By D. A. Brading
This publication describes almost all points of non secular lifestyles in a Mexican diocese within the eighteenth century. It covers the Franciscan missionary faculties, the hot Oratory at San Miguel, new convents and sisterhoods, confraternities and renowned faith, the composition and gains of the secular clergy, conflicts within the cathedral bankruptcy, and the involvement of the clergy within the 1810 Insurgency. A relevant factor is the conflicts among Church and kingdom and among the tradition of baroque Catholicism and enlightened despotism.
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29 In effect, Solorzano envisioned the Habsburg realm as a universal monarchy, composed of several kingdoms, in which the crown was supported by two great orders of government, the secular and the ecclesiastical, each endowed with its own laws, courts, ministers and revenue, respectively led by magistrates and bishops appointed by their common ruler. In New Spain imperial providentialism was matched by a religious cult which affirmed that the Mother of God had chosen the Mexican people for her especial protection.
In an extraordinary conclusion, Escobar averred: 'without doubt the venerable prince's intestines were a circus for these two evils, the comet and the dysentery, where they struggled to conquer him'. 19 That the bishop had spent many days at Charo and had bequeathed his library to the Augustinian priory at Valladolid only strengthened Escobar's veneration for his departed friend. In the closing chapter of Americana Thebaida which dealt with the vale of Jacona, Escobar provided a list of no less than ten crucifixes venerated in churches and chapels of the region, most of which had been found carved within the trunk or roots of local trees, of which the most famous was the celebrated Christ of La Piedad.
Until then, the shrine at Tepeyac, built on a small peak outside Mexico City once dedicated to the Aztec goddess Tonanztin, had only attracted a local veneration, and, indeed, had been sharply criticised by Franciscan missionaries as a mask for the idolatry of Indian pilgrims. But, with the publication of Sanchez's work, Creole canons and university professors vied to exalt and propagate the cult of the Guadalupe image. 30 Endowment bequests mounted and in 1751 a college of canons was established to officiate at the sanctuary, the only body of this type in New Spain outside the cathedral chapters.
Church and State in Bourbon Mexico by D. A. Brading