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Tema: Do Indigenous Religion Contain "Seeds of the Word"?

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    Do Indigenous Religion Contain "Seeds of the Word"?

    DO INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS CONTAIN “SEEDS OF THE WORD”? (I)







    Undoing slanders against the colonization of America


    Our first article aimed to demonstrate the utter falsity of the accusation that the brave Portuguese and Spanish conquistadors perpetrated the “greatest genocide in history” by practically exterminating indigenous peoples (as the apostate ex-friar Leonardo Boff claims). In this second article, divided into two parts, we will continue to dispel the myths and slanders against the missionaries and conquerors of America.


    I - SECOND ACCUSATION: DESTRUCTION OF INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS


    The missionaries and conquerors destroyed the traditional indigenous religions, accusing them of being idolatrous and satanic without realizing they contained “seeds of the Word,” that is, they were germs of Christianity.This accusation contains three different arguments:


    1. The Holy Spirit “animated” pre-Columbian religions




    According to Chilean liberation theologian Maximiliano Salinas, one could “feel” the Spirit in the worship of the Mexican god Xipe Totec and the Inca Pachamama (cf. Salinas, pp. 25 ff.). In the same vein, CELAM’s working document for the Bishops’ Meeting in Santo Domingo states that the Spirit was “attracted” to the “profound religious meaning” of pre-Columbian cultures (CELAM, p. 30). Leonardo Boff sees God and his Spirit manifested in the “traditions, myths, and rites” of native religions (Boff, Adista, p. 6).



    2. These religions were “seeds of the Word.”




    Both the preparatory document of CELAM for Santo Domingo (op. cit., p. 30) and the one presented by the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference (CEB, p. 5) speak in this sense. The Brazilian Basic Christian Communities also consider these cults a “way of believing in God (BCCs, p. 71). Father P. Richard states that “there was faith,” “there was holiness there, an impressive spiritual depth” in these beliefs (lecture cited, Sept. 1991 – TFP-Covadonga Archive).


    3. Therefore, Europeans were wrong to call these religions satanic and to combat them

    Europeans, says Leonardo Boff, considered these “grand religions” as “the work of Satan.” The “best missionaries … did not dialog with the religions, which are the soul of a culture. They destroyed them to exorcise Satan” (Boff, Jornal do Brasil, October 6, 1991).

    The CELAM working document implies that the Spanish misunderstood evangelization because of “limitations stemming from their mindset based on ‘Christendom’ and ‘Reconquest’”[1] (op. cit., p. 31).

    These “limitations,” the text adds, “prevented the full understanding of the religious practices of those peoples. Their myths and rituals, human sacrifices, and various other customs were practices originally celebrated to obtain the favor of divinity. Such idolatrous practices were considered “abominable and aberrant without initially distinguishing their profound religious values” (CELAM, p. 31).

    The Bolivian bishops make the same criticism in their “Contribution” to the Conference in Santo Domingo: “Upon arriving in the New World and discovering the religious expressions of those peoples: human sacrifices, plurality of spirits, etc. [the Spaniards], without seeking to understand their cultures, concluded these lands were dominated by the demon” and called their inhabitants “idolaters.” They also criticize some people’s belief that the resemblance between some indigenous religious tenets and the History of Salvation has led to their being “interpreted as ‘traps of the devil’ rather than seeds of revolution or seeds of the Word, as we can interpret them today” (BCCs, p.5).

    To the Basic Christian Communities of Brazil, “the colonizers and missionaries usually saw only both Indians and blacks as superstitious and idolatrous people, practitioners of devilish cults.” Hence, “the good news has become bad news. This historical perversion is the great wound of Evangelization, which still bleeds after centuries” (BCCs, p. 72).


    II – RESTORING THE TRUTH


    What should we think of such opinions and of the aboriginal American cults? Since “all the gods of the Gentiles are demons” (Ps. 95:5), can these beliefs really be considered “legitimate and worthy” “seeds of the Word,” “ways of believing in God,” expressions of “faith” and “holiness”? Or were they idolatrous and, at best, grotesque and devilish caricatures of the one true Religion? Did the missionaries do good or bad in fighting them?

    Distinction required – To answer this question, we must first make a distinction. It is possible to identify in some pagan religions, elements of natural religion and traces of primitive revelation, Abrahamic revelation, and even Christian Revelation, which are either pre-figures or distortions of the one true Religion. Examples: belief in one God, veneration of angels, or doctrines such as the creation of the world, the Original Sin, the need for Redemption, the moral law, eternal salvation or damnation, etc.

    However, in general – and almost without exception – these elements of natural or revealed religion appear in various degrees mixed with preternatural or satanic deformations, which on the one hand always tend to something aberrant, horrendous, monstrous. If in some beliefs these satanic elements remain relatively hidden, in others – such as Tibet’s Lamaism – they are clearly and ostensibly dominant.[2]

    What was the situation with the pre-Columbian religions of America from this point of view?

    The answer comes out conclusively when you closely examine their beliefs and rituals:


    1. Pre-Columbian Religions in Central America


    A bestial, homicidal, and cannibalistic religion – The cultures that the Spanish got to know in Central America – including Mayan and Aztec – derive from the early Olmec culture, which existed in the first millennium BC. “It was a totemic society (filial subjection to a beast). This beast is the jaguar or god of the heart of the world, sometimes represented performing the sexual act with a woman, and his figure can be found in all Mesoamerican civilizations” (Caturelli, p. 108).

    It is difficult to identify a “seed of the Word” in this mythical beast that commits acts of bestiality with a human being…

    The culture of Teotihuacán, the successor to the Olmecs (1st to 9thcenturies of our era), worshiped a dual god (i.e., contradictory god, which is a characteristically satanic element) called Tloque Nahuaque, in the form of a “serpent with feathers.” Later came the Totlecas, which “embody the feathered serpent, now transformed into a multitude of meanings,” but which always “designates the supreme god of duality” (idem, pp. 109-110).

    Does this serpent-shaped god, the apex of Totleca pantheism, represent the Word, or does it represent the very serpent[3]cursed by God? What “seeds of Revelation” can be recognized in this superstition?

    Also among the Maya, the very numerous gods were dual and zooanthrophic (a mixed form of animal and man). To obtain their favors, they were offered human sacrifices, “preferably young men and women and children” whose hearts were torn out “still throbbing and oozing with blood, and offered to the gods.” Thus proceeds the priest, his hair never combed nor washed, and saturated with the blood of previous sacrifices” (Caturelli, pp. 113-114).

    Is it possible to identify in these gods, half beasts and half men, or in these ferocious and disgusting rituals, anything that legitimately prefigures Jesus Christ?

    Collective Holocausts to the Devil – These atrocities reach their paroxysm with the Aztecs. The satanic aspect of their rituals is reflected in some details of the human sacrifices they offered to the devil, such as those reported by Friar Toribio de Paredes Motolinia, OFM – one of the first twelve missionaries of Mexico – in his famous History of the Indies ( Motolinia, OFM, pp. 29 ff.).

    He narrates, for example, that in the Aztec month calledPanquetzaliztli, dedicated to the gods of war, men had to draw their own blood “to pour it on idols with their fingers (as if sprinkling holy water) or to put blood from their ears and tongue on some papers and offer it” (idem, p. 30). They also draw blood from other parts of their body according to the habit of each region.

    Moreover, there were horrible human slaughters performed on stones placed at the top of sacrificial pyramids before the altar of the idols. “On this stone they stretched the unfortunate victims on their backs, with their chests very tense because they were bound by feet and hands, to be sacrificed. The idol’s chief priest or his lieutenant were the ones who ordinarily sacrificed. If sometimes they got tired because there were numerous people to sacrifice, others trained to perform the sacrifice would come in. As the victim’s chest was very tense, they would take a long razor and rip his chest open with great force and quickly pull out his heart … as it fell to the ground, still pulsating a little, it was immediately placed on a shield before the altar” (ibid.).

    The priest then raised the heart, offering it to the sun and then to idols. “And in another vessel, he gathered [the victim’s] blood and offered it to the chief idol as if to eat, anointing his lips; then he did the same with the other idols and figures of the devil.” Their hearts “were eaten by the old celebrants.” If the victims were prisoners of war, “the one who arrested them, with his friends and relatives, would take [the corpses] and prepared the human flesh with other foods. And on another day, they would celebrate and eat it” (ibid.).



    Montezuma’s macabre “ball attire”
    – The barbaric acts often did not end here. After killing the victims, they “skinned a few of them …. and wore their skin, left open at the back and above the shoulders. They donned it as tight as they could (as if wearing a coat and trousers) and danced in that cruel and astonishing garment. And since all those sacrificed were either slaves or prisoners of war brought from Mexico, they took a war prisoner who was leader or chief and skinned him to clothe, with his skin, the great lord of Mexico, Montezuma. Dressed in that skin, Montezuma danced with great gravitas, believing he was rendering a great service to the devil being honored on that day” (idem, p. 31).

    Dancing with skinned and boneless women – Women were not exempt from these atrocities. “On another feast day, in each place they sacrificed a woman and, after skinning her, someone dressed her skin and danced with everyone else; one dressed the woman’s skin, the others wore feathers…”

    “Here in Cuauhtitlán … it seems that the demon was crueler than in other places … [they] slaughtered two slave women high above the grills [of the pyramids] before the altar of idols and flayed their whole body and face and took their ‘shins’ from their thighs [the femur]. The next morning, the chief Indians put on their skins faces like masks, took their ‘shins’, one in each hand, and descended very slowly, step by step, growling like ferocious beasts” (ibid.).

    The Three Deaths – That same day, they did “another major and unprecedented cruelty.” Perched atop very tall posts, “they tied [with their arms in the shape of an X] six captive men of war. Around and below them, more than two thousand youngsters and men with bows and arrows … targeted them like rain. When the prisoners were full of arrows and half dead, they would climb up, untie them, and let them fall from that height, an impact that would break all their bones. Then they gave them the ‘third death’ by sacrificing them and tearing their hearts out. They were dragged away and slew; their heads were cut off and given to the idol ministers, who would take their bodies, like lamb meat, for the chieftains to eat. The next day they would again feast with that nefarious banquet and all would dance and rejoice” (idem, p. 32).

    Sacred serpents fed human flesh – The same flesh served as food for countless rattlesnakes that Montezuma raised in a special place near his palace; the Aztecs considered them sacred animals (cf. Cronau, p.126).[4]

    Propitiatory Infanticide – For his part, Hernán Cortés narrated these barbaric feasts to the Kings of Spain, describing them as “horrible and abominable.” “Every time they wish to ask their idols something, for their petition to be better accepted, they take many living girls and boys and even adult men and women, open their breasts and tear out their hearts and bowels in the presence of those idols … No year goes by without their killing and sacrificing fifty souls in each temple. …. Your Majesties can be assured that since they have many temples, from what we have seen and discovered so far there is no year in which they do not kill and sacrifice three or four thousand souls”(Cartas de Cortes, Ed. de Gayangos, p. 25, apud Bayle, SJ, Missionalia Hispanica, nº 13, p. 17).

    Hellish Degradation – Part of these rituals were collective drunkenness, as various chroniclers and historians have described. About them, Friar Toribio de Paredes Motolinia comments: “This land was an image of hell” especially when “seeing, at night, its inhabitants shouting, some calling the devil, some drunk, others singing and dancing.” The libations began at sunset, and “by early evening, they were already losing consciousness, sometimes falling or sitting, singing and shouting to call the devil. It was very unfortunate to see men created in the image of God made worse than brute beasts; worse, they committed not just that sin but many others, wounding themselves and striking each other; they even killed each other albeit they were friends or conspicuous relatives” (Motolinia, OFM, p. 22).

    It is really difficult to identify any form of “faith,” “holiness,” “dignity,” or “seeds of the Word” in this “image of hell”…

    The arrival of the Spaniards, a liberation – This whole picture explains why the Spaniards, as the contemporaries narrate, were received as liberators by the peoples overwhelmed by the Aztecs. “Because of this excessive cruelty shedding so much human blood and the very heavy tribute of having to catch more and more captives to sustain their gods, many of those barbarians were tired and saw their situation as unbearable; yet, they did not stop abiding by those rigorous laws because of the great fear the idol ministers instilled in them. However, in their hearts they longed to be free from such a heavy burden. The Lord’s providence had them in this state of mind when given the news of the law of Christ, which they undoubtedly saw as a good law, and [Christ] as a good God to serve” (Acosta, SJ, chap. XXII – How the Indians Themselves Were Tired and Could not Bear the Cruelties of Their Gods, p. 85).

    The same happened when Columbus arrived: “When Columbus met the Arawaks of the Bahamas, and the Greater Antilles, these feeble people were in ruins because of the fierce imperialism of their Caribbean [Indian] neighbors, which is one of the reasons why they hailed Columbus as a liberator. ‘Come and see men coming from heaven,’ the Arawaks chanted on the beach” (Armesto, p. 47).



    In the early reports that Hernán Cortés sent to the Emperor Charles V, he mentions a very significant episode. After conquering Mexico, while in Cuyoacán, “ambassadors of the republic and province of Mechoacan came to him asking him to send them his law and teach it, as they intended to leave their own because it did not seem good to them. Cortes did so, and these days they are among the best Christian Indians found in New Spain” (Acosta, SJ, p. 86).

    Excerpts from the book, The Fifth Centenary Facing the Twenty-First Century – Authentic Christendom or Tribal-Communist Revolution, pp. 50-58)
    * * *

    In the next article, we will look at what happened among the indigenous peoples of South America and the glorious struggle of Holy Church to extirpate idolatry.


    [1] It is at least strange for this episcopal text to consider the yearning to establish a Christian civilization or restore it (as was the case in the Iberian Peninsula) to be caused by mental “limitations.” In fact, such longings for Christendom are the opposite of limitation: in the temporal sphere, they are the full expression of the Church’s intellectual horizon and the ultimate expression of her spirit.

    Indeed, Christendom is the social order that accomplishes on earth the wish that Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself expressed when He taught us the Our Father: “Let Thy kingdom come.” In it, the wisdom of the Gospel governs states and influences all relations in society, producing in every field of human activity “fruits important beyond all expectation” (cf. Leo XIII, Encyclical Immortale Dei, November 11, 1885).

    How, then, can they call this supreme expression of the Catholic spirit a mentality “limitation”?

    [2] To assert without any nuance or distinction that the pagan religions practiced in pre-Columbian America contained “seeds of the Word” is at least a misconception, if not a serious error. In one form or another, all of them without exception were idolatrous, that is, demonic (cf. Ps. 95:5). Saint Paul warns that those who indulge in “idol worship” and “witchcraft” will not “reach the kingdom of God,” that is, they will be lost (Gal. 5:19-21).

    Likewise, Saint John the Evangelist describes as impenitent those who “adore devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk” or do penance from their sorceries (Apoc. 9:20-21). He also warns that “sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21: 8). St. John also says in the epilogue of the Apocalypse: “Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city [the everlasting Jerusalem]. Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie” (Apoc. 22:14-15).

    [3] In this regard, the fact that the name of Our Lady of Guadalupe does not come from its Spanish namesake, which designates the city of Guadalupe, but from a wonderful episode with an Indian uncle of the seer Juan Diego, is very suggestive.

    On the very day of the Virgin’s apparition to Juan Diego, his uncle, named Juan Bernardino, was in his house prostrate with a long illness and almost about to die, when he had a vision of Our Lady with exactly the same features his nephew had seen her. Addressing him in the Aztec language, the Mother of God promised him a cure – which immediately came to pass, being the first miracle of its kind to occur in Mexican lands – and expressed her desire to be called Cuatla-xupeh (whence Guadeloupe) which in Aztec means “the one who tramples the serpent.”

    This expression, says a scholarly Jesuit researcher, can either refer generically to the biblical Woman of Genesis, or specifically symbolize “the victory over the Aztec deity Coatlicue, derived from the serpent god Quetzacoátl, which has the same reptile form” (Caruso, SJ, pp. 120-122, 140).

    [4] Serving human flesh as animal food is a repulsive characteristically satanic reversal of the natural order. The rare cases known in history have occurred only in extremely decadent and dying civilizations such as the Roman Empire at the time of anti-Christian persecution.




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    Re: Do Indigenous Religion Contain "Seeds of the Word"?

    Libros antiguos y de colección en IberLibro
    DO INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS CONTAIN “SEEDS OF THE WORD”? (II)






    In the first part of this article, we saw how the terrible situation in which the Indians of Mexico found themselves and how many of them saw the arrival of the Spaniards as a true liberation. In this second part, we will look at the situation of the South American peoples and the struggle of the Holy Church against idolatry.


    1. South America, a Kingdom of the Horrendous




    The Chibchas

    Indigenous religions in South America were no less monstrous than in Central America (cf. Henao y Arrubla, pp. 149ff.; Cantu, p. 246). In New Granada (present-day Colombia), the Chibchas orMuiscas – considered to have the most advanced culture in the hemisphere after the Incas – practiced horrible human sacrifices such as decapitating teenagers fattened in special brooders and plucking their hearts to offer them to the god Sua (the sun), whom they imagined to be anthropophagous. Every week they sacrificed children to idols in two places of the Bogota Highland (Gacheta and Ramiquirí). When they built a house, in each of the holes where the piles were laid to support the building, they threw a small girl of good family, beautifully attired, and upon her head “pounded in with one stroke the post which penetrated the hole, crunching her bones and turning her flesh into a shapeless mass” (Henao y Arrubla, p. 152).

    We insist: can one consider such manifest violations of the natural law “seeds of Revelation”?


    A victim of an Incan sacrificial rite

    The Inca, idol of himself – Among the Peruvian Indians, considered the most civilized in South America, idolatry was so widespread that each Inca king “made an idol or stone statue of himself, which he called Guaoiquí, which means brother. Because to that statue, whether he was alive or dead, they would have to pay the same veneration as to the Inca himself. … There was a great number of these idols in Cusco,” says Fr. Acosta (op. cit., p. 24).


    The Incan Ruins of Machu Picchu

    Massacred to “accompany” the Inca to the next life – Ritual massacres were also commonplace. “It was common to bury an Inca’s corpse with his servants and the women he had loved most,” says the historian Cesar Cantu (op. cit., p. 231). Slaves and women were forced to get drunk beforehand so as not to resist the savage ritual.

    Concerning the same custom, Father Acosta says: “When Guanacapa [Huayna Cápac], the father of Atahualpa (at whose time the Spanish entered) died, after many songs and drunkenness, one thousand people of all ages were killed to accompany and serve him in the afterlife. … Many, especially children, were sacrificed and their blood used to draw a line on the face of the deceased [Guanacapa] which went from ear to ear.” They also put many objects next to his corpse (Acosta, SJ, pp. 25-26).

    Mass Infanticide – It was also customary to sacrifice boys as a propitiation so the Inca would heal from illness or achieve victory in war. When a new Inca was enthroned, “two hundred children from four to ten years old were killed, a harsh and inhuman spectacle. The way to sacrifice them was to drown and bury them with certain gestures and ceremonies. At other times they were beheaded, and the Indians would anoint themselves with their blood from ear to ear” (Acosta, SJ, pp. 72-73).

    They likewise sacrificed maidens and had this horrible custom: “When some chief or common Indian was sick, and the wise man told him he was surely going to die, they sacrificed his son to the Sun, or Viracocha, telling it to be content with the son and not take the life of his father” (ibid.).

    The celebrated chronicler concludes: “In killing infants and sacrificing their children, the Indians of Peru outdid those of Mexico” (idem, p. 75).

    Ritual anthropophagy – The Indians of the Guarani tribe practiced the ritual homicide of children and adults, who were devoured. This custom extended to all branches of the tribe, from those of Argentina, Paraguay, and the Bolivian Chaco, described by Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, to Chiriguanos, Guaycurus, and Tupinambás of Brazil.




    The ethnologist Dominique Gallois, from the Department of Anthropology of the University of São Paulo, explains that “cannibalistic acts were performed together with a series of rituals where only human flesh was eaten.” Such practices, described by witnesses such as the German adventurer Hans Staden and the missionary Fr. Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, were recently corroborated with findings by archaeologist Fr. Ignacio Schmitz, SJ, in Candelária, Itapoã, and São Pedro do Ivaí, in southern Brazil (cf. Gallois, Folha de S. Paulo, May 11, 1990).

    “All the tribes of this linguistic family [Guarani] … stand out as anthropophagous,” corroborates anthropologist Alfred Métraux. It was a “ritually practiced” cannibalism which in the Chipaya branch, for example, “takes the form of an offering to kumavári. Through the sorcerer, this demon demands human flesh” and they organize an expedition to capture a victim. Once they fetched the latter, on the day of sacrifice the captors, “one by one, use it as a target in the flesh,” shooting at him with arrows. Once dead, his flesh is partly eaten and partly “offered to the devil,” and the head placed as a trophy in the hut (Métraux, pp. 140-141).


    2. Extirpation of idolatry, a glory of the Church



    What we have seen is sufficient to prove how idolatry and its inevitable corollary, Satanism, were universally widespread throughout the Americas to unimaginable extremes. Father Acosta writes: “In each province of Peru there was a main Guaca or house of worship. … Two were singled out among them, one of which was called Pachacama. … About this temple, there is a reliable account that the devil spoke visibly and gave answers through this oracle … and the fact that the devil speaks and answers in these false shrines, and deceives the wretched, is a very common thing usually verified in the [Western] Indies” [that is, the Americas] (Acosta, SJ, pp. 44-45).



    Analogous manifestations of the devil were also reported in Mexico by various chroniclers of the time, such as Friar Jerome de Mendieta, OFM (1525-1604) in his História Eclesiástica Indiana (cf. p. 111). Canon Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, Rector of the University of Mexico (1513-1575), describes how Aztec kings received oracles “from the mouth of the devil, who often spoke to them in unclear words” (Crónica de la Nueva España, p. 147). The chaplain of the house of Hernán Cortes, Fr. Francisco Lopez de Gómara, also states that “the main god of the [inhabitants] of the island [Tenochtitlán] is the devil, [and] they paint him every time he appears to them, which often happens, and he even speaks to them” (Historia General de las Indias, t. I, p. 50).

    The Blessed Sacrament Silences the Devil – Such manifestations ceased as churches were built, and the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in America established: “And so, as they built churches of monasteries and enthroned the Blessed Sacrament,” the demon’s apparitions and illusions, which used to be very frequent, consequently ceased” (Mendieta, OFM, p. 136). “The Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament was of great effect. He was enthroned in many churches so that, with Him and with crosses, the demons would disappear and no longer speak to the Indians as they once did. This fact caused great admiration in them” (Gómara, t. I, p. 59).

    A struggle of more than two centuries to eradicate idolatry – A renowned authority on the subject, Father Constantino Bayle, SJ, recounts the arduous struggle of more than two centuries that missionaries of various religious orders and secular clerics had to wage to root out this abject plague. He cites many of the countless chronicles who, from Mexico to Tucumán (Argentina), from Lima to Bahia, report the difficulties of all kinds that the ecclesiastical and temporal authorities had to face to eradicate idolatrous customs.

    Clergy-sponsored ceremonies of idol elimination were very frequent. For example, in 1590, under Archbishop Luis Zapata of Santa Fe of Bogota,, 8,000 idols were burned at once. In Venezuela, in the early seventeenth century, “Bishop Friar Antonio de Alcega investigated and discovered one thousand and seven hundred idols in his pastoral visits to neophytes.”



    In Yucatan, around 1610, Bishop Frei Gonzalo de Salazar “uprooted and eradicated the idolatries of the natives, taking more than 20,000 idols from them and causing the very idolatrous Indians to break, trample and bury them.” The celebrated missionary Antonio de Jesus Margil also “collected idols in the hills of Central America” (Bayle, SJ, Missionalia Hispanica, No. 7, p. 63).


    In Peru, at the time of the Viceroy Marquis of Montesclaros, Dr. Francisco de Avila stood out as “the most famous cleric of the [Lima] diocese for his knowledge, virtue, and ability to know and treat the natives.” In addition to preaching incessantly against superstitions, he promoted autos-de-fé [public trals and judgments] and punishment of witches (idem, p. 54).

    Closely linked to idolatry were ritual massacres in Peru (to which we alluded when dealing with the Aztecs and Guarani) such as those in Cusco, which caused “more than 60 murders in one village (1568). Some of its victims, ‘hearing that the idols commanded them to die, knelt and folded their hands as if they were true martyrs,’ as Father Luis de Olivera recounts. “Similar killings occurred in “Chuquisaca and La Paz, Guamanga and Lima and Arequipa, at the instigation … of sorcerers backed by the Inca” (idem, p. 59).

    It was necessary to create the institution of “Visitors against idolatry, who roamed rural parishes guided by the vicar and, using procedures tested by experience, reproached [the Indians] for group drinking, collected their amulets and little idols, and startled the witches, who eventually saw their own art as more risky than useful. Without witches, idolatry faded by itself” (idem, p. 84).

    The struggle against idolatry was thus a fundamental and indispensable component of the evangelization of America. And justice commands that the extirpation of such superstitions in the New World be proclaimed a glory of the Church and an undying testimony of fidelity to Her Divine Founder, who said, “He that is not with me, is against Me” (Mt. 12:30).

    Excerpts from the book, The Fifth Centenary Facing the Twenty-First Century – Authentic Christendom or Tribal-Communist Revolution, pp. 58-62)



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