Revelation on Recidivism in Their Idolatry

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Illustrated rustic ISBN: 9788498973860

In 1585 Bishop Pedro de Feria wrote a report about what he discovered in the town of Chiapa during his pastoral visit. During his stay he received several complaints against several Indians from the towns of Chiapa and Suchiapa, for having created a brotherhood of “the twelve apostles”, called by the Indians “the great junta”. The members of it carried out traditional practices considered by the bishop idolatrous, and as leader of this brotherhood they denounced Juan Atonal, who, according to Feria, was

«… one of the most principal Indians of that people who must have been baptized for more than forty years, and more than thirty years that he confesses, and receives communion every year, whom the religious had, and I also had, for an advantaged Christian.”

Juan Atonal won the esteem of the religious by being one of the first baptized Indians and devotees of the Church, thus being considered an “advantaged Christian” by Bishop Fray Pedro de Feria when he arrived in the diocese in 1575. The good relations ended when almost a decade later it was discovered that Atonal and other main Indians of the bishopric had formed a clandestine brotherhood.
Of course, the discovery was declared an act of heresy and Bishop Feria, who by then was on his way to the Third Mexican Council of 1585, sent a memorial, Revelation on the recidivism in their idolatries, condemning those Indians baptized forty years earlier. For the Dominican the matter was not justified with the ignorance that Las Casas had argued long ago, but it was a blasphemy of deliberate malice. Feria not only saw in the Indians signs of false fidelity as in conversos and Moriscos; and he found them dangerous because of the similarities with the Spanish heretical mysticism of the sect of the Alumbrados.
The bishop of Chiapa then asked for more severe conciliar measures against Indian idolatry, which in his opinion had been pardoned until then by the precept of Las Casas.

“Visiting the town of Chiapas of the natives in September of the last year of 1584, and putting the general Edict, which is usually put in such visits, some Indians came to denounce other natives of the said town of Chiapas, and Suchiapa subject of them, very serious crimes, especially that in the said town of Suchiapa there was a brotherhood of twelve Indians who were entitled the twelve apostles, and that these went out at night, and walked from hill to hill, and from cave to cave, and made their meetings, and consultations, where underneath, and under the color of religion they treated things of their rites, and worship of the devil, against our Christian religion, and that they brought with them two women, the one they called Santa María, and the other Magdalene with whom they used many clumsiness, they make certain ceremonies saying that with them they bartered, and did others, and others, and became spiritualized, and became Gods, and women became Goddesses, and that they as Goddesses were to carry and send the temporary, and give many riches to whomever they wanted, and that they had many other superstitions, and vanities that seem to fry with the sect of the enlightened. “

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