The Inquisition in Mexico
I was blown away by this excellent comment left on an Alborada post by Margarita. It is in response to the heavy presence of the Inquisition in that telenovela; I thought it warranted its own space here ...
At the time of this telenovela (the 1700s according to one interview with Carla Estrada) Mexico was still a Spanish colony. Although they didn't burn as many in Mexico as they did in Europe, there were certainly many killings, incarcerations, etc. of non-Catholics.
The bulk of the victims where the actual natives who were often branded and tortured until they converted to Catholicism.
Mexico and Catholicism are strange bedfellows. On the one hand, much of the destruction that hapened in Mexico was done in the name of the church - tearing down their heathen temples and writings and chastising their practices, etc.
Until Benito Juarez split the church and state, many civil matters such as education, marriage, birth records, etc. were controlled by the church.
On the other hand, many priests were compassionate and were more interested in teaching them the language and grammar and trading information on agriculture and weaving. As a matter of fact, the Mexican Independence Movement was started by a Catholic priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who led many troops until he was captured and executed.
At least one of the great generals of the war was another priest, Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon. To that, add the only officially recognized sighting of the Virgin Mary in the Americas happened in Mexico, to a native who had converted to Catholicism. Hidalgo used her image, the Guadalupe, as a flag when he rallied his troops.
I guess this is all a long way of saying, yes, we had the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico as well.
Judaism was not a very common "problem," though certainly an issue.
As for the Grand Inquisitor's brother marrying a Jew, that's why he was more or less dissowned by his family and lived in a humble home. Chances are he had to marry her in another country, or perhaps had to convert to Judaism (they don't mention that though - Jews were pretty strict about mixing in those days too). This is why Gasca didn't even know the Grand Inquisitor had a brother. The whole family probably considered him dead to them.
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