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CONSTITUCION DE NUESTRO SANTISSIMO SEÑOR CLEMENTE POR LA DIVINA PROVIDENCIA PAPA OCTAVO...[caption title]
Mexico, 1602. Old fold lines. Reinforced with silk along central horizontal fold. Two spots of minor loss along central vertical fold, minutely affecting text. Some minor discoloration. Very good. An early Mexican broadside proclaiming the power of the Spanish Inquisition in the New World. The Inquisition had formally begun in New Spain in 1569, when Philip II established tribunals of the Holy Office at Mexico and Lima. It was specifically charged with vigilance against Moors, Jews, and New Christians. The great privileges it exercised and the dread with which Spaniards generally regarded the charge of heresy made the Inquisition an effective check on dangerous thoughts, be they religious, political, or philosophical. The Inquisition largely relied on denunciations by informers and employed torture to secure confessions. The local natives were originally subject to the jurisdiction of Inquisitors, but were later exempted because, as recent converts of supposedly limited mental capacity, they were not fully responsible for their deviations from the faith. The first execution in the New World took place in 1574, and the tenth in 1596. Many of the victims of the Holy Office were amongst the Portuguese settlers who were persecuted for political rather than religious reasons. The present broadside reads, in translation: "Constitution of our most blessed Lord Clement by the Divine Providence Pope the Eighth against those who, not having been promoted to the sacred order of Priesthood, boldly take the authority of the Priests, dare to pretend to celebrate the Mass, and administer to the faithful the Sacrament of Penance. ... Although at other times Pope Paul, our predecessor of happy memory, in order to refrain and repress the evil and sacrilegious temerity of some men, who not having been ordained priests, take daringly the priestly powers and presume the authority to celebrate the Mass and administration of the Sacrament of Penance; having determined that such delinquents should be delivered to the Judges of the Holy Inquisition, to the Curia and secular body so that due punishment would be administered to them; and after Pope Sixth the fifth of venerable memory, also our predecessor, had ordered that the so-mentioned decree be renewed and be kept and followed with all care; but the audacity of these men has gone so far that giving the pretext of ignorance of these decrees, the penalties, as has been stated, should be imposed against the transgressors who think they are not subject to them, and who pretend to liberate and exonerate themselves from them. "For this reason we consider these persons to be lost and evil men, who not having been promoted to the Holy Order of Priesthood, dare to usurp the right to the celebration of the Mass; these men not only perform external acts of idolatry, in regard to exterior and visible signs of piety and religion, but inasmuch as it concerns them, they deceive the faithful Christians (who accept them as truly ordained and believe that they consecrate legitimately), and because of the faithful's ignorance they fall into the crime of idolatry, proposing them only the material bread and wine so that they adore it as the true body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ; and that the same hearing the Sacramental Confession not only do not appreciate the dignity of the holy Sacrament of Penance, but also deceive the faithful, perversely taking the priestly role and the authority of absolving the sins with great danger, and causing the scandal of many. "For this reason, so that the ones who commit these very serious heinous deeds be punished with due penalty, in the proper manner and with our scientific certainty and mature deliberation, and with the fullness of the Apostolic power, in accordance with the conscience of the Judges of the Holy Inquisition, and so that from now on no one can doubt the penalty that has to be imposed on those such delinquents, following the steps of our predecessors, for this constitution of perpetual value, we determine and establish that anyone, who without being promoted to the Sacred Order of Priesthood, would find that he who has dared to celebrate Mass or to hear Sacramental Confession, be separated from the Ecclesiastic body by the judges of the Holy Inquisition, or by the seculars, as not deserving of the mercy of the Church; and being solemnly demoted, from the Ecclesiastic Orders, if he had achieved some, is later to be turned over to the Curia and secular body, in order to be punished by the secular judges with the due penalties...." The proclamation is certified in manuscript at the bottom, "By order of the Sacred Office of the Inquisition of New Spain and its Provinces." This region encompassed Spanish Florida, as well as Mexico. The history of the first half of the 16th century in Florida was marked by conflicts and various unsuccessful settlements by the Spanish, French, and English, who were all vying for possession of the peninsula. In 1656, a colony of Protestant Huguenots established on the St. Johns River was wiped out by Spaniards, who boasted of slaughtering the French, not for their nationality, but for their religion. This Spanish expedition founded St. Augustine, near the site of the annihilated French settlement.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2015-11-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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