Sunday, March 19, 2006

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 ...

Regarding the Inquisition: Darn Spaniards brought it with them!

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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At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Blanca said...

La novela no transcurre durante el 1700, sinó que el año en que transcurre la novela es el 1800.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Sylvia said...

Greetings all! There are a number of reasons why I became and have remained addicted to Alborada. Melinama's brilliant and hilarious recapping was the first thing to grab me. The most amazing thing about them is instead of waning, (due to sheer exhaustion which would be understandable), they only get better and more thorough as time goes by! The subsequent things that make Alborada more interesting than the norm are the numerous viewer comments, and Margarita's is a prime example, that lend historical depth, unique points of view, and always a generous dose of comic relief to the goings-on in Alborada-land. Alborada is an awesome watch, but it would be so much more one-dimensional if I didn't have Melinama's blog to refer to. I love to read everybody else's two-cents worth, and the factual data just takes the experience over the top. Thanks everybody for taking the time to share and THANKS Melinama for the incredible amount of time you spend on this!


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