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Sexuality and the Unnatural in Colonial Latin America$
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Zeb Tortorici

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520288140

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520288140.001.0001

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Archival Narratives of Clerical Sodomy and Suicide from Eighteenth-Century Cartagena

Archival Narratives of Clerical Sodomy and Suicide from Eighteenth-Century Cartagena

Chapter:
(p.23) 1 Archival Narratives of Clerical Sodomy and Suicide from Eighteenth-Century Cartagena
Source:
Sexuality and the Unnatural in Colonial Latin America
Author(s):

Nicole von Germeten

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520288140.003.0002

This chapter examines the case of an eighteenth-century Mercedarian friar, Esteban Sobrino, who claimed to have sexually molested six young boys out of affection and “sincere and honest love” rather than lust, impure thoughts, or malice. By trying to render his sexual acts as “natural, innocent, and harmless for both himself and the boys,” the priest’s defense touched numerous topics within the natural–unnatural spectrum. Following Sobrino’s death in 1779, inquisitors and clergymen colluded to protect the local church’s reputation by construing a rhetorical narrative that minimized the severity of Sobrino’s “unnatural” desires and sexual acts, which spanned a broad panorama from lustful acts with women to sodomitical acts with men.

Keywords:   Mercedarian friar, Esteban Sobrino, natural acts, unnatural spectrum, sexual acts, inquisitors, clergymen

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