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Kristin Norget, Valentina Napolitano, and Maya Mayblin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520288423

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520288423.001.0001

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The Virgin of Guadalupe and Spectacles of Catholic Evangelism in Mexico

The Virgin of Guadalupe and Spectacles of Catholic Evangelism in Mexico

(p.184) 14 The Virgin of Guadalupe and Spectacles of Catholic Evangelism in Mexico
Anthropology of Catholicism

Kristin Norget

University of California Press

This chapter examines the celebration of the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose shrine in Mexico City is the focus of one of the largest pilgrimages in the Catholic world, as a window on to the aesthetics of contemporary Roman Catholic Church evangelism. Since Pope John Paul II, and ongoing under Benedict XVII and Francis, the institutional Church’s mass public ritual performances have shown a shift toward a new aesthetic sensibility emphasizing emotion, spectacle, and multiculturalism. Concurrent to this shift has been the gradual emergence within the Church of a new media strategy associated with the institutional Church’s campaign of the “New Evangelization”. Drawing on recent theories of the neo-baroque, the chapter explores how the Virgin of Guadalupe celebration, like those of other saints, is a key arena in the Church’s mediation of its institutional power and presence. Public, mass celebrations of this kind cannot be interpreted as manifestations solely of ‘national culture,’ for they are orchestrated partly from the institutional heart of the Church in Rome. As they are mediated through television and other mass media technologies, they create new religious subjectivities, imaginaries, and publics.

Keywords:   Catholicism, evangelism, Virgin of Guadalupe, Neobaroque, Aesthetics, saints, festivals, Mexico, religion, media

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