Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, Vol 5, No 3 (2009)

Popes, Saints, Beato Bones and other Images at War: Religious Mediation and the Translocal Roman Catholic Church

Kristin Norget
Issued Date: 22 Dec 2011


This article explores new political practices of the Roman Catholic Church by means of a close critical examination of the beatification of the Martyrs of Cajonos, two indigenous men from the Mexican village of San Francisco Cajonos, Oaxaca, in 2002. The Church’s new strategy to promote an upsurge in canonizations and beatifications forms part of a “war of images,” in Serge Gruzinski’s terms, deployed to maintain apparently peripheral populations within the Church’s central paternalistic fold of social and moral authority and influence, while at the same time as it must be seen to remain open to local cultures and realities. In Oaxaca and elsewhere, this ecclesiastical technique of “emplacement” may be understood as an attempt to engage indigenous-popular religious sensibilities and devotion to sacred images while at the same time implicitly trying to contain them, weaving their distinct local historical threads seamlessly into the fabric of a global Catholic history.

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DOI: 10.1558/post.v5i3.337

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