Regulating the People: The Catholic Reformation in Seventeenth-Century Spain


This study of early modern Spain uses parish records to examine the content of religious practice and belief at the parish level and the success of the Catholic Church's attempt to alter those beliefs during the Catholic Reformation.
The first three chapters explore the problems encountered by episcopal Visitors to parishes in the diocese of Ourense in northwestern Spain as they attempted to enforce the ideals of the Catholic Reformation program. The last three chapters use both quantitative and qualitative sources to contrast the expectations of the Catholic Church with parishioner participation in socio-religious activities such as naming, marriage choice, and the composition of testaments.
This work is particularly important to scholars of colonial Latin America as it describes the local religion that Spanish colonists brought to the New World.

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Allyson M. Poska, Ph.D. (1992) in History, University of Minnesota, is Assistant Professor of History at Mary Washington College.
'Allyson Posks...makes an excellent addition to a growing body of scholarship on the complex interplay between Church efforts at universal reform in the early modern period and the prerogatives of local communities in defense of their own distinct religious and cultural traditions...Poska's study should be read by all who are interested in the interplay between popular and "official"religious pracitce in early modern Europe.'
Jennifer D. Selwyn, Sixteenth Century Journal, 1999.
'This well-researched case study offers interesting material for a comparative study, not only between Galicia and Castile but between peripheral and central regions in the world of early modern Catholicism.'
R.Po-Chia Hsia, American Historical Review, 2000.
This work will be interesting to historians of Spain, early modern Europe, colonial Latin America, the Reformation, social historians and historians of religion.
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