The Gentle Devotions of a Rebellious People
The Phenomenology of a Santo
In 1998 the local devotees of the Cristo Aparecido held their Franciscan priests hostage over a dispute about the Cristo. Seeking to modernize local Roman Catholic faith, these parish priests criticized devotion to the Cristo and withheld their support from ritual celebrations of the image. The Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, the national government body empowered to protect the art historical legacy of the nation, intervened on behalf of local devotees and lay leaders to defend traditional celebration of the image. For local believers, the Cristo symbolizes their collective identity and the vulnerability of their own, embattled faith.
Keywords: ethnic identity, confraternities and religious brotherhoods, mayordomos, liberation theology, charismatic Catholicism, fiesta, ritual, popular religion, religion and violence, museums, religious resistance
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