicals engaging in such work do not articulate it as human rights activism, Brenneman argues that their work creates opportunities for reintegration into society that otherwise would not exist, particularly in the era of mano dura antigang policies.77 In essence, Brenneman argues, evangelicals participating in this movement use Christianity to create a safe space. Though operating at the communal level, the use of religion to create safe spaces harkens back to Church sponsorship of early human rights activists under authoritarian regimes. Kevin O’Neill’s work on gang ministry grapples with a similar set of observations. Broadly, O’Neill’s work describes how the day-to-day practices of evangelicals shape adherents’ understanding of the practice and obligations of citizenship. More specifically, O’Neill probes how the practice of evangelization of gang members shapes perceptions about the potential for rehabilitation, and thus the citizenship rights of gang members. In turn, as conversion makes it possible for gang members to end their affiliation, Central American states have begun to court the services of evangelical ministers.78 Another notable example of the social capital approach is Catalina Romero’s analysis of Catholicism’s ability to create new public spaces in Peru.79 Romero argues that the contemporary Catholic Church is well positioned to foster a robust revival of civil society. This potential stems from the ability of the Church to create its own “ecclesial civil society,” in which multiple forms of associational life within the Church allow Catholics to engage in dialogue and shared experience. These interactions contribute to the practice and observance of pluralistic values and social trust, but they are only possible to the extent that Church leaders are willing to tolerate dissenting voices and organizations within the Church.

230   Nick Rowell

Conclusion The role of activist Christians in Latin America’s human rights movement has changed considerably over that last five decades. Christian activists played critical roles in founding the region’s human rights movement in response to waves of repression ­initiated by authoritarian governments that seized power in the late 1960s and 1970s. Embedded in preexisting national and international organizational networks and able to frame movements in terms of moral authority, religious activists were well positioned to form organizations that opposed repressive violence or worked to mitigate the disastrous effects of that violence. This was particularly true for the Catholic Church, as it was often afforded a degree of autonomy that allowed it to offer resources and some protection to human rights activists with whom it associated. As the movement matured, religious-affiliated human rights organizations were joined by more secular organizations. With the transition to democracy, Christian activism evolved in response to a new environment. Some institutions, including various segments of the Catholic episcopacy, sought to withdraw from political entanglements, instead exerting influence on human rights issues by mediating conflicts. Faced with an increase in both political and religious pluralism, some activists left movements tied to religion for secular movements or NGOs. Some movements that began under the auspices of Catholic and Protestant missionaries severed these ties and become fully autonomous SMOs. Still others have focused on human rights activism in new cultural spaces, such as communal-level interactions that address social problems or dialogue within religious institutions. Scholarship focused on these issues has evolved as well. Early scholarship on activist Christians focused on Catholic CEBs, especially by focusing on the grassroots challenge they posed to traditional, corporatist, clergy-led forms of Catholic political action. Analysis became more sophisticated as political process theory described the critical contributions of Christian activists to the emergence of the human rights movement. With the maturation of the movement and the transition to democracy, political process theory remained relevant, but failed to capture some of the key challenges and opportunities experienced by Christian activists, as opposed to social activists in general. Thus, scholarship focused on organized religion’s capacity to build social capital and sustain meaningful Christian social and human rights activism has surged to the forefront of the literature. Given this evolution, the literature on Christian human rights activism has room to grow. Scholarship that draws theoretical inspiration from political process theory must better specify the political opportunities, mobilizing structures, and framing processes that have sustained Christian activism in an era where secular SMOs have grown rapidly. Likewise, scholarship focusing on social capital must better specify conditions that allow associational life to foster social activism in some circumstances and suppress it in others. Finally, though there is much to be gained by immersion in

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   231 detailed, single-case studies so common in this literature, scholars working in both theoretical schools would be wise to employ comparative analyses that cross national boundaries. Works by Edward Cleary, Daniel Levine, Jeffrey Klaiber, Mara Loveman, Michael Fleet and Brian Smith, Carol Ann Drogus and Hannah Stewart-Gambino, and others remain relevant in large measure because they draw their insights from crossnational comparisons.80 Such research designs are better able to probe national-level differences that interact with Christian activism, such as state regulation of religion, party systems, as well as interactions with secular SMOs and the resurgence of leftwing governments.

Notes 1. For a helpful discussion of the impact of Vatican II–era reforms on the Catholic Church in Latin America, see Daniel H. Levine, Religion and Politics in Latin America: The Catholic Church in Colombia and Venezuela (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1981), Chapter 2. 2. David Stoll, Is Latin America Turning Protestant? (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990). 3. Guillermo O’Donnell, Modernization and Bureaucratic-Authoritarianism: Studies in South American Politics (Berkeley, CA: Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1973). 4. See Kenneth Serbin, Secret Dialogues: Church-State Relations, Torture and Social Justice in Authoritarian Brazil (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000). 5. See David Smilde, “Contradiction without Paradox: Evangelical Political Culture in the 1998 Venezuelan Elections,” Latin American Politics and Society 46, no. 1 (2004), 75–102. 6. Kenneth Roberts, “The Mobilization of Opposition to Economic Liberalization” Annual Review of Political Science 11 (2008): 327–349. 7. Roberto Calvo, “The Church and the Doctrine of National Security,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 21, no. 1 (1979), 69–88. 8. Edward Cleary, The Struggle for Human Rights in Latin America (Westport, CT: Praiger, 1997), 4–5. 9. David Smilde, “Evangelicals and Politics in Latin America: Moving Beyond Monolithic Portraits,” History of Religions 42, no. 3 (2003); Frances Hagopian, “Introduction: The New Landscape,” in Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America, ed. Frances Hagopian (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), 18–29. 10. John Burdick, “Why Is the Black Evangelical Movement Growing in Brazil?” Journal of Latin American Studies 37, no. 2 (2005), 311–322. 11. John Burdick, Legacies of Liberation: The Progressive Catholic Church in Brazil at the Start of the New Millennium (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004). 12. Daniel  H.  Levine, Politics, Religion, and Society in Latin America (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2012), 128. 13. Scott Mainwaring, The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil, 1916–1985 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986), 61–62; On Catholic Action in Guatemala, see Greg Grandin, “To End with All These Evils: Ethnic Transformation and Community Mobilization in Guatemala’s Western Highlands, 1954–1980,” Latin American Perspectives 24, no. 2 (1997), 7–34.

232   Nick Rowell 14. See Levine, Religion and Politics in Latin America; Jean Daudelin and W.  E.  Hewitt, “Churches and Politics in Latin America: Catholicism at the Crossroads,” Third World Quarterly 16, no. 2 (1995), 221–236; and Jeffrey Klaiber, The Church, Dictatorships, and Democracy in Latin America (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998). For collected documents from the Medellín Conference, see Joseph Gremillion, ed., The Gospel of Peace and Justice: Catholic Social Teaching since Pope John (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1976). 15. On Argentina, see Michael Burdick, For God and Fatherland: Religion and Politics in Argentina (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995); on Colombia, see Levine, Religion and Politics in Latin America. Though this differential is often noted and thoroughly described in the literature, its source is understudied. Elsewhere, I have argued that the primary cause of this differential is the extent to which close Church-state ties were retained in the first half of the twentieth century as political elites negotiated an end to the clerical/anticlerical dimension of the Latin America’s liberal/conservative conflict. The retention of close church-state ties sustained traditional forms of organization. See Nick Rowell, Church-State Ties, Roman Catholic Episcopacies, and Human Rights in Latin America (PhD diss., University of New Mexico, 2012). 16. Daudelin and Hewitt, “Churches and Politics.” 17. Marcos McGrath, “Ariel or Caliban?” Foreign Affairs 52, no. 1 (1973), 75–95; Andrew Kirkendall, “Paulo Freire, Eduardo Frei, Literacy Training and the Politics of Consciousness Raising in Chile, 1964–1970,” Journal of Latin American Studies 36, no. 4 (2004), 687–717. 18. Levine, Politics, Religion and Society, 132; William Hewitt, Base Christian Communities and Social Change in Brazil (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1991); Scott Mainwaring and Alexander Wilde, “The Progressive Church in Latin America: An Interpretation,” in The Progressive Church in Latin America, eds. Scott Mainwaring and Alexander Wilde (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989), 1–37. The literature on CEBs is expansive. For an account of the inner workings of a CEB that would become revolutionary, see Ernesto Cardenal, The Gospel of Soletiname (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2010); see also Daniel  H.  Levine, Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992). 19. Edward Cleary, Crisis and Change: The Church in Latin America Today (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1985); Calvo, “The Church,” 69–88. 20. O’Donnell, Modernization; David Collier, The New Authoritarianism in Latin America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979). 21. The literature describing patterns of repression and the targeting of the left is a large one, including final reports issued by truth commissions. For good descriptions and analyses of these patterns of repression, see Pablo Policzer, The Rise and Fall of Repression in Chile (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), and Charles Brockett, Political Movements and Violence in Latin America (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 22. Anthony Pereira, Political (In)Justice: Authoritarianism and the Rule of Law in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), 21. 23. United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador, From Madness to Hope: The 12 Year War in El Salvador. Report of the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador (New York and San Salvador: United Nations, 1993), 35–36. 24. On political process theory, see Douglas McAdam, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, “Toward an Integrated Perspective on Social Movements and Revolution,” in Comparative Politics, eds. Mark Lichbach and Alan Zuckerman (Cambridge: Cambridge University

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   233 Press, 2009): 260-290; Douglas McAdam, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, Dynamics of Contention (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement: Social Movements, Collective Action, and Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). For a critical perspective on political process theory, see Jeff Goodwin and James Jasper, “Caught in a Winding Snarling Vine: The Structural Bias of Political Process Theory,” Sociological Forum, vol. 14, no. 1 (March 1999), 27–54. 25. For the most direct application of political process theory to the role of religious activists in helping to create the human rights movement in Latin America, see Cleary, The Struggle for Human Rights. 26. Teresa Whitfield, Paying the Price: Ignacio Ellacuria and the Murdered Jesuits of El Salvador (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1994); Robert Lasalle-Klein, Blood and Ink: Ignacio Ellacuria, Jon Sobrino, and the Jesuit Martyrs of the University of Central America (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2014). 27. While this list highlights the most well-known such cases, it is not exhaustive. Case study accounts of this role abound, and a comprehensive accounting of such studies is well beyond the scope of this chapter. For particularly helpful volumes surveying a number of countries, see Klaiber, The Church, Dictatorships, which focuses almost exclusively on the role of the Catholic Church. See also Cleary, The Struggle for Human Rights, which situates religious activism within the broader development of the human rights movement in Latin America. 28. Mara Loveman, “High-Risk Collective Action: Defending Human Rights in Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina,” The American Journal of Sociology 104, no. 2 (1998), 477–525. 29. Levine, Politics, Religion and Society, 185–186; see also Ronald Pagnucco and John McCarthy, “Advocating Non Violent Direct Action in Latin America: The Antecedents and Emergence of SERPAJ,” in Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective: Revival of Religious Fundamentalism in East and West, eds. Bronislaw Misztal and Anson Shupe (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992), 120–150. 30. Brian Smith, The Church and Politics in Chile (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982). 31. Mainwaring, The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil. 32. Anthony Gill, Rendering unto Caesar: The Catholic Church and the State in Latin America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998). 33. Benjamin Goldfrank and Nick Rowell, “The Church, the State, and Human Rights in Latin America,” Politics, Religion and Ideology 13, no. 1 (2012), 25–51. For a similar argument that is global in scope, see Daniel Philpott, “Explaining the Political Ambivalence of Religion,” American Political Science Review 101, no. 3 (2007), 505–526. 34. Paul Freston, “Religious Pluralism, Democracy and Human Rights in Latin America,” in Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights, eds. Thomas Banchoff and Robert Wuthnow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 101–128. 35. Cleary, The Struggle for Human Rights, 7, 128–132. 36. Gustavo Morello, “Secularización y derechos humanos: actores católicos entre la dictadura Argentina (1976) y la administración Carter (1977–1979),” Latin American Research Review 47, no. 3 (2012), 62–82. 37. Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998). 38. Ibid., 91–92.

234   Nick Rowell 39. James  N.  Green, “Clerics, Exiles, and Academics: Opposition to the Brazilian Military Dictatorship in the United States, 1969–1974,” Latin American Politics and Society 45, no. 1 (2003), 87–117. 40. Pamela Lowden, Moral Opposition to Authoritarian Rule in Chile, 1973–1990 (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1996); Amy Edmonds, “Moral Authority and Authoritarianism: The Catholic Church and the Military Regime in Uruguay,” Journal of Church and State 55, no. 3 (2013), 644–669. 41. Cleary, The Struggle for Human Rights, 9; Levine, Politics, Religion and Society, 184–188. 42. See Smith, The Church and Politics; Lowden, Moral Opposition; Cleary, The Struggle for Human Rights, 1–24; Klaiber, The Church, Dictatorships; Michael Fleet and Brian H. Smith, The Catholic Church and Democracy in Chile and Peru (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997); and Mario Aguilar, “Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, the Catholic Church, and the Pinochet Regime, 1973–1980: Public Responses to a National Security State,” The Catholic Historical Review 89, no. 4 (2003), 712–731. 43. Keck and Sikkink, Activists beyond Borders, 88. 44. Klaiber, The Church, Dictatorships; Goldfrank and Rowell, “The Church.” 45. Keck and Sikkink, Activists beyond Borders, 90. 46. Fleet and Smith, The Catholic Church; see also Carl Meacham, “Changing of the Guard: New Relations between Church and State in Chile,” Journal of Church and State 29 (Autumn 1987), 411–433. 47. Guillermo O’Donnell, “On the State, Democratization and Some Conception Problems,” Kellogg Institute, Working Paper #192 (April 1993): 14; see also Guillermo O’Donnell, “Delegative Democracy,” Journal of Democracy 5 (1994): 55–69. 48. On the effect of John Paul II’s conservative appointments, see Ralph Della Cava, “Vatican Policy 1978–1990: An Updated View,” Social Research 59, no. 1 (1992), 169–199; Madeleine Adriance, “The Paradox of Institutionalization: The Roman Catholic Church in Chile and Brazil,” Sociological Analysis 53, Spring (1992), 51–62. On actions taken against activist clergy and liberation theologians, see Mainwaring and Wilde, “The Progressive Church.” 49. On rapprochement with the state, see Carol Ann Drogus, “The Rise and Decline of Liberation Theology: Churches, Faith, and Political Change in Latin America” Comparative Politics 27, no. 4 (1995), 465–477. On Catholic Charismatic Renewal, see Andrew Chesnut, “A Preferential Option for the Spirit: The Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Latin America's New Religious Economy,” Latin American Politics and Society 45, no. 1 (2003), 55–85. 50. See Alfred T. Hennelly, ed., Santo Domingo and Beyond: Documents and Commentaries from the Historic Meeting of the Latin American Bishops’ Conference (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1993); Daniel Levine, “The Future of Christianity in Latin America,” Journal of Latin American Studies 41, no. 1 (2009), 121–145. 51. Goetz Frank Ottmann, Lost for Words? Brazilian Liberationism in the 1990s (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002). 52. Roberto Blancarte, “The Changing Face of Religion in the Democratization of Mexico: The Case of Catholicism,” in Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America, ed. Frances Hagopian (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009): 225–256; Burdick, Legacies of Liberation; Helene Riviere d’Arc, “Has Basismo Disappeared?” Bulletin of Latin American Research 18, no. 2 (1999), 199–209. 53. Hannah Stewart-Gambino, “Las Pobladoras y la iglesia despolitizada en Chile,” América Latina Hoy 41 (2005), 121–138.

Activist Christians and the Human Rights Movement   235 54. On Chile, see Fleet and Smith, The Catholic Church; Meacham, “Changing of the Guard.” On the Dominican Republic, see Emelio Betances, “The Catholic Church and Political Mediation in the Dominican Republic: A Comparative Perspective,” Journal of Church and State 46 (2004), 341–364. 55. Edward Brett, “Archbishop Arturo Rivera Damas and the Struggle for Social Justice in El Salvador,” The Catholic Historical Review 94, no. 4 (2008), 717–739; Klaiber, The Church. 56. Steven Dudley, “The El Salvador Gang Truce and the Church: What Was the Role of the Catholic Church?” CLAS White Paper Series, no. 1 (2013). 57. Brett, “Archbishop Arturo Rivera Damas.” 58. On the Church and the MST, see Miguel Carter, For Land, Love, and Justice: The Origins of Brazil’s Landless Social Movement (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012). See also Patricia Rodriguez, “With or Without the People: The Catholic Church and Land-Related Conflicts in Brazil and Chile,” in Religious Pluralism, Democracy and the Catholic Church in Latin America, ed. Frances Hagopian (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), 185–224; Burdick, Legacies of Liberation. 59. Carter, For Land, Love, and Justice; see also, Burdick, Legacies of Liberation, 101–106. 60. See Edward Cleary and Timothy Steigenga, eds., Resurgent Voices in Latin America: Indigenous Peoples, Political Mobilization, and Religious Change (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004). 61. Carmen Martinez Novo, “Building an Anti-Neoliberal Nation with the Indigenous Movement: The Salesian Missions of Ecuador,” in Bridging the Gaps: Faith-Based Organizations, Neoliberalism, and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, eds. Tara Hefferin, Julie Adkins, and Laurie Ochipinti (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009): 213–228. 62. Guillermo Trejo, “Religious Competition and Ethnic Mobilization in Latin America: Why the Catholic Church Promotes Indigenous Movements in Mexico,” American Political Science Review 103, no. 3 (2009), 323–342. 63. For a broader institutional perspective on this topic, see Christopher Hale, “Religious Institutions and Civic Engagement: A Test of Religion’s Impact on Political Activism in Mexico,” Comparative Politics 47, no. 2 (2015), 211–230. 64. George Collier and Elisabeth Lowery Quaratiello, Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas (Oakland, CA: Food First Books, 1999), 62–70. 65. On the relationship between organized religion and the origin of women’s movements in Latin America, see also Drogus and Stewart-Gambino, Activist Faith. 66. Burdick, Legacies of Liberation, 87–95; on the role of the women’s movement in the struggle for reproductive rights, see Mala Htun, “Life, Liberty, and Family Values: Church and State in the Struggle over Latin America's Social Agenda,” in Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America, ed. Frances Hagopian (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009): 335–364; Cora Fernandez Anderson, Impact of Social Movements on State Policy: Human Rights and Women Movements in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2011), 333–4, 394. 67. Mala Htun, Sex and the State: Abortion, Divorce, and the Family under Latin American Dictatorships and Democracies (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 155. 68. Anderson, Impact of Social Movements, 343–344. 69. Htun, Sex and the State. 70. Anderson, Impact of Social Movements, 408–409, 413–414, 446. 71. Burdick, Legacies of Liberation, 89–92.

236   Nick Rowell 72. Carol Ann Drogus and Hannah Stewart-Gambino, Activist Faith: Popular Women Activists and Their Movements in Democratic Brazil and Chile (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005). 73. On the concept of social capital, see Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993). 74. Jeffrey Rubin, David Smilde, and Benjamin Junge, “Religion, Social Movements and Zones of Crisis in Latin America,” Pardee Center Paper Series, Issues in Brief 25, November (2012), 243–248. 75. Levine, Politics, Religion and Society, 157. 76. Robert Brenneman, Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Kevin Lewis O’Neill, City of God: Christian Citizenship in Postwar Guatemala (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010). 77. Mano dura, or “iron fist,” policies refer to the use of hard-line “law and order” tactics to combat organized crime. Such policies typically include the simultaneous expansion of police discretion and contraction of civil liberties. The results are often associated with police violence and mass arrests of suspected gang members on the basis of their physical appearance. Among other things, mass arrests contribute to overcrowded and otherwise deplorable prison conditions. 78. Kevin Lewis O’Neill, “The Reckless Will: Prison Chaplaincy and the Problem of Mara Salvatrucha,” Public Culture 22, no. 1 (2010), 67–88. 79. Catalina Romero, “Religion and Public Spaces: Catholicism and Civil Society in Peru,” in Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America, ed. Frances Hagopian (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009). 80. Loveman, “High-Risk Collective Action”; Klaiber, The Church, Dictatorships; Cleary, The Struggle for Human Rights; Fleet and Smith, The Catholic Church; Levine, Religion and Politics.

chapter 13

Prophetic M a rt y r dom i n Moder n L ati n A m er ica Two Definitions of Christian Martyrdom Edward T. Brett

In the 500-plus-year history of Latin American Christianity, many have suffered violent death because of their adherence to their religious values. One of the first was Bishop Antonio de Valdivieso. After being named bishop of Nicaragua in 1544, he began writing letters to Spanish authorities, informing them of the mistreatment of the indigenous population. Although he received death threats, he continued his quest for justice. Consequently, in 1550, a group of Spaniards angered by his denunciations of their behavior, murdered him.1 In 1565 Father Ignacio de Azevedo was charged with conducting an inspection of Jesuit missions in Brazil. After spending two years in the Portuguese colony, he sailed to Rome, where he asked that additional Jesuits be assigned to Brazil. His request was approved and in June 1570, forty Jesuits, including Azevedo, boarded a ship bound for Brazil. It never reached its destination. It was captured by French Huguenots, who executed all forty clergymen.2 No doubt Azevedo and his companions were exemplary priests. Yet it seems fair to say that when they decided to sail to Brazil, they did not expect to be executed. They were killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was not true, however, for Valdivieso. He knew that his actions could result in his death, but it was a chance he was willing to take, and in the end he paid with his life. Nevertheless, whereas Azevedo and his companions were declared Catholic martyrs in 1854, the Church has never granted this title to Valdivieso. Why is this so? Kenneth Woodward sheds light on this question in Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn’t, and Why, pointing out that there is a theological rationale for who qualifies as a “martyr of the

238   Edward T. Brett church.” He writes, “According to the church’s criteria, only those who have been killed ‘in odium fidei’ (in hatred of the faith) qualify as Christian martyrs.”3 Azevedo and his companions met the criteria since they were executed by Protestants in odium fidei, while Valdivieso was murdered by those who were Catholics. This theological distinction has its origin in the early Church, when Christians were killed by Roman authorities who “hated Christianity.” As Woodward further notes, early Christian martyrs all met the correct criteria, and thus proof of their martyrdom was “easy to come by.” However, by the twentieth century the situation had changed. Most martyrs were victims of “political movements” and “the burden of showing ‘hatred of faith’ [had] become more difficult.”4 Between the seventeenth century and the 1920s there were few Catholics in Latin America who died in odium fidei. This changed, however, during the Mexican Revolution. During the presidency of Venustiano Carranza, radicals gained control of the 1917 Constitutional Convention and passed a new constitution. It included anticlerical statutes, which, if implemented, would strip the institutional Church of almost all its power and wealth. Since these measures went beyond what Carranza supported, he refused to enforce them, as did his successor, Álvaro Obregón. Nevertheless, tension between Church and state resulting from the new constitution did not diminish and, following the presidential victory of Plutarco Calles in 1924, it turned into violence. Calles, an atheist who viewed the Catholic Church as an obscurantist obstacle to revolutionary reform, decided to vigorously enforce the anticlerical laws. In 1926 he promulgated the so-called “Calles Law,” which forbade priests from voting and wearing clerical garb in public and authorized the imprisonment of priests who criticized the government. When several priests were incarcerated, the bishops announced the suspension of all Church services and called for an economic boycott in protest against the Calles Law. Viewing this as sedition, Calles had several priests arrested and executed. In response, some Catholics formed the Cristeros, an anti-government military force that fought to overthrow Calles. The Cristero War lasted from 1926 to 1929, and the repression of the Church continued for nearly a decade. During this time over 90,000 people were killed; at least forty of these were priests.5 The most famous was the Jesuit, Miguel Pro, who was arrested on false charges in 1927 and executed without trial by direct order of Calles. With the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940), a modus vivendi gradually developed between Church and state that lasted until the 1970s. Whereas the anticlerical measures of the Constitution of 1917 remained in effect, they were for the most part not enforced. The institutional Church, for its part, rarely spoke out on social questions and avoided political conflict with the government.6 Following the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the institutional Church in Mexico tentatively began to speak out on social issues, and in 1977 two priests, Rodolfo Aguilar Álvarez and Rodolfo Escamilla García, were murdered because of their support for workers’ rights. On the day before his ordination, Aguilar wrote the following to his bishop:

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   239 Today and always in the history of humankind, salvation is liberation, Easter, renunciation of all infidelity, oppression, and injustice. With my own life I want to fashion a prophetic and priestly response to the call of God, my Father, and to the call of humankind, my brothers and sisters. Full of enthusiasm, I freely agree to live the life of proclaiming the gospel that Jesus lived. I am duty-bound to my oppressed brothers and sisters, and I willingly offer my life for their and my liberation. I renounce forever any human privilege or personal desire, any private possession, in order to be able to dedicate myself freely and utterly to the creation of a new human community.7

Like Valdivieso centuries earlier, Aguilar and Escamilla saw themselves in the mold of the Old Testament prophets who called out for the liberation of the poor and an end to their oppression. They knew that their prophetic commitment to a utopian ideal of justice for all could cost them their lives, but they were willing to pay that price if necessary, and eventually they did. In 1988, Miguel Pro, the executed Cristero priest, was beatified by Pope John Paul II and, since he was killed on orders of Calles in odium fidei, he was named an official martyr of the Church. Scores of others who had been killed during the Calles era were later beatified and declared martyrs, since they were presumably killed “in hatred of the faith.” Yet, like Valdivieso, the official “saint-makers” of the institutional Church have ignored Aguilar and Escamilla. No doubt this is at least in part because they were not killed in odium fidei. Such technical definitions of Christian martyrdom, however, are irrelevant to poor and oppressed Catholics of Mexico. To them, Aguilar and Escamilla, following the example of Jesus, sacrificed their lives on behalf of the downtrodden and have therefore earned the right to be called martyrs.

The Post–Vatican II Period Although the Latin American Church frequently clashed with the state in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such discord resulted primarily over the state’s attempt to diminish the institutional Church’s power and usurp its wealth. Traditionally, the Church had been a conservative entity in Latin American society that saw itself as a spiritual monarchy, operating in a hierarchical, paternalistic manner. It saw its mission in terms of maintaining the proper social order that it felt was most conducive for saving souls. Its clergy placed primary emphasis on dispensing the sacraments. Priests in their homilies railed against personal sins such as drunkenness and fornication, but little was said concerning economic, social, and political institutional structures that robbed the masses of their dignity. At their best, clergy served as middlemen, using their prestige to soften the mistreatment of peasants at the hands of excessively harsh landowners. At their worst, they indirectly supported the unjust status quo by encouraging the oppressed masses to accept their lot with humility and passivity.

240   Edward T. Brett By the 1930s, Catholic Action groups were formed in an attempt to bring Latin American society more in harmony with the teachings in the papal social encyclicals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But Church concern for the suffering of the masses took a giant leap forward as a result of Pope John XXIII’s aggiornamento, his call for the renewal of the Church, culminating in the Second Vatican Council. Not only priests, but all Catholics were now told that championing human development and social justice went hand in hand with saving souls. The council’s longest document, Gaudium et Spes, strongly emphasized this. Following the council, the Latin American hierarchy agreed to hold a general conference of Latin American bishops at Medellín, Colombia, in order to apply the principles of Vatican II to the Latin American situation. After two years of preparation in which the new theology of liberation was a major factor, the conference convened in 1968. Using the methodology of Gaudium et Spes, it changed the direction of the Latin American Church by attempting to create a new social order based on justice for the poor. The Church employed various devices, such as  the creation of comunidades eclesiales de base (base communities) and literacy programs, to raise the consciousness of the poor by teaching them to dialogue among themselves. Many base community members would later go on to hold offices in labor or peasant unions and opposition political parties. Some Church leaders became champions of land reform and justice for indigenous peoples. Several bishops publicly denounced dictators and refused to invite them to participate in traditional liturgical services, thereby symbolically delegitimizing them in the eyes of the people. In some countries the Church established human rights offices that documented cases of torture, imprisonment, killing, and disappearances. When military dictatorships were set up in the mid-1960s and 1970s, it was Church authorities who, often after first supporting these governments, eventually became the primary force in legitimizing democratic movements and providing safe spaces for various opposition groups to come together to work in unity. In some countries, bishops created the structures for national debates where opposition groups could come together to dialogue. They also served as mediators in peace talks between governments and rebel forces. But as many post–Vatican II/Medellín bishops, priests, religious, and lay leaders aligned themselves with the poor and became outspoken critics of the unjust status quo, they faced pressures from secular elites, as well as from conservative elements within the institutional Church. Church leaders who criticized the status quo were accused of meddling in politics and were labeled by government and business elites as Marxists. They were forced to live under the threat of violence, and many were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. Likewise, they were criticized by conservative Latin American bishops who continued to follow a pre–Vatican II ecclesiology. These traditionalists blamed the influence of Marxism and liberation theology, rather than the ideology of the violence-oriented national security state, for the breakdown of social order, and they found sympathetic allies in some members of the Vatican inner circle of power, especially following the election of John Paul II.

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   241

Brazil and Chile In March 1964, the Brazilian military staged a coup that toppled the government of João Goulart, thereby ushering in Latin America’s first national security state and twenty-one years of repression. Nine years later, in September 1973, the Chilean armed forces, led by Augusto Pinochet, followed the Brazilian model and overthrew the Marxist government of Salvador Allende, setting up a dictatorship that lasted until 1990. Other Latin American countries soon followed suit; by the end of the 1970s, military dictatorships were the rule in most of the southern region of the Western Hemisphere. Initially, most Catholic bishops supported, or at least did not oppose, military rule, since such governments were anti-communist, promised to restore law and order, and claimed to respect Christianity. However, it soon became clear that these governments were employing violence on a massive scale to achieve their goals. Moreover, many of their victims were priests, religious, and lay Catholics who had died because they were following the social justice teachings of Vatican II and Medellín. Some bishops then became outspoken critics of military rule. Due to the prestige associated with their episcopal position, they were able to play a leading role in the struggle against governmentsponsored violence and for the return of democracy. But in their quest for justice, they were challenged not only by the military and the elites, but by conservative bishops who claimed that the progressive wing of the Church was interloping in the political sphere, which, in accordance with traditional Catholic teaching, should be left to the secular realm. By involving the Church in politics, the conservatives argued, the progressives had undermined the time-tested balance between Church and state, thereby damaging the Church immeasurably and causing its credibility to be questioned. The Brazilian Church by the end of the 1960s had become the most progressive church in Latin America, and three priests, along with many Catholic lay workers, were killed for their commitment to the poor. Antõnio Pereira Neto was the first priest to be murdered. He worked with the Juventude Universitária Católica, and when students began to suffer violence at the hands of security forces, he publicly criticized the government. In March 1969, after ignoring several death threats, he was kidnapped and killed. Father Rodolfo Lunkenbein, a German Salesian who assisted Indians in Mato Grosso in their struggle to keep their land, was assassinated in July 1976, along with his indigenous associate, Simão Cristino. Five months later, João Bosco Penido Burnier, a Jesuit priest, was shot dead by a soldier when he intervened at a jail in the Amazon region in an attempt to stop the torture of two women.8 During the Pinochet regime, the Church in Chile distinguished itself for its defense of human rights and its courageous protest against the government. Among the more than 15,000 who were murdered by government forces after the military coup were three foreign priests who worked with the poor. Juan Alsina, a Spaniard, was a hospital chaplain and a member of Acción Católica Obrera. He was arrested in September 1973 at San Juan de Dios Hospital. His bullet-ridden body was later found under a bridge.9

242   Edward T. Brett Michael Woodward, a Chilean-born Englishman who worked with the poor in Valparaiso and was a member of the radical Christians for Socialism, was arrested just after the 1973 coup; he was tortured and killed while in detention on the Esmeralda, a ship used by the Pinochet government to hold prisoners.10 Years later, in September 1984, Andrés Jarlan, a French priest and member of Acción Católica Obrera, was shot dead by police in Santiago while observing a national march against the government.11 These six priests killed in Brazil and Chile knew they were placing themselves in grave danger by taking a prophetic stand for justice. Yet none was killed by an assassin who “hated the faith,” and therefore they were deemed ineligible by the institutional Church for the title of martyr.

Argentina The military junta in Argentina was the most repressive in South America. In the name of “Western Christian civilization” it murdered nearly 30,000 people. But unlike in Brazil and Chile, where the Church hierarchy worked against government-sponsored violence, in Argentina the more than eighty bishops, with about six exceptions, remained silent or supported the military government.12 Even before the military staged a coup in March 1976, several priests were killed by right-wing death squads. The first was Carlos Mugica, a leading figure in the organization Priests for the Third World. An outspoken critic of government violence, he was placed under military surveillance and began to receive death threats. Although his apartment was bombed in a failed attempt to assassinate him, he would not be silenced. In May 1974, after he had presided at Mass in his parish in the Villa Luro slum of Buenos Aires, he was shot dead by a member of the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance.13 Five other priests who were killed before the coup included Carlos Dorniak, Nelio Rougier, Miguel Úrusa Nicolau, Francisco Soares, and Pedro Fourcade.14 Ten additional priests and two bishops would be murdered following the military takeover. An undetermined number of lay Catholics and Protestants who worked through the Church with the poor were also either killed or disappeared in the 1970s.15 The best-known of these was Mónica Mignone, who volunteered in a Jesuit slum parish in Buenos Aires. On May 14, 1976, she was kidnapped by security forces and brought to the Naval Technical School. Six of her associates were likewise abducted. All disappeared without a trace. Mónica Mignone differed from other desaparecidos, however, in that her father, Emilio Mignone, was rector of the National University of Luján and had once been a high official of the Organization of American States. Despite his important contacts, he was unable to find any information on his daughter’s fate. Consequently, he decided to write a book, Iglesia y Dictadura , about his failed attempt. Translated into English as Witness to the Truth: The Complicity of Church and Dictatorship in Argentina, it did much to expose Argentina’s “Dirty War” and the silence of the Argentine hierarchy.

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   243 In the Belgrano district of Buenos Aires, three Pallottine priests and two s­ eminarians—Pedro Duffau, Alfredo Kelly, Alfredo Leaden, Salvador Barbeito, and Emilio Barletti—were massacred on July 4, 1976. The killers left a message behind: “This is what happens when you poison the minds of the young.” Four of the dead had been Catholic schoolteachers and evidently the tone of their instruction was seen by their killers as subversive.16 One of the few Argentine bishops to follow the social justice directives of Vatican II was Enrique Angelelli. Appointed bishop of La Rioja in 1968, he denounced the oppressed condition of the rural workers in his diocese, supported the formation of farm cooperatives, and called for land reform. He also encouraged a social justice orientation in his clergy. These actions incurred the wrath of the large landowners and the military. Soon Church people from his diocese were being arrested. Desperate for help, Angelelli sought support from the Argentine Bishops’ Conference, but to no avail. Then, in July 1976, Fathers Gabriel Longueville and Juan Carlos de Dios Murias, both members of Priests for the Third World, were arrested and executed by the police. Angelelli officiated at their funeral Mass, concelebrating with Bishop Vicente Zaspe of Santa Fe, Papal Nuncio Pio Laghi, and forty-three priests. Stunned by the absence of all but one of his fellow prelates, Angelelli wrote to a friend: “Among my brother bishops in Argentina I stand alone.”17 A week later, Wenceslao Pedernera, a Catholic lay leader who was involved in the farm cooperative movement that Angelelli supported, was shot and killed in front of his wife and children. Although the bishop remarked to his niece and several diocesan coworkers that he felt he might be the next victim of the death squads, he continued his quest for justice.18 He filled a briefcase with evidence on the Longueville-Murias murders, and on August 4 he and Father Arturo Pinto drove toward La Rioja. Soon two cars came from behind and forced their vehicle off the road, causing it to turn over several times. Father Pinto was knocked unconscious but survived. Angelelli’s lifeless body was found about twenty-five yards from the wreckage. Testimony from experts was later provided in court that showed conclusively that the bishop’s body could not have gone through the windshield or car window and that it was highly probable that he was killed by a blow from a blunt instrument and then dragged away from his vehicle. His briefcase containing information on the Longueville and Murias killings was missing. Angelelli’s death was ruled an accident. Later in 1983, following the fall of the military junta, the case was reopened and, after a thorough investigation, the presiding judge changed the official verdict, stating that the bishop’s death “was not due to a traffic accident, but rather to a coldly premeditated homicide, which the victim was expecting.”19 In July 1977 another progressive bishop, Carlos Ponce de León of San Nicolás de los Arroyos, died in a manner eerily similar to that of Angelelli. He and Víctor Martínez, a Church lay leader, were driving to Buenos Aires to deliver to the papal nuncio evidence of kidnappings and torture in their diocese. Following “an automobile accident,” both men were taken to the San Nicolás clinic. After the bishop’s personal physician was denied permission to enter the intensive care unit, Ponce de León died. Martínez, who

244   Edward T. Brett survived, was imprisoned and tortured. He later stated that during his interrogation, he was continually asked for information on the “subversive” activities of Ponce de León.20 Stonewalled by security forces and ignored by the bishops, several mothers of the desaparecidos, desperate to find information on their missing children, took matters into their own hands and formed the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. On Thursday, April 30, 1977, fourteen of these women processed around the Plaza wearing white headscarves with their kidnapped child’s name embroidered on it. On every Thursday thereafter, the Madres would repeat their silent procession. Soon other mothers joined them, until their numbers reached about 2,000. Their courageous actions brought not only international attention to the “Dirty War,” but also the wrath of the authorities. In a futile attempt to intimidate the Madres, death squads in December 1977 kidnapped six of them, along with two French nuns who collaborated with them—Alicia Doman and Léonie Duquet. The eight were never seen alive again.21 Other priests who were kidnapped and killed during Argentina’s “Dirty War” were Pablo Gazzari and Mauricio Silva Iribarnegaray, who disappeared in 1977. They, along with Nelio Rouger, who was arrested and murdered in 1975, were members of the Little Brothers of the Gospel, a French congregation dedicated to living with the poor.22 As with victims elsewhere in Latin America, the previously mentioned Argentines were murdered by military or paramilitary death squads because they worked to ameliorate the lives of the poor. Most realized that their efforts could result in death, but they were willing to risk that possibility. As noted earlier, according to canon law none of these victims was eligible for the title of “martyr of the Church” since they were not killed in odium fidei. But some Catholic theologians by the 1980s, contending that this definition was inadequate for the present time, began calling for a broader canonical definition of “martyr,” one that included those who, following the example of Jesus and the prophets of the Old Testament, died in defense of social justice.23

Guatemala Guatemala has historically been the most important of the Central American countries and probably the most violent. In 1871, Liberal attempts to confiscate Church properties resulted in a persecution of the Church that in Latin America was second only to Mexico in viciousness. The Church lost most of its power and land and for the next seventy-five years or so spent the bulk of its energy attempting in vain to recoup from its losses. Extreme poverty had long been widespread in Guatemala, especially among the Maya, who made up the majority of its population. Reform was sorely needed, but until the mid-1940s the country was ruled by dictators who upheld a status quo that favored rich landowners and foreign investors. But when Jorge Ubico was forced to resign as president in 1944, the nation had its first honest election. The reformer Juan José Arévalo easily won. His inauguration in March 1945 ushered in a decade of social progress that scholars refer to as the “Ten Years of Spring.” The right to vote was granted to literate

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   245 women and was expanded to include illiterate men. Schools were opened for the poor, political parties were permitted to organize, and unions were allowed to form and encouraged to grow. In 1951 Jacobo Arbenz was elected to succeed Arévalo after promising to expand on his predecessor’s achievements by adding much-needed land reform. In 1952 his agrarian reform bill was passed into law by the legislature. Over a thousand large landholdings that had lain uncultivated were now expropriated and turned over to more than 100,000 landless peasant families. The US-based United Fruit Company (UFCO), the largest landholder in Guatemala, was especially affected by the new law, in that approximately 400,000 of its 550,000 acres were confiscated. Although the law stipulated that owners of expropriated properties were to be compensated by the government based on the assessed tax value of the land they had lost, UFCO had previously bribed government officials to drastically undervalue its holdings. Consequently, it stood to lose heavily. UFCO had powerful connections in the Eisenhower administration, however, and the Central Intelligence Agency was commissioned to overthrow Arbenz. It successfully did so in July 1954.24 For the next four decades, Guatemala’s government was dominated by right-wing military dictators and the reforms of the “Ten Years of Spring” came to an abrupt end. Disgusted by what had taken place, some young army officers, inspired by Fidel Castro, attempted to overthrow the government in 1960. When their coup failed, they formed a Marxist guerrilla front. A civil war ensued that lasted until 1996 and resulted in the deaths of tens, even hundreds of thousands, of Guatemalans. The Guatemalan Catholic hierarchy and some US missionary priests had clandestinely worked with the CIA to bring down the Arbenz government and had subsequently supported and thereby helped to legitimize the dictatorial rule that followed. The institutional Church’s conduct began to change, however, in the 1970s and, as in other Latin American countries, priests and other Church workers paid with their lives because of their “option for the poor.” The first priest to die was William (Guillermo) Woods, a US Maryknoll, who served an indigenous community in Huehuetenagno. After the government opened the Ixcán jungle for settlement, Woods moved indigenous people into the area. When he attempted to obtain land titles for them, however, he incurred the wrath of the military. He ignored warnings to leave the country, and in November 1976 he died with four others in a “plane crash” on a crystalline clear day. His death was ruled an accident, but strong evidence exists to indicate otherwise.25 Following the fraudulent presidential election in 1978 of Fernando Lucas García, violence became commonplace. Priests and Church workers were not exempt. On June 30, Father Eufemio Hermógenes López was gunned down. He had supported his peasant parishioners in their struggle to prevent a company from diverting the town’s water supply and had criticized the army for illegally kidnapping young men into the military. Therefore, he had been marked for assassination.26 Because of their support for striking workers in Escuintla, two Immaculate Heart of Mary missionaries were murdered in 1980. On May 1, Father Conrado de la Cruz and his catechist, Herlindo Cifuentes, disappeared, and on May 12, Father Walter Voordeckers was

246   Edward T. Brett shot dead by four men who attempted to kidnap him. Voordeckers had earlier received death threats from the Ejército Secreto Anti-Communista, which painted on the walls of his church, “Walter communist, the ESA is looking for you” and “Walter go home.”27 Before the end of the year, two Spanish Sacred Heart priests were assassinated in the department of El Quiché. José María Gran Cirera was ambushed and killed, along with his lay assistant Domingo del Barrio Batz, on June 4 as they traveled toward Chajul. Witnesses said the victims had been followed by an army helicopter just prior to their deaths.28 Faustino Villanueva was gunned down in his rectory on July 10 by two men on a motorcycle, who were later seen entering the treasury police barracks.29 In an obvious attempt to further intimidate the Church, four more priests were murdered before the end of 1981. Carlos Gálvez Galindo, a diocesan priest, was killed in his house in Tecpán on May 14.30 On July 2, Tullio Marcello Maruzzo, an Italian Franciscan, was ambushed and murdered with one of his catechists as they traveled back to his parish in Quirigua.31 Stanley Rother, a US priest working with indigenous people in Santiago Atitlán, was shot and killed in his rectory on July 28. He had earlier left Guatemala after his name appeared on a death list, but returned because he felt he could not abandon his people.32 On August 2, Carlos Pérez Alonso, a Spanish Jesuit and chaplain at a military hospital, was kidnapped and was never seen again.33 On February 13, 1982, US Christian Brother James Miller was gunned down by masked men as he repaired a wall at the De La Salle Indian School in Huehuetenango. Two days earlier, another brother had visited the local military headquarters in an attempt to force the army to release a student who had been illegally conscripted. Some speculate that Miller’s assassination was a warning to the Christian Brothers to cease interfering in army affairs.34 Shortly before his murder, Brother James had written to friends in the United States. His words are telling: I am personally weary of violence, but I continue to feel a strong commitment to the suffering poor of Central America. . . . God knows why He continued to call me to Guatemala when some friends and relatives encouraged me to pull out for my own comfort and safety, but I have been a Christian Brother for nearly 20 years now, and my commitment to my vocation grows steadily stronger in the context of my work in Central America. I pray to God for the grace and strength to serve Him faithfully by my presence among the poor and oppressed of Guatemala. I place my life in His Providence; I place my trust in Him.35

In March 1982, General José Efraín Ríos Montt took over the reins of power in Guatemala in a coup that toppled the previous military government. Although widespread human rights abuses continued during his seventeen-month dictatorship, in June 1983 he issued a Decree of Amnesty for all guerrillas who turned themselves in to the authorities. In truth, the decree was no more than a façade, meant to project an image to other countries of a new “respectable” Guatemala. Ironically, however, it indirectly cost a mild-mannered Franciscan his life. Augusto Ramírez Monasterio, a priest in the parish of San Francisco el Grande in Antigua, was hearing confessions when a

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   247 campesino entered the confessional and asked his help in obtaining amnesty. Soon thereafter, the priest took the campesino, a former guerrilla, to a nearby municipal building, where he intended to assist him in completing the necessary paperwork. To the surprise of both men, however, local governmental officials turned them over to the National Police, who tortured them. Ramírez, but not the former guerrilla, was eventually released. Thereafter he received threatening phone calls demanding that he leave Guatemala. On November 7, 1983, he was kidnapped; his battered body was discovered in the morgue the next day.36

El Salvador The 1960s saw impressive economic growth in El Salvador, but it was growth that ­primarily benefited the rich. For the first time in its history, the oligarchy welcomed large-scale foreign investment, and between 1961 and 1971 manufacturing grew by 24 percent. But the new capital-intensive industries did not absorb the available labor force. Moreover, in the late 1960s, prices dropped for Salvadoran exports, causing economic hardship for workers. Recently formed unions now became more active; strikes occurred with more frequency, and with them government-sponsored repression. In 1967 General José Medrano, head of the National Guard, founded ORDEN, a paramilitary organization. Under its direction, a spy system was set up in the countryside to aid the Guardia in controlling unrest, much of it stemming from the oligarchy’s refusal to grant land reform. Thus, by the 1970s, repression of both the urban and rural poor had intensified and this, in turn, led to the formation of leftist guerrilla groups. Following the 1968 Medellín Conference, Archbishop Luis Chávez y González of San Salvador and his Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Rivera Damas created an impressive reform program that attempted to blend the social justice concepts of Vatican II into the Salvadoran Church’s methodology. Yet they received little support from the country’s other bishops. In 1977, as government repression intensified along with episcopal infighting, the elderly Chávez retired. Although he recommended that Rivera succeed him as archbishop, the Vatican appointed the less controversial Oscar Romero. Seventeen days later, the new archbishop’s friend Rutilio Grande was assassinated. Father Grande and three fellow Jesuits had been assigned to Aguilares, north of San Salvador, in September 1972. The team was to implement a social justice–oriented pastoral program among the region’s sugarcane workers. Within the next year, numerous catechists were trained and comunidades eclesiales de base were established. When refinery workers went on strike in 1973, local elites blamed the Jesuits for the workers’ newfound boldness. Soon the pastoral team was receiving death threats. Tensions intensified over the next few years, and on March 12, 1977, as he drove from Aguilares to El Paisnal, Grande and two peasants who were riding with him were assassinated.37

248   Edward T. Brett Archbishop Romero, who had earlier criticized Grande’s team for being too political, traveled to Aguilares for his funeral. He viewed the bloody bodies of the three deathsquad victims and saw the grief of the peasants who had flocked to the funeral. This experience transformed Romero. From this time until his death, he would be called the “voice of the voiceless.” But the Salvadoran Church would pay a heavy price for its “option for the poor.” Soon fliers circulated throughout the capital city stating: “Be a Patriot! Kill a Priest!” Five more priests, along with a substantial number of lay Church workers, would be killed before Romero’s own assassination. Two months after Grande’s death, a second priest, Alfonso Navarro Oviedo, was killed. Navarro, who was pastor of a church on the outskirts of San Salvador, taught religion classes in a local high school. He was soon accused of corrupting the minds of his students and received death threats that were made all the more real when his residence was attacked and his garage and car destroyed. On the afternoon of May 11, he was ordered to report to presidential headquarters, where he was interrogated by security forces and accused of subversive activities. He was eventually allowed to leave, but just minutes after he returned to his residence, four men appeared at his door. Navarro and a boy who answered their knock were shot dead.38 Octavio Ortiz Luna joined the list of prophetic martyrs in January 1979. He was conducting a retreat for young men. While the participants were sleeping, security forces, using an armored vehicle, smashed through the fence that enclosed the retreat center. Within seconds, Ortiz and four young men were murdered. According to eyewitnesses, the police next dragged the five lifeless bodies to the roof of the center and placed them in positions so it looked like they had been in a shootout with government forces. Photos were taken that appeared in the next day’s newspapers, along with a report claiming the retreat house was actually a guerrilla base. The victims’ funeral mass was held at the cathedral and was concelebrated by Romero and over a hundred priests. Over 10,000 people gathered outside in the square because the cathedral was filled to capacity. In his homily Romero called the government charges “a lie.” When he called for a “cleansing of the corrupt security system of our country,” the crowd roared in approval. They applauded as the pallbearers carried the casket of Ortiz from the cathedral, but when the archbishop processed from the church, the applause became deafening.39 Without a doubt, by this time Romero had become one of the most popular Churchman in Latin America and an international hero. The next priest to die violently was Rafael Palacios. He began his priesthood in the San Vicente Diocese, but was suspended by his bishop, the ultraconservative Pedro Aparicio, because of his progressive approach to pastoral ministry. He was accepted by Romero into the San Salvador Archdiocese, where he immersed himself in the Christian base community movement and was outspoken in his criticism of government-sponsored terrorism. On June 14, he found a white hand with the letters UGB painted on his car. This was a clear warning from the White Warrior Union. He was assassinated a week later.40 In his homily at Palacios’s funeral, Romero said that the priest was a casualty of “the structural sin built into, embedded in our society.”41 He then added: “It would be sad,

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   249 if in a country where murder is being committed so horribly, we were not to find priests also among the victims. They are the testimony of a church incarnated in the problems of its people.”42 Romero’s profound words encapsulate the meaning and value of prophetic martyrdom. The last priest to be assassinated before Romero was Alirio Napoleón Macías. A week before his death, the archdiocesan newspaper, Orientación, had published an article revealing the arrest and murder of eleven people from his parish. Although the paper did not disclose the source of its information, it had been Macías. On August 4, three national guardsmen in civilian clothing gunned him down in his church.43 In attempting to publicize and thereby possibly mitigate the violence inflicted by security forces, Macías put his own life in jeopardy and died as a result. By the end of 1979, security forces and their paramilitary associates were murdering hundreds of Salvadorans. In his Sunday homilies, which were broadcast over YSAX, the archdiocesan radio channel, Romero often read the names of those who had died violently during the week, while also pleading for an end to the killing. By this time he had become internationally known. He had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and had received several peace awards and honorary degrees from institutions throughout Europe and the United States. More than anyone else, he had brought to the attention of the world the horrors of what was taking place in his nation, and for this reason he was despised by those in the Salvadoran power structure. He was also excoriated by all but one of his fellow Salvadoran bishops, who complained to the papal nuncio that his meddling in “politics” was a major reason for the deaths of so many priests. It was clear that his life was in danger. Although Romero feared assassination and spoke frankly about its possibility to his confessor, he continued to speak out. After reading in a local newspaper that the United States had decided to send military aid to El Salvador, he composed a letter calling on President Jimmy Carter to terminate the plan, noting that such aid would be used to further oppress the Salvadoran people. Before sending the letter, however, he read it publicly in his Sunday homily, thereby infuriating military authorities. About three weeks later, on March 9, he celebrated a Mass for Mario Zamora, a Christian Democratic leader who had been kidnapped from his home by security forces and murdered. The next morning, a workman in the basilica found a suitcase containing seventy-two sticks of dynamite that had failed to go off.44 But this unsuccessful attempt to kill him only made him more intense in his struggle for justice. In his Sunday homily on March 23, he appealed to the enlisted men in the army to disobey orders from their officers to kill their fellow campesinos. The next day, while saying Mass in a hospital chapel near his residence, he was killed by a sniper. About two weeks prior to his death, in a telephone interview with a journalist from the Mexican newspaper Excelsior, he had said the following: I have often been threatened with death. I must tell you, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. . . . Martyrdom is a grace of God that I do not believe I deserve. But if God

250   Edward T. Brett accepts the sacrifice of my life, let my blood be a seed of freedom and the sign that hope will soon be reality. Let my death, if it is accepted by God, be for my people’s liberation and as a witness of hope in the future.45

Perhaps more than anything ever written by theologians on the concept of prophetic martyrdom, these passionate words cut to the heart of the matter and make clear that those killed because of their Christian commitment to social justice bear witness to some of the noblest ideals of the Christian faith. Moreover, although it was not Romero’s intent, his statements in this interview laid bare the inadequacy of the institutional Church’s official definition of martyrdom, while making a compelling case for its expansion. Before 1980 had ended, four more priests—Cosme Spezzotto, Manuel Reyes Monico, Ernesto Abrego, and Marcial Serrano—had been killed, along with José Othmero Caceres, a seminarian.46 The clergymen were not known as radical progressives. Even so, during this turbulent time, merely to be a priest was enough to place one’s life in grave danger. On December 1, 1980, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and lay missionary Jean Donovan had dinner at the residence of Robert White, US ambassador to El Salvador. Both were part of a Cleveland mission team that worked with poor peasants in La Libertad. Sometimes they would work with two US Maryknoll missionaries, Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, transporting campesinos from conflictive areas to refugee centers set up by the Archdiocese of San Salvador. Due to a curfew in the capital, Kazel and Donovan spent the night at the ambassador’s home. The following morning, they left in their minivan for the airport, where they picked up Ford and Clarke, who were returning from a Maryknoll retreat in Nicaragua. Once the four left the airport, their minivan was halted by six National Guardsmen, who drove them to a remote area, where they were brutally raped and murdered.47 They had received warnings to leave the country or suffer the consequences, but they refused to do so. In a letter written by Donovan to a friend two weeks before her death, she explains her reason why, and in so doing articulates the mindset of the prophetic martyr: [T]he Peace Corps left today, and my heart sank low. The danger is extreme and they are right to leave, but it seems that the more help is needed, the less help is available. Now I must assess my own position, because I am not up for suicide. Several times I have decided to leave—I almost could except for the children, the poor bruised victims of adult lunacy. Who would care for them? Whose heart would be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.48

But this time the Salvadoran death squads had miscalculated. As Anna Peterson notes, the murder of the four women “sparked more outrage in the United States than all the killings [in El Salvador] that had preceded [it].”49 North American people of faith now came together in significant numbers in a decade-long attempt to pressure the US government into terminating military aid to El Salvador. Although their efforts were mostly

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   251 unsuccessful, they did have one positive result. With such pressure being exerted on the US Congress and the Reagan administration, the Salvadoran security forces could not afford more bad publicity from the murder of additional Church people. Consequently, with the exception of Sister Silvia Arriola, who was killed in Santa Ana in a battle between guerrillas and government forces in 1981, not a single priest or religious died violently in El Salvador over the next nine years. While the killing of priests and nuns was suspended, that of other Salvadorans escalated into the tens of thousands. Ten of the dead were members of the National Federation of Salvadoran Workers, whose union headquarters was bombed in October 1989 by security forces. In response to this brutal killing, guerrilla leaders of the Frente Farabundo Martí de Liberación Nacional (FMLN) launched a major offensive in November, which caught the military by surprise. The initial success of the guerrillas embarrassed and infuriated the Salvadoran armed forces. Looking for a scapegoat, the military blamed the uprising on the Jesuits at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), who they erroneously contended were the intellectuals behind the FMLN. Following a meeting of the military high command, twenty soldiers from the elite US-trained Atlacatl Battalion entered the Jesuit living quarters at the UCA on November 16, in the middle of the night. Their orders were “to kill Father Ellacuría and leave no witnesses.”50 By the time they left, six Jesuit priests, their cook, and her daughter were executed. Father Ignacio Ellacuría, as rector of the UCA, had spearheaded the reshaping of the university into a center that, through teaching and scholarship, worked to uncover the causes and to find solutions for El Salvador’s poverty and oppression. Father Ignacio Martín-Baró, vice rector and a prolific scholar, was the director of the University Institute of Public Opinion, which conducted surveys on the psychological effects that the harsh realities of Salvadoran life had on the nation’s people. Father Segundo Montes was the director of the UCA’s Human Rights Institute, which conducted research on refugee issues. Father Juan Ramón Moreno was director of the Center for Theological Reflection. Father Amando López, a philosophy/theology professor, also served as pastor of the Tierra Virgen community in Soyapango, a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of San Salvador. All five Jesuit professors were contributors to Estudios Centroamericanos, a university-based magazine of social commentary that was quite critical of the Salvadoran military and government and a major force in efforts to create a peace dialogue. The sixth priest-victim, Father Joaquín López y López, who was not a member of the faculty, was the director of the Fe y Alegría movement in El Salvador. Under his leadership, 48,000 young people in poor neighborhoods, who would otherwise have had no opportunity for education, were able to receive vocational training.51 The execution of the six Jesuits and two women shocked much of the world and increased international pressure on the Salvadoran government to take peace talks seriously. As a result, the government and the FMLN finally signed a peace accord in January 1992, ending the twelve-year civil war.

252   Edward T. Brett

Conclusion Between 1968 and 1990, over a thousand priests and nuns were exiled, imprisoned, tortured, or killed in Latin America by authoritarian governments. A much larger number of lay Church workers, whose names are mostly unknown, were also incarcerated or murdered. Some were killed because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but most died because they prophetically worked for social justice, thereby knowingly placing their lives in jeopardy. Yet none of these victims fits the traditional Catholic definition of Christian martyrdom. As noted at the beginning of this study, these Latin American men and women were killed not by people who denied the truth of Christianity and hated the faith, but by men who were baptized Christians. Indeed, under the auspices of the national security state, the government architects who planned these murders claimed that they were acting as defenders of a Western Christian social order whose very existence was threatened by an anti-Christian, Marxist philosophy that had infiltrated the Catholic Church. Many of these architects attended Sunday Mass and socialized with ultraconservative bishops who claimed that those victimized by security forces were ideological leftists who died in defense of political ideals that the Church opposes. Apologists for the national security state, including these bishops, further contended that the deaths of these activists had little to do with religion. They were killed, they said, in retaliation for their political subversion and consequently do not meet the necessary criteria to be declared Christian martyrs by the Church. Progressives likewise admitted that Catholics killed by Latin American death squads did not fit the traditional norms needed for canonization as martyrs. They argued, however, that the Church’s definition of martyrdom was too rigid and outdated and needed to be expanded to include those who, like the prophets and Jesus, died in defense of social justice. They further contended that in modern-day Latin America, more than bearing witness to Jesus’s divinity was needed. Christians had to strive to make the ­utopian ideals envisioned by Jesus a reality. As the theologian Karl Rahner notes: [I]t should not be overlooked that the faith to which martyrdom gives witness in ultimate existential radicality—death—also embraces moral values (social justice, love of neighbor, and the like) and not just abstract theological principles of faith only obliquely related to concrete life.

Consequently, adds Rahner, even when the Latin American martyr was “directly involved in the service of a socio-political ideal, [his or her] actions flowed from an expressly Christian motivation and inspiration.” Therefore, he or she meets the criteria for true Christian martyrdom.52 For the oppressed and for progressive bishops and theologians, Archbishop Romero serves as the model for prophetic martyrdom. Yet since Archbishop Rivera Damas of San Salvador initiated the official process for his canonization, his cause had been

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   253 blocked by conservative prelates at the Vatican. Just six weeks after his election as pope in 2013, however, Pope Francis personally intervened to unblock his case and has assured that the process will now sail smoothly toward a rapid conclusion. The Argentine pontiff has also used his influence to begin the process toward the beatification of the five Pallottines and Father Carlos Murias, who were assassinated in his home country in 1976. It seems safe to assume that the cases of other modern-day Latin American martyrs will soon be opened and, if this happens, then the prophetic Latin American Christians who gave their lives in the cause of social justice will have rewritten the criteria for ­martyrdom that was established in ancient times. But regardless of what the institutional Church does, it is certain that those prophets who died in the struggle for social justice in Latin America will be considered Christian martyrs by the poor masses. Indeed, they are already seen as such. Following his papal election, Pope Francis changed the criteria needed under canon law for martyrdom. Those who are killed because they chose to work for the justice that Jesus calls for in the gospels are now considered to have died in odium fidei. This change is significant because the “prophetic Martyrs of Latin America” are now eligible for canonization.

Notes 1. Enrique Dussel, A History of the Church in Latin America (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1981), 52–53, 266; José Alvarez Lobo, Fray Antonio de Valdivieso: Obispo mártir de Nicaragua, 1544–1550 (San José, Costa Rica: Editorial Lascasiana, 1992). 2. Leo A. Kelly, “Bl. Ignacio de Azevedo,” The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, NY: Robert Appleton Company, 1910), vol. 7. 3. Kenneth L. Woodward, Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn’t, and Why (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 45. 4. Ibid. 5. Jürgen Buchenau, Plutarco Elías Calles and the Mexican Revolution (Denver, CO: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006); Robert E. Quirk, The Mexican Revolution and the Catholic Church (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1973). 6. Jeffrey Klaiber, The Church, Dictatorships, and Democracy in Latin America (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998), 242–243. 7. Quoted in Martin Lang and Reinhold Iblacker, Witness of Hope: The Persecution of Christians in Latin America (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1981), 81. 8. Fernando Prandini, Victor Petrucci, and Romeu Dale, As relações Igreja-Estado no Brasil (São Paulo: Centro Pastoral Vergueiro; Edições Loyola, 1986–1987) vol. 2, 163–167; vol. 4, 219–229, 273–274; Klaiber, 20–41. 9. Jaime Escobar, Persecución a la iglesia en Chile: Martirologio, 1973–1986 (Santiago: Terranova Editores, 1986), 76. 10. Edward Crouzet, Blood on the Esmeralda: The Life and Death of Father Michael Woodward (Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Radstock: Downside Books, 2002). 11. María Angélica Cruz, Iglesia, represión y memoria: El caso chileno (Madrid: Siglo Veintiuno de España Editores, 2004), 86–87. 12. Klaiber, The Church, 76–77.

254   Edward T. Brett 13. Martin De Biase, “Entre dos fuegos,” vida y asesinato del Padre Mugica (Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Flor, 1998). 14. Emilio  F.  Mignone, Witness to the Truth: The Complicity of Church and Dictatorship in Argentina, 1976–1983 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1986), 131–132, 147–149. 15. For a list and commentary on some of these see Mignone, Witness, 133–136. 16. Ibid., 146–147; Eduardo Gabriel Kimel, La Masacre de San Patricio (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Dialectica, 1989). 17. Mignone, Witness, 142; Lang and Iblacker, Witness of Hope, 112. 18. Mignone, Witness, 142. 19. Ibid., 142–143. 2 0. Ibid., 145–146. 21. Marguerite Guzman Bouvard, Revolutionizing Motherhood: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1994), 77–78. 22. Mignone, Witness, 147–148. 23. See for instance, Karl Rahner, “Dimensions of Martyrdom: A Plea for the Broadening of a Classical Concept,” Concilium 163 (1983), 9–11; Juan Hernández Pico, “Martyrdom Today in Latin America: A Stumbling Block, Folly, and Power of God,” Concilium 163 (1983), 37–42; and Anna Peterson, Martyrdom and the Politics of Religion: Progressive Catholicism in El Salvador’s Civil War (New York, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997), 66–136. 2 4. Piero Gleijeses, Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution and the United States, 1944–1954 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991). 25. Donna Whitson Brett and Edward T. Brett, Murdered in Central America: The Stories of Eleven US Missionaries (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988), 68–88. 26. Phillip Berryman, The Religious Roots of Rebellion: Christians in Central American Revolutions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1984), 190–191. 27. Ibid., 200–201; Guatemala: Memoria del silencio, Anexo 1: Volumen 1, Caso ilustrativo No. 56, Ejecución del sacerdote Walter Voordeckers, Spanish/anexo1/vol1/. 28. Observatorio Pastoral-CELAM, docu4d0e346231f; Berryman, The Religious Roots, 201; Tonibandin’s Weblog: Noticias que nos competen a todos, 29. Berryman, The Religious Roots, 204. 30. New York Times (May 16, 1981). 31. Ordo Fratrum Minorum>blog.servants: 32. Brett and Brett, Murdered, 89–118. 33. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States, “Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Republic of Guatemala,” Chapter  6, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.53 (October 13, 1981). 34. Brett and Brett, Murdered, 140–158. 35. Ibid., 158. 36. “Fray Augusto Ramírez Monasterio, mártir de los pobres de Guatemala,” Pircas y Trincheras (November 7, 2009), . . . augusto-ramirez. 37. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States, “Report on the Situation of Human Rights in El Salvador,” Chapter 2, Right to Life. OEA/Ser.L/V/ II.46,doc.23,rev.1 (November 17, 1978). chap.2.htm.

Prophetic Martyrdom in Modern Latin America   255 38. Ibid. 39. Mons. Oscar A. Romero: Su pensamiento, VI (San Salvador: Publicaciones Pastorales del Arzobispado, 1981), 130; James R. Brockman, Romero: A Life (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1989), 155. Brockman was in attendance at the funeral Mass. 40. Brockman, Romero, 175–176. 41. Ibid., 176. 42. Ibid., 177. 43. Ibid., 181–182. 44. Ibid., 238. 45. Orientación, April 13, 1980. Quoted in Brockman, 248. 46. “No Reprieve in an Ugly War,” Time (July 7, 1980); “Padre Marcial Serrano, Desaparecido en El Salvador,” Pircas y Trincheras (December 29, 2009). Peterson, Martyrdom, 65. 47. Brett and Brett, Murdered, 189–320. 48. Ibid., 252. 49. Peterson, Martyrdom, 65. 50. United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador (April 30, 1993), 21. 51. Teresa Whitfield, Paying the Price: Ignacio Ellacuría and the Murdered Jesuits of El Salvador (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1995); United Nations Truth Commission, 20–25. 52. Karl Rahner, Forward to Martin Lang and Reinhold Iblacker, Witness of Hope: The Persecution of Christians in Latin America (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1981), xiv.

chapter 14

Th e A m bi va l ence of Catholic Politic s i n L ati n A m er ica Ideology, Interests, and Institutions Amy Edmonds

Introduction Almost a century after the majority of national Catholic Churches in Latin America were formally separated from their states, the Church remains a powerful source of authority and legitimacy within the political sphere.1 Although the growth of Protestantism has challenged the hegemony of the Catholic Church in Latin America, the Catholic Church is still dominant; about 70 percent of Latin Americans consider themselves Roman Catholic, and in a 2000 World Values Survey in ten Latin American countries, 88.7 percent of people calling themselves Roman Catholic said that ­religion was “very important” or “rather important” in their lives.2 According to a Latinobarometro poll in 2004, over 70 percent of Latin Americans expressed confidence in the Church, the highest level of confidence in any institution.3 Explaining the variety of political actions by the Catholic Church has been a major theoretical question undertaken by Latin Americanists in recent years, and several important contributions have illuminated the causes of ambivalent Catholic politics in Latin America. Current theories tend to focus on three categories of causal variables: ideology, organizational interests, and institutional arrangements. This chapter outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the explanations for the Catholic Church’s actions by synthesizing research on these factors in relation to opposition to authoritarianism and the different political strategies of the Catholic Church to maintain political influence within democratic and pluralist societies.

258   Amy Edmonds

Catholic Response to Authoritarianism A large body of research on religion and politics in Latin America examines the distinctive responses among national Catholic episcopacies to prevalent authoritarianism, violence, and human rights abuse in the time period between 1960 and 1990. In some countries, like Chile and Brazil, the institutional Church responded to authoritarianism and repression by becoming a critical force of opposition and a defender of human rights; the Church also helped to broker agreements that paved the way for democracy.4 In Nicaragua and El Salvador, the Church advocated for democratic transition and helped mediate between guerrilla forces and the government.5 In other countries, such as Argentina, Honduras, and Guatemala, the institutional Church stayed silent or even supported the military regimes.6 This variation of response to authoritarianism and violence has proven to be a subject that illuminates the processes of how religious institutions and actors make particular political choices. Explanations for the political positions and actions of religious organizations tend to center around political theology: the “set of propositions about politics that people hold in their minds, share and develop through language and discourse, and use to persuade and motivate”—this set is generally assumed as a central contributing factor to the Church’s political orientation and a cause of political actions.7 Within the context of Latin America, scholars frequently focus on the rise of progressive ideology within the laity and the clergy as a key explanatory variable for religious opposition to authoritarianism and violence.8 Progressivism in the Latin American Catholic Church is defined as support for laity empowerment, an adherence to liberation theology, and the commitment to promote social justice.9 The presence or absence of progressive ideology among the clergy is a factor often used to explain the distinctive cases of Chile and Argentina. The Catholic hierarchy in Chile adopted progressive reforms and proclaimed political positions promoting social justice and human dignity in the 1950s and 1960s. Moreover, during military authoritarianism from 1973 to 1990, Church leaders were motivated by their beliefs to support human rights and to criticize authoritarianism.10 Conversely, the core leadership of the Argentine Catholic Church was almost uniformly conservative and tended to espouse the norms of tradition and stability; it resisted Vatican II reforms and continued to be suspicious of democracy. The ideology of Catholic nationalism, prominent within both the Argentine Church and state, painted the Catholic Church as the provider of longestablished values and synthesized Catholicism with nationalism.11 It sought to preserve the nation’s fundamental values and feared the threats of immigration, liberalism, socialism, and democracy. For Catholic nationalists (also known as integralists), the “most desirable situation for the Church is that found in the ‘Catholic State’ ”; in this arrangement, the power and the legitimacy of the state and of the Church are shared and reinforce each other.12 These

The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America   259 values motivated the Church to ally itself with the authoritarian regime that ruled from 1976 to 1983 and to support it not only through public statements, but also by providing land for torture centers, identifying suspect individuals and groups, and refusing to defend Church members kidnapped and tortured by the military.13 Although progressivism is clearly associated with political opposition to authoritarianism and human rights abuse, it did not spread uniformly throughout Latin America. To explain this uneven ideological trend, many scholars focus on internal factors, such as changes within the Church that allowed it to embrace a new ethical orientation. The beginnings of Catholic progressivism can be found in the encyclicals Rerum Novarum, issued in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII (1878–1903), and Quadragesimo Anno (After Forty Years), issued in 1931 by Pope Pius XI (1922–1939). These papal documents critiqued economic exploitation and the deficiencies of capitalism. They called on Catholics to apply Christian values to social problems like child labor, inequality, and revolution, and prompted the formation of Church-affiliated unions and Catholic Action groups to encourage educated lay leaders to promote Catholic values in society. Inspired by the social encyclicals and educated by Catholic Action groups, laity in many Latin American countries formed successful Christian Democratic parties that called for reforms and a third way between capitalism and communism.14 The Christian Democratic parties of Chile, Costa Rica, and Venezuela, all founded in the 1930s and 1940s, became major political parties with significant influence by mid-century. The most important event to promote progressivism within the Catholic Church was the Second Vatican Council, which took place in four fall sessions throughout 1962–1965. In an effort to make Church doctrine relevant and increase lay participation, the use of Latin in the liturgy was no longer mandatory and the importance of the laity in the Church was emphasized. Clergy and laity alike were encouraged to engage in worldly affairs and were urged to promote temporal issues like economic equality, human dignity, and political freedom, all of which were integral parts of the gospel. The endorsement of social justice, democracy, decentralized Church structures, and a larger role for the laity in its ministries reinforced progressive initiatives and reforms that many Latin American episcopacies were already implementing.15 Another key event that facilitated the spread of progressivism throughout Latin America was structural reform of the Church’s internal organization. Until 1955 the Catholic Church in Latin America was organized around the diocese. Each diocese was formally separate and had a bishop who communicated directly with Rome. The effects of this structural arrangement were “institutional fragmentation, organizational ­isolation, and uncoordinated policy.”16 In 1952 the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB; Conferȇncia Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil) was organized, and other Latin American countries quickly followed with their own national councils. This organizational advancement led to the creation of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM), which held its first meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1955. The emphasis on relating the Christian gospel to the political and economic realities in Latin America was expanded at CELAM II in Medellín, Colombia, in 1968. The resolutions adopted in Medellín asserted the Church’s solidarity with people aspiring to

260   Amy Edmonds liberation from all forms of slavery and called on national episcopacies to help organize popular sectors of society to apply political pressure for social justice.17 The Medellín conference also created the Commission of Peace and Justice based in Rio de Janeiro, which would later play an important role in documenting and publishing human rights abuses in Brazil and would provide a model for later similar initiatives in Chile and El Salvador.18 The ideological shifts in Catholic theology exemplified by Vatican II and the CELAM meetings did not unvaryingly promote progressivism in Latin America. Many national episcopacies, such as those in Argentina and Colombia, remained almost uniformly conservative despite the reforms. The majority of priests in these countries defended the status quo and strove to maintain the Church’s connections with elites and the military, as well as the Church’s special state privileges. While internal Church reforms apparently helped to accelerate ideological changes in some areas, they did not necessarily serve as the impetus for the adoption of progressivism. Another problem with the focus on progressivism as an explanation for opposition to authoritarianism is that it assumes what Ivan Vallier calls the “Belief-Motivational Model,” in which social phenomena are explained through observation of the way that religious beliefs and values lead to individual motivations. This model tends to ignore the interdependency between “religious structures and a society’s total system of social control, power structures, and integrative base.”19 Beliefs are not independently created, but emerge from a particular context and structure. Thus the progressive political ideology of clergy and laity may be a necessary factor for understanding political opposition to authoritarianism, but it is not sufficient to explain what caused the ­ideological changes among Church leaders in the first place. For many scholars of religion in Latin America, it is the Church’s organizational interests and in particular its desire to protect its power and privileges (and not its particular religious beliefs) that best explain the Church’s political behavior. This argument posits that the Church is inherently conservative and will naturally pursue an alliance with the state unless it comes under attack from the government or faces external competition. According to some studies, the extreme repression carried out by authoritarian regimes caused the imprisonment, torture, and even death of Catholic laity and priests, and led to episcopal denunciations of the government and its defense of human rights. For example, the Chilean hierarchy contained not only progressives but also moderates and conservatives. These disparate groups were unified in opposition to the Pinochet regime by the government’s attacks on clergy and Church programs. In contrast, in Peru the military government did not attack or challenge the Church or its institutions, and the Peruvian bishops, therefore, remained divided and pursued a strategy of elite persuasion, rather than confrontation or opposition to the Morales Bermudez government. Hence, this theory relies on the existence of state repression to understand what galvanized the Church in Chile and Brazil to oppose authoritarian regimes.20 However, it cannot explain the absence of opposition in countries such as Argentina, where clergy and laity suffered intense human rights abuses, but the vast majority of the upper-level clergy maintained their acquiescence to the military regime.

The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America   261 Another explanation for progressive political action, similarly rooted in the Church’s defense of its institutional interests, comes out of the rational choice paradigm. Anthony Gill’s seminal work, Rendering unto Caesar (1998), posits that episcopal political actions are primarily motivated by competition from other providers of religion such as Protestantism; essentially, the need to retain and gain more parishioners forces the Church to cater to its grassroots through progressive reforms. In areas where strong Protestant competition existed, such as Chile, the Church had to compete for parishioners and therefore adopted progressivism and other reforms supported by the lower classes; it opposed repressive regimes in order to maintain its credibility and its parishioners. Similarly, Neuhouser claims that competition from Protestantism and socialist movements, as well as priest shortages, helped lead to the radicalization of the Brazilian Church.21 In contrast, there was a much smaller percentage of Protestants in places like Argentina and Uruguay, and Gill asserts that this lack of religious competition led to apathy within the Catholic hierarchy regarding the masses and to cooperation with the military. Gill’s (1998) study provides a valuable example of how a theory may be tested (and not just posited) by using the comparative case study method, and it has had a strong influence on the field of religion and politics in Latin America.22 Perhaps the most valuable outcome of Gill’s work was the flurry of interest and challenges it engendered. One key criticism is the difficulty in determining whether progressivism actually followed Protestant growth in the given timeline, as Gill claims. As MacKin shows in a case study on Mexico, progressivism within a Catholic diocese in Mexico actually preceded a rise in Protestantism. MacKin concludes that Protestantism played “little or no role” in the radicalization of Bishop Sergio Méndez Arceo of Cuernavaca. Rather, the bishop’s progressivism “facilitated the growth of non-Catholic Churches.”23 Although Gill’s model demonstrates correlation between Protestant competition and progressive Catholicism, it does not necessarily indicate causation.24 Moreover, Gill’s model does not show consistent correlation between Protestant competition and opposition to authoritarianism. For example, although Gill classifies the Guatemalan Church as “pro-authoritarian,” the 6.3 percent growth of its Protestant population from 1900 to 1970 was much higher than in several countries classified as “anti-authoritarian,” such as El Salvador, Panama, and Nicaragua. On the other hand, Ecuador, which Gill classifies as anti-authoritarian, had a 2.9 percent growth in Protestants between 1900 and 1970, smaller than several of the pro-authoritarian cases like Honduras and Bolivia.25 Moreover, progressivism and opposition to authoritarianism were not guaranteed to appeal to the masses and gain the Church more parishioners. Throughout Latin America, there were many cases in which both the poor and the Protestant Churches supported authoritarian governments, and “even more where both [were] apolitical.”26 In Chile and Brazil, for example, Pentecostals either were silent or enthusiastically supported the military regime.27 Although Protestant competition may help spur a Church to become more progressive, Gill’s own numbers suggest that it is not a sufficient cause (as in the case of Guatemala) or a necessary factor (as in the case of Ecuador). Gill’s argument that the Church’s political actions can be explained exclusively by the presence or absence of competition is

262   Amy Edmonds straightforward and simple, and this is both its strength and its weakness. This theory is parsimonious and therefore easily testable, but it ignores other potentially interdependent factors. Retention of the laity is undoubtedly a significant organizational interest pursued by the Church. Yet Gill disregards the possibility that the Church’s interests, and the manner in which it pursues those interests, can change depending on the ideas adopted by Church leaders. As Mainwaring notes, “There are no objective interests that a Church is compelled to pursue. Within the Church there are many conflicting views of the institution’s true interests and how to pursue them. Depending on one’s model of the Church, pursuing a given interest can be seen as absolutely essential or as wrong.”28 In other words, ideology is essential to the formation of interests. The last explanation for opposition to authoritarianism takes both ideology and interests into account, but posits that both are dependent on the particular way the Church is connected with “control structures,” or other powerful institutions, such as the state and civil society.29 According to this approach, the nature of these connections strongly influences how the Church responds to competition and crises. An early pioneer in the study of religion and politics in Latin America, Ivan Vallier identified five stages of Church-state relations and noted that the ideology and interests of the Church varied depending on the particulars of the institutional interaction between the Church, the state, and society. When the Church was established as a branch of the state, its ideology was generally conservative and its interests were best served by maintaining a close connection to political elites. As Churches became independent, they shifted their focus to emphasizing missionary programs and social justice initiatives to increase their appeal to parishioners. Vallier argued that the most influential position for the Church is one in which it is separated from the state but linked to society through grassroots organizations (like Catholic universities, hospitals, Catholic education, etc.). In this institutional arrangement, the Church is more likely and better able to promote social justice, democracy, and human rights. Although Vallier’s theory was written before the 1970s, its emphasis on how different institutional power structures result in distinctive ideological stances and understandings of the Church’s interests has been recently corroborated by several works. In Nicaragua the Catholic Church was very supportive of the Somoza regime before 1970, and for many years delayed the adoption of progressive reforms, which happened only after Medellín and resulted in deep divisions within the hierarchy. In Honduras the Church adopted progressivism and worked for rural reforms even before Vatican II took place, and this tradition of progressive work “made the application of practices advocated at Medellín far less problematic than in Nicaragua.”30 The Church helped create student, educational, and charity groups, which in turn helped promote social reforms. Shepherd explains these distinct paths by noting that in Honduras, the Catholic Church and the state were largely independent, and the autonomy of the Church allowed it to adopt and promulgate progressive positions. In contrast, in Nicaragua, the “incestuous relationship” between the Church and state stymied progressive changes. Comparison of the Nicaraguan and Honduran cases demonstrates that analyses of

The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America   263 political actions (or lack thereof) by religious actors must take into consideration the historical relationship between Church and state structures. Utilizing a path-dependent analysis of historical Church-state relations in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, Goldfrank and Rowell find that in countries where there were few ties between the Church and state, the hierarchy was more likely to adopt progressive reforms, criticize the governing regime, and take concrete steps to protect human rights, but in countries with significant state control over the Church, the hierarchy maintained a neutral or even a pro-authoritarian stance. In Argentina, several institutional arrangements closely intertwined the Church and the state; not only was the Church established and dependent on the state for financial support, but there was also a military vicariate where several Church clergy were responsible for ministering exclusively to military members. These institutional relationships meant that the Church had a strong interest in ingratiating itself with political elites and supporting the state, and this institutional relationship was reinforced by the ideologies of Catholic nationalism and integralism. Where Church-state ties were minimal, as in Chile and Uruguay, the bishops were willing to confront the state relatively quickly. This approach can also explain the more nuanced case of Brazil, where the Church did not denounce military abuses for six years. Although the state could not regulate internal Church affairs, it did financially subsidize the Church, which meant that the Church was eager to maintain a positive relationship with the state. Hence, there was an initial hesitancy to acknowledge the human rights abuses, and even then the Church attempted to dialogue with state officials privately, rather than expose them in public. Only once Pope Paul VI and the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace condemned the Brazilian military regime in 1970 did the national episcopacy issue a major public criticism of the government.31 Goldfrank and Rowell’s study helps to remedy a key weakness in much of the literature on religion and politics in Latin America because it exposes the path-dependent nature of religious interests and ideas. Churchstate ­relations determined the particular content of the Church’s interests. Once the state became “a primary source of material resources for a given religious organization, the interests of that organization and that regime begin to overlap. The greater the ­support lent by the state, the more the interests of the organization’s leadership involves maintaining state favour.”32 Church-state arrangements also influenced the Church’s receptivity to ideological trends: established Churches were significantly less likely to adopt progressive reforms than those (like in Chile and Uruguay) that were independent from the state. This suggests that the arrangement of institutions strongly influences the sociopolitical choices of religious institutions. Organizational interests and the ideology of the Church elites definitely matter, but the interests and ideology of the Church are not fixed; rather, they vary in accordance with the arrangements between the Church and the state. Another institutional arrangement that appears to be important for understanding opposition to authoritarianism is the relationship between the Church and society. An embedded, diffuse network of institutional connections between the Church and other sectors of society enables the Church to serve as a base for societal mobilization.

264   Amy Edmonds Moreover, transnational ties can provide the Church with financial and personnel resources, as well as other forms of support and protection. In Chile, the Catholic Church was informally tied to the Christian Democratic Party, Catholic unions, Catholic student groups, and other professional organizations. Thus once the Pinochet regime shut down these other forms of civil society, the Church was able to quickly form and expand organizations to protect human rights because of its “preexisting ties and solidarity among certain religious leaders, academics, politicians, and professionals (e.g., lawyers, social workers).”33 The creation of the Committee for Peace and later the Vicariate of Solidarity provided the space from which the Church would defend human rights and eventually mobilize the opposition against the Pinochet regime. The Chilean Church’s international funding and societal resources enabled the Church hierarchy to provide a shield that protected people from the abuses of the Pinochet regime. In contrast, in the case of Uruguay, the Catholic Church initially opposed the military regime but was quickly stymied. Although the Church leadership was progressive and therefore willing to speak out against human rights abuses, it did not have the institutional resources or connections necessary to withstand the government’s repression.34 Hence the Church’s institutional relationships with the government and with civil society are crucial factors for understanding what motivates and enables it to oppose authoritarianism.

Democratization and New Variations of Political Behavior In the 1980s, nearly all authoritarian regimes in Latin America transformed into democracies. Democratization allowed for the rebirth of political parties, interest groups, and other organizations, and, as a result, the Church “no longer felt compelled to speak for civil society in the same way.”35 Democratization resulted not only in more freedom and political competition, but also in more religious pluralism and secularism— both of which challenged the Catholic Church’s cultural hegemony. In some countries the Church responded to these changes by initially reducing its political presence and decreasing its funding of lay-led grassroots Catholic organizations. One reason for the decline was Vatican pressure on the hierarchy to focus on traditional spiritual objectives. Pope John Paul II forbade involvement by official Church representatives in partisan political movements and regularly replaced retiring progressive bishops with those considered to be more conservative.36 Both the Vatican and national Church leaders were particularly concerned about the appearance of Catholic political partisanship; they worried that the political nature of lay groups was alienating to parishioners, thus making it more difficult to compete with the charismatic Pentecostal churches. Refocusing the Catholic Church on its orthodox message and traditional rituals was thought to help ensure its ability to compete with increasing Protestantism.

The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America   265 Political withdrawal was especially pronounced in Chile. Following democratic elections in 1990, the Catholic hierarchy closed down the Vicariate of Solidarity, leaving other grassroots organizations without access to funding, training, or a coordinating structure. Chilean Catholic activists perceived a “clear withdrawal from support of grassroots activism and popular empowerment and a reassertion of vertical, hierarchical, and traditionalist control.”37 Reasons for the Church’s political withdrawal vary, but internal debate about its political role within a democracy was a clear cause. While the majority of both progressive and conservative priests in Chile agreed that the Church should support democracy in the face of authoritarian regimes, after democratization the consensus regarding the Church’s role in politics fell apart, and many priests and lay members believed that the Church should return to a purely pastoral role and allow the newly formed political parties and other organizations to conduct politics.38 Vatican pressure, worries about Protestant competition, and the re-emergence of civil society that accompanied democratization all contributed to the decline of Catholic political activism. Yet decreased levels of Catholic political involvement and lay mobilization after the return to democracy were not enduring; in hindsight, the Church’s retrenchment was part of an initial downward trend in political engagement during which the leadership formed new goals and strategies.39 Today, the Catholic Church continues to be politically active and pursues a broad and sometimes contradictory political agenda. Prominent issues for the Church include social and economic justice, issues of sexual morality (such as opposition to abortion, birth control, homosexuality, and divorce), and protection of the Church’s special organizational privileges (such as subsidies for Catholic schools or Catholicism as a constitutionally protected religion). In many countries the Church actively argues in defense of its traditional positions on issues related to women, sexuality, and the family.40 The Chilean Church hierarchy, for example, released several statements pertaining to politics in the 1990s and 2000s, but these focused almost exclusively on speaking out against birth control, divorce, and premarital sex. Although there is increasing social discourse and deliberation over moral issues, in many cases the Catholic hierarchy in Latin America has exercised an “indirect veto” over legislative reforms regarding the contentious issues of abortion and same-sex unions.41 For example, in Uruguay the electoral threat of being labeled un-Christian and immoral by the Catholic Church successfully deterred a majority of Uruguayan senators from voting for a law to decriminalize abortions in 2002. In 2006, the Nicaraguan hierarchy succeeded in pushing an absolute abortion ban through Congress. In a few cases, abortion laws have been liberalized despite the objections of the Catholic Church, but this has occurred only in situations where the decisions-makers were insulated from Church condemnation (i.e., when appointed officials or courts made the decision, or when legislators were at the beginning of an electoral cycle). The Catholic Church in today’s Latin America continues to influence the political sphere, especially regarding moral issues, in powerful ways. In other countries, however, the Church hierarchy has focused more on political issues pertaining to social justice. Similarly to Chile, the Catholic Church in Central

266   Amy Edmonds America withdrew from the political sphere following the cessation of the region’s civil wars in the 1990s and focused on parish ministry and issues of individual and family morality. But in 2003 the Central American regional body of Catholic bishops (Secretariado Episcopal de América Central) introduced People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO), a community-organizing effort designed to promote Catholic activism based on the PICO national network in the United States. The strategy of PICO was to utilize the Catholic structure of parishes, lay movements, and the pastoral social projects to create civic faith-based organizations that would organize for local reforms, exert democratic influence by keeping officials accountable, and create a public voice for Catholic values in Central America. The PICO project in El Salvador, for instance, organized to improve trash collection, obtain better access to health services, and stop pollution of local water sources. The clergy did not directly negotiate for these improvements with political elites, but instead empowered Catholic laity to dialogue and negotiate with political representatives, thus helping to promote accountability and culturally institutionalize democracy. This collaborative approach to mobilizing Catholic laity to work for community improvements and political reforms appears to be “an effective vehicle for promoting social policy change and democratic consolidation in the region.”42 PICO Central America also illustrates a new strategy to gain political influence within a democratic context. Church officials do not attempt to exert political influence by engaging directly with political elites; rather, the Church enables democratic action by the laity, thereby extending Catholic influence in politics but through indirect means. This suggests that it is possible for the Catholic Church to have political influence and also support the democratic process, but it requires the Church to create and support lay organizations that can promote Catholic goals. Social justice issues continue to be prominent among the Church’s political concerns. Throughout Latin America, Catholic bishops draw attention to the “moral illegitimacy” of free-market economic reforms and denounce endemic poverty and inequality.43 However, certain episcopacies have done more than others to mobilize action on social justice issues. The Brazilian episcopate not only has spoken out on inequality and a fair minimum wage, but also has created pastoral commissions to aid the landless, migrants, the homeless, and marginalized women.44 A particularly important Catholic pastoral initiative in Brazil is the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT; Comissão Pastoral da Terra). This commission helps rural landless communities through promotion of agrarian reform, protection of human rights by monitoring and reporting on violence in rural areas, and mobilization of workers such as rubber tappers and coconut gatherers.45 In Chile, the Church has also created an Indigenous Pastoral Commission, but it has been much more cautious and less effective regarding its advocacy for human rights and land reform for the Mapuche Indians when compared to the CPT in Brazil. Rodriguez (2009) explains this variation by comparing the internal institutional arrangements of the Chilean and Brazilian Catholic Churches. The CPT is relatively independent from the CNBB, which means it can participate in local struggles without explicit permission from the CNBB. The CPT not only has autonomy from the CNBB, but also has helped

The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America   267 persuade the institutional Church to embrace land reform. In contrast, the clergy members in the Chilean Indigenous Pastoral have little freedom to become involved in land disputes or to mediate without the permission of the Chilean Episcopal Conference (Conferencia Episcopal de Chile). Moreover, indigenous groups in Chile have limited accessibility to Church institutions because there are no local or regional Church representatives that can act independently of the episcopacy. Therefore, Chilean Catholic Church involvement and influence in the Mapuche Indian conflict is significantly weaker than the Brazilian Catholic Church’s role in indigenous land reform.46 These cases suggest that internal structure is a key determinant in providing the Catholic Church with political influence. Pastoral commissions, whether created with the goal of defending human rights or mobilizing underrepresented groups, help to link the institutional Church to grassroots organizations, thereby giving the Church more influence within a democracy. Commissions that are given more freedom to respond immediately and that are provided with access to Church resources will be more influential than those under the strict control of the hierarchy. Instead of directly petitioning the elite, the Church can wield the most political influence when it mobilizes and supports the laity to participate in politics. Although examining the structure of internal Catholic organizations helps us to understand the new methods being used to exert influence, it does not necessarily provide an answer as to why the Church decides to support such institutions in the first place. In a seminal study, Guillermo Trejo argues that indigenous mobilization in Mexico is best explained as the breakdown of both religious and political monopolies. Protestant competition alongside the growth of political party competition “empowered indigenous communities to engage in large-scale movements for land redistribution and government agricultural support.”47 Similar to Anthony Gill, Trejo demonstrates that increases in the number of Protestants in particular dioceses led clergy to embrace progressive causes. Additionally, clergy also responded to competition by promoting new venues for lay participation, such as Bible study groups and economic and social cooperatives. These decentralized regional associations “transformed” indigenous communities into “highly organized and connected communities capable of engaging in many different forms of collective dissent.”48 Competition spurred the Church to change both its ideological framework and its organizational infrastructure. These changes provided the ideological justification for the indigenous to fight for land redistribution and ethnocultural rights, as well as an institutional base enabling mobilization. Trejo’s study offers a comprehensive examination of how multiple factors interact to produce a particular political behavior. He identifies the Church’s organizational interest in maintaining its number of parishioners as the primary motivating factor, but he suggests that other factors were also crucial for enabling indigenous mobilization. The Church provided a progressive narrative that “helped indigenous parishioners in the process of cognitive liberation and creation of the social norms and identities for ­persistent collective action.”49 The decision to create decentralized regional networks with multiple lay leaders enabled mobilization and provided resilience against government

268   Amy Edmonds repression. Although Protestant competition was the initial factor that spurred the Church to act, progressive ideology and the Church’s institutional arrangements were key to enabling indigenous mobilization. Frances Hagopian’s edited volume, Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America, is the most ambitious and comprehensive recent work to examine the Latin American Catholic Church’s political strategies for dealing with the challenges of democracy, secularism, and pluralism. Hagopian outlines the Church’s three fundamental goals: institutional interests (maintaining parishioners, public support for its influential institutions such as schools and hospitals, financial security), morality in the public sphere (prevention of divorce, abortion, gay marriage), and the advancement of social and economic justice.50 The Catholic Church’s social doctrine does not fall neatly on a left-right continuum on the ideological spectrum, and this presents difficulties in pursuing all three goals simultaneously. Hagopian posits that Catholic Churches prioritize and choose which interests they will pursue based on four factors: religious hegemony, the Church’s capacity to mobilize society, political orientation of the laity, and the political risk the Church faces to its institutional interests and policy agenda. Where the Church has a high capacity to mobilize but faces religious competition, the laity will have the most influence on the religious hierarchy. If the Catholic electorate is moderate to progressive (as in the case of Brazil), then the Church will prioritize advocacy for social justice. If religious hegemony is high and the capacity to mobilize is low (as in the case of Peru and Argentina), or if the Church faces serious political risks, such as loss of its institutional privileges, autonomy, or support for Church-sponsored schools, then the Church will focus on defending its institutional interests and promoting its moral agenda. Of the four factors that Hagopian identifies, her emphasis on the Church’s capacity to mobilize the laity is the most important contribution to the literature. In a democratic context, the actions of the collective laity will inevitably be of more influence on the political sphere than those of the few clergy. Thus, in order to wield political influence, the Church must be able to mobilize the laity by institutionally embedding itself within civil society. This suggests that increasing scholarly attention should be given to studying lay attitudes regarding both morality policy and social justice issues, as well as to the Church’s connections to civil society. Hagopian’s book is a major contribution to scholars of religion and politics in Latin America because she provides a comprehensive framework for understanding why the Church pursues varying political goals in particular contexts. She takes into account many of the significant aforementioned explanatory variables—religious hegemony, capacity to mobilize, ideological orientation, and political risk. Moreover, she examines the variables in combination with each other, making her assessment multifaceted as well as thorough. However, there is a notable omission. Although she looks at the institutional relation­ ship between the Church and state in the context of the political risk the Church could face from threats to its legal advantages, she neglects the crucial question of how that relationship might influence the Church’s perception of its institutional interests and its moral positioning. Indeed, the changing history of religion and politics in Latin

The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America   269 America demonstrates that the aforementioned variables are not discrete and fixed categories; rather, interests are shaped by an institutional context and understood through a particular ideological lens. These factors are mutually dependent on each other, and therefore the changing nature of not only ideas but also interests must be taken into account when seeking to understand and predict the political choices of religious actors.

Conclusion An interesting implication of this chapter is that within a democratic and pluralistic context, the Church’s political influence is most effective when it empowers the laity to act politically in their own interests. In other words, the Church may be the most effective in promoting a Catholic agenda when it gives up attempting to influence politicians directly. Studies on Church influence on abortion policy appear to corroborate this finding; where the Church mobilized social pressure on elected officials, particularly when elections were imminent, proposed bills liberalizing abortion laws failed. Moreover, when Church leaders threatened politicians with excommunication (as in Mexico City in 2007), they failed to stop the legislation, and the politicians were not punished by voters.51 If the Church wishes to maintain an influential voice in a democratic system, it “must rely on the strength of its arguments to convince voters and policymakers of its position.”52 Scholars should watch how national ecclesial hierarchies respond to this change. There are significant divisions in the attitudes of lay Catholics regarding issues of economic justice and sexual morality; the hierarchy “may not be able to count on ­sufficient Catholic lay support to sustain its public agenda in the years ahead.”53 In order to understand the political influence of the Catholic Church in modern Latin America, scholarly attention should be focused on the Church’s relationship to its laity, as well as more generally to civil society. As Vallier foresaw, the locus of religious control in the democratic and pluralistic context is transferred to the layperson supported by the congregation, rather than in the hierarchy supported by the laity.54 Whether the Church can influence and mobilize the laity will clearly be important, but so will the ability of the laity to influence the clergy. If the Catholic hierarchy is responsive to the demands of its grassroots, it will be more likely to maintain political relevance. The research indicates that when faced with religious competition, the hierarchy is more likely to respond to its laity. Further research should be done on the religious organizational arrangements that enable the laity to express their political positions and promote political empowerment. The theories arising from the literature on religion and politics in Latin America are both wide and deep and provide a vast range of testable hypotheses. These theories should be further tested both within and outside of the Latin American context in two ways. First, numerous studies have been done on Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina,

270   Amy Edmonds but there have been very few analyses on religion and politics in Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia. Scholars should re-examine the theories discussed here in light of lesser-studied Latin American countries. In conditions of democratic deterioration, analyses should examine whether the Church decides to again pursue a strategy of elite influence. Second, there should be more dialogue between scholars studying the nexus of religion and politics in Latin America and those examining other regions.55 A larger number of cases can help refine and reify the arguments and lead to robust theories that are also generalizable. More data need to be collected to enable large investigations. The most important way to discover the generalizability and the richness of theories this field has produced is to now test them in other areas of the world.

Notes 1. For an in-depth analysis of this point, see Edward L. Cleary, How Latin America Saved the Soul of the Catholic Church (New York, NY: Paulist, 2009). 2. Frances Hagopian, Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), 19. 3. Mala Htun, “Life, Liberty, and Family Values: Church and State in the Struggle over Latin America’s Social Agenda,” in Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America, ed. Frances Hagopian (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), 336–337. 4. Virginia M. Bouvier, Alliance or Compliance: Implications of the Chilean Experience for the Catholic Church in Latin America, Foreign and Comparative Studies/Latin American Series (Syracuse, NY: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 1983); Thomas  C.  Bruneau, The Church in Brazil: The Politics of Religion (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1982); Michael Fleet and Brian H. Smith, The Catholic Church and Democracy in Chile and Peru (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997); Pamela Lowden, Moral Opposition to Authoritarian Rule in Chile, 1973–1990 (New York, NY: St. Martin’s, 1996); Scott Mainwaring, The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil, 1916– 1985 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986); Brian  H.  Smith, The Church and Politics in Chile (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982). 5. Philip Berryman, The Religious Roots of Rebellion: Christians in Central American Revolutions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1984); Michael Dodson and Laura  N. O’Shaughnessy, Nicaragua’s Other Revolution: Religious Faith and Political Struggle (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1990); Phillip  J.  Williams, The Catholic Church and Politics in Nicaragua and Costa Rica (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989). 6. Rodolfo Cardenal, “The Catholic Church and the Politics of Accommodation in Honduras,” in Church and Politics in Latin America, ed. Dermot Keogh (London: Macmillan, 1990); Jeffrey Klaiber, The Church, Dictatorships, and Democracy in Latin America (New York, NY: Orbis Books, 1998); Emilio F. Mignone, Witness to the Truth (New York, NY: Orbis Books, 1988). 7. Daniel Philpott, “Explaining the Political Ambivalence of Religion,” American Political Science Review 101, no.3 (2007), 509. 8. Berryman, Religious Roots; Thomas  C.  Bruneau, The Political Transformation of the Brazilian Catholic Church (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1974); Daniel Levine,

The Ambivalence of Catholic Politics in Latin America   271 Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992); Daniel Levine, Politics, Religion, and Society in Latin America (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2012); Mainwaring, Catholic Church and Politics; Scott Mainwaring and Alexander Wilde, The Progressive Church in Latin America (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989); Paul Sigmund, Liberation Theology at the Crossroads: Democracy or Revolution? (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1990); Christian Smith, The Emergence of Liberation Theology: Radical Religion and Social Movements (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991); David Tombs, Latin American Liberation Theology (Boston, MA: Brill Academic, 2001). 9. Mainwaring and Wilde, Progressive Church. 10. Fleet and Smith, The Catholic Church and Democracy; Lowden, Moral Opposition. 11. Michael A. Burdick, For God and Fatherland: Religion and Politics in Argentina (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995), 28. 12. Mignone, Witness to the Truth, 95. 13. Levine, Politics, Religion, and Society, 182. 14. Scott Mainwaring and Timothy R. Scully, Christian Democracy in Latin America (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003). 15. Bruneau, Political Transformation; Fleet and Smith, The Catholic Church and Democracy; Levine, Popular Voices; Mainwaring, Catholic Church and Politics; Mainwaring and Wilde, Progressive Church; Sigmund, Liberation Theology. 16. Smith, Emergence of Liberation Theology, 81. 17. David Lehmann, Democracy and Development in Latin America (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1990); Howard  J.  Wiarda and Margaret  M.  Mott, Politics and Social Change in Latin America (London: Praeger, 2003). 18. Tombs, Latin American Liberation Theology. 19. Ivan Vallier, Catholicism, Social Control, and Modernization in Latin America (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970), 161. 20. Berryman, Religious Roots of Rebellion; Fleet and Smith, Catholic Church and Democracy; Mainwaring and Wilde, Progressive Church. 21. Kevin Neuhouser, “The Radicalization of the Brazilian Catholic Church in Comparative Perspective,” American Sociological Review 54 (1989): 233–244. 22. For example, see R. Andrew  Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2007), and Guillermo Trejo, “Religious Competition and Ethnic Mobilization in Latin America: Why the Catholic Church Promotes Indigenous Movements in Mexico,” American Political Science Review 103.3 (2009): 323–342. 23. Robert S. MacKin, “Becoming the Red Bishop of Cuernavaca: Rethinking Gill’s Religious Competition Model,” Sociology of Religion 64, no.4 (2003), 499. 24. Benjamin Goldfrank and Nick Rowell, “Church, State, and Human Rights in Latin America,” Politics, Religion & Ideology 13, no.1 (2012), 25–51. 25. Anthony Gill, Rendering unto Caesar (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 107. 26. Philpott, “Explaining the Political Ambivalence,” 513. 27. Brian H. Smith, Religious Politics in Latin America: Pentecostal vs. Catholic (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998). 28. Mainwaring, Catholic Church and Politics, 5. 29. Vallier, Catholicism, Social Control, and Modernization, 22. 30. Frederick M. Shepherd, “Church and State in Honduras and Nicaragua Prior to 1989,” in Religion and Democracy in Latin America, ed. William H. Swatos (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1995), 127.

272   Amy Edmonds 31. For more details, see Kenneth P. Serbin, Secret Dialogues: Church-State Relations, Torture, and Social Justice in Authoritarian Brazil (Pittsburg, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000). 32. Goldfrank and Rowell, “Church, State, and Human Rights,” 50–51. 33. Mara Loveman, “High-Risk Collective Action: Defending Human Rights in Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina,” The American Journal of Sociology 104, no.2 (1998), 492. 34. Amy Edmonds, “Moral Authority and Authoritarianism: The Catholic Church and the Military Regime in Uruguay,” Journal of Church & State 56, no.4 (2014), 644–669. 35. Mainwaring, Catholic Church and Politics, 240. 36. Smith, Religious Politics, 11–13. 37. Carol A. Drogus and Hannah Stewart-Gambino, Activist Faith: Grassroots Women in Democratic Brazil and Chile (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005), 78. 38. Hannah Stewart-Gambino, The Church and Politics in the Chilean Countryside (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1992); Levine, Politics, Religion, and Society. 39. Drogus and Stewart-Gambino, Activist Faith. 40. Liesl Haas, “The Catholic Church in Chile: New Political Alliances,” in Latin American Religion in Motion, eds. Christian Smith and Joshua Prokopy (New York, NY: Routledge, 1999), 42–65. 41. Htun, “Life, Liberty, and Family Values,” 337. 42. Stacy Keogh and Richard L. Wood, “The Rebirth of Catholic Collective Action in Central America: A New Model of Church-Based Political Participation,” Social Compass 60, no.2 (2013), 286. 43. Smith, Religious Politics in Latin America, 56. 44. Hagopian, Religious Pluralism, 312. 45. For information about the Church’s informal connections and support for the movement of landless, see Miguel Carter, “The Landless Rural Workers Movement and Democracy in Brazil,” Latin American Research Review 45 (2010), 186–217. 46. Patricia  M.  Rodriguez, “With or Without the People: The Catholic Church and LandRelated Conflicts in Brazil and Chile,” in Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America, ed. Frances Hagopian (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), 185–224. 47. Guillermo Trejo, Popular Movements in Autocracies: Religion, Repression, and Indigenous Collective Action in Mexico (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 7. 48. Ibid., 8. 49. Ibid., 110. 50. Hagopian, Religious Pluralism, 261. 51. Htun, “Life, Liberty, and Family Values,” 360. 52. Haas, “Catholic Church in Chile,” 63. 53. Smith, Religious Politics in Latin America, 83. 54. Vallier, Catholicism, Social Control, and Modernization, 118–119. 55. An excellent example of a recent scholarly work that takes religion and politics in Latin America and places it in comparative perspective is Levine’s Politics, Religion, and Society, Chapter 8.

chapter 15

R ights, R eligion, a n d V iolence at M ex ico’s Bor ders Christine Kovic

During Easter Week of 2014, Franciscan priest Tomás González and activist Ruben Figueroa organized a migrant Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala to draw attention to the human rights abuses suffered by Central American migrants. The Viacrucis, commonly carried out in Catholic communities to recall Christ’s suffering leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection, carries powerful symbolism to make suffering visible and, with Christ’s resurrection, to make hope visible. In southern Mexico, a migrant dressed as Jesus and carrying a cross led the procession, and participants carried signs with slogans such as “dignity has no borders,” “Christ also was a migrant,” and “no human being is illegal.”1 Father González observed, “We are making visible what for many years has been invisible . . . the death that our governments cause us, the economic system, which is the most responsible for forcing us to leave, which give us death. We cannot continue to die. We have to transform this pathway of death into a pathway of life.”2 This was the fourth annual Viacrucis, and in past years, migrants primarily from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, walked a relatively short distance along the railway tracks where migrants jump the freight train to avoid migration checkpoints. At the initiative of the migrant participants, the 2014 event grew into a twenty-day, thousand-mile journey extending from Mexico’s southern border to its northern border with the United States. The Viacrucis participants publicly demanded respect for immigrant rights, the free transit through Mexico, an end of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, support of a new institution promoting “human security” instead of “national security,” and regional public policies to end the conditions of structural violence that cause “forced migration.”3 Migrants, including Catholics and Protestants, joined the Viacrucis as it moved through Mexico, with over one thousand taking part when it arrived in Mexico City. As migrants traveled through Mexico, local churches, community organizations,

274   Christine Kovic and shelters connected to Catholic parishes offered food, lodging, transportation, and logistical support. A group of forty to fifty eventually reached the United States– Mexico border, crossing at Reynosa, Tamaulipas, to McAllen, Texas, where they sought political asylum. The migrant Viacrucis is one of many examples of popular religion’s relevance to politics and human rights struggles in Mexico and Central America. Religion serves as a source of inspiration, moral credibility and authority, and resources (symbols, narratives, rituals, material goods, safe space) for the concrete needs of migrants and for the broader struggle for justice. The event illustrates several themes regarding violence and the role of faith and religious institutions in responding to violence. First, in crossing Mexico on foot and by bus, the migrants physically connect their countries of origin in Central America to Mexico and the United States. This is a transnational activist network in which migrants and their allies work across borders to defend immigrant rights; activists also recognize that the roots of the oppression cross borders.4 The unequal historic, political, and economic connections among these nations underlie the political and structural violence that very frequently cause people to emigrate from their homelands in the first place. The security policies of the United States prevent working-class migrants from gaining visas to enter the country, and the United States has pressured the Mexican government to close its southern border to Central American migrants. Recognizing this connection, migrants and their allies challenge “national security,” which is not only different from, but also opposed to security for migrants.5 Second, structural violence and political violence are closely connected. Poverty, racism, and sexism, alongside political and physical violence, are at the root of why people leave their countries. Third, the faithful organize around their own belief that faith obligates them to defend the poor against exploitative practices and violence, even as they frequently find limited support from the institutional church. Direct acts of solidarity with migrants, such as preparing and sharing food, emerged from the community level more than from the institutional church. In sum, the migrant Viacrucis makes visible the crossings of people and policies through borders and the connections of stories and histories from past to present. This chapter follows these themes of crossings in exploring several interrelated questions about religion, violence, and the oppression and resistance that shape migrant experience. How do the faithful, poor and non-poor alike, live their everyday faith in the context of poverty, violence, and oppression? How have different sectors of church leadership understood and responded to poverty and violence? How have acts of the faithful pressured members of the church leadership to respond? These questions are particularly salient in contemporary Mexico, where more than 50 million people, over 50 percent of the population, live in poverty; where an estimated 70,000 people have been killed in the militarized Drug War since 2006; and where thousands of Central American migrants face violence, including death, kidnappings, extortion, detention, and other abuses, in their attempts to cross the nation to reach the United States.6 The chapter focuses on Mexico and its borders, sites that are closely connected to both Central America and the United States because of migrants crossing the region,

Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders    275 transnational activism, and political and economic policies of the US and Mexican governments to limit migration. It begins with an overview of the ways that religious actors, especially the Catholic Church, conceptualized political and structural violence in the 1960s and 1970s and supported concrete projects to challenge root causes of poverty. The following section addresses the Church’s response to unequal distribution of land and wealth and the violence in the region. The subsequent sections address the faith-based work in support of Central American and Mexican refugees and migrants at the US-Mexico border and in Mexico, respectively, beginning in the 1990s. In contrast to the work of earlier decades, individuals, shelters, and organizations support migrant populations in transit with limited support from institutional churches.7 The chapter concludes with an analysis of the changing forms of violence in Mexico and Central America, as well as the changing response to this violence by religious actors.

Conceptualizing Poverty and Violence through the Lens of Christianity Either the Church is the Church of the poor or it is not the Church of Jesus Christ. —Samuel Ruiz García, Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico8

In Central America in the decades of the 1970s–1990s, hundreds of thousands were killed in the political violence of civil wars. In Guatemala during 1962–1996, an estimated 200,000 people were killed or disappeared, and the Commission for Historical Clarification estimates that the military or paramilitary forces were responsible in 93 percent of the cases.9 In El Salvador more than 75,000 were killed during the civil war from 1980 to 1992, the vast majority civilians. Of the cases documented in the Truth Commission’s report From Madness to Hope, 85 percent were attributed to state agents. The US government, under the justification of fighting communism, trained hundreds of military officials in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua in counterinsurgency tactics at the School of the Americas and sent millions of dollars in aid to repressive military governments. Structural violence was entwined with political violence in causing death and suffering. Inequalities in land distribution in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Chiapas, Mexico, meant that rural producers had to work for wages, often on fincas (plantations producing coffee, cotton, bananas, or other cash crops), under conditions of great exploitation. The lack of medical care and potable water contributed to high rates of infant mortality and low life expectancy, especially in rural and indigenous communities. To use the words of the colonial cleric Bartolomé de las Casas, structural violence meant that the poor were “stripped of their lives before their time.”10 Organizations resisting political

276   Christine Kovic violence and structural violence under repressive military regimes clearly identified the state and its structured systems of inequality as the cause of injustice.11 In response to the violence in Mexico and Central America, progressive sectors of the Catholic and main-line Protestant churches supported social movements to resist repressive governments, including structural violence, state violence, and human rights abuses. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the lens of liberation theology provided an important framing of the structural and historic causes of violence. In contrast to traditional theological understandings of poverty as the will of God or simply a fate to be passively accepted, liberation theologians conceptualized poverty as going against God’s will and pointed to the structures in society that created and maintained repression. As such, sin was likewise viewed not only as a disordered individual moral act, but also as emanating from unjust social structures, a point emphasized at the Latin American Bishops Conferences in Medellín, Columbia, in 1968 and in Puebla, Mexico, in 1975. The Puebla meetings referred to stark inequalities—the “luxury of the few” in contrast to the “wretched poverty of the masses”—as “social sinfulness.”12 Bishops and pastoral workers in Mexico and Central American denounced poverty and inequality as causes of suffering and death. Connecting political and structural violence meant working for structural change as an integral part of the pastoral work of progressive churches. Mexican Bishop Samuel Ruiz criticized the development and modernization paradigms dominant in the 1960s and 1970s for labeling the poor as “behind, underdeveloped, and deprived of the fruits of progress.”13 He noted that liberation or structural change was necessary to prevent even greater dependency. In Chiapas, Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, the Catholic Church supported land redistribution, concientización (critical consciousness), community-based activism, and human rights organizations, among other projects, in response to the structural and political violence pervasive in the 1960s and 1970s. Challenging the structural issues underlying poverty—especially to challenge the profound inequality in land distribution—brought members of communities and the Church who supported them in direct conflict with those in power. As campesinos ­organized to gain access to land through legal struggles, occupations, marches, and other forms of political protest, they were met with state violence. As organized struggles against structural violence led to increased state violence, in many cases churches increasingly allied with victims of violence.14

“To Recover Our Dignity and Our Right to Land” Migration and forced displacement have a long history in Mexico and Central America, tied to inequalities in land distribution. The violence of colonialism, dating back ­hundreds of years, destroyed many indigenous communities through war, disease, and

Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders    277 dispossession. From the late 1800s to 1970s, “land poverty”—the lack of sufficient land for self-subsistence—forced members of rural communities to live as peones acasillados, or to seasonally migrate to work on fincas.15 In Chiapas, peones acasillados (literally “housed peons”) worked as indentured laborers on their ancestral lands and could be evicted if they stopped working. Land poverty, deliberately constructed to create ­dependence, meant that indigenous peoples provided low-wage labor for the state’s agriculture and the vast majority of indigenous men “were moving around the state each year from one harvest to another.”16 In Chiapas, Tzeltal Mayas in the rural community of Ocosingo in the Lacandon jungle recalled the painful and exploitative experience of working as peones: We remember that we were servants since 1880; because of this we have been here for 119 years in this finca. We have to remember that the owners were natives of Germany and that we worked without pay from six [in the morning] to six in the afternoon and from six to six in the morning the next day. Our jobs included grinding cane, milking cows, caring for pigs, planting corn, clearing pastures, fixing fences and at the same time, we were the “carriers” from Yajalón to San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Ocosingo. In this period, they treated us like mules. The items we carried included barbed wire, flour, lard, and salt. At the same time the women worked too; the jobs they did were caring for hens, preparing food for the pigs, washing clothes, mopping the floor of the big house. We have to mention that when the owner got sick, we cared for him, we gave him food. And when he died, we carried him to the air landing strip.17

In another Tzeltal community, San Rafael, Ocosingo, elders shared stories of their ancestors working on the finca for decades as peones. “The women were woken up at four in the morning to present themselves to the owner and his wife and to begin to grind [corn]. Women just like the men didn’t earn anything. The ranch owner said, ‘work, you are living on my land and you have to pay with your work. I am not going to pay you because you are my son.’ ”18 Land poverty, the scarcity of social services, political repression, and the systematic violation of human rights pushed Samuel Ruiz García (Bishop of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, 1960–2000), priests, and pastoral agents to ally themselves with the poor. The 1974 Indigenous Congress of Chiapas served as a critical opportunity for pastoral agents to listen to the voices of indigenous inhabitants of the Diocese. The event marked a turning point in land organizing because 2,000 representatives of indigenous communities met for three days to share their experiences, and in doing so, found commonalities in demands in diverse regions and formed alliances for future work. Even though the Congress was a secular event, the Catholic Diocese of San Cristóbal played a key role in its organization. Anthropologist Gaspar Morquecho recalled preparations for the Congress, which involved dozens of community-based meetings, where people shared their “word,” that is, their concerns, ideas, and, most important, their commitment to work together for change. The Diocese carried out this community organizing in rural communities as pastoral work, putting into practice their commitment to social

278   Christine Kovic justice. “The methodology was simple and efficient. It involved planting and harvesting the word. With the participation of thousands of indigenous peoples—men and women—the word multiplied, in their communities, they shared their hardships and suffering, their desires and aspirations. The word was created at meetings and regional pre-congress gatherings. The word was of everyone, it became collective and of one heart on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of October, 1974.”19 Of the four demands addressed at the Congress—on land, education, commerce, and health—the demand for land echoed most powerfully. “We demand the communal lands that were taken from our fathers and never returned . . . I think that land and work are at the root of the misery that we are affected by in all parts . . . we have confronted this sinkhole for 500 years . . . .” Following the Congress, the Diocese formally committed to the preferential option for the poor. This led to myriad projects, including productive cooperatives, legal support for cases of access to land, and the defense of human rights.20 This is an important example of the institutional church challenging the root causes of poverty and oppression. A number of organizations formed as a result of the Indigenous Congress. Quiptic ta Lecubtesel, a cooperative initially linked to the Catholic Church, was run by catechists from more than 150 communities in Ocosingo. In the 1980s the Diocese strengthened its work in promoting access to land for the rural poor, supporting Guatemalan refugees fleeing the violence of the civil war, and founding the Fray Bartolomé Center for Human Rights in 1989. Organizations such as Pueblo Creyente (People of Faith, founded in 1991), Las Abejas (The Bees, of the highland community of Chenalhó, founded in 1992), and Xi’ Nich’ (The Ant, formed in northeast Chiapas in 1991 with Ch’ol, Tzeltal, and Zoque Indians) had a strong Catholic identity, with prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage playing a central role in their protests. These organizations worked through the organizational structure of the Diocese of San Cristóbal to connect with different communities and actors.21 On January 1, 1994, in an act designed to coincide with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation took over seven towns in Chiapas. They demanded basic human rights—land, housing, jobs, food, democracy, and an end to the racism and marginalization experienced by indigenous peoples for hundreds of years. The Zapatistas are a secular movement, and Bishop Ruiz and other bishops of the state responded that they did not support the use of armed violence. However, they recognized the validity of Zapatista demands; Ruiz added that if he had not helped raise the consciousness of indigenous peoples about their rights in his many years as bishop, then he had not effectively carried out his work. In addition to supporting peasant struggles against structural violence, Bishop Ruiz, like other religious leaders in Central America, documented state violence and mediated peace talks between armed groups and the government. Beginning in 1994, Ruiz served as official mediator between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Mexican government, with the first round of peace talks taking place in San Cristóbal’s Cathedral. Bishop Ruiz noted that peace could not be a return to earlier situations of inequality. He noted that peace must be a work of reconciliation with God, a labor that demands “the construction of justice.”22

Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders    279

Refugees and Solidarity at the Border: “The Good Samaritan” The biblical story of the Good Samaritan has provided important symbolism and moral credibility to organizations to defend their work with refugees and migrants at the US-Mexico border. In the New Testament parable (Luke 10:25–37), robbers leave a man half-dead at the side of a road. After a priest and Levite pass by without helping him, a Samaritan stops and, “moved by compassion,” cares for the man, washing his wounds and transporting him to an inn. The Good Samaritan parable has been read as a message about treating one’s neighbor with mercy, and as such has been used to provide theological justification for humanitarian work. Helene Slessarev-Jamir reads the story as more than a parable in caring for those in need. The story embodies “Jesus’ boundary-crossing vision of God’s reign” because the Samaritan cared for an Israelite, at a time “when Israelites were antagonistic toward the Samaritans.”23 At the US-Mexico border, the image of the Good Samaritan supports such boundarycrossing transgressions. Activists, Christians and others, support migrants, especially the unauthorized, who are criminalized in law and rejected by broad segments of society. In Mexico and along the US border region, as activists have been harassed, threatened, and arrested for their support of the marginalized, they appeal to religious validation and symbols to defend their so-called transgressions. The imagery of the Good Samaritan contrasts, in many ways, with that of earlier struggles against social sin in southern Mexico and Central America. Although the parable illustrates individual compassion and exposes the hypocrisy of believers who refuse to assist, it does not necessarily challenge the conditions causing poverty. Crossing boundaries to support refugees and migrants has a decades-long history in the region. In the 1970s and 1980s, religious organizations supported refugees fleeing civil wars in Central America. As thousands of Guatemalan refugees crossed into Chiapas in the early 1980s, they were received, first and foremost, in rural, impoverished communities, which provided food and a place to stay. The Catholic Diocese of San Cristóbal, motivated by what Bishop Ruiz García called the “prophetic solidarity” of rural communities, formed the Christian Solidarity Committee, which coordinated its work with the Guatemalan Church in Exile. The Diocese supported refugees in creating health and education committees in which local promotores (promoters) organized themselves to provide services in refugee settlements. Government officials targeted the Diocese because of this support. In February 1982, twenty armed men broke into the Mission of Guadalupe directed by the Marists in Comitán, a town near the Guatemalan border that at the time hosted many refugees. The intruders physically attacked the Marist brothers, ransacked several rooms, and took tape recorders, documents, and money. Just days later, the Mission was attacked again when nine police entered to gather information and intimidate the Marists.24 As Central American refugees began to arrive in the United States in the 1970s and early 1980s, religious communities assisted in their survival and settlement. They

280   Christine Kovic denounced US political and economic support for the Guatemalan and Salvadoran military governments.25 Although a significant body of scholarship exists on the role of religion in supporting refugees, the critical role that Central Americans themselves played in the US-Central American Peace and Solidarity Movement, including the Sanctuary movement, is often overlooked.26 Immigrant kin networks initially received and supported the refugees; immigrant-based organizations, including CARECEN (Central American Resource Center), were central to the founding of the Sanctuary Movement.27 Central Americans revolutionaries living in the United States shared their stories in public forums such as churches to mobilize North American allies. Perla notes that the Central American activists insisted on being “protagonists” who played a key role in decision-making and organization of the Sanctuary movement.28 As activists provided humanitarian assistance to Central American refugees, they also challenged the injustice of US immigration and refugee policy. In Arizona, faithbased volunteers from the Catholic, Jewish, Quaker, Presbyterian, and other progressive faith communities joined together to find legal assistance for the refugees, initially assuming that these refugees would be granted political asylum. Yet they soon learned that the US government systematically denied asylum applications under Cold War policies.29 In Tucson, Arizona, under the leadership of lay-Quaker Jim Corbett, they began to offer shelter and transportation.30 In 1982 ,Presbyterian Reverend John Fife sent a letter to US Attorney General William French Smith, publicly declaring that the South Side Presbyterian Church would openly violate the law and provide “sanctuary” for undocumented Central Americans.31 John Fife, Jim Corbett, and others cited the historical experience of the US underground railway for escaped slaves as an example of defying an immoral law.32 By 1984, the sanctuary movement included 150 churches, and by 1987, more than 420 groups, in a number of cities, with members of the Unitarian, Catholic, Episcopal, and Methodist Churches, the Jewish community, and secular activists such as university students taking part.33 In the 1990s activists began to condemn the increasing number of migrant deaths at the US-Mexico border. Secular activists such as Maria Jimenez and Isabel García of the Immigration Law and Enforcement Monitoring Project connected the increase in migrant deaths to US policies, in particular the 1994 “prevention-through-deterrence” strategy designed by the Immigration and Naturalization Services to create obstacles to discourage undocumented immigration. Increased enforcement in urban areas, traditionally the safest regions for unauthorized migrants to cross the border, created a “funnel effect,” pushing migrants to more dangerous regions, and the number of deaths increased twenty-fold from 1990 to 2005.34 Building on earlier work in the Sanctuary Movement, faith-based groups responded to the increase in deaths in Arizona. In the year 2000, ten churches in Tucson established Humane Borders to provide aid to migrants in the desert region, and its volunteers placed water drums in sites frequented by migrants. Reverend Robin Hoover, a Disciples of Christ pastor and founder of the organization, labeled providing water an act of Christian compassion. In Tucson in 2004 the faith-based organization No More Deaths began to organize volunteers to set up camps in the desert, where they provide food,

Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders    281 water, and medical supplies to migrants in distress, especially during the deadly summer months.35 Through the efforts of Catholic Bishop Gerald Kicanas, together with members of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian groups, No More Deaths drafted five Faith Based Principles of Immigration Reform, including a challenge to militarized border enforcement and recognition of the economic and environmental roots of contemporary migration.36 Activists use religious imagery and rituals to make border deaths visible and to denounce migrant suffering. The Arizona Human Rights Coalition organizes an annual pilgrimage for Day of the Dead, with participants carrying small, white wooden crosses to remember those who have died. Since 2000 the group has created 2,771 crosses, the number of migrant remains recovered in Arizona from 2000 to 2014. In California, an annual Posada sin Fronteras (Posada without Borders) is held at the US-Mexico border, with participants on both sides of the border re-enacting the story of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter as a parable about immigration.37 In Texas, where border deaths surpassed those of Arizona in 2012, activists and communities have used religious symbols and rituals to make visible the increased number of deaths and the failure to identify remains. Hundreds of migrant border crossers have died in Brooks County as they walked through the harsh brush to circumvent the Border Patrol checkpoint at Falfurrias, in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. At a press conference on February 20, 2013, activists stood at the Brooks County Courthouse steps carrying large white crosses bearing images of migrants who had disappeared while crossing South Texas. The activists demanded that the county take DNA samples on all unidentified remains in compliance with state law. In another event to remember those who died, La Antorcha Guadalupana, a ­bi-national torch run from the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, passed through Brooks County on October 30, 2014. Mexicans and immigrants in the United States carry the torch as “messengers of dignity for a people divided by the border.”38 The Antorcha Guadalupana draws on Catholic and Mexican symbolism, with the Virgin of Guadalupe connecting people in Mexico to their family members in the United States and vice versa. As the Antorcha runners pass through communities, they raise awareness of the unjust “suffering of immigrants” and work to build support for immigrant rights.39 In the Brooks County Antorcha, participants walked for over a mile along the edge of ranchlands where migrants have died. At the South Texas Human Rights Center, directly in front of the county courthouse, participants read from white crosses with the names or “unknown” for the sixty-one migrants who had died in the past year. Participants, both runners from Mexico and residents of Falfurrias, responded with “presente” (present) to mark each life and placed the cross in a small plot of land next to the office. Family members searching for their missing loved ones are the motor of human rights work to prevent deaths and identify the dead. With limited resources, families in the United ­ ersistently for their loved ones, States, Mexico, Central America, and elsewhere search p seeking knowledge of their whereabouts. Their stories, like those of Central American refugees in earlier decades, motivate work for immigrant rights.

282   Christine Kovic

Mexico’s Vertical Border: Sharing Food for Life As increasing numbers of Central American migrants passed through Mexico enroute toward the United States in the late 1990s, individuals, parishes, and faith-based organizations created a series of shelters and humanitarian projects to assist in their journey. Most recently, Mexico’s Plan Frontera Sur (Southern Border Plan), with millions of dollars in funding from the United States through the Merida Initiative, has further militarized this region, especially through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico’s narrowest point, resulting in increasingly dangerous and violent conditions for migrants.40 With names such as Brothers in the Road, Home of Mercy, and San Juan Diego, migrant shelters extending from Guatemala through Mexico create a transnational network of support for migrants. Many shelters are connected to Catholic parishes or religious orders such as the Jesuits, Scalabrinians, or Franciscans. They provide food, medical care, information, and a relatively safe place to spend the night or rest. Some shelters, or their “sister” organizations, engage in documenting and denouncing human rights abuses. They have publicly condemned government agents—police, military, local, state and federal officials—as well as narco-traffickers who kidnap, extort, attack, and even kill migrants. One of many examples of documentation of human rights abuses is the booklet Narrativas de la Transmigración centroamericana en su paso por México (Narratives of Central American transmigration in its passage across Mexico), a project of shelters linked to the Catholic Church and Jesuit Migration Service. It documented 487 abuses against migrants in the first half of 2013, including robbery, extortion, and threats. Because government agents, narco-traffickers, and common criminals view migrants as “merchandise”—a way to make money through theft, bribery, or extortion—the protection offered through shelters threatens their “profits.” As a result, attacks on immigrant rights activists and shelters are common. Most of the individuals and organizations in Mexico who accompany unauthorized migrants are at the margins of society and the institutional church, rather than at the center of social and ecclesial power. Individuals along the railway tracks, women in neighborhood organizations, parishioners, priests, and nuns are at the forefront of supporting Central American migrants at shelters, soup kitchens, and other sites of migrant support. To give one example, thirteen Catholics on the outskirts of Comitán (a city fifty miles from the border with Guatemala) built a shelter for Central American migrants, donating land, materials, and labor from their own community. Inaugurated in September 2013, the shelter’s day-to-day operations represent one of many acts of solidarity with Central American migrants. The small shelter accommodates six men and six women, and its location on a residential street protects migrants from criminals and gangs. Its name, Casa Mambré, derives from Genesis (18:1–15), in reference to an oak tree of Mamre, where three men visited Abraham and Sarah. As they do not initially recognize the

Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders    283 visitors as messengers from God, Abraham offers them food and water to wash their feet. He tells them, “refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.” In Comitán, residents of the immediate neighborhood, people who are poor themselves, provide the meals for those who visit, cooking it in their own homes and bringing it to the shelter. The sign at the shelter entrance, taken from Genesis, reads “No pases a mi lado sin detenerte” (“Don’t pass by without stopping”). Another example of solidarity with migrants involves those who share food with migrants riding on freight trains. In La Patrona, Veracruz, one of the many communities the train passes through, a group of Catholic women have been preparing food and water daily to give to Central Americans since 1995. These campesina women work on their own, without the support of the government, a nongovernmental organization, or their Catholic Diocese, and began to prepare food because they recognized the basic needs of the migrants. They saw increasing numbers of migrants pass by on the train near their own homes, but in extremely difficult conditions. The request from migrants, “Mother, I’m hungry,” pushed a small group of women to organize themselves to prepare and distribute food. The women are called Las Patronas, referring to the name of their town (denoting their patroness, the Virgin of Guadalupe), but the term also translates as “protectors.” In the film De Nadie, Norma Romero, a member of Las Patronas, responds to the question of her motivation by saying that she does not want to see suffering.41 She adds that she hopes her son will never migrate and that he will never suffer. In the summer of 2014, these women cooked up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of dry rice and beans each day; then they placed small servings of food in dozens of plastic bags, together with tortillas or bread, and passed the food to the migrants on the train. They also washed out hundreds of plastic bottles, filled them with water, and tied them together at the tops with string to pass to the migrants. If a large group of migrants pass through on the morning train and all the food is distributed, these women prepare more for the next group, as up to three trains pass through daily. Also working from the margins of the Catholic Church in resisting violence in contemporary Mexico is poet and journalist Javier Sicilia. When Sicilia’s son Juan Francisco was killed by gang members in March 2011, he began a march from Cuernavaca to Mexico City and on to Ciudad Juarez at the US-Mexico border. Thousands joined along the way, especially family members who had likewise lost loved ones to Calderon’s militarized drug war, forming the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity. In a 2012 letter to Pope Benedict, Sicilia wrote of the suffering caused by the drug war: “Mexico and Central America, Beloved Benedict, are at the moment the body of Christ abandoned in the Garden of Gethsemane and crucified between two thieves.”42 Sicilia criticizes the violence of the Mexican government, the consumption of drugs in the United States, manufacturing of arms in the United States, and the silence of the Catholic Church in the face of such violence. Connecting the violence of the drug war to the United States, the secular Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity traveled from Tijuana to San Diego, California, and to twenty-six more US cities, including Washington, DC. Churches, along with a variety of community organizations, were key in providing lodging and

284   Christine Kovic food to the more than one hundred caravan participants as they traveled through the country, and image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was prominently displayed at events.43

Conclusion Decades after the Central American peace agreements, violence continues to be a significant problem in the region, although the contemporary violence seemingly stems from non-state actors including common criminals, narco-traffickers, and gangs in Mexico’s militarized war on drugs and the high homicide rates in El Salvador and Guatemala. The deaths of thousands of Mexican and Central American migrants in their journey across Mexico’s vertical border, the US-Mexico border, and South Texas appear to result from accidents due to jumping the freight train, drownings, or exposure to extreme heat in the Arizona desert or South Texas. In all these cases, the neoliberal state reframes “death as accidental, as natural, as peripheral to the project of politics, to neoliberal practices and strategies of rule.”44 This differs significantly from the “liberationist Catholic notion of structural sin—of social ills that are caused by clearly identifiable responsible agents.”45 Yet structural violence including poverty, racism, and sexism has created a new violence of security and insecurity, whereby those who are poor are more likely to be victims of violence, detention, or deportation. In Mexico’s drug war, the poor disproportionately experience violence, death, and long prison sentences.46 Activists identify the state’s role in violence through negligence and impunity; direct participation in disappearances, torture, and assassinations; creating and sustaining poverty through cuts to social services and free trade in implementing structural adjustment policies, and in border militarization and enforcement policies. For example, in Mexico, following the well-publicized disappearance of forty-three students from a rural teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, in September 2014, government officials proclaimed their innocence and blamed drug cartels. Families of the students and thousands of supporters in Mexico and the United States responded with the oftrepeated cry, “it was the state.” In another example of pointing to the role of the state, activists of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement—the group that organized the Migrant Viacrucis described in this chapter’s introduction—denounce the security policies of the US and Mexican governments for causing violence and human rights abuses against migrants. As compared to earlier decades, faith-based human rights work to resist contemporary violence comes more from individuals or groups, rather than from the institutional church. The Casa Mambré shelter and the sharing of food and water from Las Patronas are grassroots efforts of volunteers who organize around their belief that faith obligates their solidarity with the poor to challenge exploitation and violence. Yet, limited support from the institutional Catholic Church in terms of material resources and moral credibility and authority means that these acts are less visible, and perhaps less effective, than broad-based institutionally supported mobilizations of earlier decades. Indeed, Bishop

Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders    285 of Saltillo Raul Vera—an outspoken critic of the government and former auxiliary Bishop of San Cristóbal under Samuel Ruiz García—has denounced the hierarchical Catholic Church’s failure to take leadership to condemn violence and promote human rights. He openly criticized Mexico’s Episcopal Conference (CEM) for failing to support migrant rights and criticized the “butcher economic model” for increasing misery in Latin American nations and causing forced migration.47 Pastoral work along the migrant route differs significantly from earlier organizing work in southern Mexico and Central America. The Chiapas Indigenous Congress of 1974 led to a long-term pastoral process that accompanied the organizing and leadership of indigenous and rural communities. In contrast, contemporary shelters provide material, legal, and spiritual support to Central American migrants, essential forms of assistance. Earlier efforts accompanied communities in struggles to gain autonomy within a given territory, while shelters support migrants as they pass through territories where they are defined as “illegal.” It is difficult, if not impossible, for shelters to carry out long-term community organizing with migrants because they are a population in transit. Many who work or volunteer at the shelters, often at great risk, denounce human rights abuses against migrants, challenge state and federal authorities in Mexico, and support or organize events demanding immigrant rights, such as the Migrant Viacrucis. As migrants walked, marched, and rode on buses through Mexico, they made visible their presence and demanded the right to migrate free from violence. As such, migrants are the agents pushing society and the institutional church to respond to migration and violence.

Notes 1. Mexicans in the United States have organized annual immigrant Viacrucis in New York City, Chicago, and elsewhere, connecting Christ’s suffering to that of immigrants. Alyshia Gálvez, Guadalupe in New York: Devotion and the Struggle for Citizenship Rights among Mexican Immigrants (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2010), 133. In El Salvador, the Viacrucis is a lay-run ritual that “reinforces the identification of Jesus as a poor person, victimized by the wealthy.” Anna L. Peterson, Martyrdom and the Politics of Religion: Progressive Catholicism in El Salvador’s Civil War (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997), 76. 2. Martha Pskowski and Alex Mensing, “Viacrucis: Migrants Step out of Shadows into the  Streets,” Americas Program, June 3, 2014. See 3. Letter from La 72, Hogar-Refugio para Personas Migrantes, Tenosique, Tabasco, April 14, 2014. 4. Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists beyond Borders (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998). 5. Donald Kerwin, “Rights, the Common Good, and Sovereignty in the Service of the Human Person,” in And You Welcomed Me: Migration and Catholic Social Teaching, eds. Donald Kerwin and Jill Marie Gerschutz, 93–121 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009); Christine Kovic, “Violence of Security: Central American Migrants Crossing Mexico’s Southern

286   Christine Kovic Border,” Anthropology Now 2, no. 2 (2010), 87–97; Olivia Ruiz, “Immigrants at Risk, Immigrants as Risk: Two Paradigms of Globalization,” Migration, Religious Experience, and Gobalization, eds. Giacchino Campese C.S. and Pietro Ciallella C.S., (Staten Island, NY: Center for Migration Studies, 2003). 6. World Bank Development Indicators, Mexico 2012, mexico; Shaylih Muehlmann, When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the U.S.Mexico Borderlands, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2014); Christine Kovic, “The Violence of Security,” (Anthropology Now, 2010). 7. The paper draws from interviews and observations conducted in southern Mexico at migrant shelters and with several caravans of Central American and Mexican women searching for their loved ones who were “disappeared” as a result of violence. It also draws from as well as archival and secondary sources. 8. “1994–2004: La gran ilusión . . . La gran frustración.” El Proceso, January 1, 2004. 9. Comisión para el Esclarecimiento Histórico, Guatemala memoria del silencio. Conclusions and Recommendations (Guatemala City: United Nations Office for Project Services, 1999), 18, 20; Beatriz Manz, Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror and Hope (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004), 3. 10. Bartolomé de las Casas, Historia de las Indias, cited in Gustavo Gutiérrez, Las Casas: In Search of the Poor of Jesus Christ (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 1995), 4. 11. Anna Peterson and Brandt Peterson, “Martyrdom, Sacrifice, and Political Memory in El Salvador,” Social Research 75, no. 2, 511–542. 12. Cited in Gustavo Gutiérrez, We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1984). 13. Samuel Ruiz García, “Mons. Oscar  A.  Romero: Martir de la Opción por los Pobres,” Kellogg Lecture Series, Latin American/North American Church Concerns, Kellogg Institute of Notre Dame (March 18, 2003), 4. 14. Daniel Levine, Politics, Religion and Society in Latin America (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2012). 15. Jan Rus, Shannan  L.  Mattiace, and Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo, “Introduction,” Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias: The Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). 16. Ibid., 3. 17. Patricia Gómez and Christine Kovic, Con un pueblo vivo en tierra negada (San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas: Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, 1994), 41. The quote is from a 1988 case file of a land conflict. 18. Ibid., 40. 19. Gaspar Morquecho, “El Congreso Diocesano Pastoral de la Tierra Madre,” América Latina en movimiento, January 14, 2014, 20. Christine Kovic, Mayan Voices for Human Rights: Displaced Catholics in Highland Chiapas (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2005). 21. Kovic, Mayan Voices for Human Rights. 22. Samuel Ruiz, “Mensaje para la reconciliación y la paz,” Chiapas: El evangelio de los pobres: iglesia, justicia y verdad. Mexico City: Temas de Hoy, 1994. 23. Helene Slessarev-Jamir, Prophetic Activism: Progressive Religious Justice Movements in Contemporary America (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2011), 140. 2 4. Pablo Iribarren Pascal, O.P., and communities of San Cristóbal and Ocosingo, “Experiencia: Proceso de la diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México” (1985). Mimeograph.

Rights, Religion, and Violence at Mexico’s Borders    287 25. Sharon Erickson-Nepstad, Convictions of the Soul (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004); Christian Smith, Resisting Reagan (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996); John Fife, “From The Sanctuary Movement to No More Deaths: The Challenge to Communities of Faith,” Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Global Migration, eds. Elizabeth W. Collier and Charles R. Strain (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014). 26. Hector Perla, Jr., “Si Nicaragua Venció, El Salvador Vencerá: Central American Agency in the Creation of the U.S.-Central American Peace and Solidarity Movement.” Latin American Research Review 43 (2008), 136–158. 27. Cecilia Menjívar, Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000). 28. Perla, “Si Nicaragua Venció, El Salvador Vencerá,” 154. 29. In 1982, approximately 2 percent of all Salvadorans applying for asylum were accepted. Menjívar, Fragmented Ties, 83. 30. Fife, “From The Sanctuary Movement to No More Deaths”, 257–272. 31. Ibid. 32. Ibid. 33. Norma Stoltz Chinchilla, Nora Hamilton, and James Loucky, “The Sanctuary Movement and Central American Activism in Los Angeles,” Latin American Perspectives 36 (2009), 105. 34. Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith et al., “The ‘Funnel Effect’ and Recovered Bodies of Unauthorized Migrants Processed by the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, 1990–2005,” Report Submitted to the Pima County Board of Supervisors (Tucson, AZ: Binational Migration Institute, 2006). 35. In 2005, the US Border Patrol arrested two volunteers who were taking three migrants to seek emergency medical care for transporting undocumented immigrants. Although the charges against them were eventually dismissed, the government has also charged volunteers for “littering” for leaving water jugs in the desert for migrants. Judith Adler Hellman, The World of Mexican Migrants: The Rock and the Hard Place (New York, NY: The New Press, 2008). 3 6. Sue Lefebvre, No More Deaths, A Short History of Our 10 Years (Tucson, AZ: No More Deaths, 2014). Beginning in 2008, No More Deaths operated as ministry of the United Universalist Church of Tucson. 37. Hondagneu-Sotelo, God’s Heart Has No Borders: How Religious Activists Are Working for Immigrant Rights (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008). 38. Flyer announcing Antorcha Guadalupana (2014), Houston, Texas. 3 9. Gálvez, Guadalupe in New York, 156. 40. Martha Pskowski, “Mexican Immigration Authorities Impede Humanitarian Aid to Central American Migrants,” Americas Program, December 2014, https://www.americas. org/13833/. 41. De Nadie, directed by Tin Dirdamal, 2006, executive producer, Mons. Raul Vera. 42. Cited in Gerald MacCarthy, “A Christian Response to the Mexican Drug Wars,” Thinking Faith, (November 2012). 43. Sicilia’s much-repeated phrase, “Estamos hasta la Madre” (We’re fed up), appeared atop a banner with the Virgin of Guadalupe at many events. He notes that it is Mexican slang, but has a religious meaning. “The mother, like the Virgin of Guadalupe is sacred. To say your [sic] hasta la madre means they’ve insulted our mother proctor; they’ve committed a sacrilege.” Stephen Andes, “A Pope, A Poet, and a Drug War,” Religion Dispatches, (March 21, 2012).

288   Christine Kovic 44. Anna Peterson and Brandt Peterson, “Martyrdom, Sacrifice, and Political Memory in El Salvador,” 536. 45. Ibid. 46. Muehlmann, When I Wear My Alligator Boots. 47. Carolina Gómez Mena, “ ‘Fallas’ de la CEM en el tema migratorio, dice Vera,” La Jornada, (July 10, 2014), 14,

pa rt I I I


chapter 16

Pen tecosta lism a n d N eo -Pen tecosta lism i n L ati n A m er ica Two Case Studies Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran

Pentecostalism, the branch of Protestant Christianity that emphasizes the ­“experience” of God through ecstatic bodily signs (e.g., healing, speaking in tongues, etc.), collectively known as “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” is one of the most rapidly growing socio-religious movements in Latin America today. During the second half of the twentieth century and especially since the 1960s, Protestantism and Pentecostalism in particular experienced dramatic growth across Latin America—dramatically disseminating widespread religious pluralism to a region of the world that had been a Catholic stronghold since the Iberian conquest. It bears noting that Catholicism, while hegemonic, was never, in fact, monolithic in Latin America, where many variations on Catholic popular religion, indigenous practices, and African-based beliefs have long been present. Nevertheless, while increased religious pluralism is expressed in many forms—from Protestantism to Islam to a variety of new religious movements, and even to secularism—Pentecostalism, above all, has come to define Latin America’s new ­religious landscape. In 2006, a study conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life noted that 73 percent of Protestants in Latin America were Pentecostals. Even more significant, the Pew study demonstrated an upsurge in what it termed “renewalist” religion within their ten-country study, meaning that people who belonged to religious groups that were not historically Pentecostal—mainline Protestants and, especially, Catholics—had adopted a “Pentecostalized” set of beliefs and practice (a Pentecostal habitus) to enrich their own traditions. In Guatemala, for example, Pew found that eight in ten Protestants were Pentecostal. In this respect, Guatemala serves as a bellwether for what we argue here is the Pentecostalization of Latin American religion at large.1

292   Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran Guatemala is hardly unique in its charismatic focus. For example, Pentecostals make up around a third of the population in three of the other five Central American countries (El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua). Nor is this preference unique to Central America. Farther south, about a third of all Chileans report themselves to be renewalists (though in this case, Catholic charismatics outnumber Pentecostals). Brazil, numerically Latin America’s most “Catholic” nation, is also among the most Protestant—nearly half of all Brazilians are either Catholic or Pentecostal renewalists.2 Although many scholars and students of popular culture characterize Pentecostalism as a relatively “new” movement in Latin America, its presence in the region dates back a century, even though its influence and popularity did not fully register until the 1980s. In his work on Brazil, sociologist Paul Freston described three waves of Pentecostal activity, a chronology that closely correlates to the rest of Latin America as a whole.3 The “first wave” of Pentecostalism, according to Freston, came to Latin America in the early decades of the twentieth century, in the vanguard of the Azusa Street Revival, brought by foreign missionaries who were themselves new converts to Pentecostalism. Reviled by both Catholics and other Protestants, the first-wave Pentecostals established something of a permanent presence in some locations (especially in Brazil, where Swedish evangelists founded the Assembleia de Deus, now the largest non-Catholic denomination in the country), but at the time, for the most part, this religious movement did not ­penetrate the cultural membrane of the receiving nations.4 The second wave of Pentecostals appeared in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the arrival of media-based evangelism and national “crusades.” In some locations, this second wave, though motivated primarily by the need to proselytize, was also weighted by political impulses in that Cold War era. These same concerns also led to a proliferation of what Freston calls “nationalist” churches that grew out of, but separated themselves from, earlier missionary cultural trappings and aesthetics.5 Freston’s “third-wave” Pentecostalism emerged in the 1980s. Unlike the earlier two waves, which were ­typically—if not always—driven by foreign clergy, mandates, and epistemologies— third-wave Pentecostalism has developed from local leadership and “consumer tastes.” Despite local leadership, third-wave Pentecostalism is part and parcel of what Karla Poewe identified as a larger “global charismatic culture” that transcends national boundaries and is, at the same time, radically “local” at the grassroots.6 In particular, third-wave Pentecostals differ from their predecessors by emphasizing the “here and now,” as opposed to the eschatological concerns and focus of other Pentecostals, who remain so focused on Christ’s imminent Second Coming that they have little concern for temporal “worldly” matters. Third-wave Pentecostals, often called neo-Pentecostals, are fiercely presentist. Like other Pentecostals, neo-Pentecostals sacralize the Baptism by the Holy Spirit. But their orientation is firmly grounded in the quotidian, as neo-Pentecostals believe that self-improvement and material advancement are signifiers of God’s grace and favor. From this temporal orientation, neo-Pentecostals believe in pragmatic religious doctrines, such as prosperity theology, which proposes to bring about improvement in the everyday world through celestial intervention.7

Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism   293

Background What, then, is Pentecostalism, and how does it differ from other forms of Christianity? To be a Pentecostal is not to belong to a particular denomination; in fact, many Pentecostals do not actually use the term to describe themselves or their churches, and some are not even familiar with the word itself. Basically, Pentecostalism is defined as a particular body of beliefs that places great emphasis on the power of the Third Entity of the Trinity—the Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the Third Person, the Holy Spirit—which appears in the Book of Acts 2–40. Pentecostals (whether they embrace the nomenclature or not) believe they must receive “Baptism in the Holy Spirit,” a somatic and often dramatic religious experience. This is typically manifest by such “signs and wonders” as “speaking in tongues” (glossolalia), miraculous healing, and spirit possession exhibited through dance, shouting, song, or other forms of ecstatic behavior. Pentecostalism is by no means unique to Latin America, and has its modern roots in the bitter debates that fractured Western, mainly Protestant, Christianity at the end of the nineteenth century. During this period, fierce debates (some of which still rage) broke out between two emergent groups—Christian modernists and fundamentalists—over issues of the “higher criticism” of biblical texts and the rationalization of faith and science. As a highly emotional practice and a transcendental system of belief, Pentecostalism provided an alternative for those who either shunned the modernists’ efforts to reconcile faith and science or felt shut out by the logos (and literacy-based) faith of the new fundamentalists, who believed the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God and the sole source of divine revelation.8 While both fundamentalists and Pentecostals place great emphasis on the authority of both the Bible and the Holy Spirit, fundamentalists place much greater weight on the former, Pentecostals on the latter. Of even greater distinction is a perceptual difference concerning the nature of salvation, which for fundamentalists is framed around an individualistic, contractual arrangement (“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”) versus the experience of God through sanctification (“Have you been baptized in the Spirit?”). Although believers locate their origins in the Pentecost experience described in the Book of Acts, modern Pentecostalism generally traces back to an event known as the Azusa Street Revival that took place in Los Angeles, California, between 1906 and 1915. Azusa’s founder, William J. Seymour, introduced ecstatic experiences, many of them associated with African-American Christianity (especially speaking in tongues, vibrant music and preaching, and [holy] spirit possession), into worship. The revival attracted a wide interracial following of religious seekers (drawing not only from the traditional American binary of black and white, but also, significantly, from the large resident Latino/a population in Los Angeles, even in those days), while drawing the ire of many in the US religious establishment.9 By the time the Azusa Revival closed down in 1915, new Pentecostal evangelists—inspired, but not supported by, the mission—had already begun work in Africa, India, and, especially, Latin America.

294   Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran

First- and Second-Wave Pentecostalism: Case Study, Guatemala Because Guatemala was one of the first countries in Latin America to claim a large Pentecostal population, it offers a valuable case study in Pentecostal history in the region. Prior to the arrival of the Pentecostals, Protestant missionaries had been present in Guatemala since 1872, when the first permanent Protestant missionary, an American Presbyterian, came to work in the country. Between 1872 and 1914, four other missions— the Society of Friends, the Church of the Nazarene, an evangelistic group called Central American Mission, and the Primitive Methodist Church—all put down roots in Guatemala. Guatemala’s original Protestant missionaries, like other main-line missionaries across Latin America, saw themselves, simultaneously, as the children both of the Enlightenment and of “the long nineteenth century,” the era that introduced many of the initial inventions in travel, communication, and daily life that define life today. Far from being the prissy and atavistic figures they are portrayed as in popular culture, North American Protestant missionaries to Latin American during the Victorian era were often optimists and enthusiastic social innovators whose sense of vocation was driven almost as much by a compulsion to implement the popular social and political theories of the era as by their desire to propagate the gospel. This made them natural allies of the liberal governments across Latin America that were seeking to rapidly modernize their countries.10 Main-line Protestants were influential institution builders in Latin America: in Guatemala, as elsewhere across the continent, US Protestant missionaries established hospitals, clinics, printing presses, and, above all, schools—the sine qua non of Protestant endeavors, since reading the Bible was essential to the Christian life.11 These projects all helped to build up the infrastructure of the host nations, and Protestant institutions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries helped educate a rising generation of Latin American statesmen and intellectuals. But they were not successful in converting Catholics to their religion. By around 1950, Guatemalan converts numbered probably in the low thousands at best, a tiny religious minority in an overwhelmingly Catholic country, although the institutional Church had been greatly weakened by nearly a ­century of anticlerical policies and restrictions. But in Guatemala and elsewhere in the early twentieth century, main-line Protestant missionaries, to their surprise, realized that Catholicism was not their only competition. In the wake of Azusa, a small wave of new missionaries arrived in Guatemala to preach “baptism in the Spirit,” where they almost immediately ran afoul of other Protestant missionaries already established in the country. In Guatemala, main-line missionaries referred to Pentecostal evangelists as “tongues people” and “convolutionists,” and accused them of “dipping from the net,” which was certainly true enough, as recent Protestant converts were much more likely to become Pentecostals than were Catholics.12 In the early twentieth century, this scenario played out all over Latin America, whenever Pentecostals moved into the mission field; the hostility between these groups would be enduring.13

Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism   295 Guatemala’s first Pentecostal missionaries were Charles Truman Furman and Thomas Pullin, both affiliated with the United and Free Gospel Society, in 1916. In order to close ranks against potential Pentecostal incursions, the mainline denominations reasserted a “Comity Agreement” (a non-competition pact) that they had devised in 1904 to carve the country into inviolate denominational spheres of influence that included only themselves.14 Despite this, in 1917, Furman and Pullin opened a Pentecostal mission in Zacapa, a town that was firmly in the Quaker sphere of influence. Fearing serious Pentecostal incursions into their own work, the normally peaceable Quakers drove Furman and Pullin out of Zacapa, and they eventually returned to the United States in 1920.15 The two returned to Guatemala in 1921, where they submitted to the doctrine and teachings of the moderate Primitive Methodist Church for more than a decade.16 The embers of the Spirit, however, inevitably flared, and in 1932, Furman began to introduce Pentecostal practices into Primitive Methodist worship. Shortly thereafter, he allied himself with a then small North American Pentecostal denomination called the Church of God, originally based in Cleveland, Tennessee, thus introducing into Guatemala what would in time become one of the most dominant Pentecostal entities in the world. The last straw came in early September 1936, when John Franklin, a missionary of the Assemblies of God, received permission to establish a new Pentecostal mission in Guatemala that almost immediately began to attract both a sizable congregation and the consternation of the main-line missionaries.17 At the end of 1936, in a desperate, but effective, effort to seal off the country from further Pentecostal encroachment, the five historic denominations organized themselves into a single umbrella organization known as the Evangelical Synod to oversee missionary matters in Guatemala; this arrangement corralled off the Pentecostals from further expansion until the 1950s. Were the main-line missionaries justified in their fears that Pentecostalism would overwhelm the mission field? Even without benefit of hindsight, the answer seems to be a definitive yes. Furman and the other Pentecostal missionaries were aggressive evangelists, and clearly had no more qualms about “dipping from the net” of the “lifeless” Protestant denominations than they had about evangelizing Catholics. The Church of God quickly developed an active and engaged indigenous pastorate that “grew the denomination” into one of the largest in the country within two years of the transfer from the Primitive Methodist Church, a status it retains to the present day. Under the circumstances, ­main-line missionaries could hardly avoid the conclusion that the “babes in Christ” were indeed highly susceptible to Pentecostalism’s allure.18

The Boom Years: Guatemala Despite all this, Protestantism, either main-line or Pentecostal, was largely absent in Guatemala prior to mid-century. Notwithstanding the presence of Protestant-run schools and hospitals, second-generation evangélicos (the term commonly used in Spanish to describe any non-Catholic Christian), and the unheralded hum of small Pentecostal churches in the remote countryside, the Protestant population of Guatemala by around

296   Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran 1960 numbered only around 5 percent—a modest figure, made even more so when ­taking into account that it also included resident Protestant foreigners and Germanheritage Lutherans. Yet by the mid-1980s, Guatemala would become one of the most “Protestant”—and majority Pentecostal—countries in Latin America, with a growth rate so sharp that church planners were prognosticating a Protestant majority by the year 2000.19 The fact that this prediction fell well short of the mark does not diminish the remarkable change to Guatemala’s religious landscape that took place between the mid1960s and mid-1990s. Guatemala’s second wave of Pentecostalism, by Freston’s typology, would be a tsunami. Guatemala’s Protestant boom—essentially a Pentecostal boom, since more than 80 percent of Guatemalan Protestants are also Pentecostal—is unique, since it is inexorably linked to that nation’s tragic history. This was defined by a thirty-six-year long armed conflict between leftist guerrillas, who hoped to correct Guatemala’s profound social and economic injustices through a Cuban-style revolution, and an intractable military government. The conflict reached its nadir between 1982 and 1983, a period Guatemalans now call la violencia, when the military government under a Pentecostal general named Efrain Ríos Montt launched a deadly efficient scorched-earth policy against the insurgency and all who might potentially support it. Coincidentally or not— we suggest not—the rapid expansion of Protestantism in Guatemala roughly corresponds to this period. Interestingly, Guatemala’s Protestant boom also corresponds to the dramatic expansion of Pentecostal Protestantism elsewhere in Latin America, including places—Brazil, for instance—that are very much unlike Guatemala.20 If one sees, as Jean Franco ­suggests, Guatemala’s peculiar and tragic history as one that reflects the brutal anxieties of late-stage capitalism, then its Protestant soteriology is illustrative of the expansion of Protestant/Pentecostalism in the late twentieth century elsewhere in Latin America (and also in Africa and Asia), even as the particulars of the Guatemalan case are unique.21 The scholarly assessment of Pentecostalism’s worldwide expansion in recent decades tends to focus on modernity, and how Pentecostalism offers an “escape” or “refuge” from modernity’s challenges (Lalive D’Epinay) or an alternative imaginary for alienated souls (Meyer), or serves as a practical resource for getting ahead via religious social networks and, in a manner of speaking, sympathetic magic (Gifford).22 Among the most compelling arguments is that of Jean and John Comaroff, who update Weber in arguing that Pentecostalism offers modern (and postmodern) subjects a means of “re-enchanting” a world governed by latter-day neoliberal capitalism and hyper-rational market forces.23 Although Guatemalan Pentecostals would probably not consciously subscribe to any of these theories, all, in some way, help both to unpack Guatemala’s “salvation narrative” and to make this particular story illustrative of Pentecostal expansion and the appeal of Pentecostalism in other parts of Latin America and beyond. Within Guatemala’s unique historical matrix, certain key factors support these ­interpretations. The first is expressly political, having to do with the beginning of the armed conflict in the early 1960s. Here, new US evangelical groups entered the country to offer what they called a “spiritual alternative to communism.” These efforts involved

Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism   297 new media campaigns, and the arena-style revival method pioneered by Billy Graham became part of a new repertoire of Protestant evangelization throughout Latin America, and spawned a first generation of Latin American media ministries. By the mid-1960s, inspired by the wave of revivals and evangelization campaigns, many small congregations began to sprout up, but now led by Guatemalan pastors rather than foreign missionaries. Within a relatively short time, Guatemalan Protestantism began to assume a local character—and that, more often than not, usually meant an affinity for Pentecostalism. If the arc of autochthonous Protestantism had its true start in the 1960s, a single event was responsible for Guatemala’s Pentecostal boom in popular memory, if not in actual reality: a catastrophic earthquake that roiled the country on February 4, 1976. The earthquake killed tens of thousands of people, destroyed much of the infrastructure of the capital city, and broke wide the grievous fault lines that paved the way for widespread social unrest and change. The natural disaster also revitalized the nation’s languishing guerrilla movement, thus setting off a wave of violent insurgency and counterinsurgency that would precipitate the darkest days of the civil war. But the earthquake also opened the door to religious aid workers who offered succor to quake victims. Although cynics quipped that such pragmatic intervention offered an example of lámina por ánima—free corrugated roofing in exchange for one’s soul—Guatemalans, especially in the most affected rural areas— ignored their critics and flocked to Pentecostal churches in droves.24 As Guatemala swirled downward into a vortex of violence over the next few years, Pentecostalism grew by leaps and bounds. Although the statistics are imperfect, in 1960, as seen, approximately 5 percent of Guatemala had been Protestant. By 1980, they made up just more than a quarter of the overall population.25 And two years later, one of those post-earthquake converts—a non-Indian elite general named Efraín Ríos Montt, who belonged to the neo-Pentecostal church Iglesia Cristiana Verbo—became Guatemala’s president in a coup d’état. It is easy to conclude, as many have, that Ríos Montt’s very public association with Pentecostalism (he “preached” every Sunday night on TV, addressing the nation on a variety of patriotic and religious themes), alongside the scorched earth violent campaign his government waged against the guerrillas and much of the civilian population, was a type of “holy war.”26 Proponents of this view argue that the Pentecostal general’s terror in the countryside forced Guatemalans into Pentecostal churches either out of a desire for safety or out of political expediency, particularly in an era when Catholics were often associated with liberation theology and politics of the left—a dangerous proposition indeed in that time and place. But there is ample evidence to demonstrate that the strong attraction that Guatemalans have felt for Pentecostalism that began in the mid-1970s, instead, had more to do with the promises of the faith—its claims to heal, to pour supernatural balm over hurting souls, and to provide a clear salvation narrative in the midst of an unfolding crisis of literally biblical proportions—earthquake, war, and terror, but soon to be redeemed by the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Of course, General Ríos Montt’s strong association with Pentecostalism and the counterinsurgency strategy unquestionably influenced many—Mayans who lived in the so-called zones of c­ onflict

298   Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran in particular—to convert to Protestantism in the interest of self-preservation, as people used evangélico identity as a shield to protect themselves from the violence raging in the countryside.27 Yet to attribute the conversion boom to simple expedience underestimates the impact that Protestant conversion had on society and individual lives. The all-out military assault on the highlands had destroyed families, villages, and Catholic churches, and, where it had still been strong, the costumbre, or all-encompassing epistemology, that had lent indigenous communities their distinctive identities for hundreds of years. In those spaces of utter despair, hope grew back. Small Maya Pentecostal congregations formed in society’s remnants, an effort at recovery that one pastor referred to as “trench faith.” Shaped around local knowledge but with a Protestant theology and sensibility, people found ways to reconstruct shattered lives and to wrest meaning from the anomie of violence. Pentecostalism offered a remedy that was, for many, both diagnostic and prescriptive for a temporal apocalypse.28 By the end of hostilities in Guatemala in late 1996, however, the rates of conversion to Protestantism/Pentecostalism had begun to plateau. This was in response both to a  change in political and social milieu and to a gradual shift within Guatemalan Pentecostalism itself, which was beginning to make a transition from what might be called “traditional” Pentecostalism—that is, focused on signs and wonders, and in Guatemala, with a strong apocalyptic bent that focused the gaze heavenward rather than on the here and now—to the more temporal allures of neo-Pentecostalism, the third wave of Freston’s typology. As the case study in Brazil that follows will show, ­neo-Pentecostalism differs from classical Pentecostalism in that it is much more focused on God’s gifts in the temporal world. One of the best examples of this is “prosperity ­theology,” an enormously popular and instrumentalist teaching in neo-Pentecostal churches, which preaches that God rewards faith through material aggrandizement and earthly success in work and family. Though prayers, fasting, and petitions, neoPenteocostals believe they can “name it and claim it” and that success in this world is in itself a witness to God’s grace and favor. In Guatemala, as in other parts of the world, neo-Pentecostalism is more likely to attract middle- and upper-class members (like Ríos Montt himself) or aspirants than traditional Pentecostalism, which characteristically recuses itself from affairs of the world. And what a world it is! While Guatemala’s long war is over, the violent civil society it left in its wake, characterized by crime, drug trafficking, violent abuse of women so endemic that it has its own name ( femicide), hyper-urbanization, political corruption, floods and drought from climate change, are distinctly Guatemalan, yet most of them are ills common to nearly every Latin American megalopolis today. Little wonder that Guatemalans, like so many other Latin Americans today, feel the need for some kind of spiritual re-enchantment. In the meantime, Pentecostalism has left an indelible mark on Guatemalan religion. Outside of the Catholic Church—where the most vigorous sector today is the Charismatic Catholic Renewal, Catholicism’s answer to Pentecostalism—all of Guatemala’s largest and, even now, fastest-growing churches are Pentecostal. The Fraternidad Cristiana,

Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism   299 a church that had its origins in the tumult of the late 1970s (only one of Guatemala City’s several megachurches), seats some 12,200 members at its regular services.29 This places it roughly on a par with Joel Osteen’s well-known Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, which is one of the bright stars in the constellation of worldwide Pentecostalism. Another, Carlos Enrique “Cash” Luna, the pastor of Ministerios Cash Luna, has become one of the most well-known (and, as his nickname implies, richest) televangelists in northern Latin America today.30 Pentecostals, then, are no longer on the margins of society, but are at the very core. Outside of the Pentecostal churches, stalwart main-line Protestant denominations have incorporated some charismatic practices in their liturgies, while even some practitioners of traditional Maya religion have started to borrow a little from the Pentecostal repertoire. Above all, Catholic charismatic renewal is on the rise as well, reinvigorating many Catholic parishes around the country.31 Guatemala has not become a Protestant majority, and perhaps it never will. But it is not too much to say that, leading the way for many countries in Latin America, religion in Guatemala has indeed become “Pentecostalized.”

Case Study: Pentecostalism in Brazil Demographic gains for Protestants in Brazil across its boom years were modest when compared to Guatemala, increasing from 5 percent of the total population in 1970 to 22 percent in 2010.32 Brazil’s role in the dynamics of Pentecostal expansion is perhaps better represented by the spread of its signature practices of exorcism across Latin American Protestantism. The Pew Research Center found in 2014 that 56 percent of Protestants in Brazil had seen the Devil being driven out of a person, compared to only 15 percent of Catholics. Similarly, large differentials in the practice of exorcism were found between Protestants and Catholics in all Latin American countries surveyed. While exorcism was present in the second wave, it became central during the third wave of Pentecostal expansion in Brazil.33 Missionaries from the early Pentecostal movement arrived in Brazil as early as 1910. Although none of those early Pentecostal missionaries to Brazil was born in the United States, they were all baptized in the Holy Spirit under the ministry of William Durham in Chicago, Illinois. During its boom years, Durham was one of the Azusa Street Mission’s most ardent supporters including a short term serving as visiting pastor. The early ­missionary activity that grew out of Durham’s ministry led to the foundations of the Congregação Cristã (CC) in São Paulo and the Assembleia de Deus (AD) in Belém. Rather than maintaining connections with North America, early Pentecostal churches in Brazil took root in the ethnic enclaves of their founders. The founder of the CC, Luigi Francescon, succeeded through his ability to evangelize within the Italian Presbyterian community of São Paulo. The two founders of the AD, Gunnar Vingren and Daniel Berg, sustained their denomination through their transatlantic networks with their Swedish homeland. The

300   Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran AD was financially supported and ministered by Swedish missionaries until 1930, when the denomination became autonomous. Eschewing the congregationalist polity of their origins, the Swedish leaders of the AD established a national Brazilian denomination over which they exercised substantial control. Although the denomination maintained ties with the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States, the Brazilian AD was an independent organization since its inception. Today, the AD has roughly four times as many adherents as the Assemblies of God in the United States and claims the most members of any Protestant denomination in Brazil, with 12.3 million.34 During the first half of the twentieth century, the AD quietly pioneered the cultural framework for Pentecostalism in Brazil. Harold Williams’s National Evangelization Crusade in 1953, with its emphasis on new evangelism techniques and technologies, represented an inflection point for Pentecostal expansion in Brazil. Williams was a Hollywood actor and missionary for the Foursquare Gospel Church. He had been evangelizing in South America with his wife since the late 1940s, and arrived in Brazil in the early 1950s. During a visit back to the United States, he attended revivals by Billy Graham and Oral Roberts that inspired him to import a circus tent to São Paulo for the purpose of hosting a revival.35 He also opened the doors (or flaps, as it were) to missionaries from all denominations who emphasized the power of the Holy Spirit to act in the modern world.36 This revival became the National Evangelization Crusade, and established a foothold for the Foursquare Gospel Church, which was contextualized to Brazil as the Igreja do Evangelho Quadrangular (IEQ). Although the IEQ maintained a doctrinal core akin to the AD and other transnational Pentecostal denominations, their new priorities fit better with Brazil’s urbanizing population and rapid modernization. Their growth has been ongoing, resulting in the IEQ becoming an independent denomination in 1988 that has 1.8 million members today.37 Another foreign evangelist who was drawn to urban Brazil during this period was a Canadian named Robert McAlister. McAlister was the son of a superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. McAlister arrived in Brazil in 1958 through an invitation by Lester Sumrall—an American evangelist who founded World Harvest Radio International. Sumrall was conducting a crusade in Maracanãzinho, a newly built indoor stadium in Rio de Janeiro. In 1959, McAlister invited his wife Gloria to move to Rio de Janeiro with their two small children. McAlister’s Brazilian ministry began with a radio program called A Voz da Nova Vida (the Voice of the New Life), broadcast across Rio de Janeiro by Radio Copacabana. Initially, McAlister held meetings in the rooms adjacent to the program’s studio, but eventually rented out the auditorium of the Brazilian Press Association.38 McAlister achieved substantial local success during his first two decades in Southeastern Brazil, and the church he founded continues to retain 90,000 predominantly urban-dwelling members as of the 2010 census. The third wave of Brazilian Pentecostalism arose during a period when Brazil’s population was highly urbanized and Brazilians imagined themselves as a modernizing nation.39 While McAlister’s INV was part of the second wave, its major contribution to the history of Brazilian Pentecostalism was to convert the iconic third-wave preacher, Edir Macedo, to Pentecostalism. Today, Macedo is the wealthiest pastor in Brazil and

Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism   301 the face of new controversial forms of Pentecostalism that gained traction in the 1980s and became a national spectacle in the 1990s. But when he converted to Pentecostalism in the early 1960s, he was one of many thousands of Brazilians who were adjusting to the transition from rural to urban life in Rio de Janeiro. Macedo grew up as an uncommitted Catholic who dabbled in Spiritism and other Brazilian healing traditions. His family moved from an outlying town on the border of Minas Gerais to the city of Rio de Janeiro in 1960. After his sister, Elcy, was cured of her chronic bronchitis during McAlister’s crusade, Macedo began attending services at the INV’s temporary home at the Brazilian Press Association. Meanwhile, he earned a ­college degree in statistics and became employed by Loterj, the state lottery of Rio de Janeiro. Eventually, he became a full member of the church, but the leadership of the INV never felt that Macedo had the “anointing” to do the work of the church.40 In 1974, Macedo left the INV, along with several other pastors including his brother-in-law R.  R.  Soares. After three years of short-lived affiliation with several other nascent Pentecostal organizations, in 1977 Macedo established the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, henceforth IURD). His brother-in-law, a talented televangelist, broke from the IURD three years later to form the Igreja Internacional da Graça de Deus (International Church of the Grace of God), which holds similar doctrines, but has fewer members. Macedo inherited from Robert McAlister an acute concern for the influence of ­Afro-Brazilian religious traditions in the lives of his congregants. While Macedo was a member of McAlister’s church, the Canadian minister published two small books that examined Afro-Brazilian religions and concluded that they were demonic pollutions in Brazilian life.41 In 1990, Macedo published a book that carefully examined and criticized Afro-Brazilian traditions as demonic.42 Macedo’s early IURD crusades commonly included public exorcisms of Afro-Brazilian ritual experts called mães-de-santo.43 Today, one day a week he continues to dedicate himself to exorcisms during liturgy, which the church calls “liberation.”44 The IURD’s practices grew out of Macedo’s theology of sacrifice, which runs through the core of the IURD’s doctrinal framework.45 Macedo drew his interpretation of sacrifice from the Christian Old Testament and applied it to life in the modern world. According to Macedo, the sacrificial formula that operated in the Old Testament was not made obsolete by Jesus’s crucifixion. Although the crucifixion did ensure ultimate salvation for the faithful after death, sacrifices to God in the Holy Temple still work for this-worldly requests. With the Temple destroyed, those sacrifices can be made anywhere the faithful congregate in ritual worship, including IURD churches in Brazil. Macedo interprets that sacrificial formula through multiple biblical lenses, but Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac serves as the prototype. Offerings are made in the form of monetary donations to the church. Macedo carefully, and repeatedly, explains, however, that “[t]he offering is not money and money is not the offering. Money, in truth, materially represents the confidence of those that receive it. . . . When one tithes or gives an offering, there is a confidence that God will fulfill His promises and return His blessings.”46 Monetary offerings are usually collected multiple times per service, and services occur multiple times per day, every day of the week.

302   Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran In less than fifteen years, the IURD in Brazil grew enormously from around sixty churches in 1983 to almost one thousand in 1991. This growth corresponded to increasingly massive revivals in football stadiums throughout the country, and increased scrutiny from the Brazilian press. Throughout the 1980s, the church accumulated a substantial fortune and used those resources to continue its expansion.47 The IURD also entered the political arena, sponsoring two members of the church as candidates in the 1986 state and federal elections, both of them winning seats.48 The real turning point for the IURD, however, came in 1989, when Edir Macedo purchased the struggling Rede Record, the third-largest television network in Brazil. The network has since eclipsed its closest competition, becoming the second-largest network behind Rede Globo. Globo is the highest-grossing television network in Latin America, and second in the world to ABC. The purchase of Rede Record signified Edir Macedo’s new position as the most influential Pentecostal in Brazilian public life, and the IURD as the most publicly recognizable church in a new and controversial generation of Latin American Pentecostalism.

From Crentes to Evangélicos: Brazilian Pentecostalism Goes Public The IURD and Edir Macedo were at the center of a cultural shift in the early 1990s, as a result of two highly publicized controversies: a television miniseries that was perceived as demeaning toward Pentecostals, and an IURD pastor kicking a plaster image of Brazil’s patron saint on television. From those controversies, Macedo forged a new identity for members of his church and Pentecostals, removing them from the paternalistic categories of crentes or aleluias and defining them simply as evangélicos, a broader term that signifies any non-Catholic Christianity and enlists the wider community of Brazilian Protestants. The progression of these controversies illustrates the tensions that Pentecostal expansion in Latin America has created in a region historically dominated by Catholic understandings of religion and society. In 1992, Rede Globo produced and aired a miniseries called Decadência (Decadence)—a thinly veiled fictionalization of Edir Macedo’s life and rise to prominence. The miniseries begins with the protagonist attending a small, joyful church filled with stereotypically peaceful Pentecostals. The protagonist quickly descends into power-hungry debasement as he bilks the poor congregants out of their earnest incomes. The series crescendoes with a scene depicting the protagonist stripping a female member on stage, pouring liquor onto an open bible, and burning it while maniacally laughing over the pulpit as his minions collect huge sacks of cash donations. Through the melodrama of the Brazilian television miniseries format, Rede Globo succeeded in presenting the Brazilian public with a visceral critique of the neo-Pentecostal practices regarding monetary donations.49 Although Christian churches commonly require monetary donations to survive

Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism   303 (either through voluntary donations or tithing), Macedo’s critics claimed that his views on tithing and offerings made an inappropriate, direct connection between devotion and money. This observation was often accompanied by the accusation, either implicit or explicit, that Macedo’s theology was intentionally and ruthlessly designed to enrich himself. This viewpoint, combined with the reality of Macedo’s immense wealth, produced the hostility displayed in both his arrest and in the television program Decadência. Although not ostensibly in response to the airing of Decadência, Macedo’s later ­interpretation of the controversies held that the offense given to evangélicos (Protestants, generally) from the miniseries led to the now infamous “kicking the saint” incident in 1995. During a late-night sermon televised by Rede Record, a bishop of the IURD named Sérgio Von Helde kicked a plaster image of Brazil’s patron saint, Our Lady of Aparecida. Von Helde’s message was that plaster idols held no special sacred power; the image of a Protestant pastor kicking the saint was rebroadcast by Rede Globo and was interpreted as a violent affront to Brazilian Catholics. In response, Von Helde was charged with inciting prejudice of religion through mass media, was convicted, and was sentenced to two years in prison. Because it was his first offense, he avoided actual imprisonment and was instead put on probation. After the dust had settled, Macedo expanded his media empire, and his church thrived across Brazil and Latin America. The IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística) shows the church’s official membership in 2010 to be about 1.8 million members in Brazil, while the church itself claims more than 8 million members globally. But the lasting effect of Macedo’s aggressive involvement in Brazilian public life carved out a political and cultural space for evangélicos: Brazilian Pentecostals who perform their religious lives in public.50

Conclusion If one city corner could represent the complex dynamics of Pentecostal expansion in Latin America, it would be the intersection of Avenida Celso Garcia and Rua João Boemer in São Paulo. On one corner sits AD Brás, a five-thousand capacity hyper-modern church that is owned by the Assembleia de Deus, Brazil’s first and largest Pentecostal denomination. On the opposite corner, occupying an entire city block, sits the Templo de Salomão, a recently completed replica of the Temple of Solomon built by the IURD, which, during its grand opening, hosted both Edir Macedo and Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff. On the third corner is São João Batista do Brás, an old, yellow Catholic church that has stood there since 1908, two years before Pentecostalism arrived in Brazil. Staged as living monuments to the history of Brazil’s Pentecostalization, the street corner offers a single vantage point from which to look out and view the diversity of Latin American Christianity. Some accuse Edir Macedo of thinking of his enormous Templo de Salomão in São Paulo as Pentecostalism’s Vatican, and perhaps, in a sense, it is. The Templo, in some

304   Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran ways, is similar to the Vatican, but not in terms of hierarchy and dogmatic authority. Rather, in its audacious grandeur, it stands as an expensive and very intentional symbol of Pentecostalism’s domination of the religious landscape not just in Brazil, but also of much of Latin American and, indeed, in the Global South, today. The Templo’s fortress-like façade signals to all who did not already know it (whoever those few might be) that Pentecostalism and neo-Pentecostalism have long ago shed their lowdown and transgressive reputations. Instead, the multi-racial, rambunctious, Spirit-filled meetings that so scandalized visitors to the Azusa Street Revival have become the templates for “doing church” in even many more staid main-line denominations, which nevertheless continue to watch their membership ebb away to the Pentecostals. Even the Roman Catholic Church, which for so very long defined “True Religion and virtue” in Latin America, has found its own Pentecostal analog in Catholic Charismatic Renewal, itself the fastest growing sectors of the Church. The Catholic Church in Latin America, then, continues to hold its ground, aided by Catholic Renewal and, perhaps, thanks to what some call the “Francis Effect” of the first, and very popular, Latin American pope. Nevertheless, as these case studies of Brazil and Guatemala demonstrate, religion in Latin America over the past few decades has become Pentecostalized. The evidence of this seems clear enough. As noted earlier, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s study in 2006 found that 73 percent of Protestants in Latin America were Pentecostals, and it noted an upsurge in “renewalist” religion among religious groups that were not historically Pentecostal (main-line Protestants and, especially, Catholics), in which practitioners had adopted a “Pentecostalized” set of beliefs and practice—belief in faith healing and speaking in tongues, for example—to enrich their own traditions. In Guatemala, Pew found that while eight in ten Protestants were Pentecostal, six in ten Catholics also practiced charismatic religion, making for an overall Christian population that was, in total, more than 60 percent “renewalist.”51 Brazil noted a somewhat lower percentage of renewalists—49 percent—but Brazilians outside of Christianity also embraced additional practices such as Spiritism and African diasporan faith that also employed pneumatic and miraculous practices that made them functionally, if not theologically, similar to Pentecostals.52 In 1990, anthropologist David Stoll posed the question, “Is Latin America turning Protestant?”53 For now, the answer is no: despite strong Protestant expansion, the majority of Latin Americans remain Catholic. But Latin American religion across the board has been deeply touched by charismatic and spirit-filled faith. The enchantments of the Spirit continue to expand to influence belief and public life across the region.

Notes 1. “Spirit and Power—A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals,” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, October 6, 2006, 2. “Estimated Size of Renewalist Populations,” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2006,

Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism   305 3. Paul Freston, “Pentecostalism in Brazil: A Brief History,” Religion 25 (1995), 119–133. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid., 119–33; see also Marlise Simons, “Latin America’s New Gospel,” New York Times Magazine, November 7, 1982. 6. Karla Poewe, ed., Charismatic Christianity as a Global Culture (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1949). 7. Jesús García-Ruiz and Patrick Michel, “Neopentecostalism in Latin America: Contribution to a Political Anthropology of Globalization,” International Social Science Journal (61, no. 202 (2010), 411–424. 8. Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of American Prosperity Gospel (New York, NY: Oxford, 2010). 9. Daniel Ramírez, Migrating Faith: Pentecostalism in the United States and Mexico, 1­ 906–1966 (Durham, NC, and Raleigh, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2015). 10. Dennis A. Smith and Leonildo Silveira Campos, “Concentrations of Faith: Mega Churches in Brazil” in Jonathan D. James, ed., Mega Churches: A Moving Faith Goes South (London: Sage Publications, 2015), 1–2. 11. See Rachel McCleary, Chapter 19 in this Handbook. 12. Central American Bulletin, 107, no. 1 (November 15, 1919). 13. Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). 14. Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Protestantism in Guatemala: Living in the New Jerusalem (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1998), 29–30. Primary sources for this information come from the Board of Foreign Mission records for the Presbyterian, Central American Mission, Quaker, and Nazarene churches. 15. Virgilio Zapata, Historia de la iglesia evangélica en Guatemala (Guatemala: Genesis Publicidad, 1982), 101. 16. Dove, “Local Believers, Foreign Missionaries, and the Creation of Guatemalan Protestantism, 1882–1994,” PhD diss., University of Texas, 2012, 227–242. 17. Archivo General de Centro América (AGCA), Relaciones exteriores, “Religiosos y asuntos religiosos,” September 19, 1936. 18. CAM, 117, no. 2 (July 15, 1921). 19. Servicio Evangelizadora para América Latina, La hora de dios para Guatemala (Guatemala: Editorial SEPAL, 1983). 20. Edward L. Cleary and Hannah Stewart Gambino, Power, Politics, and Pentecostals In Latin America (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996). 21. Jean Franco, The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City: Latin America and the Cold War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002). 22. Christian Lalive d’Epinay, Haven of the Masses: A Study of the Pentecostal Movement in Chile and Brazil (Lutterworth: World Studies of Church in Mission, 1969); Brigit Meyer, “Pentecostalism and Globalization,” in Allan Anderson et al., eds., Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010), 113–130; Paul Gifford, Ghana’s New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalizing African Economy (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004). 23. Jean and John  L.  Comaroff, Millennial Capitalism and the Culture of Neoliberalism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001). 24. Deborah Levenson-Estrada, “Reactions to Trauma: The 1976 Earthquake in Guatemala,” International Labor and Working Class History 62 (2002), 60–68. 25. See PROCLADES, Proyecto centroamericano de estudios socio-religiosos (Costa Rica: Servicio evangelizador para América Latina, 1981).

306   Virginia Garrard and Justin M. Doran 26. See Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala under General Efraín Ríos Montt, 1982–1983 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010). 27. Tomás Guzaro and Terri Jacob McComb, Escaping the Fire: How an Ixil Mayan Pastor Led His People Out of a Holocaust during the Guatemalan Civil War (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2010). 28. Itzmar Rivera, pastor Iglesia Primitiva Metodista, interview, Santa Cruz del Quiché, May 23, 1985. 29. Fraternidad Cristiana claims 15,000 members. 30. 31. See Edward L. Cleary, The Rise of Charismatic Catholicism in Latin America (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2011). 32. Pew Research Center, Brazil’s Changing Religious Landscape: Roman Catholics in Decline, Protestants on the Rise (Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, July 18, 2013), 2, http:// 33. Pew Research Center, Religion in Latin America: Widespread Change in a Historically Catholic Region (Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, November 13, 2014), 65, http:// 34. IBGE—Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, Censo Demográfico 2010: Carac­ terísticas gerais da população, religião e pessoas com deficiência, 2010, http://www.ibge.; Paul Freston, “Prostestantes e política no Brasil: da constituinte ao impeachment” (PhD diss., Departamento de Ciências Sociais do Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 1993), Chapter 5. 35. Paul Risser, An Eye for Miracles (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 2010), 211. 36. Paul Freston, “Pentecostalism in Brazil: A Brief History,” Religion 25, no. 2 (April 1995), 126. 37. IBGE—Instituto Brasileiro de Geografía e Estatística, Censo Demográfico 2010: Carac­ terísticas gerais da população, religião e pessoas com deficiência. 38. Ricardo Mariano, Neopentecostais: Sociologia do novo pentecostalismo o Brasil (São Paulo, SP: Edições Loyola, 1999), 51–53. 39. Freston, “Pentecostalism in Brazil,” 120. 40. Edir Macedo, Nothing to Lose: Moments of Conviction That Changed My Life (Barcelona; Madrid: Lunwerg, 2013), 149. 41. Robert McAlister, Mãe de santo: Georgina Aragão dos Santos Franco ([Rio de Janeiro], GB: Empreendimentos Evangélicos, 1968); Robert McAlister, Crentes endemoninhados: a nova heresia (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: Igreja de Nova Vida, 1975). 42. Edir Macedo, Orixás, caboclos e guias : Deuses ou demônios? (Rio de Janeiro: Universal Produções, 1990). 43. Mãe-de-santo literally translates to “mother-of-saint,” but could be translated as “priestess.” 44. The allusion to Catholic liberation theology appears to be intentional, and Macedo has made explicit criticisms of that theology in Edir Macedo, A libertação da teologia (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Gráfica Universal, 1992). 45. See Paulo Mattos, “An Introduction to the Theology of Bishop Edir Macedo (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God): A Case Study of a New Brazilian Pentecostal Church” (S.T.M. thesis, Christian Theological Seminary; Indianapolis, 2002). 46. Edir Macedo, A voz da fé: O segredo para uma vida bem-sucedida, 1st ed. (Rio de Janeiro: Unipro Editora, 2009), 107.

Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism   307 47. Eric W. Kramer, “Possessing Faith: Commodification, Religious Subjectivity, and Collectivity in a Brazilian Neo-Pentecostal Church” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2001), 59. 48. Ibid., 58. 49. Roberto Farias and Ignácio Coqueiro, “Decadência” (Rede Globo de Televisão, September 5, 1995). 50. Eric  W.  Kramer, “Law and the Image of a Nation: Religious Conflict and Religious Freedom in a Brazilian Criminal Case,” Law & Social Inquiry 26, no. 1 (Winter 2001), 36. 51. Pew Forum, “Spirit and Power,” 52. Ibid. 53. David Stoll, Is Latin America Turning Protestant? The Politics of Evangelical Growth, (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990).

chapter 17

Con v ersion Proce sse s a n d Soci a l N et wor ks i n L ati n A m er ica Henri Gooren

Introduction: The Success of Global and Latin American Pentecostalism Since the 1980s, success has been the driving narrative of global Pentecostalism. The numbers game documented the rise of the different varieties of Pentecostalism, which was adding almost 20 million members every year1 and now represents over a quarter of Christians worldwide. The vast majority of these Pentecostals live in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In Latin America, countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Brazil have become 20 to 30 percent Protestant in only a few decades, with Pentecostals dominating the Protestant communities in almost all countries (see Table 17.1).2 What makes Pentecostalism so attractive to millions in the global South? Table 17.2 presents a model for Pentecostal church growth, developed earlier for the case of Guatemala—one of the most Protestant countries of Latin America, with estimates for the Protestant population proportion ranging from 25 to 30 percent.3 The church growth model provides several clues as to why this is the case. The first US Protestant missionaries arrived in Guatemala beginning in the 1870s, starting churches, schools, and clinics (factors 1b and 1c). Between 1935 and 1960, the first Pentecostal churches built their own institutions and gradually relied more on Guatemalan leaders. Growth was steady in 1960–1976, with strong increases in the late 1960s, and an explosion after the devastating 1976 earthquake. Between 1976 and 1986, six factors converged to create the Protestant explosion in Guatemala. (1) An explosion of anomie (factor 2c) was created by the earthquake, civil war, political repression, and a severe economic recession. Anomie is

310   Henri Gooren

Table 17.1  Religious Affiliation in Latin America, 2003 Country

Brazil Chile Guatemala El Salvador Puerto Rico Nicaragua Panama Honduras Argentina Costa Rica Bolivia Peru Venezuela Mexico Uruguay Ecuador Paraguay Colombia

Percent Catholic

Percent Protestant

Percent Pentecostal

Pentecostals as Percent of Protestants

61% 57% 67% 71% 69% 76% 62% 73% 77% 74% 84% 69% 85% 85% 50% 82% 90% 91%

29% 27% 25% 22% 22% 19% 18% 18% 13% 13% 12% 10.6% 7.4% 7.2% 6.4% 6.2% 6% 5%

24% 24% 17% 17% 16% 12% 12% 11% 11% 7% 5% 4% 6% 4% 2.7% 2.2% 3% 3%

83% 89% 68% 77% 73% 63% 67% 61% 85% 54% 42% 38% 81% 56% 42% 35% 50% 60%

Sources: Main source for Table 17.1: Gastón Espinosa, “The Pentecostalization of Latin American and U.S. Latino Christianity,” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 26, no. 2. (2004): 262–292, 270–271, based on 2003 statistics from Todd M. Johnson and Peter Crossing at the Center for the Study of World Christianity. Data for Paraguay are based on the 2002 census (Holland, “Paraguay,” in Andrew Riggs, ed., Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, Vol. 3: Countries M–Z [Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2006], 205). The data for Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and the anomalous case of highly secularized Uruguay are based on Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Operation World (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster Lifestyle, 2001), 112, 205–206, 230, 516, 664.

the absence—or strong erosion—of generally accepted norms and values, which threatens to cause the disintegration of society. Durkheim was especially worried that with the gradual unfolding of the “modernization process,” human needs and desires could not be kept under control by society, leading to a situation of anomie.4 (2) Many new Protestant churches and missionaries arrived as part of the 1976 earthquake relief effort (factors 1b and 1c). (3) More evangelization campaigns (1b) were organized than ever before. (4) The war created high urban growth in 1980–1985, leading to anomie and a search for communities among the new city dwellers (2c). (5) The traditional cargo system of indigenous groups had lost strength all over the country (2a). (6) The Roman Catholic Church hierarchy was slow to respond to Protestant growth (factor 2b), delaying until 1985 support for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in order to counter defections to Pentecostalism.5

Conversion Processes and Social Networks   311

Table 17.2  A Model of Pentecostal Church Growth  

(1) Internal Factors

Religious Factors

(1a) Appeal of the doctrine and rituals: liturgy, (2a) Weak socialization into, lack of speaking in tongues, healing, music, deliverance support in, or general dissatisfaction (pull factors) with Catholicism (push factors)


(1b) Evangelization activities (including missionary force)

(2) External Factors

(2b) Responses to Pentecostal growth from the Catholic hierarchy (example: support Catholic Charismatic Renewal)

Nonreligious (1c) Appeal of the organization (including social (2c) Social, economic, and/or Factors networks) psychological anomie  

(1d) Natural growth and membership retention (2d) Urbanization process

Source: Table 17.2 was adapted, with some minor changes, from Gooren, “Reconsidering Protestant Growth in Guatemala, 1900–1995,” in James W. Dow and Alan R. Sandstrom, eds., Holy Saints and Fiery Preachers: The Anthropology of Protestantism in Mexico and Central America, (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001), 177.

The early literature on Pentecostal growth in Latin America stressed structural f­ actors that were external to the churches, shown in Table  17.2, column 2, as (2c) social, ­economic, and psychological anomie (caused by poverty and political violence), as well as (2d) the urbanization process, which uprooted people and made them more susceptible to join a new church.6 Many of the first Pentecostals occupied marginal positions in their own communities or were traders who did not depend on their (Catholic) ­community members.7 The early literature paid lip service to weak Catholic socialization or, alternatively, (2a) dissatisfaction with Catholicism as a cause for conversion to Pentecostalism,8 including the time and money demands of the cofradía system.9 Early scholars also stressed the importance of (1b) evangelization activities in recruiting new members. Recruitment to a church was seen as synonymous with conversion, although Gooren shows the value of distinguishing between joining and converting; the first only requires filling out some paperwork and showing up regularly on Sunday, whereas the second involves a gradual or sudden change of identity and worldview.10 As actor-oriented approaches became more dominant since the 1980s, scholars increasingly stressed that people joined Pentecostal churches because they found something there that was unique, something that helped them cope with problems like  poverty, alcoholism, illness, and domestic violence.11 Many authors stressed the ­importance of the church organization (1c in Table 17.2), offering voluntary association through participation in church assignments, the opportunity to gain leadership, teaching, and administrative skills, and so on.12 These explanations were certainly valid; however, they are not unique to Pentecostalism. Anomie and urbanization could equally lead to a growth of small Catholic parishes, ­perhaps even base communities or lay apostolic movements like the Legion of Mary, mainstream Protestant churches (like Anglicans or Methodists), or even Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.13 They create the structural conditions for a reservoir of people who are open to changing their religion.14 However, the new religion that people visit

312   Henri Gooren and eventually perhaps join is often influenced by chance encounters with missionaries, an invitation to visit the church of a friend or relative, and increasingly through radio, television, or surfing the Internet.15 In order for people to join, there have to be clear attractions pulling them to the new religion. More recent literature especially emphasized the attractions that are unique to Pentecostalism.16 These include (1a in Table 17.2) the appeal of Pentecostal doctrine and rituals: emotional worship meetings full of rousing prayer and music, being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking, praying, or singing in tongues, deliverance (exorcism), prophesying, and the central role of healing. As Pentecostal churches became bigger, some leaders eventually found it more effective to emphasize (1d) natural growth through birth and by stressing member retention.17 As Pentecostalism became more popular and more accepted, conversion gradually became easier, no longer leading to ostracism in committed Catholic families or harassment from neighbors. The Bishops’ Conferences in several Latin American countries issued increasingly critical pastoral letters on the growth of the “sects” in the 1980s and 1990s. Pope John Paul II at the 1992 Santo Domingo bishops’ conference urged them to defend their flock against “rapacious wolves” out to steal their sheep.18 Responding to Pentecostal growth (factor 2b), the bishops soon became more accepting of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in countries like Brazil and Guatemala. Sometimes they even stimulated it as a means to offer access to the Holy Spirit under the guidance of priests and bishops.19 However, interreligious competition for members between the Roman Catholic Church and the Pentecostals not only increased, but also occurred in a steadily more competitive religious market made up of more and more options: popular Catholicism, liberationist Catholicism, charismatic Catholicism, mainstream Protestantism, indigenous Protestantism, indigenous Pentecostalism, progressive Pentecostalism, and conservative neo-Pentecostalism—not to mention Mormonism and Adventism.20 Generalizations about Protestant and Pentecostal growth in Latin America are nowadays more hazardous than ever before.21

Pentecostal Conversion Careers in Paraguay and Chile Paraguay is one of the least Protestant (and least Pentecostal) countries in the region, whereas Chile is one of the most Protestant and one of the most Pentecostal (see Table  17.1). Chile is also the birthplace of autochthonous Pentecostalism in Latin America: the Iglesia Metodista Pentecostal (IMP), the country’s biggest Pentecostal church, founded in 1909. Pentecostalism in Chile exploded in the 1920s and 1930s, stabilized in the 1960s, and exploded again in the 1970s and 1980s during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990).22 Protestants currently make up over one-quarter of the total

Conversion Processes and Social Networks   313 Chilean population, which is among the highest percentages in South America.23 The vast majority of Protestants are Pentecostals, estimated at 85 percent.24 Pentecostal growth in Paraguay, in contrast, started as late as the 1980s, during the final years of the Stroessner dictatorship (1954–1989), and continues until the present day. In 2002, Pentecostals made up only 3 percent of the Paraguayan population, and mainstream Protestants, especially Mennonites, Baptists, and Lutherans, another 3 percent.25 Popular elements of Pentecostalism started to find their way into mainstream Protestantism, marking the start of the Pentecostalization process.26 Many Baptist and especially Spanish-speaking Mennonite churches in Asunción used Pentecostal songs and worship styles, but stopped short of allowing members to speak in tongues. In the entire Protestant community, only two churches were highly successful in terms of membership growth, and both were Pentecostal. Más que Vencedores specialized in targeting young people. The Centro Familiar de Adoración successfully brought in families, thanks to its charismatic leader Emilio Abreu, its high visibility, sophisticated evangelization methods, and use of mass media. I conducted fieldwork research in Asunción and Santiago.27 In each metropolitan area, fifteen congregations in ten different churches were visited, including four Catholic charismatic groups. Together with local experts,28 I selected a representative sample of successful Pentecostal or Pentecostalizing groups for in-depth study through participant observation. This implied going to Sunday meetings and other events for at least a month, conducting interviews with leaders and members, collecting books and ­brochures, watching Pentecostal TV programs, and analyzing the contents of church websites. A total of nine religious congregations in Chile and Paraguay were studied in depth. In Asunción, Paraguay, three Protestant churches were selected as case studies: 1. Centro Familiar de Adoración (Family Worship Center), a mixed-class neo-­ Pentecostal mega-church with a Sunday attendance of 3,000 to 4,000 located in a huge white auditorium in Barrio Herrera, eastern Asunción. 2. Más que Vencedores (More than Conquerors), a mixed-class independent Pentecostal church with a Sunday attendance of about 500, located in a new building a little east of downtown Asunción close to the Avenida Mariscal López. 3. Villa Anita, Hermanos Menonitas, a mixed-class Pentecostalizing Spanishspeaking Mennonite church with a Sunday attendance of about 120 in Ñemby on the southern outskirts of the metropolitan area of Asunción. These were the two Protestant case studies in Santiago, Chile: 1. Viña Las Condes (Las Condes Vineyard), a mixed-class Vineyard church with many Pentecostal elements and a Sunday attendance of about 600 in Las Condes, eastern Santiago de Chile. 2. La Trinidad (Trinity), a middle-class Pentecostalizing Anglican congregation with a Sunday attendance of about 400 in Las Condes, eastern Santiago de Chile.

314   Henri Gooren I included one additional church case, the Pentecostalizing Mennonite congregation, from Paraguay, as there is hardly any literature available on religion in that country. I  had one student assistant in Paraguay and five in Chile; they conducted some ­interviews and made transcriptions. The total numbers of semi-structured interviews was 90 for Paraguay and 98 for Chile; only 22 interviews (11 percent) were not recorded.29 The focus here is on the role of social networks in conversion processes among the informants with higher levels of church commitment, defined as conversion and confession in the conversion career typology. The conversion career includes all episodes of higher or lower participation in one or more religious organizations during a person’s life.30 It is a tool to analyze the interplay of factors between the individual actor, the ­religious organization, and the wider social and cultural context. Conversion here is defined in the limited sense as a comprehensive personal change of religious worldview and identity, based on both self-reports and attributions by others. The others obviously include people from the same religious group, but may also include significant others who are not members. Confession describes a core-member identity, involving a high level of participation inside the new religious group and a strong missionary attitude toward non-members of the group. Pre-affiliation is the term used in the conversion career approach to describe the worldview and social background of potential members of a religious group, in their first contacts to assess whether they would like to affiliate themselves on a more formal basis. The term affiliation denotes formal membership of a religious group, without making it a central aspect of one’s identity. Finally, disaffiliation refers to (the process of) detaching one’s involvement in an organized religious group. The sequencing of these changes and the levels of commitment are elaborated in Gooren, Religious Conversion.31

Contextual, Individual, and Institutional Factors in the Conversion Process The great majority of the informants (almost 80 percent) converted in their teens and twenties, roughly coinciding with the 1980s and 1990s. This was a period of great upheaval, characterized by ongoing urbanization, an economic crisis (1982–1985), and massive protests against the aging military dictators Stroessner in Paraguay (1987–1989) and Pinochet in Chile (especially in 1988–1989). These factors are included in the church growth model of Table 17.2 under 2c (anomie) and 2d (urbanization). The starting confessional point of conversion for all informants was their parents’ religion, which in all but seven cases (all Chileans) meant Catholicism. The main ­difference here was between the more committed Catholic households, about onequarter, and the nominal Catholic households with a weak socialization into Catholicism

Conversion Processes and Social Networks   315 (factor 2a in Table  17.2). The following are some typical quotes from the fieldwork research. A thirty-nine-year-old woman in Chile, who later converted to the Iglesia Metodista Pentecostal (IMP) Jotabeche “cathedral” in Santiago, said: Like everybody, we went to the Catholic Church as children. I was baptized as an infant and all that. But my parents were typical passive Catholics who baptized you and afterwards never went to church again.32

And here is a telling quote from a nominal Catholic family in Paraguay from a ­thirty-seven-year-old woman, who converted to the Pentecostal Centro Familiar de Adoración (Family Worship Center) mega-church in Asunción when she was twenty-nine (eight years ago): My mother went [to Mass], but we were not religious. That is, we went out of ­custom, not because we felt a need.[. . .] In the Catholic Church you sit down and every Sunday it’s the same. You sit down, you wait, you get up, you sit down, you say goodbye, and that’s it. There is no spontaneity, there is no worship.33

A thirty-five-year-old male assistant pastor in the independent Pentecostal church Más que Vencedores (More than Conquerors) in Asunción was even more negative about popular Catholicism in Paraguay, suggesting a connection between witchcraft and Marian “idolatry”: Catholicism is like another protection against the different types of occultism that people practice here in Paraguay. There are these witches [. . .] and the worship of the image of the Virgin Mary.34

Although the literature stresses that most evangelicals come from nominal Catholic households,35 in Paraguay almost one-third of the informants came from committed Catholic parents who were active in traditional parishes or in apostolic lay movements like the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Schoenstatt, or the Neo-Catechumenal Way.36 A thirty-something female assistant pastor in Más que Vencedores (More than Conquerors) said: I came from a Catholic family. Yes, I considered myself a practicing Catholic. Every morning before I went to work, I went to Mass at 6 a.m.[. . .] Ever since we were little, my mother always took us to retreats with the [Catholic] charismatics. She always took us and for me it was normal to go to church and turn to God and think of God. My mother was really a woman of faith. My mother had gifts, too. The gift of tongues.37

In line with the literaturemost informants described reaching a crisis of meaning-making, which was often combined with other crises: poverty, loss of a job, divorce, or problems with children.38 Some committed Catholics could not find adequate support in the

316   Henri Gooren Roman Catholic Church and became more open to trying other religious options ­(factor 2a). Nominal Catholics were often the subject of intense personal evangelization activities (factor 1b) by evangelical churches and described feeling attracted especially by their rituals (like healing, deliverance from demons, and speaking in tongues) and their worship styles and music (factor 1a): The first day, when I arrived at this church, I saw a lady who had her arms in the air. She had her eyes closed and a face full of happiness. I told myself: “I want to feel like that person is feeling.”[. . .] Literally, I wanted to feel well inside. I didn’t come because of a problem, an illness, problems with my son or money problems. I came because something attracted me. I discovered that I felt so at home, so comforted, even though I didn’t understand practically anything.39 I was delivered from evil spirits here [in church]. It happened five months after arriving here. It happened during a prayer. I realized what I needed. When the pastor was speaking, he made a call, and I went forward. It happened after worship. I really felt troubled, because I could not worship God with all my strength and I felt very frightened. Afterwards I realized that was all because of the presence of the Enemy. My sister-in-law was also sick; she was possessed. She was also delivered there in church.40

The potential converts often also felt attracted by the appeal of the new church organization (1c) and the messages in the preaching (factor 1a again). A forty-four-year-old convert to the Pentecostalizing Spanish-speaking Mennonite church Villa Anita in Asunción told me: “I listened to the sermon of Pastor Holovaty and there I was convinced. He was actually dealing with a theme that talked about faith.”41 And a fifty-six-year-old lay preacher from the Jotabeche “cathedral” of the Iglesia Metodista Pentecostal (IMP) in Santiago de Chile said: “What I liked most about the church was the worship and the message of the Word, the preaching.”42 Keeping in mind that the seven informants quoted here all maintained higher levels of church involvement (conversion or confession in the conversion career typology), a few elements stand out. Confirming the literature was the fact that most informants converted in their teens and twenties, coinciding with the economic crisis and the protests against the aging military dictators of the 1980s.43 Most informants came from nominal Catholic families, although one-third in Paraguay had at least one committed Catholic parent (typically the mother). Still, my earlier finding that a weak socialization into Catholicism is a prime predictor of later conversion to Pentecostalism (factor 2a) was confirmed.44 Informants coming from committed Catholic households typically described a lack of support in their church during a crisis (again 2a). At the same time, they were often invited to visit Protestant churches by friends (factor 1b) and felt attracted to the liturgy, special rituals such as speaking in tongues and deliverance, the message in the preaching, or the warmth between believers (factors 1a and 1c). Yet individual factors, such as socialization into a prior religious worldview or a need for religious meaning-making, were instrumental in predisposing people to having a conversion experience in the first place, in combination with social networks. The next section explores the role of social networks in the conversion process.

Conversion Processes and Social Networks   317

Social Network Factors in the Conversion Process The literature consistently stresses the essential role of social networks in the conversion process.45 The findings from Paraguay and Chile confirmed this. Most informants made their first contact with the new church through a good friend (eighteen cases), a spouse (fifteen cases), a neighbor (seven cases), their mother (five cases), their sister-in-law (four cases), or their son or daughter (two cases): Well, it was because . . . I’d say it was a call from God first of all. My sister-in-law had friends who attended this church and, well, she invited me to go and we went there and until this day we are there. I’d say it was really a call from God. The time had come and nothing else, because there was no problem or anything extraordinary. But it was really the moment that God wanted it and so we went.46

After joining the new church, the social networks of recent converts gradually start to change. There were only two exceptions of people who maintained strong contacts with their former circle of Catholic friends. The typical pattern is that one year after conversion, (almost) all of their friends are fellow church members or at least evangelicals: The great majority of my friends are evangelicals. I have many friends in other [Iglesia Metodista Pentecostal] congregations.47 Well, my friends are all believers. I have only few who are not.48 My friends are all here in church with me. I’ve lost contact with Catholic friends of before.49 After being introduced in church by a person of trust and feeling attracted to the new church’s rituals and organization, the potential converts still have to build up a testimony—to develop their own conversion story. The standard conversion story format is well known, typically a variation on the theme “you have to go through hell in order to get to heaven,” so here I will only review three powerful testimonies that stand out among many.50 The first is the conversion story of a thirty-seven-year-old woman, who joined the Pentecostal Centro Familiar de Adoración mega-church in Asunción six years ago. Her first impressions were described in the first of the two quotes in the previous section. She continued: One week later I went to the altar. I was already prepared to go that day; I had dressed up for it. And when Pastor Abreu made the altar call, I was there. Even though I didn’t understand what I was doing, I knew I had to do this. One month later I went to a spiritual retreat. The Lord opened my understanding; there it happened that I, literally, was converted. It was a retreat of three days in another city. There the Lord revealed Himself in my life and I understood the judgment of God, who I was, and all the garbage that I had inside. On that same day, they said ‘Who wants to get baptized?’ and I said: ‘I!’ And the following Sunday I was already getting baptized.[. . .]

318   Henri Gooren One month after that three-day retreat, I got up one morning and I felt physically strange.[. . .] I went from one place to another, but it was a perfect work schedule where everybody paid me, invited me, opened their door to me. . . . It was something supernatural; something like that had never happened to me. And when I got back to my office again I told the Lord for the first time ‘I worship you’ and I opened my arms. That is, I felt that everything was so perfect that moment, everything He did, that I could see so many things happening around me. . . . And the only thing I could say was: ‘Thank you, I worship you.’ [. . .] I felt that someone physically touched me. I felt a pressure in the head and something started to come down and flow through my arms. I felt it like that and I began to speak in tongues. For forty-five minutes I couldn’t stop moving my mouth. I got down on my knees and I said: ‘Finally I can talk to you; now finally I can tell you everything that I wanted to tell you and couldn’t.’ [. . .] I entered another spiritual level from that moment on. I started to understand many things when I was doing spiritual warfare, in the sense that you pray in tongues. [. . .] Apart from that I started to have and understand visions.51

The second is the conversion story of a forty-one-year-old pastor of an independent Pentecostal church in Asunción that illustrates the classic theme of going from extreme hedonism to salvation: My conversion experience was long, very long. I was a very depraved person in my youth. I had a life of pleasures, all sorts of pleasures that society, the world, offered and I liked that life. When I was about twenty-six, my parents took me to a meeting of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship Internationalin Foz de Iguazú [Brazil]. There was a musical introduction there, they sang to music, and that music made an impact on