Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego: The Historical Evidence

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego: The Historical Evidence

Article excerpt

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego: The Historical Evidence. By Eduardo Chávez. Translated from the Spanish by Carmen Travino and Veronica Montano. [Celebrating Faith: Explorations in Latino Spirituality and Theology.] (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefleld Publishing Group. 2006. Pp. xxxviii, 173. $60.00 clothbound; $22.95 paperback.)

The campaign for the canonization of Juan Diego, the visionary of the Guadalupe tradition, between 1995 and 2002, revived a long-standing controversy over the authenticity of the tradition and the reality of Juan Diego himself. During that time a small group of scholars, including both priests and laity, tried to dissuade the Vatican from canonizing a person whose existence was at best questionable, while proponents of the cause sought the opposite with vigor and success. The campaign was marked by vitriol and virulence, quite similar to the previous Guadalupan controversy of 1880-1896.

One of the principal advocates of the canonization was Father Eduardo Chávez, a founding member and currently rector of the Instituto Superior de Estudios Guadalupanos. He was postulator of the cause from 2001 until the canonization in 2002. He is a founding member of the Instituto Superior de Estudios Guadalupanos, an honorary canon of the basilica of Guadalupe, and first rector of the Catholic University Lumen Gentium of the Archdiocese of Mexico. Currently he is rector of the Pontifical College of Mexico. Father Chávez has impressive credentials for writing a book on the historical evidence for both the apparitions and the figure of Juan Diego. This makes the present volume all the more disappointing.

The title and the jacket note give the impression that this is an historical study of the questions surrounding the apparitions of Guadalupe and the reality of Juan Diego based on available evidence. A large part of the book, however, is actually devotional and exegetical rather than historical. The sections that deal with history contain significant gaps, and so the work is notable as much for what it omits as for what it presents. Chávez repeats some of the standard apparitionist arguments but without noting the many difficulties involved.

The author makes the fundamental error of assuming that any reference to Guadalupe prior to 1648 authenticates the apparition tradition, even though nothing is said about the apparitions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.