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FIFTY YEARS A PRIEST – Fr. Juan Romero




[It is a rare exception that I write about myself on this blog dedicated to Padre A.J. Martínez, but the occasion of my Golden Jubilee makes it “worth it.” – JR]

  “It’s worth it!” says Fr. Juan
Romero, ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles fifty years ago on
April 30, 1964.  A decade ago, he retired from
administration, and moved to the Coachella Valley, part of the vast San
Bernardino-Riverside Diocese, where he has been serving as a
“supply-priest” at various parishes. 
On Saturday May 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm, Father Romero celebrated a fifty-year
anniversary Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Indio where he spent a
year as a “priest-minister.” 
He will celebrate another anniversary Mass on June 21 at the church of
his baptism, the oft-photographed church of St Francis in Ranchos de Taos in
northern New Mexico.

  “The Golden
Jubilee celebration is a special time to give and praise and thanks to God, and
I do!  As long as the Lord gives me life
and breath, I intend to serve God and His people,” stated the jubilarian.  Friends of Father Juan Romero are arranging
an Alaskan Cruise Inside Passage
from August 29 to September 5. 
“It’s a great time and place to get out of the Valley’s summer
heat.  Welcome aboard!” Romero
invited.  For information on the
Celebrity Solstice Cruise that leaves from Seattle, call (800) 772-0847 and ask
for Father Juan’s Desk.

  Father Romero
recalls the last half-century with some nostalgia, great joy, and a lot of
gratitude.  He has had his share of
excitement and even drama as a priest: walking picket lines with farm workers
and going to jail with them in civil disobedience of unjust injunctions;
marching in protest against the Vietnam War in which a so many were killed, especially
the disproportionate number of Mexican Americans; and participating in
broad-based community organizations such as UNO, United Neighborhoods Organization
in East Los Angeles and other places.  “It
was fun to see regular parishioners from different parishes and Protestant
congregations hold politicians accountable for specific benefits to the broader
community,” he stated. “However, the
most important thing I do and have done is to celebrate Mass, baptize, anoint
the sick, hear confessions and give absolution.

  For four decades, he
served in a variety of parishes in the far-flung Archdiocese of Los
Angeles—from Santa Barbara to La Habra in north Orange County when it still
belonged to the L.A. Archdiocese.  He was
assigned as pastor to three different parishes throughout the Archdiocese: in
La Puente (now called Valinda), Santa Monica-Venice, and East Los Angeles where
he served three different times.

  Temporarily released
from assignment in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, he twice worked in
specialized Hispanic ministry on the national level. In the mid- ’70s, Father Romero
worked four years out of San Antonio, Texas as executive director of the PADRES
organization.  For one intensive year in 1984-85,
he worked out of Washington, D.C. on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Bishops’
Spanish Speaking Secretariat as the national coordinator of the Tercer Encuentro, “a fascinating
challenge!”Romero described the job.   Meetings within parishes, dioceses, and large regions
composed of groupings of states in a geographical area took place over a period
of a few years with the purpose of producing a national pastoral plan for the country’s Spanish speaking.  “My job was to wrap up the final
phase of the consultation process among Latino Catholics within the United
States, and to set up the logistics for the culminating event of the Tercer Encuentro Hispano de Pastoral at
Catholic University in August 1985. 

  Father Romero remembers
with nostalgia and gratitude the special relationship he enjoyed with Cesar
Chavez and Dolores Huerta. 
 In November 1972 during the “No on 22
Campaign,” when his family home was unoccupied, Cesar lived in the house for a
month. “He and his staff of about eight people took the place over while Cesar’s
two German shepherd guard-dogs, Boycott and Huelga, commandered the back
yard,” Romero recalled. 

  In April 1973,
Father Romero was part of an inter-religious delegation of clergy and laity who
took a straw poll among workers in the Coachella Valley to ascertain which
union they would prefer to join: the Teamsters or the United Farmworkers. 
“Hands down, it was the UFW,” affirms Romero.  This was during
his PADRES years, and by the late summer that year, Romero spent almost two
weeks “in prayer and fasting” in the Fresno County Jail.  He was in the good company of hundreds of
farmworkers, clergy, religious and lay supporters of farmworkers including
Dorothy Day, the storied apostle of the poor.  “When Chavez died
twenty-one years ago (April 23), I was asked to be in charge of the logistics
for the funeral Mass, and was pleased to do so. 
My own Archbishop and schoolmate, Cardinal Roger Mahony, gave the
homily.”

  Research and writing
about the life and legacy of Padre Antonio José, Cura de Taos (1793-1867), has
been the passionate hobby of Fr. Romero. 
He maintains a blog on the Padre, <thetaosconnecion.com>, has
written a biography on the priest, Reluctant
Dawn
, and was the principal catalyst for having the state of New Mexico in
2006 fund and place in the Taos Plaza a larger than life-sized bronze memorial
of the Padre.

  Retired Air Force
Major Tobias Romero, Father Juan’s oldest brother in the seminary for five
years before going into the Air Force, was unable to make the celebration in
Indio because of ill health.  His older
brother Father Gilbert, Ph. D. (from Princeton, Old Testament) ordained in
1961, accompanied Fr. Juan, and gave him a special blessing at the end of the
Anniversary Mass.  Their father J. Tobias
Romero was ordained a Claretian priest in 1975. 
His last employment, before going into the seminary a year after his
wife died in 1969, was as an accountant for CBS. Father Tobias Romero, the
elder, served in ministry for almost twenty-two years before his death in 1996.

  Father Juan Romero
summed up his half-a-century as a priest:

With the prayerful support of family, my priest-support
group and close friends, I have been able to negotiate life’s road with all its
twists and turns, curves and hills with their downs and ups.  There have been plenty of the former, but even
more of the latter.  My life as a priest has
definitely been worth it, a true blessing of the Lord in His service and that
of His people!

 

PADRE MARTINEZ AND PARTISAN POLITICS




 

 

 

PADRE MARTINEZ AND PARTISAN POLITICS

by

 Fr. Juan Romero 

January 17, 2014


[Antonio José Martínez was born in Abiquiú, NM on January 17, 1793–the feast day
of San Antonio Abad, father of Western Monasticism and Antonio’s namesake for whom he was baptized a few days later.  I wrote this article several years ago, but publish it on my blog today in honor of the birthday boy born 221 years ago.]

   “Now is the time for all good men (people) to come to the aid of their party!” My paternal grandfather, Juan Bautista Romero, for whom I am named was a man of many talents: teacher, carpenter, poet, and
erstwhile politician.  Grandpa John (as we called him–with a LONG “o”) ran for office both as a Democrat and as a Republican, but never won elective office. Padre Martínez, on the other hand–priest, educator, rancher, printer-publisher, lawyer, and politician–won several elections.  Born in the norther etremity of the Kingdom of Spain in the New World, he served at different times in the legislatures of New Mexico under the flags of both the Republic of Mexico and later that of the United States of America. 

  What was the political party of this priest-politician of New Mexico in the mold of his ideological mentors Padres Hidalgo and Morelos of New Spain on its way to becoming the Republic of Mexico? Santiago Valdez, the biographer of Padre Martinez writing in 1877, a decade after the Padre’s death, claimed the Padre belonged to the “Democratic Party.”[1] However, it was not the Democratic Party we know today.

  The Democratic Party looks to Thomas Jefferson
as its founding spirit, and the Republican Party to Alexander Hamilton
whose Federalist ideals are among their guiding principles.  Both Founding Fathers Jefferson and Hamilton are giants of American democracy in our republic we call the United States of America.  

  During an “era of good feeling” with its political rivals, the Federalist Party was disappearing, and the Whig Party replaced it by 1815. The so-called Democratic, or anti-slavery party of 1846-1851, was not synonymous with today’s Democratic Party, but existed in opposition to
the Whigs.  It began in opposition to the Federalists who held fast to the principle of states’ rights, a key plank in their platform. However, in its early years, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Democratic Party confusingly became known by the hyphenated  name Democratic-Republican Party.    

  This political party favored France in the wars between Britain and France, but its hyphenated name indicates that the core concepts defining the identity of political parties were fluctuating. Nevertheless,the Democratic-Republican Party was clear about one thing: they were against the Whigs. These successors to the Federalists advocated a strong central government, a more relaxed interpretation of the Constitution, and a republic run by a more professional and educated class.

    Antonio José Martínez was born in 1793 as a citizen of Spain in an America that that was still part of the Kingdom of Spain until 1821. In the 1820s, the Democratic-Republican Party began to morph into
what would eventually become two distinct political parties–the Democratic and Republican parties that we know today. The Federalist Party as such no longer existed in the mid-nineteenth century when New Mexico became a Territory of the United States and native New Mexican settlers became U.S. citizens.

  During his seminary days and young manhood, Antonio
José Martínez imbibed the principles of the Enlightenment. As a seminary student, Martínez excelled in canon (church) law, and had a an interest in politics as practiced by Padres Hidalgo and Morelos, architects of the Mexican Republic. He lived through and embraced Mexican Independence, and became a fervent Mexican nationalist promoting principles of freedom and democracy.

 By the mid 1830s, a priest for more than a decade, Padre Martínez had several times already been elected to political office in order to represent the Departamento de Nuevo Mexico (analogous to a state) in the legislature of the Republic of Mexico. By 1842, he requested and received from Governor Armijo permission to practice law as a civil lawyer in order to help the poor.  He appreciated the political system of the United States as enunciated ithe country’s founding documents, and admired Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. At the brink of the nineteenth century in 1799, the former was breathing his last breath when  the boy Martínez was six years old. The latter, a contemporary of the Padre, was untimely assassinated a couple of years before the Padre’s own death in 1867.

 After 1830, the Democratic Party in the United States had become a coalition of farmers, city dwelling laborers, and Irish Catholics. The Cura de Taos might have been attracted to such a political party that welcomed Irish Catholics. He most likely would have been in deep sympathy with the Democratic Party’s opposition to anti-immigrant nativists who held strongly negative views about all foreigners, or native-born Catholics, Jews and Negroes.

  However, Padre Martínez most likely would have initially opposed the Democrats’ embrace of the War with Mexico, the expulsion of eastern American Indians, and the acquisition of vast amounts of new land in the West. He also most likely would not have favored unlawful expansion of settlers squatting on land owned by him or anyone else among his broadly extended family or other New Mexican long-time settlers.

  Padre Martínez explicitly and vociferously opposed the process of Manifest Destiny, but after a process of mature deliberation, his political thinking shifted. He decided that New Mexico would be better off under the flag of the United States rather than that of the Mexican Republic.  Soon after occupying New Mexico in the name of the United States Government, General Stephen Watts Kearney invited the Padre to Santa Fe in August 1846.  His biographer Santiago Valdez in 1877, a
decade after the Padre’s death, described the meeting:

General Kearny invited all the prominent men of the Territory to visit him at the
capital, and Padre Martinez was tendered a special invitation…Padre Martinez, accompanied by his brothers [all escorted by Captain Charles Bent and his men]…left for Santa Fe, [and] during this visit, all three were sworn in as American citizens.[2]

  Almost immediately after his return from Santa Fe, in September 1846, Padre Martinez transformed into a law school the preparatory seminary that, with the full permission and encouragement of his Bishop
Zubiría of Durango, he had begun at his home in Taos more than a decade prior. Sixteen young men who had begun their preparatory education for the priesthood with Padre Martínez were eventually ordained to serve as clergymen throughout New Mexico. Padre Martínez, however, was now convinced that henceforth, instead of the clergyman,the attorney would be the one to “ride the burro”.[3]  The young men who studied at his law school went on to become attorneys and politicians to influence the development of New Mexico for years to come.

  General Kearny appointed Governor Donaciano Vigil in early 1847 to succeed the assassinated Governor Charles Bent, and Vigil selected Padre Martinez to preside over a Convention held in Santa Fe in
October 1847. One of the principal tasks of this convention was to facilitate transition from a military government to one purely civil in character. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 formally concluded the U.S.-Mexican War.  As a consequence, the whole swath of land
north of Mexico that we call the American Southwest—including the vast territory of New Mexico that at the time also included Arizona and sections of Utah, Wyoming and Texas—transitioned from territory belonging to the Republic of Mexico to territory under the government of the United States of America.

  Having as a legislator in the Assembly of the
Departamento de Nuevo Mexico (analogous to a “state”) of the Mexican
Republic, Padre Martinez was elected “Senator of the First Senatorial District of Taos and Rio Arriba” and “embraced the Democratic or anti-slavery party”.[4]  In Santa Fe on October 12, 1850, Padre
Martinez presided over the second General Convention of the New Mexico as a Territory of the United States.  That assembly
requested the U.S. Congress abolish military rule and establish Civil
Government in New Mexico.

  By 1851, there was a third Convention of New Mexico, a Territory of the United States no longer under Military Rule. In preparation for elections, New Mexicans were choosing the political party to
which they wanted to belong as citizens of the United States.  However, the choices were still largely limited to either the Democratic-Republican Party or the Whigs Party.  Although the national Democratic Party and
the Republican Party were each in their infancy, neither party was quite formed in its present state nor yet very well known.  The question remained: what was the political affiliation of Padre Martínez during the American period?

 Marta Weigle in Brothers of Light, Brothers of Blood, her classic treatment of the Penitentes (the New Mexican-southern Colorado folk society whose members were known for their great devotion to the Passion of Christ), hints that he may have been a Republican insofar as many of the moradas (gathering centers for Penitentes) seem to have also been strongholds for the Republican Party. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) came into existence in 1848, the year of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ratified the results of the U.S.-Mexican War.
 By the 1860s, especially after the Civil War, the Whigs would also fade away completely. The Republican Party, conceived in 1850, took some years for party identity and loyalty to develop.  Within a decade, it became the “anti-slavery” party in which Abraham Lincoln ran and won as its first presidential candidate.

  The so-called “Democratic Party,” to which Santiago Valdez, the biographer of Padre Martinez, claimed the Padre belonged, was more accurately the Democratic-Republican Party that identified itself in opposition to the Whigs. The issue of slavery helped bring political identity into focus. Democrats and Whigs were divided on the issue of slavery. Democrats in Congress, especially those of the so-called “solid south,” passed the hugely controversial pro-slavery Compromise of 1850, while the Territorial Government of New Mexico was taking shape.

  Under the leadership of Padre Martinez, New Mexico—in opposition to the Democratic “solid South”—insisted New Mexico be admitted into the Union as a Free State.  In state after state, the Democrats gained
small but permanent advantages over the Whig Party that finally collapsed in 1852.  Division over slavery and its nativist leanings against immigrants and “foreigners,” especially those of Jewish or Catholic heritage, had fatally weakened Democratic-Republican Party. Democratic
leader Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois–the future debate-rival of Abraham
Lincoln—pushed through the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 that repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820. According to the principle of “popular sovereignty,” the Act opened the Midwest territories to slavery. In reaction to this, anti-slavery activists and individuals conceived the Republican Party in the early 1850’s, and the first official Republican meeting took place in 1854. The name “Republican” was chosen because it alluded to equality, and reminded individuals of Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party. They believed that government should grant western lands to settlers free of charge. In 1856, the Republicans became a national party when John C. Fremont was nominated for President, and Abraham Lincoln four years later became the first to win the White House as a member of the Republican Party.

  Padre Martínez admired his contemporary Abraham Lincoln, considered the founder of the modern Republican Party.  By the time Lincoln was elected President of the Country, Padre Martínez was in decline on many levels–in ill health with only a few years left until his own death in 1867. Furthermore, against the backdrop of the slavery issue, new issues, new parties, and new rules were forcing a major re-alignment of political parties among voters and politicians. While the Democrats survived the challenges, many northern Democrats joined the newly established Republican Party. Was Padre Martinez among them?


[1] Santiago Valdez, Biografía del Presbítero Antonio José
Martínez, Cura de Taos
, 1877 unpublished manuscript in Ritch Collection at
Huntington Library (near Los Angeles). Fr. Juan Romero provided a contemporary English
version in 1993 that is yet unpublished, but available through NM State Archives,
Archives of Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and University of NM.

[2]
Ibid., p. 111.

[3]Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

MANUALITO DE PARROCOS: Bilingual Ritual




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MANUALITO DE PARROCOS

A
Spanish-Latin Ritual/Handbook Used by Priests For Administering Sacraments

 

The First
Book Printed in New Mexico

Published
1839 on the Press of

Padre Antonio
José Martínez, Cura de Taos

 

A Presentation for Recovering the Hispanic Literary
Heritage

 

by

Rev. Juan Romero

 

University of Texas, Houston

 

 

 

HISTORICAL AND
LITURGICAL SIGNIFICANCE

  The Manualito
de Párrocos
, [Handbook for Pastors], a bilingual (Latin-Spanish ritual), is
a small yet precious jewel that is little known or appreciated.  Published on the printing press of Padre
Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos, in 1839, is the first book published in
New Mexico, and a pioneer multi-lingual liturgical text of the Roman Catholic
Church available in what is now the Unted States.

By
the early 1830s, New Mexico was long overdue for the services of a printing
press, and Padre Martinez, with his interest in education and in political
involvement,  was a prime candidate for
ownership.  The press came in July of
1834, brought to Josiah Gregg, author of Commerce
of the Prairies
, and his partner Jesse Sutton on a wagon train from
Missouri.[1]

 Ramon Abreu bought the press from
Gregg-Sutton, put it under the charge of Jesus María Baca for the printing a
Santa Fe of a speller in 1834. Padre Martinez arrived in Taos as the
priest-in-charge by mid 1826.  He showed
his interest in primary education, and began an elementary school for boys and
girls. He prepared in 1834 the speller of twenty-two pages, Cuaderno de Ortografía, for publication
on the Abreu press, and dedicated to “Los
Niños de los Señores Martines de Taos
.”  The first booklet published in New Mexico, the
Cauderno, half the size of the Manualito, might not qualify as a book.
However, with its heft of fifty-five pages, the Manual de Párrocos definitely qualifies as a book.  The office of the
Archhives of the state of New Mexico considers, the bilingual ritual pepared by
Padre Martínez, even though printed five years after the speller, as the first book published in New Mexico.

  Padre Martínez purchased the printing press,
and took it to Taos by November 2, 1835. 
He hired as printer José Maria Baca, a native New Mexican, whom he had
met in Durango—perhaps a fellow seminarian not ordained to the priesthood. The
Padre used it for religious tracts, political broadsides, and a short-lived
newspaper, El Crepúsculo de Libertad.
After the Chimayó uprising of 1837, Padre Martinez in 1838 published his
autobiography, Relación de Los Méritos
del Presbítero Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos
. 

  The followng year in
1839, Padre Martínez published the Manualito de Párrocos for use in “Nuevo Mexico” by priests serving in
various parts of La (Custodia de) Nuevo
Mexico
that was at least three times larger than its present day
configuration. The cover of the book stated, “Imprenta del Presbítero Antonio Jose Martinez a cargo de J. M. Baca,”[2]
under the charge of Jesús María Baca.

  Bishop Zubiría of Durango during his first
visit to Taos in 1833 gave Padre Martínez to prepare from his residence in Taos
young men in their earliest stages of formation for the priesthood.  They would then go to Durango for their
theological formation where Padre Marteinez had done his studies, and
afterwards return as priests to serve the people of northern New Mexico.

  The Manualito
was a practical handbook or “manual” for the young men trained at his
seminary in Taos to use in their spiritual ministrations.  More seasoned priests also used the ritual
for administering the most common sacraments to the Catholic people in the
priest-starved  regions of the northern
frontier of the Mexican diocese of Durango while the territory was part of the
Republic of Mexico. The Manualito de
Párrocos
was a “handbook for pastors” to be used in the
celebration of the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony as well as the sacrament
of the Anointing of the Sick.[3]
The Handbook also contained the rite for funerals and some common blessings.

  As a young boy, I recall the multilingual twentieth-century
ritual for the sacraments of baptism and marriage, as well as funeral rite,
that was in the sacristy of my parish about five miles northeast of central
city Los Angeles.  The Irish already
spoke and understood English, but other diverse languages in the ritual—Polish,
Italian, and German—reflected and enshrined the cultures of various waves of
immigrants that flooded the shores of this large country during the nineteenth
century. In the same way as in the Manualito,
rubrics (directions and instructions for the priest) were in English, but the
words of the sacrament to be administered or the blessing given remained in
Latin. 

  It was not until the mid 20th
century that liturgical reform admitted vernacular in the liturgy—slowly at
first with the renewed Easter Vigil in the mid 1950s. The Second Vatican
Council of the mid 1960s permitted and encouraged use of the vernacular, although
Latin remained the official language of the universal Church.

  While only the rubrics[4]
were in Spanish, the actual words of the celebration of a sacrament remained in
Latin, the official language of the church. 
Nevertheless, this was a practical help for clergy perhaps not that
conversant with Latin.  The publication
of this bilingual Latin-Spanish ritual was ahead of its time by over a century.  Only since the early 1970s have pastoral
centers such as the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonion, now
called the Mexican American Catholic College, begun preparing and publishing
blingual texts for use in liturgy and Catholic ceremonies.   

  There are few extant copies of the New
Mexican bilingual riual published by Padre Martínez.  The Archives of the State of New Mexico has
one found in its collection of the Benjamin M. Read papers. The Huntington
Library in San Marino (near Los Angeles) has a quite brittle and delicate copy
of the Manualito within the William
Ritch Papers and Manuscripts of its Rare Book and Manuscript Collection.  Yale University, a treasure trove of works
written or published by Padre Martínez, has a copy of the Manualito de Párrocos.  The heirs
of Pascual Martínez, youngest brother of the Padre, owned a copy of the Manualito in excellent condition, but
now sold to a private party.

  Secretary of the legislature Ramón Abreu at
Santa Fe by August 1834 obtained the press from Gregg, and soon announced the
opening of the press as well as the newspaper El Crepúsculo de la Libertad. 
Mexican lawyer Antonio Barreiero edited the publication that was “a
campaign device to facilitate his election to the Mexican Congress. Padre
Martinez soon became associated with the publishing effort.”[5]  The Padre’s newspaper El Crepúsculo de La Libertad was short-lived—only six issues were
published, and none are extant. 

  One of the more prominent uses of the Padre
Martinez printing press was for the publication of the Kearny Code after Gen.
Stephen Watts Kearny occupied Santa Fe in August 1846.  “According to Lucian J. Eastin, a soldier
under who later used the press in Sana Fe to print the laws of a newly
established American government, the wood and iron hand press was less than
impressive.  He identified the machine as
a Ramage press and dismissed it as ‘a very small affair.’”[6]

 Padre Martinez published works for his
parishioners, the educational institutions he founded.  His elementary school founded in 1826 did not
benefit from the printing press.  The
students used as writing tablets and blackboards slates transported from St.
Louis on the Santa Fe/ Durango Trail. 
However, the other two seminal institutions that he founded—seminary and
law school– benefited very much from the printing press, as eventually did all
the people of New Mexico through his students in their maturity.  Padre Martinez established his pre-theology
seminary at his home in 1833, and it was succeeded by his law school in the
early fall after late summer’s American occupation of 1846.

  Although Padre Martínez did not yet own the
printing press at the time the speller was published, Cuaderno de Ortografía de la
Lengua Castelllana
, he can rightly be credited as author. Publications of
Padre Martinez catalogued in the NM State Archives include the following:

• In 1837, he
wrote his autobiography shortly after the Chimayó Uprising of the same year,
but did not publish it (on his own press) until the following year of 1838: Relación de Méritos del Presbítero Antonio
José Martinez, Cura de Taos
.

 In 1839, Padre Martinez published two more
books on his press: one was a tract on Political
Discourses On the Important and Necessary
.

• The other was
the Manualito de Parrocos (1839) that
is the focus of this presentation. 

• Within half a
dozen years after Santa Ana’s battles with Texans at the Alamo and San Jacinto,
Padre Martinez reacted against the thrust of Manifest Destiny.  Since 1842, he had written letters to his
president Santa Ana and Bishop Laureano Zubiría of Durango warning his
President (Santa Ana) and his Bishop (Zubiria) that the Americans were coming,
and would bring their Protestant influence.[7]
The following year in 1843, Padre Martinez sent them a copy of a tract he published
as Exponsicion Que…[sic].[8]

• At the request
of the General Stephen Watts Kearny who occupied Santa Fe in the name of the
United States on August 18, 1846, Padre Martinez lent his press for the
publication of the Kearny Code, one
of the most important works published on the Padre Martinez Press.

• Yale
University, a treasure trove of works written or published by Padre Martinez, has
a copy of the Padre’s published Spanish translation of Leyes de Las Indias that he used for both his seminarians and then
his law students.

TEXT

  The copy of the text I am using for this
presentation was made was made available to me through the kindness of the
offices of the State Archives of New Mexico.[9]  The text consists of 55 pages.  The first three are not indicated pages, but
the subsequent ones are paginated from 1 to 52. 
The first two un-paginated pages are mostly in Spanish.  The first is the cover page, and the second
consists of a printed preliminary note by the publisher and a handwritten note
by the donor to the NM Historical Society. 
The highlight of the second page is the Index of the work, and the
beginning of a blessing in Latin for St. Ignatius Water.

  Publisher Padre Martinez begins with a
preliminary printed “Nota” in Spanish
that speaks of publication without copyright. 
My translation follows:

When
permission for printing this handbook could not be obtained from diocesan
authority, since copyright laws were in force, there was not any change in the
method [of publication].  On the
contrary, it was faithfully copied in accord with what was put down in the
Handbook of [Padre Juan Francisco] Lopez from which this was taken.  The only exception is in the rubrics [that
are in Spanish instead of Latin], and in the administration of Holy Viaticum
that was taken from the Manual at the Taos Rectory by Rev. Father Diego
Ossorio.

  This printed note is followed by another
short handwritten note in Spanish from Benjamin M. Read[10]
that he or someone like his younger brother Larkin, who had excellent
penmanship, inscribed forty-one years after General S.W. Kearny occupied Santa
Fe, claiming New Mexico as a territory of the United States.  My translation reads as follows: “Presented
by Benjamin M. Read- Santa Fe, NM to the Historical Society of NM.  Sept. 6 – 1887.”

SACRAMENTAL
THEOLOGY

  The spiritual life of Catholics is closely
related to the sacraments.  These are the
visible signs through which—Catholics believe–Jesus Christ powerfully acts for
the salvation of believers.  The
principal sacraments are Baptism and Holy Eucharist, and others are Penance,
Marriage and Anointing of the Sick.  The
sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders are restricted in their
administration to the bishop, unless a priest is given a special delegation to
confirm.  These later two sacraments are
normally administered by a bishop, and so are not included in the handbook for
parish priests published by Padre Martinez. 
Also not included in the Manualito
are Eucharist as Sacrifice (the Mass) and Peance, although Holy Communion for
the sick and a penitential blessing for the sick are included.  This ritual contains the official rites and
prayers in Latin for the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, and Anointing of the
Sick, as well as funeral and burial rites.

PERSONAL
SIGNIFICANCE

  In 1993, I was doing research on Padre
Martinez at the New Mexico State Archives in Santa Fe, and was handed the Manualito de Parrocos to peruse.  At the time, I was residing at the
Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert in Abiquiu, the birthplace of
Padre Martinez.  One of my great
interests and passions both as a seminarian and as a parish priest has been the
study of and proper celebration of the “sacred mysteries,” the sacred liturgy,
and ministering the sacraments of Christ to God’s people.  Perusing the Manualito of Padre Martinez became a holy experience for me–
touching and reading the Latin-Spanish text of this bilingual ritual put
together by the priest of Taos.  He had
lived a short stone’s throw from the house on Ledoux Street in the center of Taos
that my grandfather and father had built of adobe.  My experience paralleled that of Michael
Olivas—a former seminarian and lawyer from Santa Fe, and professor at the
University of Houston—as he encountered at the Library of Yale University two
books published by Padre Martinez on his press.

…what
really moved me to tears was holding copies of two books[11]
printed by the Martinez press…  The first
was…a book on Logic [1841]…  The second
work [on Law, published in 1842] was even more evocative to me…  These glorious documents produced so many
emotions in me that I sat for some time simply trying to process all the
complex and unexpected feelings welling up inside me: having familiarized
myself with the works enough that I could recognize the typesetters reminded me
of my early graduate work…  I felt a
distinct pride in being able to translate Latin and Spanish documents…being a
native of New Mexico even allowed me to recognize…[certain details that would
otherwise be lost to others]…  I recalled
my…years of seminary training…completing a century-and-a-half  long arc from Padre Martinez’s discipulos to me.[12]

IMPORTANCE

  I requested from St. John’s University in
Collegeville,  Minnesota–one of the
premier institutions of liturgical studies in the United States–a list of
bilingual-multilingual rituals ever used for Catholic worship in the this
country.  To my great surprise, I learned
there was no such list available, even after consulting the “largest data base
in the world”[13] regarding
liturgical studies.  Padre Martinez in
his Manualito de Parrocos of 1839
made significant strides in producing a bilingual ritual almost a century and a
half before this became pastoral practice in the United States, a
multilingual-multicultural country.  This
ratifies what Rev. Msgr. Jerome Martinez, rector of the Cathedral-Basilica of
Santa Fe said about Padre Martinez:  “He
was way ahead of his time!”[14]

  El
Instituto de Liturgia Hispana
together
with the Mexican American Cultural Center based in San Antonio deserve credit
for picking up the ball and running with it.[15].
There are several pioneers of pastoral-liturgical bilingual ministry since the
1970s to the beginning of the third Christian millennium who—without even being
aware of it– are following in the footsteps of Padre Martinez relative to the
promotion of pastoral-liturgical service to the Spanish-speaking People of
God.  

 Certain
official and quasi-official publications are, in this regard, especially worthy
of note:

Pastoral
Care of the Sick + Cuidado Pastoral de Los Enfermos
– Abridged Bilingual
Edition.  It was “canonically approved by
the National Conference of Catholic bishops in plenary assembly on 18 November
1982, and was subsequently confirmed by the Apostolic See by decree of the
Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship on 11 December
1982.  On 1 September, 1982, the work was
given permission to be published and used in celebrations for the sick and
dying.” The mandatory effective date set by the Conference of Bishops was the
first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 1983. 
[From a Decree of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the
united States of America,  jointly signed
by Archbishop John Roach, President of NCCB and Rev. Daniel F. Hoye its General
Secretary]   Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, CSB
of Las Cruces navigated the bilingual ritual through the labyrinth of the
Episcopal Conference, and provided its Foreword.  The text was made available, i.e. published
jointly by the Mexican American Cultural Center of San Antonio and Liturgy
Training Publications of Chicago.  Rev.
John Gurrierei, Executive Director of the Bishops’ Committe on the Liturgy,
provided the acknowledgements and assured users that proper permissions from
various sources were properly obtained.

QUINCEANERA:
Celebration of Life/ Celebración de la
Vida – Guidebook for the Presider of the Religious Rite
– was publisted by
MACC in 1999.  The Quinceaños is a rite of passage for a girl of 15 to young
womanhood.  Although it is not a
sacrament as such, it is a holy time of transition for which Mexican and Latin
American tradition accompany special blessings for the liminal time of new
challenges/dangers as well as new opportunities.  There are also prayers invoking Mary as model
and guide.  There is no official rite for
the occacion, but MACC—under the leadership of Sister Rosa María Icaza,
C.C.V.I. and Sister Angela Erevia, M.C.D.P. led a working group to produce this
perfectly bilingual Spanish-English ritual on 73 parallel pages[16]
as a gift to the Church in the United states.

• The Order of Christian Funerals is a
much more formal and sophisticated liturgical bilingual text officially
published by THE LITURGICAL PRESS of Collegeville, Minnesota in 2002: ORDER OF
CHRISTIAN FUNERALS – Vigil, Funeral Liturgy, and Rite of Committal:
APPROVED FOR SE IN THE
DIOCESES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF
CATHOLIC BISHOPS AND CONFIRMED BY THE APOSTOLIC SEE

THEOLOGICAL
APPRECIATION

  A
short course in Catholic sacramental theology will help the reader of this presentation
to appreciate the richness and significance of Padre Martinez’ bilingual ritual
published in 1839 within what is now the United States. 

Sacraments
are Signs

  Sacraments
are visible signs that are efficacious of God’s saving grace.  Jesus, according to some mid- twentieth
century theologians is the fundamental, basic and primary sign of God’s saving
love.  Through His becoming man, He made
the eternal love of the Father accessible, visible and tangible.  The community of faith, called the church, is
also a sign of God’s saving presence in a world wherein faithful men and women
strive to respond to God’s call to holiness and fidelity to His covenant.  The Council of Trent, however,  in the mid-sixteenth century–in reaction to
the Protestant Reformation that wanted to restrict the sacraments to Baptism
and Eucharist–defined that there are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation
Holy Eucharist, Penance, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.

Things,
Actions (Gestures), and Words

  Material (earthly) things (“matter”), e.g. water, oil, bread, wine,
etc. are very important aspects of a sacramental sign.  Symbolic gestures
(actions)
enhance the sign value in the celebration (administration of) a
sacrament.  These gestures are also an
important part of the sacramental sign, e.g. the IMMERSION into or POURING of
water in the sacrament of Baptism, the bishop’s LAYING OF HANDS upon the head
of a priest being ordained, the ANOINTING of the body of a sick person for
spiritual health—and also for physical health, if that be God’s will.  However, that which specifies the meaning of
the sacramental gestures and actions are the words used (“form” or formula) in their celebration/administration.   For instance, in the sacrament of Baptism,
the priest immerses into water or pours water over the person being baptized
while using the Trinitarian formula, “I baptize you in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” 
This sacrament, as all of them, uses words, gestures (action), and material
elements.   There are many other signs
and symbols (anointing with chrism, clothing with white garment, handing over
of candle lit from the paschal candle) that enhance the rite of Baptism, but
the prescribed matter (water) and form (words and gesture) are considered
essential.  Each of the sacraments have
their essential matter and form that make up the rite.

Effective
(efficacious) Signs

  The sacraments are effective signs because
they are the words, gestures and actions of Jesus who powerfully brings about
what the deeper meaning of the sacrament actually signifies.  For instance, when an infant, child or adult
is baptized, that person intimately and truly shares in Jesus’ paschal dying
and rising.  What makes the sacraments
truly efficacious is the fact—in Catholic belief—that these special signs are
actually vehicles through which Jesus Christ powerfully acts for our
salvation.  These are His words, and His
gestures, and that is why they bring about what they signify or symbolize.  That is to say that when Father Juan,
Cardinal Roger or Pope Benedict baptizes Joe or Jane Blow, it is really Jesus
Christ who acts in and through those sacramental signs that brings to life and
makes happen the deeper meaning of what is signified.  In Baptism, the significance of the rite is a
participation in Christ’s Passover from death to life.  In Eucharist, this is sharing in and being
nourished by Jesus’ own body and blood. 
In Penance, when the priest in the name of the Blessed Trinity says “I
absolve you,” Catholics believe that it really Jesus Christ who forgives the
sins of a penitent who is truly sorry for sins, confesses them, and
resolves—with God’s help—to sin no more. 
When the priest at Mass says over the elements of bread and wine the
words of blessing that Jesus used at the Last Supper, “This is my body… this is
my blood.  Do this in memory of me,”
Catholics believe that the elements are changed into the body and blood of
Jesus.  This is not magic—hocus pocus, a corruption of the words
of Consecration, “Hoc est enim corpus
meum
…”—but the effective action of Jesus through the sacraments.

Minister
of the Sacrament

  In God’s loving kindness, the efficacy of the
sacrament does not depend on the holiness of the minister.  This is because the sacraments are saving
actions of Jesus made present and available today in and through His
Church.  The ordinary minister of a
sacrament is the ordained priest. 
However, a layperson may serve as extraordinary minister of the
sacrament in case of an “emergency” such as danger of death for an infant. In
the sacrament of matrimony, the ministers of the sacrament to each other are
the bride and groom; the priest—together with best man and maid of honor—are
witnesses for the church in this covenant relationship that echoes the unity of
love between Christ and His church.  A
couple of the sacraments, such as Confirmation and Holy Orders (ordination to
diaconate, priesthood and episcopacy) are reserved to the administration of a
bishop.  However,  faculties to confirm may sometimes be
delegated to a priest.  Bishop Zubiría
delegated this episcopal faculty to Padre Martinez.

  Missing from this Manualito de Parrocos are the sacraments reserved to a bishop,
i.e., Confirmation and Holy Orders.  The
formula for the sacrament of Penance is brief, and easily committed to memory
by a father confessor.  The rite of
celebration of the action of the Mass is traditionally contained in other
books—a Lectionary containing the scripture readings, and the Sacramentary
containing various Eucharistic Prayers. 
During the time of Padre Martinez—in fact, since the Council of Trent
until the Second Vatican Council, these books were combined into the Roman
Missal, but they are once again separate volumes. 

 

SACRAMENTALS

  In
addition to the sacraments as such, there are some “sacramentals” useful in
fostering the devotion of the people, but are not part of the sacred liturgy,
the official prayer of the church. Included in this handbook, making it also a
“book of blessings,” are other prayers for certain occasion or of particular
objects used in (Hispanic) Catholic devotion. 
The various blessings included are the blessing of Holy Water for
sprinkling, and blessing of the Baptismal Font, and the blessings of crucifixes,
images of saints, a habit or scapular.  A
“habit” or “scapular” is a particular uniform or style of dress particular to a
religious order, but may also be worn by a lay associate of that order, such as
Franciscan or Carmelite “tertiary.”  When
he or she promises to live his/her state of life as closely as possible in
conformity with the ideals of the chosen religious order, a layperson may
become a member of their Third Order.  It
is called such because it follows the pattern of consecration after clergy and
religiously professed man or woman who solemnly take the three evangelical vows
of poverty, chastity and obedience. 

  Blessings serve as a kind of bookends for the
Manualito, they form a parenthesis
embracing the ritual-book of blessings and binding it with the literary device
known as inclusio, the beginning
announcing the ending that reflects it in paralel construction.  The blessing of St. Ignatius Water begins the
Book of Blessings/Ritual even before the pages begin to count, and the Blessing
of the Franciscan Cord end the book of 52 pages.

Bendición de Mortajas” is the final item
listed in the index is also the most unfamiliar item mentioned in the index of
the handbook/book of blessings.  The
blessing is for the “cords of St. Francis” that a lay person may wear, and in
the prayer the priest asks for the grace of a happy death of the persons
clothed with that cord that has three overhand knots tied closely together
toward the end of the religious rope. 
They are symbols of the evangelical virtues of Poverty, Chastity, and
obedience.

  What is contained in the Manualito is outlined in its index, and my translation from the
Spanish follows:

INDEX

Baptism of
Children                                                     1

Induglence at
the Moment[17] of Dying                          7

Concerning Holy
Viaticum for the Sick                        8

Concerning
Extreme Unction

[Anointing
of the Sick]                                   13

Burial of Adults                                                          18

Burial of
Children                                                       23

The Sacrament of
Matrimony                                                28

The second Banns                                                       33

The Blessing of
Water for Sprinkling                         34

Gospel Readings
for Proclaiming to the Sick              38

Blessing of the
Baptismal Font                                  45

Blessing of
Crosses                                                     49

Blessing of
Images                                                      50

Blessing of a
Habit or Scapular                                   51

Blessing of
[Franciscan] Cords (Mortajas)                 52

The rite of Blessing of the Water of St. Ignatius serves as
an introduction to the ritual/book of blessings.  It reflects Jesuit influence that, although
it did not predominate, was still important in the missionary territories of
America.  Padre Martinez was taught by
Jesuits in his Durango seminary.  This is
not a sacrament, but is associated to the Handbook as a Blessing.  [My translation from the Spanish]

Here is placed the blessing of the Water
of St. Ignatius.  A medal of the same
saint is to be immersed [in the water] from the beginning until the end of the
blessing.  It is used as a potion for the
sick, and to assuage storms.

[My translation
from the Latin]

            V[erse].                       Our help, etc. [is in the name of the Lord].

            [Response.                  Who made heaven and earth.]

            V.                                Blessed
be the name of the Lord.

            R.                                Now
[and forever.]

            V.                                O
Lord, hear, etc. [my prayer

            R.                                And
let my cry come unto you.]

V.                                                
The
Lord be with you.

R.                                And also with
you.

LET US PRAY

Holy Lord, almighty and eternal Father…

BAPTISM

  The actual text of the celebration of the
sacrament of Baptism (pp. 1-8) does not differ from the official Latin text of
the Roman Rite in usage during the time of Padre Martinez.  There have been minor modifications and
adaptations of the rites since the Second Vatican Council, but exploring those
are out of the purview of this essay.

FOR THE DYING
AND SICK

The Final Blessing in Latin (pp. 7-8) is to be given only “in articulo mortis,” i.e., when on is at
the point of death’s last stages.  It is
distinct from the less grave situation of “in
periculo moris
,” that translates to “in danger of death.”

Holy Viaticum 
(pp. 8-13) is another name for the Holy Eucharist given to someone
who  is quite ill—“in danger of death,”
but without necessarily being at death’s door. The word Viaticum is a
combination of the Latin words “via tecum
which means “On the way with you.”  We
are a “pilgrim people” on the way to the heavenly Jerusalem, led by our elder
brother Jesus Christ whose mission is to guide and help us enter the loving
arms of Our Heavenly Father.  The Holy
Eucharist nourishes and strengthens our baptismal life, and as Holy Viaticum,
it is the final accompaniment of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ into our
heavenly home. 

  Before the Second Vatican Council in the
mid-twentieth century, this sacrament used to be called called Extreme Unction.
 Its administration for a person quite
sick, in conjunction with the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist,  was referred to as “Last Rites”.

  The time of crossing over from this world to
the next is a most important passage.  It
is an especially poignant and pastorally sensitive moment for the person dying,
as well as for family members and friends who accompany the person to death’s
door to usher him through the passage to glory. 
As if to respect that passage to heavenly glory, part of the rite of Holy Viaticum for the sick is given
partially in Spanish.  None of the rite
is repeated nor paraphrased; different parts are selected to remain in Latin
while other parts are put only into Spanish. 
This includes the affirmation “
creo
” in answer to twelve questions that the infirm person is invited to
affirm in the rite of renewal  of the
creed,  together with renewal of baptism
commitments to reject sin and Satan.  The
sick person is then invited to reconcile himself to anyone he may have injured
by pardoning and asking for pardon.

  The traditional formula before Holy Communion
follows.  It is said in Latin three
times, “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.  Say but the word, and I will be healed.”[18]
The priest gives Viaticum (Holy Communion) to the gravely ill person while
using the Latin formula that I translate: 
“Receive, brother [or sister], Viaticum of the body [and blood] of Our
Lord Jesus Christ who guards you from the malignant enemy and leads you to
eternal life.”  The response is
“Amen.”  (p. 12)

The Way of Administering Extreme Unction  (pp. 13-18)

  This sacrament is celebrated all in
Latin.  It is now called Anointing of the
Sick, no longer the “last anointing.” 
Because it was too closely associated with death and dying, family
members were often reluctant to call the priest in spite of the exhortation in
James 5:14: “Are there any among you who are sick?  Let them call the priests of the church to
anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 
And if he be in sin, they will be forgiven him…” Post Vatican II, the
sacrament is celebrated much more liberally, no longer restricted to persons
seriously ill.  In fact, elderly persons
who are in good enough health are encouraged to celebrate the sacrament on a
timely basis, maybe yearly.  It principal
effect—Jesus acting through this sacrament as he does through all of them—is
SPIRITUAL healing, and if it be God’s will—then physical healing as well.  The anointing of the five senses is
preserved, whereas in the revised rite of Vatican II, only the forehead and palms
of the hands are anointed.

The Form of Burying Adults (pp. 18-23)

  This rite is all in Latin, and begins at the
home of the deceased with the priest’s sprinkling three times the body of the
deceased with Holy Water, while reciting Psalm 129 [130][19]
in Latin—De Profundis:  “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord….”
The psalm is ultimately one of hope. 
“…My spirit has hoped in the Lord…let Israel hope in the Lord…and He
will redeem Israel from all its iniquities…”

The Burial of Children (pp. 23-28)

  The language of this rite is Latin except for
the Greek litany Kyrie, Criste, Kyrie
eleison
…Lord/Christ have mercy!  The
mood of this rite is not somber, but upbeat and even light.  The procession from home to church includes
the Our Father and the Psalm 148: “Young people, and virgins, and old men with
younger, praise the Lord from the heavens.” 
The beautiful song of the Three Young men in the fiery furnace is the
key scripture of this service.  This
prayer gives voice to all of creation to praise the Lord: Benidicite!  Praise the Lord!

THE SACRAMENT OF
MATRIMONY (pp. 28-33)

  As a canon lawyer, Padre Martinez was quite
meticulous pertaining to what constituted a valid marriage.  In the introductory exhortation to the
contracting spouses, the rite outlines in Spanish impediments to
contracting marriage: “consanguinity, affinity or spiritual bond or public
continence [honestidad]…previous
bonds (of matrimony) or religious vows.

  By the free response to the key question
proposed first to the bride and then the groom, they become spouses, mutually
expressing their free consent in Spanish before the witnesses—priest and padrinos.

Sac(erdote): Señora/Señor N., ¿quiere al
Señor N. por su legitimo esposo, y marido, por palabras de presente, como lo
manda la Santa, Catolica y apostolica Iglesia Romana?…

R. Si quiero.

¿Se otorga por su esposa y muger [sic]?

R. Sí otorgo.

Sac. ¿Recibelo [sic] por su esposo y marido?

R. Si recibo.

Nuptial Blessing – (De Las Segundas
Nuptias
)

  The rubric in Spanish indicates that the
priest imparts this blessing after Mass while the spouses are kneeling before
the altar.  The brief prayer recalls the
nuptial blessing that Yahweh conferred upon Sarah and Tobias to whom  the Angel Raphael was sent to help find a
wife.

THE BLESSING OF
HOLY WATER (pp. 34-37)

  This sacramental is a reminder of the sacred
waters of baptism through which we first pass over with Jesus from death to
life.  It is used for sprinkling and
purifications as well as for blessings of oneself or others.  Part of the rite includes an exorcism using
salt as an instrument of purification. 
Salt is also considered a symbol of welcome, as when a traveler arriving
into a home was offered salt to replenish the salt in the body lost through
perspiration.  It is also considered as
an agent of preservation before refrigeration. 
Salt, however, in modern times is no longer used in the blessing of holy
Water nor in the rite of Baptism.

GOSPELS TO BE
PROCLAIMED TO THE SICK

  This compendium of scripture readings is used
to spiritually comfort the sick.  The
texts are in Latin, but it is supposed that the priest would pastorally comment
upon the selection for the benefit of the infirm person as well as the family
gathered.  The scriptures include
selections from the following Gospels: Matthew 8, Mark 16, Luke 4, John 5.

After
the reading is proclaimed and commented upon, the priest is directed to impose
hands—a liturgical gesture utilized in the celebration of every sacrament.

[Rubric in Spanish] Acabada la ultima Oración, ponga el Sacerdote
la diestra sobre la cabeza del enfermo, y diga,

 

[My translation from
the Latin]  They imposed their hands upon
the sick, and the got well.  Jesus son of
Mary, may the Lord and health of the world be with you through the merits and
intercession of His Apostles Peter and Paul and all the saints.  [The prologue of St. John’s Gospel follows.]

Blessing of a Baptismal
Font and Exorcism of the Water
(pp. 45-49)

  The prayers are in Latin.  The Holy Oil of Chrism and the Holy Oil of
Catecumens –both used in the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism– are
used in this blessing of water.  These
holy oils were customarily used for the solemn blessing of baptismal water  at the Easter Vigil Service, but are no
longer used.

• Blessing of a New Cross (Crucifix) (p. 49)

• Blessing of Images (pp. 50, 51)

• Blessing of Anything (p. 51)

• Blessing of the Franciscan Cord (pl 52)

 

[End of selections from Ritual]

* * * * *

  The publication of the Manualito corresponded to an obvious
spiritual need of a deeply religous people living in northern New Mexico that
was the northern extremity of the Kingdom of Spain from 1598 until 1821.  It included Arizona and Colorado as well as
parts of Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.  Under
the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the immense land mass, wrested from the
northern Republic of Mexico, became territories of the United States now
collectively know as the “Southwest.”  Priests working in these far-flug outposts
broung spiritual comfort and blessings through the sacraments to Spanish-speaking
people throughout New Mexico and beyond. 
The Handbook for Pastors that
Padre Martínez of Taos prepared and published on his press had a great
spiritual impact of the people for many years, and its impact has continued
within the religious faith of the people until today. 

           



[1]
Pamela S. Smith, Pam Smith with Richard Polese, “The Church and the Press:
Nineteenth-Century Beginnings,” in Passion
in Print: Private Press Artistry in New Mexico – 1834 to Present
, Museum of
New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2005, pp. 223, p. 19.

 

A brief
treatment on the Manualito de Párrocos
that I wrote is available on website http://dev.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=23181
of the New Mexico Office of the State Historian. The fuller development of the
topic and virtual-book that used to be on-line, however, are no longer
accessible on the site.  

 

[2]
Cf. Henry R. Wagner, New Mexico
Historical Review, Vol. XII, No. 1.  This
resource was graciously brought to my attention by Pam Smith of Abiquiu.  She is author of Passion in Print (above), and former
director of the Press of the Palace of the Governors, Museum of New
Mexico.  She serves as an adjunct professor
and faculty member of the College of Santa Fe where she teaches classes in the
book arts.

 

 

[4]  In an official liturgical book of the
Catholic Church, directions for the priest are printed in RED.  The Latin word for the color is ruber from which we get the word
“rubrics” giving directions for the gestures or actions the priest is to use
while saying the appropriate words and using the apt materials for the
administration of a particular sacrament or in an other liturgical clebartion.

[5]
Ibid.

[6]
Smith, op. cit., p. 19.

[7]
Valdez, op. cit., p. __.

[8]
In this work, Padre Martinez gave his assessment of the political and religious
situation of New Mexico and its inhabitants—both the Native Americans and
Spanish settlers before the arrival of the Anglo Americans.

[9]
I have seriously tried to obtain a copy of Manualito
since July of this year, but it found it very difficult.  I finally obtained a copy at the place where
I began the search last July.  I am
sincerely grateful to NM Historian Estevan Rael-Galvez,  his associate Dennis Trujillo, and archivist
Melissa Sanchez as well as senior archivist and Sandra Jaramillo for having
staff people take another look and finally unearthing the document in the
Benjamin Read Collection.

[10]
Benjamin Maurice Read is the author of Illustrated
History of New Mexico
published in 1912, the year of New Mexican
statehood.  He is, in New Mexican
parlance a “coyote,” i.e. the child
of one parent who is Hispanic and the other Anglo.  His mother Ignacia Cano from Spain, and her
family migrated to NM.  His father,
Benjamin Franklin Read, was US-Mexican War soldier, and is purported related to
THE Benjamin Franklin through one on his wives whose last name was Read. Larkin
was the younger brother of Benjamin Maurice, and he married a niece of Padre
Martinez.  Through her, Larkin and his
older brother  Benjamin had easy access
to many of the Padre Martinez papers. 
Santiago Valdez,  a putative son
of Padre Martinez, solicited the help of the Read brothers to finalize his
biography of Padre Martinez completed in 1877, a decade after the death of the
Padre. Benjamin M. is a bilingual-bicultural pioneer historian of NM and
contemporary of fellow historian Twitchell. 
Because of B.M. Read’s cultural heritage, he was able to write with a
distinct perspective inaccessible to non-native Spanish speakers.  Read was an early member and benefactor of
the NM Historical society.  NM Secretary
of State William Ritch was president of the group, and became a benefactor of
the Huntington Library’s Ritch Collection that houses the Valdez Biography of
Padre Martinez in San Marino, California.

[11]
Algunos Puntos de Logica (1841) for
beginning the study of philosophy, and Institucionesde
Derechdo real de Castilla y de Indias
(1842) for use in the study of canon
law.

[12]
Michael A. Olivas, “Reflections Upon Old Books, Reading Rooms, and Making
History,” University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law – LAW REVIEW, Vol.
76, Sring 2008, No. 3, pp. 817-18.

[13]
Telephone conversation on September __, 2008 with Sister ______, in charge of
library research at the Universty of St. John’s, Collegeville.

[14]
Interview with Father Jerome Martinez for the film documentary The Dawning of Liberty by Paul Espinosa
of Espinosa Productions.  Filmed c. 2004,
not yet fully produced or released.

 

[15]
Particular people who deserve credit are retired Archbishop Patricio Flores of
San Antonio for his wonderful support of MACC and its efforts of
pastoral-liturgical contributions for the Spanish-speaking of this
country.  Also deserving special credit
are Rev. Virgil Elizondo, founding President of MACC, and Bishop Ricardo
Ramriez who succeed him in that post, and now serves as the Bishop of Las
Cruces New Mexico.  Sister Rosa María
Icasa, also of MACC, did much work in preparing and directing the preparation
of liturgical texts.  Sister Angel
Erevia  did much early work for MACC in
developing the ritual for the Qunice Años
Celebration. 

  Father Juan
Sosa of the Archdiocese of Miami is the founding President of the Instituto de
Liturgia Hispana that served as an engine to get some of the liturgical texts
approved and accepted for publication.

[16]
Although the document/ritual for Quinceaños
has 73, pages, there are footnot references to pages74-80.  It’s a puzzlement!  On p. xv (Romal numeral of the introduction),
there is footnote 21 that says “See Romero, 74-80.”  Footnote #22 indicaes “Romero, 75.”  The puzzlement is that my brother wrote a
book on Hispanic Devotional Piety, published by Orbis Press in which he treated
from a biblical perspective Quinceaños
and other forms of popular piety.  I
authored a monograph on Faith Expressions of Hispanics in the Southwest that
somewhat treats the Quinceaños along with several other “faith expressions.”  I also wrote a fifteen-page essay on
Quinceaños on the topic of Quinceaños from anthropological, sociological,
catechetical  and liturgical
perspectives.  To which Romero does the
footnote refer?  Stay tuned!

[17]
In periculo mortis means in danger of
death, and is to be distinguished from in
articulo mortis
and refers to the fact that one clearly seems to be very
near death, or in the act of/at the moment of dying.

[18]
The official English translation in the United States for the phrase “…et sanabitur anima mea…” over the past forty plus years has been
“…and I will be healed.”  Its
biblical-liturgical language reflects the inseparability of personhood.  It is in contrast to Greek philosophical
categories of “body/soul” that in concept and language seems to
compartmentalize and dichotomize the integrity of the human person.  The word 
“soul” could be legitimately understood as “whole person,” as when we
say that Joe Blow is a “good soul.” 
However, in normal speech, it is usually used in contrast to body,
although to complement and inform it. 
The better translation of the Latin sanibitur
is, I think, “…and I shall be healed.” 
Nevertheless, in this country and other English-speaking countries, we
will soon be going “back to the future,” reprising the hylomorphic category of
body/soul compartmental-ization  instead
of emphasizing the integrity of personhood.

[19]
The enumeration of the Book of Psalms is off by one after one of the early
psalms (9?).  St. Jerome in translating
the scriptures from Hebrew to Latin combined one of the psalms, but scholars
translating into modern languages from the original do not go through the
Latin, and thus keep the older enumeration. 
This discrepancy is to be carried over into all references to Psalms in
this essay.

EXCOMMUNICATION OF PADRE MARTINEZ

THE INVALIDITY OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL CENSURE AGAINST PADRE ANTONIO JOSE MARTINEZ

 A Presentation for the New Mexico Historical Society

On the Occasion of the 300th Anniversary of the

Founding of Albuquerque

 April 22, 2006

 by

 Rev. Juan Romero

 Happy birthday Albuquerque!  In the early1940s, at the dawn of my consciousness, our family lived here for a while.  We came from Taos to this city’s lower elevation for mom’s health, but then we moved to Los Angeles in 1943 for dad’s job with Lockheed Aircraft.  From family members and from a large glass-encased poster at the edge of the Taos Plaza, I first learned about Padre Antonio José Martinez, Cura de Taos.  In mid July of this year, ten days before the anniversary of his death in 1867, Padre Martinez will be commemorated with a life-sized bronze likeness to be placed in the center    of the Taos Plaza.  It will reprise what his peers in the New Mexico Territorial Legislature wrote on his tombstone: “La Honra de Su Paíz-The Honor of His Homeland.”[1] 

Tradition preserved in the personal papers of his youngest brother Pascual Martinez[2] claims that Padre Martinez died repeating the Our Father.  The operative words in this context would be “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and the mutuality of forgiveness prayed for would be Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy. 

The 1877 Valdez biography[3] records the early life of Padre Martinez with several letters and documents, but says very little about his life after the arrival of Bishop Lamy.  The Pascual Martinez papers record that Padre José Lucero, his former student, good friend and pastor of the neighboring Arroyo Hondo parish attended Martinez upon his deathbed.  It is the common teaching of theologians that a person with good dispositions of love of God and sorrow for sin, and who receives the Church’s Last Rites–consisting of the sacraments of Penance, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion– upon death, goes directly to heavenly glory.  A month before he died, Padre Martinez revised his Last Will and Testament[4] that gives us an insight into his dispositions.

I declare that during the forty-two years
of my spiritual administration in several parts of this Territory of New Mexico, and particularly in this County of Taos, I have complied with my ecclesiastical ministry with fidelity and good faith to the best of my knowledge that I could….My body shall descend tranquil to the silent grave, and my soul shall appear and go up to the Divine Tribunal with plain satisfaction that I have done all that I could to illuminate the minds of my fellow citizens causing them their temporal good, and above all, their spiritual benefit….My conscience is quiet and happy, and God knows this to be true.  If anyone of my fellow citizens and neighbors complains that I have injured them, it may have been through a mental error, but not with the intention of my heart, as human creatures are weak…  Nevertheless, I have never had any intention of injuring anyone, and by nature, I have been inclined to do good, so help me God. 

Bishop Zubiría of Durango attested to the high moral character of Padre Martinez. He visited Taos three times in his tenure of the far-flung diocese of Durango that included New Mexico as it was then constituted: Colorado, Arizona, Utah and parts of Texas and Wyoming.  When the bishop visited in 1833, he acceded to Padre Martinez request to begin a pre-seminary to prepare young men for further study in Durango.  Padre Martinez had begun an elementary school in 1826, and his seminary would morph into a law school after the American occupation in 1846. 

In 1840, Padre Martinez had spent a year on sabbatical in Durango, the see of the Archdiocese at the time (and for eleven more years to come).  He caught up with course work since, because of illness, he had left seminary after ordination in 1822 but before he finished some theology courses.  This became an impediment for promotion to a “permanent” pastorate, although since 1826 he had been “interim” pastor of the Taos Church (San Geronimo at the Pueblo and its main chapel Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe at the Plaza). After his year, he was formally appointed CURA DE TAOS, the title for which he has been known in history.

When the Bishop Zubiría visited again, for the third time, in 1845, he ratified Martinez’ appointment as an permanent pastor.[5]   “He not only approved the records of Padre Martinez, but even thanked him for his skill and energy in performing his duties as minister.  As a matter of recognition, he granted Padre Martinez additional privileges for his well deserved merits.”[6]  Appointing him as “Vicar and Ecclesiastical  Judge” of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish “and its districts”[7] of the northern region, Bishop Zubiría  also gave Padre Martinez the “special faculty and power to absolve…heretics and also to rehabilitate or to suspend, as he may deem proper and according to his conscience, any priest who may deserve to be rehabilitated or suspended.”[8] These special faculties were valid for a period of five years ending September 18, 1850.[9] 

Although he had more than his share of political enemies, Charles Bent chief among them because of disagreements about land use and ownership, Padre Martinez was nevertheless  held in very high regard by the majority of the people of Taos and all of New Mexico.  By contrast, Willa Cather, in her Pulitzer Prize winning novel[10]–“the best novel ever about New Mexico”[11]—spoke for many of the Padre’s enemies[12] when she described the Padre as an ogre writhing in hell.  She may have been inspired to imagine Martinez there because of the inimical relation between Padre Martinez and the hero of the novel, a fictional and glorified version of Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy.  

In the fall of 1856, almost a decade before Martinez died, Lamy censured the Padre with Suspension whose vality Padre Martínez—ever the Canonist—legally challenged.  The following year, in the spring of 185, Bishop Lamy excommunicated Padre Martínez “with all of the required formalities…servatis servandi.”[13]  Here is how one author described the dramatic scene of the excommunication:

Machebeuf appeared in the Taos church [of
Our Lady of Guadalupe] to celebrate High Mass and to pronounce the excommunication.  Tension was almost tangible.  The church was filled, and the people stood outside to hear the ceremony and to watch each other, and to see
who had guns.  When time came for the
sermon, Mauchebuf explained the meaning of excommunication of which most people had no understanding except that it was the Church’s ultimate discipline; and then he read the instrument itself to a hushed congregation and finished the Mass…There was no disturbance, though everyone felt the precarious atmosphere…[14]

The “instrument” of excommunication, part of “all the required formalities,” was likely from the Roman Pontifical containing ceremonies used by a Bishop in the nineteenth century:

Since I, [Name of Bishop], having legitimately warned [him] for the first, second, third and fourth times of the malice for which he is being convicted for whatever he has done or not done,  and since he has shown contempt for fulfilling my command to renounce his contumacy,[15]  and since he is remaining stubborn [exigente] in his rebelliousness, I therefore excommunicate him with these written words:  By the authority of the omnipotent God Father, and the Son and Holy Spirit, and by the authority of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and all the Saints, I denounce him.  He is to be avoided [vitandus] for as long a time as it may take until he will have fulfilled what is mandated, in order that his spirit may be saved on the day of judgment.[16]

Joseph P. Mauchebeuf, Vicar General for Bishop Lamy and later first bishop of Denver, is the one who pronounced the excommunication, according to Howlett, author of Mauchebeuf’s biography. A couple of years later on July 1, 1860, Bishop Lamy himself came to Our Lady of Guadalupe parish to administer the sacrament of Confirmation to over 500
adults and children of the Jurisdiction of Taos.   He put this note in the book of Baptism records of the parish:

Since our last visit [to the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe] in August of 1855 until the present date, various pastors have succeeded in this Jurisdiction whom we had to move for grave and critical circumstances….It is our painful obligation to observe here that at the beginning of the year 1857, we had to punish with suspension Sñr. Cura Martinez for his grave and scandalous faults and for his publications against order and the discipline of the church. Regretfully, however, he did not pay attention to the censures, and before long, he began to say Mass, administer the sacraments, and to publish things even more scandalous.  We then saw ourselves obliged to excommunicate him, servatis servandis, with all of the required formalities.  Since that time, this unfaithful [infeliz] priest has done all in his power, and in a most diabolical manner, to provoke a schism in public as well as in private, pretending to say Mass, administer the sacraments, and thus
loosing a great number of souls. However,  in spite of this schism, the major part of the faithful remain on the side of order and of legitimate authority, as this book of entries proves…Thus it is that while some lose faith, because they have forsaken good works, others are strengthened in
procuring the good of souls and the glory of God.[17] 

Only God is judge of ultimate destiny. However, the passage of time and critical history helps to evaluate a person’s rightful place in the earthly hall of merits and accomplishments. Antonio José Martinez was a liminal man of both the church and of the nation.  His life was at the threshold of three distinct eras that spanned the history of New Mexico, under Spain (two and a quarter centuries), under Mexico (twenty-five years), and under the United States since 1846.  As an actor and positive contributor to each distinct epoch, he was on the threshold of each, and helped his people of New Mexico segue one to another, sometimes with pain and/or struggle.  He was a churchman, rancher, educator, journalist, printer, publisher, lawyer and politician who lived in a time of great transition.  He was a man of the people, and one of the great figures of New Mexican history.  Although there were shadows in his life, the light emanating from him far outshone any darkness.  Indeed, he was a luminary of this time, a renaissance man only now coming to be better and more widely appreciated. 

His ecclesiastical superiors held Antonio José Martinez in very high regard as a seminarian in Durango.  He excelled in his studies, especially in philosophy and canon law. Bishop Castañiza who ordained Martinez favored him, and even considered appointing him as a first assignment to La Parroquia, the principal parish in Santa Fe, precursor to the Cathedral.  Bishop Zubiría who succeeded Bishop Castañiza also recognized the talents of the priest of Taos and showed his appreciation of him on all three of his visits to Taos: in 1833, in 1845, and in 1850 on the eve of the great transition. 

On his third and last visit in 1850, barely a year before Bishop Lamy arrived in Santa Fe, Bishop Zubiría gave Padre Martinez special faculties that again showed his complete confidence in the Priest of Taos.  Among the faculties, ironically, was to absolve penitents from suspension and excommunication.

The mid 1840s encompassed the “transcendent epoch” that brought tumultuous changes to New Mexico.  The engine was Manifest Destiny, the U.S.-MEXICAN WAR was the powerful train that came into New Mexico in 1846.  Its caboose was the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and its railroad tracks continue to lead forward defining and shaping our own place and time.  Territories that had belonged to Spain since 1598, and then to Mexico since1821, now became territories of the United States of America. The political change affected church organizational structure.  By 1850, New Mexico was taken from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Durango in Mexico and became an Apostolic Prefecture under the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri in the United States until Santa Fe became its own Diocese and later Archdiocese.

The historic tension between France and Spain was a backdrop for the cultural clash that was to distance the new Vicar Apostolic Jean Baptiste Lamy from New Mexico’s native clergy that Padre Martinez helped so much to develop. The 1850 Council of Baltimore decided to bring the new US territory under American ecclesiastical sway.  They nominated French missionary J. B.  Lamy as first Vicar Apostolic of Santa Fe who was a French-born missionary serving as a parish priest in the diocese of Cincinnati, Ohio.  Arriving in New Mexico in July of 1851, he was destined to become the bishop of the new Santa Fe diocese.  His territory of New Mexico included what is now the state of New Mexico in addition to all of Arizona and Colorado and parts of Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah. 

The initial encounters between Bishop Lamy and Padre Martinez were cordial, even warm and gracious.  Lamy seemed to genuinely appreciate the canonical acumen of Padre Martinez.  However, the pride and stubbornness of each soon began to show.  The conflict between them was, at its core, a conflict of culture more than of theology or morality.  The tension was expressed around issues concerning transition of power and authority.

One of the principal points of conflict between Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy was Lamy’s reinstitution of the practice of tithing.  In the European model of Church-State union, the government was responsible for maintaining the churches and paying salary to the clergy.  As early as 1829, eight years into the Mexican period, Padre Martinez already was objecting to the practice.  He stated it was a burden too heavy for poor people, and advocated for a change in policy.  By 1833, he was a member of the New Mexican legislature and—with the approbation of Bishop Zubiría—successfully advocated  for a change in the law that ultimately eliminated government-sponsored tithing.  Martinez promoted free will offerings in church.  

Bishop Lamy’s Pastoral Letter that initiated the renewed policy on tithing was written in December 1852, but it was not printed nor promulgated until early 1853.  When Bishop Lamy re-instituted tithing under pain of denial of Christian burial, [18] it seemed excessively harsh to Padre Martinez who publicly denounced it in the press, the Santa Fe Gaceta,  as “hucksterism” and “simony.”[19] The Pastoral ran counter to serious objections by several of the local clergy, and did not begin to be fully implemented until 1854.  The text of the Pastoral was a brief document of three pages with seven points dealing with routine liturgical and catechetical concerns.  The fifth and sixth seriously offending points tried to launch a fund raising campaign redounding to the economic hardship of clergy and faithful. Those faithful who did not comply were deprived from church burial.[20] In addition, the renewed  system of tithing reduced the income of the priests by about a third. 

Bishop Lamy in 1856 suspended Padre Martinez from celebrating Mass, preaching,  and hearing Confessions because of his public scandalous writings that attacked him in the public press. The Padre responded with a legalistic letter outlining why the suspension was invalid, because it lacked three canonical warnings.[21]  Padre Martinez was convinced of the invalidity of the suspension from his study of Canon Law,  in which he was a recognized expert, and from the church law books available to him.  However, Bishop Lamy, admittedly not all well versed in Canon Law,  may have been operating out of an understanding of church law based on different text.  There was a canon that permitted the legitimate suspension of a priest “on the basis of an informed awareness”  Jesuit canonist Ladislas Orsay brought this [ex consciencia informata] to the attention of Fr. Tom Steele, S.J. as a possible way Bishop Lamy wanted to deal with Padre Martinez in order to avoid even greater public scandal since the Padre was so widely respected by the people, it is supposed.  This was intended to give a bishop maximum latitude in censuring a priest whose circumstances of suspension the bishop might not want to make public for whatever reason.[22]

Almost a thousand people, including several Washington politicians, signed a letter complaining against Bishop Lamy and his Vicar Machebeuf.  Padre José Miguel Gallegos—after a serious tiff with Vicar J. P. Machebeuf, left active ministry and became a politician, the first Hispanic Congressman in the U.S.—drafted the letter and sent it to the Holy Father.  Although Gallegos orchestrated the letter of complaint to Pope Pius IX against Bishop Lamy and Vicar Machebeuf, these hierarchs may have held Padre Martinez responsible for having formed and influenced the former priest and pesky Congressman Gallegos.  I believe the embarrassment of Bishop Lamy and Vicar Machebeuf before the Holy See was one of the main events that triggered Martinez’ extreme disfavor with Bishop Lamy. 

Since 1852, people complained to Bishop that Vicar General Macebeuf was breaking the seal of Confession.  The Bishop told the people that he would take care of it, but did nothing. They again complained, this time with the suggestion they would go to higher authority. After being effectively dismissed, Señor Tomás Baca—with at least the passive consent of Padre Gallegos–helped to garner over 900 signatures of people complaining about Machebeuf’s behavior. 

Meanwhile, Bishop Lamy suggested to his Vicar General Joseph Prospectus Macebeuf that he consult with Padre Martinez about the canonical dimensions of the allegation of direct violation of the seal of Confession.  Martinez was at first disposed to believe that Machebeuf was guilty,  but may have been pleased to be consulted in the affair.  After hearing Machebeuf’s version of what happened, Padre Martinez wrote to Bishop Lamy that he “was satisfied”[23] with Machebeuf’s explanation.  Martinez asserted in his letter to Lamy that Machebeuf was most likely carried away with overzealous preaching, but was not actually guilty of “direct violation” of the Seal of Confession.  Ironically, this letter would be used get Machebeuf off the proverbially papal hook when the matter once again surfaced before Roman authorities in the summer of 1856. 

[Another Topic: Padre Gallegos]

binding.  (My emphasis)  What’s to re-examine?  It was an invalid act of excommunication.  There’s no such thing as rescinding an invalid act.  It is per se invalid …You can’t rescind an invalid act. …There is no evidence of any trial by peers, as was required by the Canon Law at the time, and there was no evidence of allowing Martinez to defend himself….He [Lamy] could very well not have been [aware of the procedure].  I think it would be very important [to publicly declare the excommunication invalid]….I’d think that it’s really important to rehabilitate him.…The much good that he did do should be honored….The importance of the rehabilitation of Padre Martinez is not for the person per se, but for what he symbolized.

Both baptism and funeral books of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Taos mention the excommunication.  Servite priest Father Albert Gallegos, New
Mexico native and PADRES pioneer, authored a chapter on the canonical dimensions of the excommunication in Ray John Aragon’s book Lamy and Martinez.  In his book But Time and Chance [Sunstone Press], Fray Angelico Chavez challenges the notion that there was any real excommunication of Padre Martinez, much less schism.  Anyone
excommunicated as a vitandus, i.e., one to be avoided or shunned, is supposed to have his name published in the Roman publication the Acta Apostolica Sedis.  Before the publication of that journal, the names of vitandi—those TO BE AVOIDED—would have been inscribed at the Vatican in the Second Section of the tomes in the library of the Secretariat of State.  I did a thorough search of all Martinez names in the 19th
century, and found several.  However, during my research  at the beginning of the Jubilee Year 2000, I found no mention of any excommunication of Padre A.J. Martinez of Taos in any of the three Vatican Archives: 1)  the archives of the Secretariat of State,  2) Secretariat of State-Segunda Seccione (a confidential section reserved for records of  high profile or political cases), and 3)  the Archives of the Propagation of the Faith, now called the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, that had jurisdiction over the United States during its missionary phase after Independence from England until the end of the nineteenth century. 

Notification of a formal excommunication  should have certainly been recorded in Rome, and most certainly in the archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  However, there is no record in either place, and this means that if there were any kind of an excommunication,  it had to have been a purely local affair that was kept private for pastoral reasons, and not promulgated. 

In an unprecedented moment on March 12, 2000, the First Sunday of Lent of the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II knelt in St. Peter’s Basilica, and said, “We humbly ask forgiveness.” The Holy Father’s words and gestures were “the most sweeping papal apology ever, repenting for the errors of his church over the last 2,000 years.”     In the name of the Church, he was asking forgiveness from God for key lapses which she has committed over the past two millennia.  While the Holy Father was leading the Catholic world in a communal examination of our collective historical conscience, he acknowledged that church followers had “violated the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and shown contempt for their cultures and religious traditions.”   (My emphasis) 

John Paul II continued, “The church of today and of always feels obligated to purify the memory of those sad episodes of every sentiment of rancor or rivalry.  (My emphasis) The jubilee becomes in this way for every occasion an opportunity for a profound conversion to the Gospel.  From the acceptance of divine forgiveness is born the duty to forgive one’s brothers and seek reciprocal reconciliation.”

Vatican theologians explained the Pope’s apology for past sins of the church by saying that although the responsibility for sin does not pass from one generation of people to the next, “the wounds created by sin do often linger and may require judgment and repentance back through history.” (My emhphasis)

Since he announced the Jubilee Year in his 1994 apostolic letter written to the Catholic world On Reconciliation, John Paul followed up that
important act of reconciliation with even more dramatic gestures, e.g., the posthumous nullification of the sixteenth century excommunication of the scientist Gallileo.  More recently, there was a statement of reconciliation with pioneer Protestant John Hus. 

In sympathetic ceremonies held in cathedrals throughout the Catholic world, bishops made similar acts of repentance on March 12, 2000 and specified them according to their own local histories.  In Santa Fe, Archbishop Michael Shean asked forgiveness for sins against the American Indian, women, and black peoples.  However, there was no
specific apology for the systematic reduction of the native clergy soon after the American occupation in the mid nineteenth century.  Several were suspended from functioning in their ministry.  Padre Martinez, who in spite of his brilliance and long legacy of priestly service to his people, ended his life alienated from his bishop and excommunicated from the church.  The church is holy, but is stained by the
sins of its children, and requires “consant purification.”  The “new evangelization” for which the Pope has been calling in this third millennium can take place only after there be a church-wide “purification of memory.” 
“One of the characteristic elements of the great jubilee is purification of memory,” [Emphasis mine] stated Pope John Paul II.  “…in this year of mercy, the church, strengthened by the holiness that she receives from her Lord, kneels before God and begs for forgiveness for past and present sins of her sons….We forgive and we ask forgiveness!….”

Lynn Bridgers wrote in DEATH’S DECEIVER, The Life of Joseph P. Machebeuf [1997 University of New Mexico Press – Albuquerque, pp. 268] wrote the following about the historical relationship between the French and Spanish that I believe is accurate and interesting background for the relationship between Martinez and Lamy:

A legacy of mutual distrust between the Spanish and the French served as the rocky river bed over which many Anglo and Hispanic conflicts flowed.  With the arrival of Lamy and Machebeuf, the French seemed to have accomplished ecclesiastically what they were unable to do militarily, moving their sphere of influence from the French lands of the Louisiana Purchase into traditionally Spanish-dominated New Mexico….Machebeuf’s personal views of Hispanic culture reflect a long complex process of maturation.  His early work was sometimes darkened by ignorance and misconceptions about New Mexico’s Hispanic Catholicism, but by the end of his life he had grown far beyond mere tolerance, to a deep love and respect for the Spanish-speaking people of the American Southwest. 

On February 3, 1869, a year and a half after the death of Padre Martinez,  Bishop Lamy reported on progress of vocations to his mentor Archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati. Lamy mentions a “schism” in Taos, but makes no mention of  any excommunication that is supposed to have taken place the Sunday after Easter  in 1858 or at any other time.  In an obiter dictum, Lamy mentions “a Schism” that Padre Martinez “made” (sicin 1860.  Lamy tells Purcell of the “Mission Jesuit
priest Father Gaspari was giving in Taos where “the unfortunate Martinez made a Schism that Lasted seven years [1860-1867] until the death of this said poor priest…. Most of the people, except some of his nearest relatives are coming back to obedience, and the mission which is producing a great change which leaves very few…”  
However, Lamy does not refer to any excommunication.  

Was an excommunication actually  made?  Was the prior suspension “secret,” i.e., ex consciencia informata, as some opine? Father Tom Steele, S.J. refers to Jesuit canonist Ladislaus Orsay in reference to the ecclesiastical penalty of “suspension from divine things” (celebrating Mass, preaching, hearing confessions).   Under certain circumstances, a bishop—without making it public—could invoke suspension of official license or faculties (permission) for a priest to act publicly in his diocese.  There would have to be good reason for a bishop to not make a suspension public, and it would need to be “from an informed conscience”  and for some greater good.  Nevertheless, it remains curious that Bishop Lamy did not ever publicly mention an excommunication of Padre Martinez  to episcopal peers or to family, to whom he often wrote about those pesky native  New Mexican priests.  Lamy does not mention the phrase about excommunication that he twice wrote in the parish books (Funerals and Baptism) of  the Taos church:  “…excommunication [of the unfortunate (infelíz) priest]…with all the required formalities…servatis servandis.

[12] Padre

Martinez made enemies with Charles Bent and his partners when he tangled with
them about land grant issues.

[13]Marginal
Note in Baptismal Register of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Taos for July 1,
1860, p. 143.  My translation.

[14] Paul
Horgan, Lamy of Santa Fe, Faraar, Strauss, Giroux, NT, c. 1975, pp.
243-44.  Original source, Howlett
(through Father Ussell),  Life of Bishop J.P. Macebeuf, First Bishop
of Denver
.  The dramatic scene of excommunication
was first described in Memories, the
journal of Father Gabriel Ussel who was the third successor of Padre Martinez
as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Taos, and a purported eyewitness
of the event.  Howlett  quoted Ussel as one of his sources for the
Machebuf biography, and others have followed suit: Twitchell,  Leading
Facts of New Mexico
History;
Romero, Reluctant Dawn, p. 1; Father
Tom Steele, S.J. in “View from the Rectory” in New Perspectives From Taos published by Millicent Rogers Museum, p.
99 n.3; Lynn Bridgers (embellished the account of the excommunication in her
biography of Bishop Machebeuf) in her first footnote Death’s Deceiver, 1997 University of New Mexico Press, refers to
Father Gabriel Ussel’s journal Memories.  He was the French priest who was the third
the succeed Padre Martinez at Guadalupe Church in Taos within three years.

[15] Contumacy is
defined as flagrant disobedience or rebelliousness, or persistent refusal to
obey without good reason.

[16]From the Roman
Pontifical used in the 19th Century, Ordo Excommunicandi et Absolvendi, The Rite of Excommunicating and
Absolving, edited by order of Benedict XIV and Leo XIII.  It was made available to me through the
courtesy of Pat Lyons, Librarian, St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, California.

[17] My translation
of marginal note in Baptismal Register
of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Taos for July 1, “Fifth Sunday After
Pentecost,” 1860, p. 143. Father Gabriel Ussel was the pastor of Taos when
Bishop Lamy came to celebrate the sung Pontifical Mass for the
Confirmands.  He had not visited the
parish since 1855, five years prior when Padre Martnez was still in
charge.  On this visit, the bishop
confirmed over 500 adults and children who were part of the jurisdiction of
Taos.  Spanish text is in appendix.

[18] Christmas
Letter of 1852-53.

[19] Letter of
Padre Martinez to Bishop Lamy, printed in the Gaceta of Santa Fe.

[20] The two most offensive provisions of the 1852 Christmas
Pastoral that Padre Martinez cited:

1) “The
faithful of this territory… will know that we have taken away from the priests
every faculty to administer the sacraments and give church burial to the heads
of families that refuse to faithfully hand over the tithes that are their
due.” 

2) “From
February 1, 1854, triple the parish assessment will be charged for the
administration of the sacraments of baptism, matrimony and of church burial
from those faithful who belong to families that do not fulfill the fifth
Precept of the Church [to contribute to the support of the Church].”

[21] Archives of
the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Letter of Padre Martinez writing from Taos to
Bishop Lamy in Santa Fe, Ocober 24, 1857. This letter succeeds Padre Martinez’
prior missive sent to the bishop the previous year, November 12 1856.  It again outlines the principal grievances,
and asserts Padre Martinez as “cura
proprio
,” i.e. as an irremovable pastor” who is “free of suspension.”  The various grievances or “excesses of the
bishop” are presented.  They include the
following:

1)    the
1851-1854 Pastoral Letter;

2)    the
suspension and take-over of Padre Gallegos’ Albuquerque house;

3)    the
suspension of ex-vicar Padre Juan Felipe Ortiz of Santa Fe whose house and
property was divided (although ultimately reimbursed); and

4)    the
Bishop’s alleged sale of church property—the Castrense or military chapel at
the edge of the Santa Fe chapel. 

Padre Martinez, with some delusion, also made other
un-winnable “demands”:

1) revocation of the Pastoral
Letter of January 14, 1854, because it is against the spiritual health of the
people;

2) the admission that he,
Padre Martinez, is not really suspended for lack of the three warnings; and

3) the recognition that Padre
Martinez is still the priest in charge of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, i.e.
the cura proprio, since he is an “irremovable
pastor;”

4) that the Bishop remove
Father Damaso Taladrid, and send another assistant priest.  When these demands are met, Padre Martinez
says he will consider retiring.  

[22] Father Tom Steele, S.J., academic and premier New Mexico
historian, makes a case for suspensio ex
consciencia informata
. Respected Jesuit theologian and canon lawyer ,
Ladislas Orsy, brought that to the attention of Father Steele as a
possibility.  This would be a bishop’s
suspension of a priest that would prevent him from exercising his priestly
ministries.  This woud not be done
because of anything in the external forum, but because of the bishop’s
“informed and aware consciousness” that the priest is involved in some
nefarious dealings that the bishop might not want to make the public in order
to “avoid scandal” in the church or for some other proportionate reason.  According to this line of thought, Bishop
Lamy’s suspension might indeed have been valid.
However, it is difficult to uphold or deal with that in the external
forum of law.  The (schismatic) Council
of Pistoia and the Counter-Reformation Council of Trent treated the notion of suspensio ex consciencia informata, but
it was not commonly used nor even recognized.
It may have been in some moral theology or canon law books, but not
those of Padre Martinez.  The universal
body of canon laws binding the Catholic Church in the west was not,
surprisingly, formally codified until 1917, in the 20th
century.   It should not be such a great
surprise, then, that Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy may  have been dependent upon differing law texts.
Twenty years after the Second Vatican Council, in 1985, there was a major
revision of the Code of Canon Law that leaves no trace of ecclesistical censure
ex conscincia informata.

[23] Horgan, p. __.

[24] Gallegos used
his position as Democratic Congressman in Washington to orchestrate for Pope
Pius IX a letter of complaints against Bishop Lamy and Vicar Machebuf.  In January of 1856, thirty-seven Legislators
of Territory of New Mexico signed the letter of complaints. In April 1856, they
sent it to the Holy Father from Washington, D.C. with a cover letter signed by
Congressman Gallegos.

[25] “This pastoral
seems to have provoked all this opposition…started by some priests of bad
fame…and who easily find followers among the ignorant and vicious people.  The main author of these claims is a certain
Gallegos, parish priest at Albuquerque who was scandalously living with a woman
of bad reputation.  Since he proved to be
incorrigible, he was interdicted by Mons. Lamy himself, and now is a parliament
member at Washington for the State of New Mexico.  The same [incorrigiblity] is declared, more
or less, about the other priests who signed the claim against Mons. Lamy.”

[26] My emphasis,
but the phrase belongs to the secretary-archivist accurately paraphrasing
Machebeuf’s negative value-judgment.

[27] Ibid.
The auditors of the Propagation of the Faith presented Father Machebeuf
with the documentation of allegations the Holy Father had received from
ex-Padre-turned-Congressman Gallegos writing from Washington, D.C.  The cover letter and documentation was
accompanied by signatures of over nine hundred Catholic faithful (!) including
thirty-four legislators of New Mexico. 

[28] Vatican
secretary-archivist’s summary of Father J. P. Machebeuf’s defense in Rome,
Letter #12 for year 1856-57 in Letters
and Documents of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe
.

[29] Horgan, Lamy of Santa Fe, p. ___.

[30] Horgan, p.
229.  The author of Lamy of Santa Fe continues, “and he has never failed in a show of personal respect [my emphasis] towards
the bishop…[but]…we are sure public opinion is against him.”  The “public opinion” to which
Machebeuf referred referred to that of new comers who became enemies of the
controversial Padre.  Padre Martinez was
Bishop Lamy’s most “formidable” adversary because he was the
“most intelligent and even least corrupt.”  (Horgan, p. 219)  Nevertheless, Padre Martinez continued to
remain greatly loved and exceedingly popular among the greatest number of native
peoples.

[31] Ibid.p. 219.

[32] Ibid.

[33] He was the
father of his legitimate daughter María de La Luz born c. 1819, and whose
mother died in childbirth.  After Antonio
José went to the seminary in Durango, the young girl was given to the care of
her maternal grandparents.  She herself
died at the tender age of 12.  Two other
children merit special mention: Santiago Valdez (AKA Marquez/Martinez), author
of the 1877 biography of the priest, and Vicente Ferrer Romero who became a
pioneer Presbyterian evangelist.

[34] E. K. Francis,
“Padre Martinez: A New Mexican Myth,” New
Mexico Historical Review
(Vol. XXXI, No. 4 – October 1956, p 289.

[35] He was also
the author of a biography of the Padre Sanchez, Memorias del Presbítero Antonio José Martinez, Cura de Taos, printed
in 1904.

[36] Interview with Max Cordova de Truchas, AMIGOS, Volumen XII,
Nivel III, #2 © 2001 Semos Unlimited, Inc., Santa Fe NM 87505. My translation
form Spanish.

[37] I Cor.
1:11-13.

[38] Cf. Newspaper ____ in Taos Research
Center, Nita Murphy.  Archbishop Sanchez
asked canon lawyer Lucien Hendren to begin investigation of procedure.  It seems that “Angelico Chavez advised the
Archbishop against that course of action, I do not know why.”  (Msgr. Jerome Martinez in conversation with
Fr. Juan Romero, c. 2004.)  In January
1993, on the occasion of the funeral of Father Mike O’Brien in Mora, Archbishop
Sanchez told me he was once again prepared to take up the cause.  However, he was soon thereafter retired.

[39] Msgr. Jerome
Martinez made the statement on October 1, 2001 in Santa Fe without
qualifications to filmmaker Paul Espinosa of Espinosa Productions.  Interview transcribed by Marisa Espinosa.
[jerome.doc] Monsignor Martinez stated that an ideal time to have done this
would have been during the Jubilee Year 2000.  He also mentioned that Fray Angelico Chavez
advised Archbishop Sanchez against making a public statement as to the
invalidity of the excommunication. 

[40] Ibid.

[41]Sate
Historical Archives, made available from Al Pulido.

[42] Ibid., p. 58

[43]In a
picture taken in 1903, Vicente F. Romero (Lic.), is seen as one of sixteen  “Native Mexican Workers,” clergy and/or lay
evangelists for the Presbyterian Faith.
Others identified include Tomas Atencio (#9 – student of Chimayo/Dixon),
Rev. Gabino Rendón (#13 of Santa Fe), and Rev. José Yñes Perea (#15 of
Pajarito).  Cf. Our Mexicans by the Rev. Robert M. Craig, NY, Board of Home
Missions of the Presbyterian Church, 1904, p. 102.]

[44]
Document of the Presbyterian Church, from Al Pulido.    

GUERRA MEXIO AMERICANA; POPE IN BRAZIL; BABY GEORGE




GUERRA MEXIO AMERICANA

Benjamin Maurice Read,
pioneer native New Mexican historian, in 1910 wrote from his perspective a history
of the US-Mexican War waged from the occupation of Santa Fe by US forces on
August 18, 1846 to the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of February 2, 1848.  A century and a half after the occupation, my
Uncle Tom (my father’s younger brother by seven years) helped me translate
eleven chapters from Spanish to English. 
Recently, Antonio José Martínez (it’s no accident this Harvard-trained
lawyer for Amazon Books has the same name as the famous Cura de Taos) nudged me
hard to finish the work.  With the help
of his father Vicente, with whom I have for years been collaborating about the
Padre, the work of translation is almost completed.  UNM Press has shown interest in publishing it.
Stay tuned!



POPE FRANCIS IN BRAZIL
  For the past six weeks, I have been helping to celebrate Masses at Big Bear Lake,
CA (almost the same altitude as Taos!) while the pastor has been away.  It has been a welcome relief from the
desert’s summer heat where I reside, but am now returning to help out at a
parish in Cathedral City. 

 This past weekend has been
especially busy for me: four weekend Masses and two sessions of Confessions
that is pretty routine.  What made it “busier” than usual, but at
the same time so JOYFUL and ENJOYBLE, was trying to keep up with Pope Francis
and the THREE MILLION PLUS young people with him in Brazil.  What an
extraordinary event!  Through the miracle
of wi-fi and computer, I was able to keep tabs on what was happening.  My
guardian angel woke me before 5 AM on Sunday, on time to watch what led up to
the Mass and its celebration on Copacabana Beach below the giant image of
Christ the King.  I was reminded of the final scene in Slum Dog
Millionaire that has about a hundred young people doing a dance routine between
two long lines of stationary railroad cars.  MULTIPLY THAT to equal
3,000,000 plus!  Before the liturgy began, Pope Francis viewed that choreographed
homage from a TV in the sacristy.  All banners were lowered, and a
reverential silence ensued immediately preceding the Mass.

  The Pope’s most historic and well-received visit to Brazil was strong in both
style, but more importantly in substance.  I commend Canadian Catholic
media outlet Salt and Light for their
excellent live coverage in the U.S. and throughout the English-French speaking
world and beyond http://saltandlighttv.org/live/

   (Not unrelated Congratulations
to the parents of the newly born royal baby! 
By the way, the infant has the same
name
(besides that of several of his ancestors) as our new American pope (from the continent of America) given at
his baptism—JORGE that means Geroge.

  A few coming dates important to me personally:

August 31 – my 75th birthday; October 23 – my dad’s hundredth birthday; he died in 1996; April 30, 2014 – my 50th anniversary as a priest

E-mail
address for The Taos Connection: juanrvi@aol.com

 

ST. KATERI TEKAKWITHA





 by

Fr.
Juan Romero

 

Today—October 21, 2012—ten
days after the Golden Jubilee of the Second Vatican Council and the opening of
the Year of Faith,  Kateri Tekakwitha was
officially canonized a saint.  Together
with her, Pope Benedict XVI also declared six others saints. I was privileged
to be among a crushing throng of thousands in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Saint Kateri, “Lily of the
Mohawks,” was born of an Algonquin mother and Mohawk chief in what is today
upstate New York near the Canadian border. 
She is the first native American to be canonized.  Both of her parents died by the time she was
four, and Kateri died from smallpox in 1680 at the young age of 24.

I learned today from an
eastcoaster that her name is properly pronouced KATeri.  His companion commented it was a case of potaaato/potahto.  From a NY Times article, I also learned that
Tekakwitha was a nick-name given her after she became partially blind from
smallpox.  It means “She who bumps into
things.”

It is not a stretch to connect
St. Kateri to New Mexico.  My affection
for her is related to my roots there, and my love for the Taos Pueblo and its
people.  Corina Santistevan, New Mexican
historian and preservationist, as well as one of my special mentors, has
greatly promoted devotion to Kateri in the north (of NM) where love for the new
saint has increased in recent years. 
Kateri’s canonization comes toward the end of this year that began on
January 6 with the centennial celebration of New Mexico as a State of the Union.  It had been a Territory of the United States
since its military occupation in 1846. 

It seems super-ironic to me
that St. Kateri Tekakwitha died in 1680, the same year in which took place the
only successful rebellion of Native Americans against Europeans, Spanish
settlers. Popé, a talented shaman, linguist and warrior from Ohkay Owingeh
Pueblo, coordinated the uprising beginning in Taos. Spanish colonists in 1598 had
named the Pueblo San Juan, and Popé is clearly to be distinguished from “the
pope.”  The settlers were driven south
toward the El Paso area and beyond, but returned thirteen years later, somewhat
chastened and having learned to live in peace with the original
inhabitants.  May Kateri intercede today for
all peoples to live toether in peace in spite of cultural and religious
differences. 

I see Kaeri as a “suffering
servant type,” and a figure of reconciliation. 
She died of a disease unknown to Indians before the coming of the White
man, and in that sense—although herself innocent—took our burdens upon
herself. 

I also see her as a liminal
person, one of the saints of the American continent who unites people across
borders.  Her mother introduced her to
her Catholic faith. Faithful to it, she studied it as a young woman and was
baptized at eighteen.  Ridicued for her
fatih, she moved to Canada where Catholics claim her as their own, as well as
people of the entire American continent including the United States, Central
and South America.  After more than five
centuries of evangelization in the new world of America, and four centuries
after her death, she is the first “Native American” to finally be canonized.

Today I salute the people of
the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians with whom I have been privileged to
work. The Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Palm Springs this last December celbrated
the centennial Cahuilla Indians donated land to the Catholic Church through the
Bishop of San Diego.

As we begin this Year of
Faith, fifty years after the Second Vatican Council was inaugurated, may Saint
Kateri Tekakwitha help us to grow in our Catholic faith and to be conscious
agents of the “new evangelization.”

CLERICAL CELIBACY

 

 

 

 

 

[Letter to
an artistic Taoseña,  close relative of Padre Martinez –
written 2004, revised 2012.]

 

by

 

Fr. Juan Romero

Dear Maya:

 

You
ask my opinion on clerical celibacy.  Yes, I think it should become
optional for any diocesan priest.  In my view, this would greatly enhance
the freedom with which a priest to whom God has given the charism of celibacy
will live it.  Within a few sentences discussing marriage, adultery,
divorce, and virginity or celibacy, Jesus’ disciples suggested, “it is better
not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to
whom that is granted…. Some [are incapable of marriage] because they…have
renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven….Whoever can
accept this ought to accept it.”[1]

St.
Paul gave his own witness in favor of celibacy for practical motives as well as
for theological reasons.  He was single-hearted, and counseled
celibacy to other disciples and evangelizers to be fully concerned for the
service of the people to whom they are sent instead of being wrapped up in the
cares of wife and family.[2] In
Paul’s teaching, celibacy is a charism, a special gift given by God for
building up the Body of Christ, the Church.  It is a gift freely given,
and awaits a free response.  Both the gift and response have to be free if
God is to be pleased.  If a response to a gift is somehow forced,
then there is no real freedom in the response.  Freedom has to be from
within the mind and heart.  If celibacy is a charism, a gift God
gives to a particular person for the good of the whole Church, let us hope that
such a person freely accepts the gift.

However,
a person must also be free not to accept a particular gift from God
without in any way fearing s/he might be punished for not accepting a gift
offered.  Furthermore, no one should try to pretend s/he has a gift
from God if in fact s/he does not.  The pretense is worse if the
person then tries to live as if s/he has a gift of “wisdom, knowledge, healing,
mighty deed, prophecy, discernment of spirits, gift of tongues, interpretation
of tongues,”[3]…or
celibacy.  For example, being an artist is a gift of God; it is a talent
that comes from Him.  For sure, one has to work at it in order to better
develop it.  While only some may have the gift of celibacy, there are
others who definitely do not.  Any gift God gives is for His greater glory
and the service of people.  Of course, a gift—talent
or charism—given by God may also be used for self-fulfillment and as a way
to make a living, but only secondarily.

The
Pauline text on Marriage and Virginity[4] merits
prayerful reflection by anyone interested in understanding or
appreciating celibacy.  The footnotes in a bible[5] are
worth studying and contemplating.  Here are some texts from Chapter 7 of
St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians that I particularly recommend for
reflection:

  • “Indeed,
    I wish everyone to be as I am, but each has a particular gift from God, one of
    one kind and one of another.”[6]
  • “…Everyone
    should live as the Lord has assigned, just as God called each one.”[7]
  • “Now
    in regard to virgins I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my
    opinion…that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is,”[8]
    i.e. either married or single.
  • “I
    should like you to be free of anxieties.  An unmarried man is anxious
    about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord.  But a married
    man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and
    he is divided….”[9]
  • “So
    then, the one who marries his virgin does well; the one who does not marry her
    will do better.”[10]

Clerical
celibacy matters because of the example of Jesus, the exhortation of St. Paul,
and the practice of several centuries in the Western (Latin Rite) Church.[11] However,
for a Catholic clergyman to be required to be celibate is not a dogma of the
Church, and therefore theoretically could be changed.[12] The
apostles were all married, except for St. John. We hear about how Jesus cured
Peter’s mother-in-law when he lived with them.[13] For
the first ten centuries of the Church, the great majority of clergy were
married.  At the same time, there has always been the witness of monks and
later religious order priests such as Franciscans, Dominicans, etc. who are
religious by definition because they take the three vows of
poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Celibacy is an evangelical
counsel, not a divine mandate.  Although clerical celibacy is not
essential to priesthood, it is a serious discipline.  For Catholic
clergy in the Western Church, celibacy is a matter of church law as well as an
evangelical counsel.  The bishop may punish celibacy’s flagrant violation
with the ecclesiastical censure of suspension from officiating at the sacred
duties of presiding at Mass and administering
sacraments.

In my
opinion, if the rule mandating celibacy were to be changed, that would
strengthen the freedom of celibacy as a charism by which one freely
responds to God’s call.  It is a vocation that can be lived with
authenticity only if it is freely chosen in response to God’s initiative.
It is obviously not for everyone, nor is it even necessarily a “better
way,” but only different.  It is, however, very definitely a call to
some.  Part of its importance within the Catholic community is that it
bears witness to the future—the fullness of the coming of the kingdom—when
giving in marriage will no longer be.

The
life of celibacy is essential to the chosen life of a vowed religious priest,
brother, or sister. Taking the vow of celibacy, together with the vows of
poverty and obedience, is what makes a Franciscan, Dominican, Jesuit or member
of any religious order fall into the category of a religious.  A diocesan
priest—sometimes called a secular priest[14] because
he lives “in the world, but is not of it”— is not
irreligious.  However, he is not a religious in the manner of one who
takes vows to keep the evangelical counsels.  This is one of the main
distinctions between a diocesan/secular priest and a religious order priest or
sister.  Nevertheless, the diocesan/secular priest promises to live
in the spirit of the evangelical counsels as they apply to his state of life,
but is not bound to them by the virtue of religion.

Another
important difference between a diocesan/secular priest and a religious is that
a religious priest is immediately subject to the authority of his religious
superior, sometimes called a provincial.  On the other hand, a
diocesan priest is immediately subject to the authority of the local bishop of
his diocese.  A diocesan/secular priest belongs to a diocese, the local
church.  The priest is “incardinated into” or hooked onto a
particular diocese, like a hinge on a door. The diocese is the “door,” and the
“hinge” is the promise of reverence and obedience to the particular bishop
of that diocese, together with the promise to serve the people of that local
church. The real authority for any priest has to be Jesus Christ, but his
immediate earthly authority is either the superior for a religious priest, or
the local bishop for a secular/diocesan priest.  In the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries–when there were only Franciscans in New Mexico–the
Franciscan Custos (Guardian) was the main person directly in
charge of priest-personnel.

Since
the ninth century, celibacy became a rule for all priests of the Latin Rite in
the Western Church.  One of the primary goals of the rule, as
Father Cozzen explains,[15] was
to insure that church property would not be passed onto the children of a
priest.  Priests that you are familiar with are of the Latin Rite.
Most western Catholics are not well informed about the Eastern Rites of our
one, holy, Catholic (universal), and apostolic church.  Eastern Rite Catholics believe
all the same doctrines (dogmas) that we do; they have the same sacraments
(Eucharist is central for them as well); they honor Blessed Mary with great
devotion, maybe even more than we do; and they are in union with the Holy
Father in Rome.

Both
the Eastern Rite Catholic Church in union with Rome, as well as the Greek
Orthodox Church separated from Rome, maintain their custom of a married
clergy.  However, in the early twentieth century, the Latin Church
imposed its discipline of celibacy upon Eastern Rite clergy residing and
ministering in the United States. Eastern Rite Catholics are not to be
confused with members of the Eastern Orthodox Church who also
adhere to the same dogmas, have the same sacraments, and honor
Mary.  However, they do not acknowledge the authority of the pope in
the same way we do.  Their members are our closest brothers and
sisters within the family of Christians.  Although the will of God
and prayer of Jesus is that we “all be one,”[16] we
have sadly and scandalously been estranged since Great Western Schism of
1054.  We Roman Catholics believe that our Holy Father in Rome is the
successor of St. Peter whom Jesus chose—together with all of Peter’s
successors—to be the visible head of the Church on earth.  “And so I say
to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…”[17] The Greek
Orthodox Church may have great respect for the Bishop of Rome as the Patriarch
of the West, but it does not see him in the same way as Catholics.

In
my opinion, a change in the rule of celibacy making it optional for priests of
the Latin Rite to marry or not would enhance the practice of celibacy. God
freely gives the gift (charism) to whomever He wills.  Some diocesan
priests who have received and accepted the charism of celibacy happily and
faithfully live out that life.  Other diocesan priests who perhaps feel
called both to priesthood and to marriage would be able to integrate both
vocations into their lives.  Monks and religious order priests, however,
would always live their charism of the celibate life that is intrinsic to the
nature of their vocation, fidelity to the evangelical councils that includes
celibacy.

A
change in policy would allow diocesan priests to either marry or to remain
single.  Many priests perhaps may choose to marry if given the
option.  However, those who choose to remain single “for the sake of
the kingdom of heaven”[18] would
do so because God has called them to live a celibate life and has given them
the graces to do so.  With His actual graces, the Lord helps a priest
or religious woman live their celibate vocation fully and freely.  These
graces enable a person to act with an enlightened mind to better discern God’s
holy will, and an energized heart to fully, faithfully, and freely follow God’s
will. The Lord gives these special helps (graces) to the persons He wills to
bless with the gift (charism) of celibacy.  However, each person so
gifted has to freely accept the gift, and to ask the Lord for His help to
remain faithful in living it out.

It
may be surprise you to know that even at the present time in the Western
Rite—in both Europe and here in the United States– there are Catholic priests
in good standing who are also married!  This is the case of some Lutheran
and Anglican men who were married clergymen and later became Catholics.
Keeping their wives, they were ultimately ordained as Catholic priests.

I
predict there will someday be a change in the discipline of celibacy that would
allow some so-called “permanent” deacons who are married to eventually also
become ordained as priests while retaining their wives.  Deacons are
already part of the hierarchy– the “holy orders” of deaconate, priesthood, and
episcopacy. Such deacons ready and willing to respond to the call to
priesthood will have already shown well-developed qualities of stability and
spiritual maturity.  Their stability is reflected in solid marriages, and
their spiritual maturity echoed by consistent and effective service as deacons serving
the community over a period of years, perhaps seven.  Such a deacon would
likely be required to spend a year or two in formative preparation for
ordination to priesthood.   If there is to be a change in the
discipline of celibacy for clergy of the Western Rite, the Holy Spirit will
show the way, and it will happen in God’s good time, God’s right
time.

I
briefly review for you some history of your antepasado: Antonio
José Martínez, born of the Martín Serrano clan in 1793 at the Plaza of
Santa Rosa in Abiquiú, validly married a distant relative when he was a
young man of 19.  He fathered a daughter in the town of his birth,
but the following year, his wife died in childbirth.  Two years
later, leaving his daughter with her maternal grandparents, Antonio José traveled
to Durango to enter the seminary and study for the priesthood.  At
the time, all of New Mexico and surrounding regions belonged to the diocese of
Durango that was part of the Kingdom of Spain. The year before he was ordained
in 1822, the Republic of Mexico had become independent from Spain, and Taos
became the northern frontier of the new Republic.  After six years of
study, he was ordained a priest at the age of 29.

Sickly,
he returned to Taos before formally finishing his studies, and lived with his
parents while recuperating from his breathing ailment. Meanwhile, Padre
Martinez helped the elderly Franciscan pastor of San Geronimo parish whose seat
was at the Taos Pueblo.  The parish included Our Lady of Guadalupe
Church at the Taos Plaza, a mission of the Pueblo Church, and the church of his
boyhood.  He got better, and was assigned as the priest in charge of
Tomé south of Albuquerque, and then another stint at
Santo Tomás Church in Abiquiú where he had been baptized,
married, and where his wife lay buried.  During this time, he had the
opportunity to re-connect with his daughter who was living with her
grandparents, his in-laws and parents of his deceased wife.  Alas,
within a year, his daughter María de La Luz also died at the young
age of twelve in the year 1825.  By 1826,
Padre Martínez was assigned to become the priest in charge of San
Geronimo parish that included his beloved church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in
Taos.  He was to have an eventful career for the next forty-two years
not only as a priest, but also as an educator, journalist-printer-publisher,
rancher, lawyer and politician.  His concern for the poor wherever he
was became a hallmark of his ministry.

In
1851, Santa Fe and its environs (including Taos) became part of a new diocese
within the United States.  However, after a few years, he began to
have conflicts with his bishop, and the last years of his life were clouded in
controversy with his new bishop.  However, his peers in the
Territorial Legislature continued to hold him in high regard, and upon his
death in 1867 carved this encomium upon his tombstone: “La Honra de
Su País
/The Honor of His Homeland.”

Padre
Martinez was an intellectual and practical leader who did wonderful things for
the benefit of the people of New Mexico and beyond.  His
accomplishments were great, and so were some of his faults including pride and
obstinacy.  Bishop Jean B. Lamy suspended him in 1856, and
excommunicated him in 1858 for his “scandalous writings” against the bishop’s policy
re-introducing tithing.  Even as a young priest, as far back as 1829,
Padre Martinez had resisted that policy enshrined in the civil law of the
Republic of Mexico because it was an excessive burden on the
poor.  He later, during the mid 1830s, used his legislative skills to
change civil law to make tithing illegal.

Neither
Bishop Lamy nor his Vicar General Joseph Machebeuf ever
alleged immoral behavior on the part of Padre Martinez, but the fact is that he
did have children while serving as the priest of Taos.  He definitely
had a vocation to the intellectual life, and service for the benefit of the
people, especially the poor.  He may have had a vocation to the
priesthood, but he certainly did not have the charism of celibacy.

Your tío Vicente
has written clearly about the progeny of Padre Martínez, and is publishing
the results of his extensive research.  I commend to you his work
soon to be published in a genealogical journal, but wish to highlight a few
items I deem especially significant:

  • In his
    Last Will and Testament, modified and ratified a month before he died in 1867,
    Padre Martínez mentions briefly—almost curtly—his only legitimate
    daughter María de La Luz who was named after his young wife that died
    in childbirth.  He was to have two other daughters given the same
    name, the first also died as an infant.  Padre Martínez had
    a predilection for the name, and a great devotion to Blessed Mary
    under the title La Purísima Concepción de María.  He
    kept and revered a favorite image still extant among the heirlooms of
    the family; his private oratorio and graveside (campo santo)
    were dedicated to La Purísima.
  • His
    first son was born in July 1830 around the feast of Santiago (July
    25).  There have been questions about the identity of the mother,
    whether or not Padre Martinez was actually the father, and from whom did
    Santiago get his last name of Valdez.  It seems clear that Padre
    Martinez was indeed the father of Santiago Valdez, and a certain Theodora
    Marquez was his mother. Your uncle Vicente Martínez deftly
    and thoroughly provides answers to most questions raised, and I emphasize a few
    items. Padre Martinez had a special love
    for Santiago—educated him well in his own schools (elementary school, seminary
    and law school), brought him up as part of his own family (the Padre refers to
    him in his Will as “mi familiar”), named him administrator of his Last
    will and Testament. He also asked Santiago
    and Vicente Ferrer, the next to youngest son and future Presbyterian
    evangelizer, to be care-takers of his private chapel. The Padre bequeathed to Santiago and to his
    descendants the use of the Padre’s own family name of Martinez, i.e., children
    of Martín.  Finally, Padre Martinez left his precious books and
    documents to Santiago Valdez. In 1877, a decade after the Padre’s death,
    Santiago would stitch together the Biografía del Presbêtero Antonio
    José Martínez, Cura de Taos
    today found in
    the Ritch Collection of the Huntington Library near Los Angeles. A fully annotated scholarly version English
    is scheduled for publication in the near future.
  • Padre Martinez had other children with Teodora Romero
    Trujillo.  At 16, she married a Mr. Oliver, and gave birth to a
    daughter in 1826.  Within a short time and maybe at the same
    time—perhaps in an accident—both father and daughter died.  This
    was the same year that Padre Martínez returned to Taos as the new
    priest in town.  The young widow Theodora lived with her parents
    next door to the Padre’s house, and she eventually became the priest’s
    housekeeper. Human circumstances led both first to mutual friendship, and
    eventually—within four years–blossomed into a more intimate and long-term
    relationship.  Their respective fathers had known each other and
    worked together in Taos since the early nineteenth century.  It is
    quite possible that Severino Martínez and José Romero–the respective fathers
    of Padre Martinez and Teodora Romero–were business partners.  Their
    names are associated with the land and building of Guadalupe Church in Taos
    since 1804. Furthermore, Severino obtained
    some nearby land that in 1825 he gave for the building of a residence to his
    son the new parish priest in town.
    Moreover, both Padre Martínez and Theodora had been widowed at
    a young age, and each also had lost a daughter. The priest and his young
    housekeeper had a son, and over the following fourteen years, the couple would
    have a number of children.  As a loving and dutiful father, Padre
    Martinez in his Last Will and Testament explicitly and adequately provided for
    each of them.

Padre Martínez named
his next son, born of Theodora in 1831, George—not Jorge.  By
family lore, it is thought that this name in English was given to honor George
Washington for whom Padre Martinez had great appreciation.  The
maternal grandparents were José Romero and María Trujillo.

  • Next
    to the last son was Vicente Ferrer Romero, born in
    1844.  He is a significant figure in New Mexican history insofar as
    he carried on the religious and publication legacy of his father, the
    priest.  However, he did so as a Presbyterian evangelist and
    publisher of Protestant tracts.  When in his formative
    teenage years, thirteen and fourteen, the controversy between
    Bishop Lamy and Padre Martinez was cresting and exploded into
    suspension and finally excommunication by 1858.  By the time Vicente
    Ferrer Romero was a mature man entering his thirties, he came into contact with
    the Presbyterian minister Rev. Roberts, and in 1873 invited him to Taos where
    Vicente helped him establish a school. Vicente Ferrer Romero became
    an effective circuit rider appealing to many disaffected Catholics who were smarting
    and devastated the denunciation of their beloved Cura de Taos.

A
band of Jesuit priests gave missions in Taos after Padre Martinez died in
1867. As a result, many families and
individuals who had been disaffected returned to the Catholic Church, but
certainly not all.  What is true is that both Catholics and
Presbyterians over the years have become more united in their appreciation of
Padre Martinez, Cura de Taos, and appreciative of his
legacy.  At the unveiling of the bronze life-sized memorial of Padre
Martinez placed at the center of the Taos Plaza in July
2006, Edmundo Vasquez—a relative of the Padre and committed
Presbyterian layman—prayed the main prayer of dedication for the event.

Padre
Martinez died reconciled to his Church through the sacraments of Penance,
Anointing and Holy Communion administered by Padre Lucero of Arroyo Hondo—his
former student, friend and neighbor.  In my own prayers, I often
commend Padre Martínez to the Lord, and I invite you to do the same. He
succeeded in doing a lot of good, and followed his conscience.  May
we do the same.

 

God bless him and all of us!

Padre Juan

Father
Juan Romero

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Mt. 19: 10-12, New American Bible.

[2] I Cor. 7.

[3] Cf. I Cor. 12-14 for St. Paul’s theology and
practical exhortations about  charisms for
the good of the community.

[4] I Cor. 7.

[5] Such as the New American Bible published by Oxford
University Press Inc., New York.

[6] I Cor. 7:7.

[7] I Cor. 7:17.

[8] I Cor. 7:26.

[9] I Cor. 7: 33-34.

[10] I Cor. 7: 38.

[11] The discipline of clerical celibacy has been the rule for
Catholic clergy of the Roman Rite since the Second Lateran Council in the tenth
century.

[12] For a history of Celibacy in the Church, and an opinion of
its possible future direction, Cf. Donald Cozzens, Freeing
Celibacy, 
© 2006: http://www.amazon.com/.

[13] Mt 8:14.

[14] From the Latin saeculum that means world.

[15] Cozzens, op. cit., passim.

[16] Jn 17:21.

[17] Mt. 16: 18.

[18] Mt. 19:12

 

 

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE – Feastday December 12

Padre Martinez was in charge of la iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Taos, New Mexico from 1826 until 1858.  When he was first assigned there, it was an asistencia of the main parish church of San Geronimo located at the nearby Taos Pueblo. Guadalupe Church did not formally gain parish status until 1842.  Nevertheless, it is one of the oldest churches  dedicated to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe that is continually functioning as a Catholic church (now for over two centuries) in the United States.   

The first Guadalupe Church in Taos was constructed around 1802 at the La Plaza de Don Fernando.  It fell into serious disrepair, but was used until 1911 when it was replaced by another building in time for New Mexico statehood in early 1912. [My two older brothers–Airforce Major J. Tobias Romero (retired) and Rev. C. Gilbert Romero, Ph. D. were baptized at that venerable church.]   That church was sadly destroyed by fire in the summer of 1961 a few months after joyful ordination of Father Gilbert, fifty years ago this past April 25.]  A third church, phoenix-like, rose from its ashes within a year and located across the road from the original location.  
I have served as a priest at three different California parishes dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe: one in Santa Barbara, another in La Habra, and more recently in Palm Springs. Precisely one hundred years ago today, the leadership of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs signed a document with twelve signatures thereby donating choice land to the Diocese of San Diego to be used for worship.  The church built on that land is today’s Guadalupe Church in Palm Springs.  Congratulations on the Centennial!

According to the story of Guadalupe, Mary appeared to the Indian Juan Diego a few consecutive times towards the end of 1531.  Very early in the morning of December 12, she appeared again and encouraged this unschooled and yet unbaptized catechumen and urged him to take her message to Bishop Zumaraga that a church in her honor be built on the spot upon which she was appearing.  It was Tepeyac Hill in today’s Mexico City.  The actual location was the site of the goddess Tonantzin, goddess of fertility sacred to the Aztecs.
Just as Blessed Mary “took over” the cult that had been rendered to Artemis in Ephesus (Cf. Acts 19:23, sq.), so also does Mary under the title of Guadalupe take over the cult that had been rendered to Tonantzin. In Catholic theology, Mary is not a goddess, but is the mother of Jesus Christ true God as well as true man.  He was “conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary,” as the Apostle’s Creed states.  Therefore, she can rightfully be called the “Mother of God.” 
Only ten years after the noche triste of 1521 that inaugurated the Spanish conquest, Mary appeared in the center of the new world—the American continent– not as a Spaniard nor as an Indian, but as the mestiza (racially mixed) brown virgin.  “Am I not your mother?” she assures Juan Diego, and then invited him to be her  ambassador before the Bishop.
Catholic faithful and others (Catholics who are not so “faithful” as well as many non-Catholics, including some non Christians) have a devotion to the mother of Jesus especially under the title of Guadalupe.  To Spanish ears, that name sounded like a name already familiar to them.  At the Monastery of Guadalupe in Extramadura, home to many of the conquistadores, there was a “black Virgin” widely venerated.  However, the similar-sounding word in Nahuatl is translated as “she who crushes the head of the serpent”–understood as a reference to Genesis 3:15.  This biblical citation is “The First Good News” or Protoevangelium.  Immediately after the fall of Adam and Eve, God spoke to Satan in the form of the serpent and told him that the offspring of the woman (Eve) would crush the head of the serpent, but in the process, the “offspring” of the serpent would in turn wound the heel of the woman’s offspring’s.  This text was the earliest foundation for messianic HOPE that prophets, speaking in the name of the Lord, helped to specify.   Christian interpretation of that text understands  “the woman’s offspring” first of all as the human race (Eve is “mother of all the living”), then as the Jewish people, and finally as Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Mary, Son of God. 
In the middle of the Basilica of Guadalupe, the imprint of Mary’s image on Juan  Diego’s tilma  is preserved and venerated as a holy icon.  It is appropriately  flanked by the the flags of  every nation of the continent of America.  Mexico City is the approximate geographical center of the continent of the new world.  My confrere Father Virgil Elizondo likes to point out, “Just as Mary of Nazareth gave birth to Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, so also Mary of Nazareth–with her apparitions to Juan Diego– gave birth to Jesus Christ in the new world of America.”  She is the primary  evangelizer of America, the continent.