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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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Sacred Defiance and Sexual Desecration

Sacred Defiance and Sexual Desecration

María Getrudis Arévalo and the Holy Office in Eighteenth-Century Mexico

(p.43) 2 Sacred Defiance and Sexual Desecration
Sexuality and the Unnatural in Colonial Latin America

Nora E. Jaffary

University of California Press

This chapter presents the case of María Getrudis Arévalo who smuggled sacred objects out of church in order to use them for her private sexual acts. Despite the theological centrality of the Eucharist, the officers of the Mexican Inquisition—the most powerful contemporary promulgator of social control—treated Arévalo’s sacramental desecrations lightly. They repeatedly absolved her of her crimes, sentenced her with light punishment, and, in an unusual act of mercy, even created a charitable fund for her. One reason for these nonchalant behaviors was that the Holy Tribunal, at that time, did not consider women’s sexual acts as a serious issue.

Keywords:   María Getrudis Arévalo, Eucharist, Mexican Inquisition, social control, sacramental desecrations, sexual acts, women

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