In Defence of the Faith

In Defence of the Faith: Joaquim Marques de Araújo, a Comissário in the Age of Inquisitional Decline

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    In Defence of the Faith
    Book Description:

    Joaquim Marques de Araújo ardently defended the Portuguese Inquisition for fifty years, only to find himself sidelined and forgotten. In Defence of the Faith offers an insightful examination of one man's career as a comissário of the Portuguese Inquisition in Pernambuco, Brazil, from 1770 to 1820. James Wadsworth argues that as legal extensions of the inquisitors in Lisbon, the comissários played a role far superior to what their small numbers might suggest. They were not the psychopaths, fanatics, or secret network of spies so common in the popular imagination. Rather, they were the linchpins in the inquisitional system that policed the orthodoxy of the Catholic flock and qualified candidates for inquisitional office. Joaquim Marques's career demonstrates that comissários had considerable room to manoeuvre, though they remained distinctly vulnerable to social and political shifts in power. His story reveals an institution divided against itself, which proved unwilling or unable to support its men in the field. Consequently, Joaquim Marques's attempts to protect himself and the Inquisition from attack proved futile. He died a defeated man on the eve of the political, intellectual, and spiritual upheaval he had long predicted and resisted. In Defence of the Faith is a study of the decline of the old regime and the rise of a new order in late-colonial Brazil as experienced by an unbending agent of a once powerful institution that slowly collapsed during his lifetime.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8813-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. A Note on Portuguese Orthography, Currency, and the Inquisition
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-2)
  7. Chapter 1 Setting the Stage for an Experiential Microhistory
    (pp. 3-15)

    On the morning of 17 January 1770, Joaquim Marques de Araújo entered the Dispatch Office in the Palace of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Lisbon. He knelt before an inquisitional official, placed his hands on the Bible, and took his oath of office, saying:

    I Joaquim Marques de Araújo swear upon these Holy Gospels over which I have placed my hands that I will serve well and faithfully in the office of Comissário of the Holy Office, in the which I am now established, well and truthfully according to my regulations and appointment, observing in all things service...

  8. Chapter 2 In the Name of the Holy Office: Comissários in Pernambuco
    (pp. 16-29)

    Studying the comissários and familiares permits greater insight into both internal institutional relationships and the relationship of the Inquisition with the Old Christian population than does the study of the groups prosecuted by the Inquisition. And yet the emphasis on the familiares that pervades much of the literature and the popular imagination is odd and anachronistic.¹ It is stimulated largely by the incorrect popular belief that the familiares formed a kind of secret police armed with the unstoppable power of a barbaric institution. People have long been drawn to the Inquisition because of its reputation for intolerance, violence, and extremism....

  9. Chapter 3 A Life and Career in Focus
    (pp. 30-50)

    Like many well-to-do colonials of his generation, Joaquim Marques was the product of a marriage between a male Portuguese immigrant and a Brazilian-born lady of high social standing. At a very young age, his father, Pedro Marques, had joined the throngs of Portuguese young men who sailed across the Atlantic in search of opportunity in the Brazilian colonies. He had been born in the parish of Salvador da Ribeira de Pena in the Archbishopric of Braga in northern Portugal. Somehow he made his way to Recife by about 1715 at the age of eleven. All his ancestors had been workers...

  10. Chapter 4 A Plague of Bigamy
    (pp. 51-71)

    Rather than plod through each case that Joaquim Marques dealt with, I have selected those cases that highlight his evolution as a comissário, the functioning of the Inquisition, the transformations of the late colonial period, and his response to them. These cases illustrate the range of Joaquim Marques’s experience as a comissário and the exercise of the power of the Holy Office. They also demonstrate how the exercise of inquisitional power intersected with broader historical trends that often shaped and constrained the use of that power.

    As we have seen, Joaquim Marques gained his first experience as a comissário while...

  11. Chapter 5 Of Libertines and Diabolical Doctrines
    (pp. 72-93)

    From the mid-1790s on, Joaquim Marques found himself entangled in several conflicts that eroded his ability to perform the duties of his office. These conflicts effectively challenged the nature and extent of inquisitional power and revealed the ever-widening social and institutional cracks in that power. They came from both inside and outside the Inquisition, revealing an institution and a society struggling to define new pathways in an increasingly complex political and ideological world. Enlightened thought and the political and social revolutions of the last quarter of the eighteenth century set in motion currents of historical change that challenged the very...

  12. Chapter 6 Suspended in the Agony of Decay
    (pp. 94-110)

    Joaquim Marques spent the last years of his career wallowing in the anguish of a comissário who had passed his prime and who struggled to sustain an institution equally past its prime. Nonetheless, he did not give up the struggle against Bernardo Luís or the rest of the libertines. Indeed, he expanded his front of attack, becoming ever more apocalyptic and frantic in his despair.

    This despair coincided with the crisis of authority that rippled through the Portuguese and Spanish worlds following the French invasion of Spain and Portugal in 1808. Napoleon imprisoned the Spanish royal family, placing his brother...

  13. Chapter 7 The Zeal of the Pharisee
    (pp. 111-128)

    The final defining conflict that preoccupied Joaquim Marques for the last twenty years of his life involved a heated and personal jurisdictional dispute with the Cathedral Chapter of Olinda over the nature and extent of inquisitional privilege. Together with the ongoing conflict with Bernardo Luís and his libertine compatriots, the dispute with the cathedral chapter radicalized Joaquim Marques and pushed him into an ever more critical and apocalyptic view of the late colonial transformations occurring in Brazil. This conflict has been examined in a cursory fashion elsewhere,¹ but in this chapter, I hope to contextualize it historically and use it...

  14. Chapter 8 The End of an Era – The End of a Career
    (pp. 129-140)

    When Bishop Azeredo Coutinho sailed for Lisbon in July of 1802, the deacon Manuel Xavier Carneiro da Cunha took his place in the governing council of the captaincy and as head of the Bishopric of Pernambuco.¹ The new bishop, D. Frei José de Santa Escolastica, was reappointed to the archbishopric of Bahia without ever having arrived in Olinda. The next bishop, D. Frei José Maria de Araújo, did not arrive in Olinda until 21 December 1807 and then promptly died in September of the next year. Bishop D. Frei Antonio de São José Bastos was not elected until 1810 and...

  15. Appendix: Comissários from the Bishopric of Pernambuco, 1692–1821
    (pp. 141-154)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 155-174)
  17. Works Cited
    (pp. 175-192)
  18. Index
    (pp. 193-202)