01 January 2007

La Imagen de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

There is something about the Latin American Catholic religion that I've never understood or much appreciated.... the worshipping of idols. Latin Americans seem (this is my observation and it's not meant to offend anyone) to forget that their Bible states that the worshiping of Idols is prohibited. Yet, the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe is everywhere. The image of the Pope is everywhere. People crawl on their knees for miles to reach the Basilica to see the Imagen that Juan Diego presented to the Church on his tunic. It's a beautiful image, don't get me wrong, and they say that the paint has been scientifically tested and it's supposedly nothing like what we have on Earth, but according to the religion I was born into, it is blasphemy to worship her the way they do.

Example: We were told yesterday that on our street people used to throw trash and furniture and leave it there, never cleaning it up. One day, someone put an alter to the Virgen of Guadalupe and now there is no more trash....ever.

Example: There are people who stand at the Basilica and take pictures of people in front of the Cathedral and in front of images of the Virgen and sell them. Blasphemy as far as I'm concerned.

The people who worship her are the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich, very few are much taller then me (the majority is as tall if not shorter) and most have babies....there are babies EVERYWHERE. I was told yesterday that people who concider themselves athiest or agnostic even believe in the Virgen of Guadalupe. She has a cult following, she has her own religion. Blashpemy.

Now, let's talk about the pope. In front of the Basilica there is a massive statue of Pope John Paul the II. A huge thing made of bronze and expensive, I'm sure. Meanwhile, looking around, the people are dressed in rags (the finest clothes they have, I'm sure in order to visit the Imagen -- put on your Sunday best kids, we're going to the Basilica) and the children are dirty. Looking over the never-ending city, your eye moves from Industry to Shopping, to Tourist, to Shanty. The pope's "papa móvil" is behind the statue, a bullet-proof bus-like vehicle with a gigantic chair and a place for him to safely stand, like a monkey on parade. I'm sorry if this ofends anyone, but as far as I'm concerned, if the Pope gets shot in a place as religious and idol-worshiping as Latin America, God probably was the one who had him shot.

Disclaimer: these entries aren't meant to offend anyone, they are just my radical, liberal university kid thoughts. These type of opinions stem from my own personal experiences and points-of-view. That said, if there is ANYTHING anyone disagrees with, please by all means, discuss them here. If you have respect for my opinions, I will have respect for yours.

Well, with that happy note (HA!) I want to wish everyone a wonderful year. This is going to be a great one, I'm sure. Heck....maybe we'll finally get a flying car!


Rusty said...

Very Cool Page. I will be interested to read your continued blog with your thoughts on Mexico and all things Mexican. I am envious of you and your great adventure.

I do disagree with your characterization of the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe as "blasphemy". To me, Blasphemy is intentional disrespect for God. I don't think that the people who have devotion for the Virgin show any disrespect for God. Just the opposite, I would maintain. They find, through the Virgin, a path of faith that is meaningful to them. That is a path that we all have to find, or hope to find at some point in our lives. I say to celebrate with them and try to see the Virgin through their eyes.

You may also see the Virgin of Guadalupe as a spiritual rebellion of sorts. She is a native Mexican saint in the trappings of a Catholicism imposed on the natives by the Spanish. Instead of praying in the name of Spanish saints, the Mexicans have their own and cling to her as a symbol of themselves. You said that you wanted to study forms of political protest. I would contend that this protest is not only political, but cultural and spiritual as well. And it has continued for 300 years.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Hey Ashley.. this is your buddy Mitch.. Ive been reading your blogs since you sent us the link. I am really glad you are doing ok. I have been meaning to comment on your post for this day for a while. I wont make it long, although you know that I can go on for a while. I agree with what you had to say. You know that I am religious also, but I agree that blasphemy is blasphemy no matter what and how it looks like. If God, in the bible, says no graven images, then why have graven images. Isnt disobedience disrespect also? The virgin has been a significant symbol in Catholicism for a long time. I once read, from a priest, that when Jesus closes a door, Mary opens a window. I dont know if I would classify this as a cult. But I think its based on a lack of knowledge on the same book that guides all Christians. In the end, trust me, this image worship isnt just in Mexico. I just got back from my home country. Its there too! Ill write back some other time

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