Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Roma Nei Caraibi: L'organizzazione Delle Missioni Cattoliche Nelle Antille E in Guyana (1635-1675)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Roma Nei Caraibi: L'organizzazione Delle Missioni Cattoliche Nelle Antille E in Guyana (1635-1675)

Article excerpt

Roma nei Caraibi: L'organizzazione delle missioni cattoliche nelle Antille e in Guyana (1635-1675). By Giovanni Pizzorusso. [Collection de l'Ecole francaise de Rome, 207.] (Rome: Ecole francaise de Rome. 1995. Pp. xv, 366.)

This is a scholarly work that exhibits monumental research in an area that has been largely ignored in the literature on this topic. By examining in detail Catholic missionary efforts in the smaller Caribbean islands and the coast of South America during the baroque period, Giovanni Pizzorusso has provided a service for scholars who have focused almost exclusively upon the betterknown and more amply documented Mexican and Peruvian experiences. In contrast to the Iberian possessions where the missionary efforts usually did not have to resolve national differences, this book shows how the competing monarchical interests in the Caribbean made for a major difference in the organization of evangelization. Citing an English immigrant to Barbados in the first of four chapters, Pizzorusso describes the Caribbean as "A Babel of All Nations." He points out that unlike the experience in Spanish America, Catholic missionaries to the Caribbean had to confront Protestantism, while simultaneously trying to assuage conflicts arising from national and linguistic differences among themselves. Moreover, they had to minister not only to the native peoples indigenous to the Caribbean but also to African slaves.

Chapters Two and Three document the disputes between Dominicans and Capuchin Franciscans (and eventually the Jesuits) over matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction.These disputes were complicated by rivalries between the French, who had recently asserted political control of many of the islands, and the Spanish, who had established the missions earlier. In Chapter Four, the author evaluates the solution: the maintenance of a centralized control over the missions by the Vatican Congregation de Propaganda Fide that proposed creating an Apostolic Vicariate and a seminary for native clergy, like Laval in Quebec, Canada. …

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