The Catholic Church in Latin America

Free «The Catholic Church in Latin America» Essay Sample

The film La Otra Conquista revolves around the period of Spanish colonization in the Americas in which the Spanish aimed at converting the local Americans to Catholicism. The film describes Spain as the foremost colonialists that were determined to ensure that the natives had converted to Catholicism. Some of the culprits of the Spanish campaign were the native Indians, basically referred to as the Aztecs. The Spanish believed that Indians worshipped evil gods and it was their responsibility to convert them to Catholicism. The Spanish applied both military force and adaptation strategies to lure the Aztecs to Christianity. The adaptation strategy involved the Spanish missionaries learning the cultures of the Indians and also educating the native Indians as a way of popularizing the Catholic religion. As a result, the education approach was successful because it influenced many Indians to convert to Catholicism. The film proves that religious disputes are not necessary because the different religions portray similarities in terms of their values and beliefs.


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The objective of Spain in educating the Indians was to enable the educated Indians to influence the others in accepting the Catholic message. The other aim was to ensure that the Spanish retained control of the Indians. The Spanish Catholics also learned more about the Indian culture and language so that they could spread the religion through the native Indian language. The method worked because after the Aztecs got educated, they realized that the God of the Catholics had similar traits to their God and as a result, many of them converted to Catholicism. The system of educating them was well crafted because the local Indians could be trained and later get converted to ministers, a position of great influence to the locals.

In the other method of applying force, the Spanish took advantage of their military strength to change the religious practices of the local Indians. For example, the film shows destruction scenes where the statutes of the Indian gods were destroyed, and in their place, statutes of Virgin Mary were erected. The forceful influence went a notch higher when the natives were forced to change their names in order for them to be accepted into Christianity. One of the culprit was Topiltzin, whose name was replaced with Thomas. The film also portrays some resistance from the natives, which is culminated by Thomas carrying the statute of Virgin Mary with a view of desecrating it before it killed him. The film is in the forefront in terms of exploring the connection between religion, culture, and spiritual beliefs and how cultural beliefs have strong roots to the extent of being almost not conquerable.

At the end, the film portrays that there is no force or influence that can change the entire beliefs of a person. The film also indicates that all the religions share a similarity and it is evidenced when the Indians get educated. After learning about Catholicism, the Indians get to discover that there are similarities in the two Gods and beliefs and religious disputes should not suffice. The application of force by the Spanish is not justifiable because they disregarded the ways of lives of the native Indians. The application of force involved destruction of religious portraits and hurting innocence people, which portrayed a sense of selfishness and disrespect for life on the Spanish sides. The resistance by the Indians such as the intention of Topiltzin to desecrate the statute of Virgin Mary was more justifiable because he defended his Indian beliefs which he had grown up with.

Therefore, the general lesson learnt from the Spanish invasion of the Aztecs is that religions portray some similarities and it is hard to separate human beings from their beliefs irrespective of the method used. The invasion also assists in learning that no religion is inferior because all of them try to portray the aspect of humanity in a person.

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