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History 2501E Lecture Notes - Religion In Africa, Secular Clergy, Missionary Church

Course Code
HIS 2501E
Luz Hernandez- Saenz

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Sept, 25, 2012
The Colonial Church
Main Characteristics:
The Church and the State in the Americas:
-The Spanish took their responsibility to convert all the people they came across much more seriously
-The clergy had to swear an oath that they would not violate the crown’s rights and the king also collected the
tithes that paid the church clergy and funded different churches
-The church was interested in this not for money but because of the control and power it gave them and we have
to keep in mind that the church was not a cohesive entity and there were groups that did not agree always
-The difference between a church and a cathedral was that the cathedrals were run by bishops and could only exist
under their control and they were like the “main churches” and the rest were dependencies and bishops were also
rulers of the area and received taxes
Different roles of the Clergy:
-The secular clergy was the bishop and other high up positions and the regular clergy were religious orders like
Dominicans and Franciscans (much arguing between both clergies)
-Supposedly the regular clergy came and converted the natives then the secular clergy moved in because they
were Christians and the missionaries would move on to another area in theory
-The first order to arrive in New Spain were the Franciscans and in Peru the Dominicans but we don’t have Jesuits
to start off because they didn’t exist until middle of the 16th century but they did arrive later
-Each of the orders were different and each had an idea or goal and the Franciscans were based on the idea of
poverty and they vowed to accept any one and embraced equality while the Dominicans were specialized in
preachers and they were very skilled
-Later the Jesuits were organized like an intellectual army because their founder was a soldier and they battled the
Protestants with their intellect and all had to have university degrees and they did not have a vow of poverty and
they believed that you needed to deal with the top if you wanted to make changes
The Church and Religion The Conversion of the Natives:
The Church in the Americas:
-In the Americas the church was a missionary church or a teaching church and this was a product of the
Reformation in Europe and they saw the Americas as a second chance to get it right and they were trying to keep
the church from fragmenting further
The Role of Religion:
-If one individual strayed from the norm they were ostracized by the group and seen as the cause for bad events
-The natives were not much different in their beliefs just in their own context
The First Years:
-Sent friars in and they were very enthusiastic and thought they were doing a good thing but by the second century
they were in decline but they started again in the 18th century
-Were many conversions for many reasons and one was that the conquerors had won and the natives thought if
they accepted the change they would stop being punished and sacrifices this conflicted with the Christian theory
based on love and maybe the natives liked this less violent alternative and that is why they converted
Adapting and Adopting Christianity:
-They took ideas because they did not understand the language and it was impossible for them to grasp every
concept so they started in many cases with children because they had an easier time learning the language
-Was not what the missionaries had in mind but that was how it played out and the missionaries had to deal with it
-Often used a place where the natives had a temple to build a church so the people came to the old places and
some used the base of the temples and built up from there but the missionaries could not impose their ideas
because they were too few in numbers and they had to adapt to the traditions of the natives
-In Mexico they natives worshiped outdoors so the missionaries built a church with a huge atrium
-Plays were used to teach the native because not that much language was necessary and they had showy rituals
-The Virgin of Guadalupe is the native version of the Madonna because she is dark skinned and she has dark hair
and she was placed in an area where the goddess of the moon was worshiped (seen standing on moon) and she
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