Catholic Church and the Age of Discovery

The Catholic Church during the Age of Discovery inaugurated a major effort to spread Christianity in the New World and to convert the indigenous peoples of the Americas and other indigenous people by any means necessary. The evangelical effort was a major part of, and a justification for the military conquests of European powers such as Portugal, Spain and France. Christian Missions to the indigenous peoples ran hand-in-hand with the colonial efforts of Catholic nations. In the Americas and other colonies in Asia and Africa, most missions were run by religious orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and Jesuits. In Mexico the early systematic evangelization by mendicants came to be known as the "Spiritual Conquest of Mexico."[1]

Antonio de Montesinos, a Dominican friar on the island of Hispaniola, was the first member of the clergy to publicly denounce all forms of enslavement and oppression of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.[2] Theologians such as Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolomé de las Casas drew up theological and philosophical bases for the defense of the human rights of the colonized native populations, thus creating the basis of international law, regulating the relationships between nations.[3] Important contemporary ecclesiastical documents taking a strong stance on enslaving or despoiling the indigenous peoples of the Americas was the ecclesiastical letter Pastorale officium and the superseding encyclical Sublimis Deus.

In the early years most mission work was undertaken by the religious orders. Over time it was intended that a normal church structure would be established in the mission areas. The process began with the formation of special jurisdictions, known as apostolic prefectures and apostolic vicariates. These developing churches eventually graduated to regular diocesan status with the appointment of a local bishop. After decolonization, this process increased in pace as church structures altered to reflect new political-administrative realities.

Convento san agustin 2
The convent of San Augustin. A mission centre established at Yuriria, Mexico in 1550


La Virgen de Candelaria, en Tenerife, Patrona de las Islas Canarias, España
La Virgen de Candelaria, Patron of the Canary Islands

In 1341, a three-ship expedition sponsored by King Afonso IV of Portugal, set out from Lisbon for the Canary Islands. The expedition spent five months mapping the islands.[4] This expedition became the basis of Portuguese claims to the islands.

In 1344, the Castilian-French noble Luis de la Cerda (Count of Clermont and Admiral of France), and French ambassador to the papal court in Avignon, proposed to Pope Clement VI, conquering the islands and converting the native Guanches to Christianity.[5] In November 1344, Clement VI issued the bull Tu devonitis sinceritas bestowing upon Luis de la Cerda the title of sovereign "Prince of Fortuna". Clement also urged the kings of Portugal and Castile to provide assistance to Cerda's expedition.[6] The Portuguese king Afonso IV immediately lodged a protest,[7] as did Alfonso XI of Castile.[8] Preparations were delayed and no expedition was mounted before Cerda's death in 1348.

The raids and attacks of the Reconquista created captives on both sides, who were either ransomed or sold as slaves. During the dynastic wars of the 1370s, between Portugal and Castile, Portuguese and Castilian privateers made for the Canaries for shelter or slaving raids.

In 1415, the Portuguese captured the city of Ceuta and continued to expand their control along the coast of Morocco. Portuguese ventures were intended to compete with the Muslim trans-Sahara caravans, which held a monopoly on West African gold and ivory.[9] In 1418 the Portuguese began with to settle the Madeira Islands, at first prized for their wood and later cane sugar.[10] By 1427 they had reached the Azores. Portugal and Spain continued to dispute control of the Canary Islands.

Age of Discovery

Creator omnium

The Castilian conquest of the islands began in 1402, with the expedition of Jean de Béthencourt and Gadifer de la Salle, on commission of Henry III of Castile. The expedition included two Franciscan friars. Lanzarote, and later Fuerteventura and El Hierro were occupied, and the Bishopric of the Canaries was established.

In 1434, Prince Henry of Portugal attempted to invade Gran Canaria. When a landing was repulsed by the Guanches, the native Berber inhabitants, the expedition then plundered the Castilian missions on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.[11] A complaint was lodged by Fernando Calvetos, the Castilian bishop of San Marcial del Rubicón in Lanzarote, supported by the archbishop of Seville. Calvetos informed the pope of the pillaging carried out by the Portuguese "pirates". Pope Eugene IV issued Regimini gregis on 29 September 1434,[12] and Creator Omnium, on 17 December 1434, forbidding any further raids on the Canaries and ordered the immediate manumission of all Christian converts enslaved during the attack.[11]

While Creator omnium was issued in response to Portuguese depredations on Castilian settlements in the Canaries, the following month Pope Eugene issued the broader Sicut Dudum, indicating that Castilian slavers were not exempt and requiring that residents of the Canary Islands who had been enslaved were to be set free within fifteen days of publication of the bull upon penalty of excommunication.[13]

Dum diversas

According to Stanley G. Payne, "[T]he expansion of the faith was inextricably intertwined with military glory and economic profit. Because of this it is idle to ask, as is frequently done, whether the Portuguese pioneers and Castilian conquistadores were motivated more by greed or by religious zeal. In the Hispanic crusading expansionist ideology, the two went together.[10]

When Islam presented a serious military threat to Italy and Central Europe during the mid-15th century, Pope Nicholas V tried to unite Christendom against them but failed. He then granted Portugal the right to subdue and even enslave Muslims, pagans and other unbelievers in the papal bull Dum Diversas (1452).[14] The following year saw the Fall of Constantinople to Muslim invaders.[14] Several decades later, European colonizers and missionaries spread Catholicism to the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Pope Alexander VI had awarded colonial rights over most of the newly discovered lands to Spain and Portugal.[15] Under the patronato system, however, state authorities, not the Vatican, controlled all clerical appointments in the new colonies.[16] Thus, the 1455 Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex granted the Portuguese all lands behind Cape Bojador and allows to reduce pagans and other enemies of Christ to perpetual slavery.[17]

Later, the 1481 Papal Bull Aeterni regis granted all lands south of the Canary Islands to Portugal, while in May 1493 the Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI decreed in the Bull Inter caetera that all lands west of a meridian only 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands should belong to Spain while new lands discovered east of that line would belong to Portugal. A further Bull, Dudum siquidem, made some more concessions to Spain, and the pope's arrangements were then amended by the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494 negotiated between Spain and Portugal.

After the discovery of the Americas, many of the clergy sent to the New World began to criticize Spain and the Church's treatment of indigenous peoples. In December 1511, Antonio de Montesinos, a Dominican friar, openly rebuked the Spanish rulers of Hispaniola for their "cruelty and tyranny" in dealing with the natives.[18] King Ferdinand enacted the Laws of Burgos and Valladolid in response. However enforcement was lax, and the New Laws of 1542 took a stronger line. This caused a revolt among the Spanish colonists, and the alarmed government backed down, softening the effect of the laws. Some historians blame the Church for not doing enough to liberate the Indians; others point to the Church as the only voice raised on behalf of indigenous peoples.[19] The issue resulted in a crisis of conscience in 16th-century Spain.[18][20] The reaction of Catholic writers such as Bartolomé de Las Casas and Francisco de Vitoria led to debate on the nature of human rights[18] and the birth of modern international law.[21][22] (French, English, and Dutch reactions against the maritime monopolies granted to Portugal and Spain, meanwhile, culminated in Hugo Grotius's work articulating the doctrine of freedom of the seas.)

In 1524, Franciscan missionaries known as the Twelve Apostles of Mexico arrived in what is New Spain, followed by the Dominicans in 1526, and the Augustinians in 1533.[23] They worked hard to convert the Indians and to provide for their well-being by establishing schools and hospitals. Because some people questioned whether the Indians were truly men who deserved baptism, Pope Paul III in the papal bull Veritas Ipsa or Sublimis Deus (1537) confirmed that the Indians were deserving men.[24][25] Afterward, the conversion effort gained momentum.[26]

School of Salamanca

Mission San Jose natives
An early visitor to California sketched a group of Costeño dancers at Mission San José with their bodies painted to resemble the patterns in Spanish military uniforms.[27]

The School of Salamanca, which gathered theologians such as the Dominican Francisco de Vitoria (1480–1546), and later theologians, such as the highly influential Jesuit Francisco Suárez (1548–1617), argued in favor of the existence of rights to indigenous peoples. For example, these theologians thought that it was illegitimate to conquer other peoples for religious reasons, or even to force the baptisms of non-Christian subjects. Their views on non-believers had been already established by medieval discussions of Jewish and Muslim subjects of Christian princes. Although this view was not always prevalent, it was the traditional Dominican and Thomist view, and reflected the practice of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. However, while such theologians limited Charles V's imperial powers over colonized people, they also mentioned some legitimate reasons for the conquest. For instance, on their view, war might be justified if the indigenous people refused free transit and commerce to the Europeans; if they forced converts to return to idolatry; if there come to be a sufficient number of Christians in the newly discovered land that they wish to receive from the Pope a Christian government; if the indigenous people lacked just laws, magistrates, agricultural techniques, etc. In any case, title taken according to this principle must be exercised with Christian charity, warned Suárez, and for the advantage of the Indians. More traditional theologians legitimized the conquest while at the same time limiting the absolute power of the sovereign, which was celebrated in others parts of Europe under the developing notion of the divine right of kings.

Conversions and assimilation

The conquest was immediately accompanied by evangelization, and new, local forms of Catholicism appeared. The Virgin of Guadalupe is one of Mexico's oldest religious images, and is said to have appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in 1531. News of the 1534 apparition on Tepayac Hill spread quickly through Mexico; and in the seven years that followed, 1532 through 1538, the Indian people accepted the Spaniards and 8 million people were converted to the Catholic faith. Thereafter, the Aztecs no longer practiced human sacrifice or native forms of worship. In 2001 the Italian Movement of Love Saint Juan Diego was created, and launched evangelization projects in 32 states. A year later, Juan Diego was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Guadalupe is often considered a mixture of the cultures which blend to form Mexico, both racially[28] and religiously[29] Guadalupe is sometimes called the "first mestiza"[30] or "the first Mexican". [31] Mary O'Connor writes that Guadalupe "bring[s] together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness."[32]

One theory is that the Virgin of Guadalupe was presented to the Aztecs as a sort of "Christianized" Tonantzin, necessary for the clergymen to convert the indigenous people to their faith. As Jacques Lafaye wrote in Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe, " the Christians built their first churches with the rubble and the columns of the ancient pagan temples, so they often borrowed pagan customs for their own cult purposes.[33]

Such Virgins appeared in most of the other evangelized countries, mixing Catholicism with the local customs. The Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana was built in Bolivia, near the Isla del Sol where the Sun God was believed to be born, in the 16th century, to commemorate the apparition of the Virgin of Copacabana; in Cuba the Virgin named Caridad del Cobre was allegedly seen in the beginning of the 16th century, a case consigned in the Archivo General de Indias; in Brazil Our Lady of Aparecida was declared in 1929 official Patron Saint of the country by Pope Pius XI; Our Lady of Luján in Argentina; La Negrita in Costa Rica...

Religious orders


Nasugbu 31 (New Church Altar)
The Altar of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines. St. Francis is the principal patron of the town, together with Our Lady of Escalera.

The first attempt by Jesuits to reach China was made in 1552 by St. Francis Xavier, Navarrese priest and missionary and founding member of the Society. Xavier, however, died the same year on the Chinese island of Shangchuan, without having reached the mainland. Three decades later, in 1582, led by several figures including the prominent Italian Matteo Ricci, Jesuits once again initiated mission work in China, ultimately introducing Western science, mathematics, astronomy, and visual arts to the imperial court, and carrying on significant inter-cultural and philosophical dialogue with Chinese scholars, particularly representatives of Confucianism. At the time of their peak influence, members of the Jesuit delegation were considered some of the emperor's most valued and trusted advisors, holding numerous prestigious posts in the imperial government. Many Chinese, including notable former Confucian scholars, adopted Christianity and became priests and members of the Society of Jesus.

Between the 18th and mid-19th century, nearly all Western missionaries in China were forced to conduct their teaching and other activities covertly.

Elsewhere, Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier introduced Christianity to Japan. By the end of the 16th century tens of thousands of Japanese followed Roman Catholicism. Church growth came to a halt in 1597 under the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu who, in an effort to isolate the country from foreign influences, launched a severe persecution of Christians.[34] Japanese were forbidden to leave the country and Europeans were forbidden to enter. Despite this, a minority Christian population survived into the 19th century.[34][35]

Location of the most important Jesuit Reductions in the Southern Cone, with present political divisions.

In South America, the Jesuits protected native peoples from enslavement by establishing semi-independent settlements called reductions. Pope Gregory XVI, challenging Spanish and Portuguese sovereignty, appointed his own candidates as bishops in the colonies, condemned slavery and the slave trade in 1839 (papal bull In supremo apostolatus), and approved the ordination of native clergy in spite of government racism.[36]

Many buildings erected by the Jesuits still stand, such as the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Macau and the Santísima Trinidad de Paraná in Paraguay, an example of a Jesuit Reduction.

Empires and missions

Spanish missions

See Jesuits and Franciscans above.

In Las Californias Province of New Spain in the Americas, the Catholic Church expanded its missions in cooperation with the Spanish government and military to settle present day California and protect it from Imperial Russian and British colonial advances. Junípero Serra, the Franciscan priest in charge of this effort, founded a series of mission stations which became economic, political, and religious institutions.[37] These missions brought grain, cattle, and a changed homeland for the California Native Americans. They had no immunity to European diseases, with subsequent indigenous tribal population falls. However, by bringing Western civilization to the area, these missions and the Spanish government have been held responsible for wiping out nearly a third of the native population, primarily through disease.[38] Overland routes were established from New Spain (Mexico) that resulted in the establishment of a mission and presidio (fort) — now San Francisco (1776), and a pueblo (town) — now Los Angeles (1781).

French missions

The French colonial effort began later than that of the Spanish or Portuguese.

Hawaii - The French Incident (1839)

Under the rule of Kaʻahumanu the newly converted Protestant widow of Kamehameha the Great, Catholicism was illegal in Hawaii and chiefs loyal to her forcibly deported French priests onto the Artemise. Native Hawaiian Catholic converts were imprisoned and Protestant ministers ordered them to be tortured. The prejudice against the French Catholics missionaries remained the same under the reign of her successor, the Kuhina Nui Ka'ahumanu II. In 1839 Captain Laplace of the French frigate Artémise sailed to Hawaii under orders to:

...destroy the malevolent impression which you find established to the detriment of the French name; to rectify the erroneous opinion which has been created as to the power of France; and to make it well understood that it would be to the advantage of the chiefs of those islands of the Ocean to conduct themselves in such a manner as not to incur the wrath of France. You will exact, if necessary with all the force that is yours to use, complete reparation for the wrongs which have been committed, and you will not quit those places until you have left in all minds a solid and lasting impression.[39]

Secularization and decolonization

Decolonization in Central and South America began with the revolutions in the 1820s, with all countries becoming independent then, except Puerto Rico and Cuba in 1898. Leaders were inspired by the American Revolution and the French Revolution of the late 18th century.

Emergence of the American Catholic Church

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Roman Catholic Church experienced unique difficulties within the United States of America. "Unlike all Protestant churches in America, the Roman Catholic church depended for its identity upon keeping doctrinal and administrative unity with a European-based authority."[40] The papacy was cautious of the freedom found in the United States as it showed similarities to the attitudes behind the French Revolution. The papacy wanted to preserve the hierarchy of the church in America. At this time, Catholics were chiefly located in Pennsylvania and Maryland and were greatly influenced by their Protestant neighbors. They, too, wanted a church that empowered the laity. In 1788 James Carroll was elected the first Bishop of the United States. He struggled to balance the desires of the US trustees to adapt and empower the laity and hold church property with the requests of the bishops and hierarchy oversees to preserve the doctrine. This controversy ran from approximately 1780 to 1850. In the end, the power and authority were too differential and the bishops won. This marked the creation of the "American Catholic Church with the laity subordinate to priest and bishop."[41] This system remained until the mid-20th century.[41]

Beginnings of the American Catholic School System

In the early-to-mid-19th century, schools in the United States were greatly influenced by Protestantism. This created difficulties with American Catholics. They challenged the singing of Protestant hymns and reading of the King James Bible in the classroom. Some school boards made changes to be more non-denominational.[41] Tensions were great during this time period as Americans were already fearful of immigration and Catholics. After a number of struggles, for a variety of reasons, American Catholics began creating their own schools in the 1840s. Archbishop at the time, John Hughes, insisted that Catholic Education was the primary way to preserve proper Christian teaching.[42] He cited education at a young age promoted the reason and experience necessary for a strong religious background. He called American Catholics "to multiply our schools, and to perfect them."[43] By 1852 the bishops recommended "catholic children should attend only schools that were under church control."[44]

20th century

Map indicating countries visited by John Paul II.
Difunta Correa santuario
Sanctuary dedicated to the Difunta Correa, a semi-pagan saint, located in Uruguay, between the Tacuarembó and Paso de los Toros cities.

The Catholic faith also became integrated in the industrial and post-industrial middle class as it developed, in particular through the lay movements created following the 1891 Rerum novarum encyclical enacted by Pope Leo XIII, and which insisted on the social role of the Roman Catholic Church.[45] New ceremonies appeared throughout the 20th century, such as Fidencio Constantino Sintora (known as the Niño Fidencio) (1898–1938) in Mexico, the Santa Muerte in Mexico (who has been attacked by the Catholic Church as being a pagan figure) or Difunta Correa in Argentina. The latter's pilgrimage site was visited by 700 000 persons in 2005.[45]

Legacy and issues

20th-century missions

Much Catholic missionary work has undergone a profound change since the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), and has become explicitly conscious of the dangers of cultural imperialism or economic exploitation. Contemporary Christian missionaries try to observe the principles of inculturation in their missionary work. In the 1970s, the Jesuits would become a main proponent of the liberation theology which openly supported anti-imperialist movements. It was officially condemned in 1984 and in 1986 by then-Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under charges of Marxist tendencies, while Leonardo Boff was suspended. Proselytism has continued however throughout the 20th century, with Latin America accounting for the largest Catholic population in the world. But since the 1960s-70s, Protestant evangelism and new religious movements have begun to strongly compete with Catholicism in South America, while various approaches to evangelism have been developed . In response, the Pope John Paul II made frequent travels to this continent, visiting among other countries Chile during Pinochet's rule. He also supported Catholic Charismatic Renewal movements against rival Charismatic movements, and groups such as the Neocatechumenal Way (which has close to 20,000 communities in Latin America and 600,000 members alone), Focolari, Comunione e Liberazione or the Opus Dei, which are main vectors of Roman Catholicism in the region.[45][46] In the 1990 encyclical Redemptoris Missio (subtitled On the permanent validity of the Church's missionary mandate), John Paul II stressed "the urgency of missionary activity"[47] and in which he wished "to invite the Church to renew her missionary commitment."[48]

Ethnocide and challenges

After a journey among the Bari in South America, the ethnologist Robert Jaulin called for a convention on ethnocide in the Americas at the Congress of Americanists, and, in February 1970, the French Society of Americanists convened for that purpose.[49] Jaulin criticized in particular the role of Christian missionaries towards non-Western cultures.

See also


  1. ^ 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, translated from the French by Lesley Bird Simpson. Berkeley: University of California Press 1966. The original text in French, Conquête Spirituelle du Mexique appeared in 1933.
  2. ^ Hanke, Lewis. (1946) Free Speech in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America. The Hispanic American Historical Review, 26,2:135-149. Page 142.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Boccaccio, Giovanni. "De Canaria et insula reliquis, ultra Ispaniam, in occeano noviter repertis" (repr. in Monumenta Henricina, vol. I, p.202-06
  5. ^ Viera y Clavijo, p.268
  6. ^ Monumenta Henricina vol. 1 contains copies of Pope Clement VI's bull Tu devonitis sinceritas(Nov 1344) granting the Canaries to Luis de la Cerda (p.207), the bull Prouenit ex tue of indulgences (Jan 1345) p.228
  7. ^ For Alfonso IV's protest (Feb 1345), see MH, v. 1,(p.231)
  8. ^ For the reply of Alfonso XI (Mar 1345) see MH, vol. 1 p.234.
  9. ^ Phipps, William E., Amazing Grace in John Newton, Mercer University Press, 2004 ISBN 9780865548688
  10. ^ a b Payne, Samuel G., A History of Spain and Portugal, Vol.1, Chapt. 10
  11. ^ a b Lawrance, Jeremy. "Alfonso de Cartagena on the affair of the Canaries (1436–37), Historians of Medieval Iberia, September 1989, University of Birmingham
  12. ^ MH, V, 89–93, §38
  13. ^ Pope Eugene IV, Sicut dudum, 13 January 1435 Papal Encyclicals online
  14. ^ a b Thomas, Hugh, The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870 (1999), Simon and Schuster, ISBN 978-0-684-83565-5, p. 65-6.
  15. ^ Koschorke, Klaus, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1450–1990 (2007), Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co, ISBN 978-0-8028-2889-7, p. 13, 283.
  16. ^ Dussel, Enrique, A History of the Church in Latin America (1981), Wm. B. Eerdmans, ISBN 0-8028-2131-6, p. 39, 59.
  17. ^ Daus, Ronald (1983). Die Erfindung des Kolonialismus (in German). Wuppertal/Germany: Peter Hammer Verlag. p. 33. ISBN 3-87294-202-6.
  18. ^ a b c Koschorke, Klaus, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1450–1990 (2007), Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co, ISBN 978-0-8028-2889-7, p. 287.
  19. ^ Dussel, Enrique, A History of the Church in Latin America (1981), Wm. B. Eerdmans, ISBN 0-8028-2131-6, p. 45, 52, 53 quote: "The missionary Church opposed this state of affairs from the beginning, and nearly everything positive that was done for the benefit of the indigenous peoples resulted from the call and clamor of the missionaries. The fact remained, however, that widespread injustice was extremely difficult to uproot ... Even more important than Bartolome de Las Casas was the Bishop of Nicaragua, Antonio de Valdeviso, who ultimately suffered martyrdom for his defense of the Indian."
  20. ^ Johansen, p. 109, 110, quote: "In the Americas, the Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas avidly encouraged inquiries into the Spanish conquest's many cruelties. Las Casas chronicled Spanish brutality against the Native peoples in excruciating detail."
  21. ^ Woods, Thomas, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (2005), Regnery Publishing, Inc, ISBN 0-89526-038-7 p. 137.
  22. ^ Chadwick, Owen, A History of Christianity, Barnes & Noble, (1995), ISBN 0-7607-7332-7 p. 327.
  23. ^ 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, translated by Lesley Byrd Simpson. Berkeley: University of California Press 1966, pp. 2-3.
  24. ^ Johansen, Bruce, The Native Peoples of North America, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, 2006, p. 110, quote: "In the Papal bull Sublimis deus (1537), Pope Paul III declared that Indians were to be regarded as fully human, and that their souls were as immortal as those of Europeans. This edict also outlawed slavery of Indians in any form..."
  25. ^ Koschorke, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (2007), p. 290
  26. ^ Samora et al., A History of the Mexican-American People (1993), p. 20
  27. ^ Kelsey, H. (1993). Mission San Juan Capistrano: A Pocket History. Interdisciplinary Research, Inc., Altadena, CA. p. 5
  28. ^ Beckwith, Barbara. "A View From the North." St. Anthony Messenger Magazine Online. December 1999. [1], accessed 3 December 2006
  29. ^ Elizondo, Virgil. "Our Lady of Guadalupe. A Guide for the New Millennium." St. Anthony Messenger Magazine Online. December 1999. [2], accessed 3 December 2006
  30. ^ Lopez, Lydia. "'Undocumented Virgin.' Guadalupe Narrative Crosses Borders for New Understanding." Episcopal News Service. December 10, 2004.
  31. ^ King, Judy. "La Virgen de Guadalupe -- Mother of All Mexico." [3], accessed 29 November 2006
  32. ^ O'Connor, Mary. "The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Economics of Symbolic Behavior." in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Vol. 28, Issue 2. p. 105-119. 1989
  33. ^ Lafaye, Jacques. Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe. The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1976
  34. ^ a b Koschorke, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (2007), pp. 31–2
  35. ^ McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (1990), p. 318
  36. ^ Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 221
  37. ^ Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 111–2
  38. ^ King, Mission to Paradise (1975), p. 169
  39. ^ Kuykendall, Ralph S. (1938). The Hawaiian Kingdom, Volume 1: 1778 - 1854 (6. print. ed.). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-87022-431-X.
  40. ^ Howard C. Kee et al., Christianity: A Social and Cultural History (2nd Edition), 2 ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997), 455.
  41. ^ a b c Howard C. Kee et al., Christianity: A Social and Cultural History (2nd Edition), 2 ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997), 456.
  42. ^ Mark A. Noll, A Documentary History of Religion in America since 1877, 3 ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), 39.
  43. ^ Mark A. Noll, A Documentary History of Religion in America since 1877, 3 ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), 42.
  44. ^ Howard C. Kee et al., Christianity: A Social and Cultural History (2nd Edition), 2 ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997), 460.
  45. ^ a b c Jean-Pierre Bastian, "Des foules si ferventes" in L'Histoire n°322, July–August 2007, pp.86-89 (in French)
  46. ^ François Normand, La troublante ascension de l’Opus Dei, Le Monde diplomatique, September 1995 (in French)
  47. ^ Introduction of Redemptoris Missio, 1.
  48. ^ Introduction of Redemptoris Missio, 2.
  49. ^ Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of the Missionary Movement and Non-Western Christianity


  • Monumenta Henricina, (1960–1967), Manuel Lopes de Almeida, Idalino Ferreira da Costa Brochado and Antonio Joaquim

Further reading

  • Hanke, Lewis (1965). The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co.
Aeterni regis

The papal bull Aeterni regis [English: "Eternal king's"] was issued on 21 June 1481 by Pope Sixtus IV. It confirmed the substance of the Treaty of Alcáçovas, reiterating that treaty's confirmation of Castile in its possession of the Canary Islands and its granting to Portugal all further territorial acquisitions made by Christian powers in Africa and eastward to the Indies.

Bulls of Donation

The Bulls of Donation, also called the Alexandrine Bulls, are three papal bulls of Pope Alexander VI delivered in 1493 which purported to grant overseas territories to Portugal and the Catholic Monarchs of Spain.

Christian mission

A Christian mission is an organized effort to spread Christianity to new converts. Missions often involve sending individuals and groups, called missionaries, across boundaries, most commonly geographical boundaries, for the purpose of proselytism (conversion to Christianity, or from one Christian tradition to another). This involves evangelism (preaching a set of beliefs for the purpose of conversion), and humanitarian work, especially among the poor and disadvantaged. There are a few different kinds of mission trips: short-term, long-term, relational and ones meant simply for helping people in need. Some might choose to dedicate their whole lives to missions as well. Missionaries have the authority to preach the Christian faith (and sometimes to administer sacraments), and provide humanitarian aid. Christian doctrines (such as the "Doctrine of Love" professed by many missions) permit the provision of aid without requiring religious conversion.

Christianity in the modern era

The history of modern Christianity concerns the Christian religion from the end of the Early Modern era to the present day. The Early Modern history of Christianity is usually taken to begin with the Protestant Reformation c. 1517–1525 (usually rounded down to 1500) and ending in the late 18th century with the onset of the Industrial Revolution and the events leading up to the French Revolution of 1789. This article only covers 1720 to the current date. For the early modern period, see the articles on the Protestant Reformation, the Counter-Reformation and the Catholic Church and the Age of Discovery.

Becoming common to all of Europe in the Middle Ages, Christianity expanded throughout the world during the Age of Exploration. Christianity has thus become the world's largest religion. Christianity differs most significantly from the other religions in the claim that Jesus Christ is God the Son, but throughout its history, it has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct churches. The largest branches of Christianity are the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Protestant churches. Following the Fall of Constantinople, Christianity followed two different paths: Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity.

Dudum siquidem

Dudum siquidem (Latin for "A short while ago") is a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on 26 September 1493, one of the Bulls of Donation addressed to the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon which supplemented the bull Inter caetera and purported to grant to them "all islands and mainlands whatsoever, found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered, that are or may be or may seem to be in the route of navigation or travel towards the west or south, whether they be in western parts, or in the regions of the south and east and of India".

Dum Diversas

Dum Diversas (English: Until different) is a papal bull issued on 18 June 1452 by Pope Nicholas V. It authorized Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens and pagans and consign them to "perpetual servitude". Pope Calixtus III reiterated the bull in 1456 with Inter Caetera (not to be confused with Alexander VI's), renewed by Pope Sixtus IV in 1481 and Pope Leo X in 1514 with Precelse denotionis. The concept of the consignment of exclusive spheres of influence to certain nation states was extended to the Americas in 1493 by Pope Alexander VI with Inter caetera.

Indian reductions in the Andes

Indian reductions in the Andes (Spanish: reducciones de indios) were settlements in the former Inca Empire which were created by Spanish authorities and populated by the forcible relocation of indigenous Andean populations. The purpose of the Spanish Empire was to gather native populations into centers called "Indian reductions" (reducciones de indios), in order to Christianize, tax, and govern them more effectively.

Beginning in 1569, the viceroy Francisco de Toledo presided over the resettlement of about 1.4 million native people into approximately 840 of these reductions. The resettlement was carried out in the Royal Audiences of Lima and Charcas, modern day Peru and Bolivia, roughly speaking. The native populations, who had adapted to a way of life suitable to the many, minor microclimates throughout the Andes, experienced immense hardship in the transition to these new regions. Despite these hardships, certain aspects of native Andean life were fiercely preserved by their own agency, and life in the reductions reflected a complex hybrid of forced Spanish values and those preserved from the older native communities.

Indigenous church mission theory

Indigenous churches are churches suited to local culture and led by local Christians. There have been two main Protestant strategies proposed for the creation of indigenous churches:

Indigenization: Foreign missionaries create well-organized churches and then hand them over to local converts. The foreign mission is generally seen as a scaffolding which must be removed once the fellowship of believers is functioning properly. Missionaries provide teaching, pastoral care, sacraments, buildings, finance and authority, and train local converts to take over these responsibilities. Thus the church becomes indigenous. It becomes self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing.

Indigeneity: Foreign missionaries do not create churches, but simply help local converts develop their own spiritual gifts and leadership abilities and gradually develop their own churches. Missionaries provide teaching and pastoral care alone. The church is thus indigenous from the start. It has always been self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing.

Inter caetera

Inter caetera ("Among other [works]") was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on the fourth of May (quarto nonas maii) 1493, which granted to the Catholic Majesties of Ferdinand and Isabella (as sovereigns of Castile) all lands to the "west and south" of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde islands.It remains unclear to the present whether the pope was issuing a "donation" of sovereignty or a feudal infeodation or investiture. Differing interpretations have been argued since the bull was issued, with some arguing that it was only meant to transform the possession and occupation of land into lawful sovereignty. Others, including the Spanish crown and the conquistadors, interpreted it in the widest possible sense, deducing that it gave Spain full political sovereignty.The Inter caetera bull and others similar to it, particularly Dudum siquidem, made up the Bulls of Donation.

Intra Arcana

Intra Arcana was a papal bull of Clement VII written on May 8, 1529. This document was addressed specifically to the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and the Spanish Empire, Charles V. In keeping with the power previously given by the papacy to his predecessor, Ferdinand II, the bull conceded to Charles V the power of patronage in the newly discovered lands in the Americas; this confirmed the ecclesiastical and territorial rights of Spain, including the jurisdiction to decide ecclesiastical lawsuits and the ability to name officials to canonries, prebends, and parsonships.

Laws of Burgos

The Leyes de Burgos ("Laws of Burgos"), promulgated on 27 December 1512 in Burgos, Crown of Castile (Spain), was the first codified set of laws governing the behavior of Spaniards in the Americas, particularly with regard to the Indigenous people of the Americas ('native Caribbean Indians'). They forbade the maltreatment of the indigenous people and endorsed their conversion to Catholicism. The laws were created following the conquest and Spanish colonization of the Americas in the West Indies, where the common law of Castile was not fully applicable.

The scope of the laws was originally restricted to the island of Hispaniola but was later extended to Puerto Rico and Jamaica. These laws authorized and legalized the colonial practice of creating Encomiendas, where Indians were grouped together to work under a colonial head of the estate for a salary, and limited the size of these establishments to between 40 and 150 people. They also established a minutely regulated regime of work, pay, provisioning, living quarters, hygiene, and care for the Indians in a reasonably protective and humanitarian spirit. Women more than four months pregnant were exempted from work.

The document also prohibited the use of any form of punishment by the encomenderos, reserving it for officials established in each town for the implementation of the laws. It also ordered that the Indians be catechized, outlawed bigamy, and required that the huts and cabins of the Indians be built together with those of the Spanish. It respected, in some ways, the traditional authorities, granting chiefs exemptions from ordinary jobs and granting them various Indians as servants.

The limited fulfillment of the laws sometimes led to protests and claims. Sometimes they were seen as a legalization of the previously poorer situation, which created momentum for reform, later carried out through the Leyes Nuevas ("New Laws") in 1542, a new set of stricter regulations about life in the New World including the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the Laws of the Indies, to encompass the Papal bull and all edicts.

Mission (station)

A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work.

Portuguese colonization of the Americas

Portugal was the leading country in the European exploration of the world in the 15th century. The Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 divided the Earth outside Europe into Castilian and Portuguese global territorial hemispheres for exclusive conquest and colonization. Portugal colonized parts of South America (Brazil, Colónia do Sacramento, Uruguay, Guanare, Venezuela), but also made some unsuccessful attempts to colonize North America (Portugués Rural, Puerto Rico, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Canada).

Religion in Portugal

The most predominant religion in Portugal is Christianity, mainly Catholicism. Portugal has no official religion, though in the past, the Catholic Church was the state religion. According to the 2011 Census, 81% of the population of Portugal is Catholic, though in 2001 only about 19% attended Mass and took the sacraments regularly, while a larger number wish to have their children baptized, be married in a church, and receive Last Rites.Although Church and State were formally separated during the Portuguese First Republic (1910–1926), a separation reiterated in the constitution of 1976, Roman Catholic precepts continue to have a significant bearing in Portuguese society and culture. The educational and health care systems were for a long time the Church's preserve, and in many cases, whenever a building, bridge, or highway was opened, it received a blessing from the Clergy.

Although Church and State are formally separate, the Catholic Church still receives certain privileges.

Romanus Pontifex

Romanus Pontifex, Latin for "The Roman Pontiff", is a papal bull written in 1454 by Pope Nicholas V to King Afonso V of Portugal. As a follow-up to the Dum Diversas, it confirmed to the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands south of Cape Bojador in Africa. Along with encouraging the seizure of the lands of Saracen Turks and non-Christians, it repeated the earlier bull's permission for the enslavement of such peoples. The bull's primary purpose was to forbid other Christian nations from infringing the King of Portugal's rights of trade and colonisation in these regions, particularly amid the Portuguese and Castilian competition for ascendancy over new lands discovered.This bull should not be confused with a September 21, 1451 bull by the same name, also written by Nicholas V, relieving the dukes of Austria from any potential ecclesiastical censure for permitting Jews to dwell there.

Spanish missions in South America

The Spanish missions in South America comprise a series of Jesuit Catholic religious outposts established by Spanish Catholics in order to spread the Christian doctrine among the local natives.

Treaty of Madrid (13 January 1750)

The Spanish–Portuguese treaty of 1750 or Treaty of Madrid was a document signed in the Spanish capital by Ferdinand VI of Spain and John V of Portugal on 13 January 1750, to end armed conflict over a border dispute between the Spanish and Portuguese empires in South America in the vicinity of the Uruguay River, an area known as the Banda Oriental (now comprising parts of Uruguay, Argentina and the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). The treaty established borders between the Spanish and Portuguese empires, ceding much of what is today's country of Brazil to the Portuguese.

Treaty of Tordesillas

The Treaty of Tordesillas (Portuguese: Tratado de Tordesilhas [tɾɐˈtaðu ðɨ tuɾðeˈziʎɐʃ], Spanish: Tratado de Tordesillas [tɾaˈtaðo ðe toɾðeˈsiʎas]), signed at Tordesillas in Spain on June 7, 1494, and authenticated at Setúbal, Portugal, divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between the Portuguese Empire and the Crown of Castile, along a meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands, off the west coast of Africa. This line of demarcation was about halfway between the Cape Verde islands (already Portuguese) and the islands entered by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage (claimed for Castile and León), named in the treaty as Cipangu and Antilia (Cuba and Hispaniola).

The lands to the east would belong to Portugal and the lands to the west to Castile. The treaty was signed by Spain, 2 July 1494, and by Portugal, 5 September 1494. The other side of the world was divided a few decades later by the Treaty of Zaragoza, signed on 22 April 1529, which specified the antimeridian to the line of demarcation specified in the Treaty of Tordesillas. Originals of both treaties are kept at the General Archive of the Indies in Spain and at the Torre do Tombo National Archive in Portugal.This treaty would be observed fairly well by Spain and Portugal, despite considerable ignorance as to the geography of the New World; however, it omitted all of the other European powers. Those countries generally ignored the treaty, particularly those that became Protestant after the Protestant Reformation.

The treaty was included by UNESCO in 2007 in its Memory of the World Programme.

Valladolid debate

The Valladolid debate (1550–1551) was the first moral debate in European history to discuss the rights and treatment of a colonized people by colonizers. Held in the Colegio de San Gregorio, in the Spanish city of Valladolid, it was a moral and theological debate about the colonization of the Americas, its justification for the conversion to Catholicism, and more specifically about the relations between the European settlers and the natives of the New World. It consisted of a number of opposing views about the way natives were to be integrated into colonial life, their conversion to Christianity, and their rights and obligations.

A controversial theologian, Dominican friar and Bishop of Chiapas Bartolomé de las Casas, argued that the Amerindians were free men in the natural order despite their practice of human sacrifices and other such customs, deserving the same consideration as the colonizers. Opposing this view were a number of scholars and priests, including humanist scholar Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, who argued that the human sacrifice of innocents, cannibalism, and other such "crimes against nature" were unacceptable and should be suppressed by any means possible including war.Although both sides claimed to have won the disputation, there is no clear record supporting either interpretation. The affair is considered one of the earliest examples of moral debates about colonialism, human rights of colonized peoples, and international relations. In Spain, it served to establish Las Casas as the primary, though controversial defender of the Indians. He and others contributed to the passing of the New Laws of 1542, which limited the encomienda system further. Though they did not fully reverse the situation, the laws achieved considerable improvement in the treatment of Indians and consolidated their rights granted by earlier laws. More importantly, the debate reflected a concern for morality and justice in 16th-century Spain that only surfaced in other colonial powers centuries later.

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