The Jesuits and How they Helped Native Guaranies

| March 15, 2010 | Comments (2)

The author is not Catholic but does recognize the best in other groups.The Catholic order of the Jesuits,in their relation with the Guaranies of Paraguay,showed true Christian love.This is an example to show that the idea that Christian missionaries are bad is not true.

The Jesuits

The Jesuits were always against Indian slavery, though not against black slavery like Bartolome de las Casas. From 1450 to 1500 some 50,000 Africans had been taken as slaves by the Europeans.From 1450 till 1850 it was 10 million.

At least 75%,but really alot more, of the African slaves were bought by the Europeans from the African themselves themselves, who captured people from other tribes.

That would mean that without black help the number of people enslaved would have been very little. In fact slavery also existed in Africa among the different black tribes, and had for at least hundreds of years before.

The ruins of a Jesuit mission

The Jesuit Republic

Being agaisnt Indian slavery the Jesuits in South America instituted the most astonishing institution for their defense in South America. They obtained from the King of Spain the right an area of land in the Empire and the right to Christianise the Guarani tribes, promising the king that they would repay the crown with taxes.

The Guaranies were a nomadic people,who even practiced cannibalism.who were being enslaved by the Spaniards. The Jesuits convinced the Guarani leaders to accept their protection and direction. So from 1608 till 1763,the year of their  expulsion by the king, for some 150 years, the Jesuit missions existed.

Characteristics of the Jesuit Missions

1.They had under their control an area the size of France, which included parts of Paraguay, southeastern Brazil and northeast Argentina.

2.The Jesuit Republic was made up of 30 towns with 3,000 to 4,000 people each, or about 100,000 in all, under the direction of 2 Jesuits to each town.

3. It was a communistic system, where all belonged to the community except the clothes one wore.

The land belonged to the community, the tools used, the warehouse, the school, the crops that grew in the field, the cattle and flocks.

4. Everyday everybody received free food from the warehouse, nobody paid rent.

Example of a Jesuit mission town

5.When 2 people got married they received a free house, which still belonged to the community, it was not theirs.

6.Old people did not have to work but were maintained by the community.

7. At age 7 it was obligatory for children to go to school, were they learned to read and write. That was very unusual, because in the Spanish Empire 90% of the population was illiterate.

8. Spaniards were NOT allowed to settle in the area and could only enter with the permission of the Jesuits.

9. The was no death penalty in the area governed by them, the worst punishments were whipping and imprisonment. When there was a whipping it was always in public, so nobody could say that the person had received more lashes than he should have.

10.People worked only 5 days of the week, having Thursday and Sunday off. And it was not for 8 hours a day, but 6 hours a day, from 9 am to 12, then 2 hours for eating and rest, and then again from 2 pm till 5 pm.

11. The Jesuits never taught the Guaranies to speak Spanish, instead they learned Guarani themselves. That is why today in Paraguay 85% of the population is bilingual, Spanish-Guarani.

12. While many only worked in the fields others were taught to be carpenters, clock-makers, printers, painters, musicians and blacksmiths.

13.As said before,the system was communistic,and the 30 towns never used money,all commercial exchange was by barter.

In 1986 a film was made inspired by the Jesuit experiment

It was “The Mission” and here are 2 videos about it:

For more information

Related posts:

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Category: Apologetics and polemics

  • Odo

    Pius XII

    Testimony and Evidence given after WWII

    “Only the Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty. Up until then I had not been interested in the Church, but today I feel a great admiration for the Church which alone has had the courage to struggle for spiritual truth and moral liberty.” – – – Albert Einstein, TIME Magazine 1940. Quoted again in ‘Three Popes and the Jews’ by Pinchas Lapide, 1967.

    “What the Vatican did (during WWII) will be indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts. Priests and even high prelates did things that will be forever be an honor to Catholicism.” – – – Israel Zolli, Former Chief Rabbi of Rome, 1948. Zoli was so overwhelmed with what the Catholics had done for the Jews in WWII that he converted to Catholicism.

    “We share in the Grief of Humanity at the passing away of his holiness Pius XII. In a generation affected by wars and discords, Pius XII upheld the highest ideals of Peace and Compassion. When fearful martyrdom came to our people in a decade of Nazi Terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflicts. We Mourn a great servant, a servant of Peace.” – – – Isreali Prime Minister Golda Meir sending her condolences to the Vatican saluting Pius XII great works upon his passing, 1958.

    “The Catholic Church under the Pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving at least SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND but probably as many as EIGHT HUNDRED and sixty thousand Jews from certain death at Nazi hands” – – – Pinchas Lapide, ‘Three Popes and the Jews’ 1967.

    “The Papal nuncio and the bishops intervene (on behalf of Jews) again and again on the instructions of the Pope and as a result of these labors in the autumn and winter of 1944 there was practically no Catholic institution in Budapest where persecuted Jews did not find refuge” – – – Jewish Historian Jeno Levai, ‘Hungarian Jews and the Papacy’ 1965.

  • minoria-esperanto

    I agree that PIUS XII did save at least 700,000 Jewish people from the Holocaust.One book that appeared a few years ago about it is the widely read THE MYTH OF HITLER’S POPE by RABBI DAVID DALIN,a book highly recommended by MARTIN GILBERT, a highly respected British historian.