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Mexican people, after more than two centuries of experiments, have faith only in the Virgin of Guadalupe and the National Lottery.

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posted by April alias *April* on Wednesday 13th of June 2007 05:55:32 PM

Description below is directly from wikipedia, as indicated in the tags. It does not represent my personal beliefs, feelings or emotions. According to the first accounts of the Guadalupan apparition, during a walk from his village to the city on December 9, 1531, Juan Diego saw a vision of a Virgin at the Hill of Tepeyac. Speaking in Nahuatl, Guadalupe said to build an abbey on the site, but when Juan Diego spoke to the Spanish bishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, the prelate asked for a miraculous sign. So the Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the hill, even though it was winter, when normally nothing bloomed. He found Spanish roses, gathered them on his tilma, and presented these to the bishop. When the roses fell from it an icon of the Guadalupe remained imprinted on the cloth. Documentation A number of primary historical documents are used to support this apparition account, including: the Nahuatl-language Huei tlamahuiçoltica or Nican mopohua ("here it is recounted"), a tract about the Virgin which contains the aforementioned story, and which was printed in 1649; a Spanish-language book about the apparitions titled Imagen de la Virgen María ("Image of the Virgin Mary"), printed in 1648; a seventeenth-century engraving by Samuel Stradanus which used the Virgin's image to advertise indulgences; and the Codex Escalada, a pictographic account of the Virgin on Tepeyac, printed on deerskin and said to date back to 1548. The apparition account is also strengthened by a document called the Informaciones Jurídicas of 1666, a collection of oral interviews gathered near Juan Diego's hometown of Cuautitlan. In the "Informaciones Jurídicas," various witnesses affirmed, in interview format, basic details about Saint Juan Diego and the Guadalupan apparition story. Some historians and clerics, including the U.S. priest-historian Fr.Stafford Poole, the famous Mexican historian Joaquín García Icazbalceta, and former abbot of the Basilica of Guadalupe, Guillermo Schulenburg, have expressed doubts about the historicity of the apparition accounts. Schulenburg in particular caused a stir with his 1996 interview with the Catholic magazine Ixthus, when he said that Juan Diego was "a symbol, not a reality." One problem with the apparition tradition is that Juan Diego is said to have met the Virgin in 1531, while the earliest account about their meeting was published in 1648. When discussing the 117-year gap between the apparition and written accounts describing it, apparition believers point to the Codex Escalada, a recently-discovered document which illustrates the Tepeyac apparition and which dates to 1548. The document, a painting on deerskin which illustrates the apparition and discusses Juan Diego's death, was used to shore up Juan Diego's 1990s canonization process. Critics, including Stafford Poole and David A. Brading, find the document suspicious -- partly because of when it was discovered, and partly because it contains the handiwork of both Antonio Valeriano (a man many apparition partisans believe to be the true author of the Nican mopohua) and the signature of Bernardino de Sahagún, the Franciscan missionary and anthropologist. Brading said that within the context of the Christian tradition, it was rather like finding a picture of St. Paul's vision of Christ on the road to Damascus, drawn by St. Luke and signed by St. Peter. Believers in the Codex counter that the Codex has been vetted by scientific tests which prove it is an authentic 16th-century document. Zumárraga was silent on the topic of the apparition: there is no mention of Juan Diego nor the Virgin in any of his writings. In a catechism written the year before his death he stated: “The Redeemer of the world doesn’t want any more miracles, because they are no longer necessary.” Furthermore, in 1531 Zumárraga was not Mexico's Archbishop but merely Bishop-elect: he would not be consecrated until 1533. Guillermo Schulenburg, the Basílica's abbot for over 30 years, declared in 1996 Juan Diego as a symbol and myth, a constructed character made to conquer the hearts of the native people and seize their religiosity in order to redirect it to the Vatican's will. He also commisioned a serious study, "out of sheer love for truth", which demonstrates the Lady of Guadalupe as a man-made painting, with no supernatural elements whatsoever. There is ample evidence of a 16th century shrine to Guadalupe at Tepeyac: however skeptics contend that this shrine was dedicated to the Spanish icon Our Lady of Guadalupe in Extremadura. Symbol of Mexico Guadalupe's first major use as a nationalistic symbol was in the writing of Miguel Sánchez, the author of the first Spanish language apparition account. Sanchez identified Guadalupe as Revelation's Woman of the Apocalypse, and said that "this New World has been won and conquered by the hand of the Virgin Mary...[who had] prepared, disposed, and contrived her exquisite likeness in this her Mexican land, which was conquered for such a glorious purpose, won that there should appear so Mexican an image." In 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla initiated the bid for Mexican independence with his Grito de Dolores, yelling words to the effect of "Death to the Spaniards and long live the Virgin of Guadalupe!" When Hidalgo's mestizo-indigenous army attacked Guanajuato and Valladolid, they placed "the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which was the insignia of their enterprise, on sticks or on reeds painted different colors" and "they all wore a print of the Virgin on their hats." Royalists responded by putting Guadalupe's image on the soles of their shoes. When Hidalgo died, leadership of the revolution fell to a mestizo priest named Jose Maria Morelos who led insurgent troops in the Mexican south. Morelos was also a Guadalupan partisan: he made the Virgin the seal of his Congress of Chilpancingo, stating "New Spain puts less faith in its own efforts than in the power of God and the intercession of its Blessed Mother, who appeared within the precincts of Tepeyac as the miraculous image of Guadalupe that had come to comfort us, defend us, visibly be our protection." He inscribed the Virgin's feast day, December 12, into the Chilpancingo constitution, and declared that Guadalupe was the power behind his military victories. One of Morelos' officers, a man named Felix Fernandez who would later become the first Mexican president, even changed his name to Guadalupe Victoria. Simón Bolívar, noticed the Guadalupan theme in these uprisings, and shortly before Morelos' death in 1815 wrote: "...the leaders of the independence struggle have put fanaticism to use by proclaiming the famous Virgin of Guadalupe as the queen of the patriots, praying to her in times of hardship and displaying her on their flags...the veneration for this image in Mexico far exceeds the greatest reverence that the shrewdest prophet might inspire." In 1914, Emiliano Zapata's peasant army rose out of the south against the government of Porfirio Diaz. Though Zapata's rebel forces were primarily interested in land reform --"tierra y libertad" (land and liberty) was the slogan of the uprising -- when Zapata's peasant troops penetrated Mexico City, they carried Guadalupan banners. Nobel laureate Octavio Paz wrote in 1974 that "Mexican people, after more than two centuries of experiments, have faith only in the Virgin of Guadalupe and the National Lottery" The Virgin of Guadalupe has also symbolized the Mexican nation since Mexico's War of Independence. Both Miguel Hidalgo and Emiliano Zapata's armies traveled underneath Guadalupan flags. The Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that " may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe." More recently, the contemporary Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) named their "mobile city" in honor of the Virgin: it is called Guadalupe Tepeyac. EZLN spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos wrote a humorous letter in 1995 describing the EZLN bickering over what to do with a Guadalupe statue they had received as a gift. In 1994, the mexican sculptor Eduardo Leal de la Gala make a tree dimension version in wood of the Lady of Guadalupe for the Cultural Center of the Mexican Embassy in Paris, France. Mestizo culture and Mexican identity Guadalupe is often considered a mixture of the cultures which blend to form Mexico, both racially and religiously Guadalupe is sometimes called the "first mestiza" or "the first Mexican". In the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Mary O'Connor writes that Guadalupe "bring[s] together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness." One theory is that the Virgin of Guadalupe was presented to the Aztecs as a sort of "Christianized" Tonantzin, necessary for the clergymen to convert the Indians to their True Faith. As Jacques Lafaye wrote in Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe, " the Christians built their first churches with the rubble and the columns of the ancient pagan temples, so they often borrowed pagan customs for their own cult purposes." An alternate view is that Guadalupe-Tonantzin gave the native Americans a hidden method to continue worshipping their own goddess in a Christianized form; similar patterns of syncretic worship can be seen throughout the Catholic Americas (e.g. Vodun, Santería). Guadalupan religious syncretism is both lauded and disparaged as demonic. Some theologians also associate the Virgin of Guadalupe with a special relationship between the indigenous peoples of the American continents and the Catholic Church. This perspective developed as the scriptural terms of truths "hid ... from the wise and prudent" but "revealed...unto babes" (Matthew 11:25), but later developed into the "spiritual mestizaje of the Americas", and the "option for the poor" provided by Liberation theology. The author Judy King asserts that Guadalupe is a "common denominator" uniting Mexicans. Writing that Mexico is composed of a vast patchwork of differences -- linguistic, ethnic, and class-based -- King says "The Virgin of Guadalupe is the rubber band that binds this disparate nation into a whole." This sentiment was echoed by two celebrants interviewed in the New York Times at the Virgin's feast day in 1998: "We say that we are more Guadalupanos than Mexicans," said the Jesuit Brother Joel Magallan. "We say that because our Lady Guadalupe is our symbol, our identity." David Solanas, another feast-goer, agreed, saying "We have faith in her. She's like the mama of all the Mexicans." The origin of the name "Guadalupe" is controversial. According to a sixteenth-century report the Virgin identified herself as Guadalupe when she appeared to Juan Diego's uncle, Juan Bernardino. It has also been suggested that "Guadalupe" is a corruption of a Nahuatl name "Coatlaxopeuh", which has been translated as "Who Crushes the Serpent. In this interpretation, the serpent referred to is Quetzalcoatl, one of the chief Aztec gods, whom the Virgin Mary "crushed" by inspiring the conversion of indigenous people to Catholicism. However, many historians believe that the 1533 Guadalupan shrine was dedicated to the Spanish Lady of Guadalupe in Extremadura -- not to the Mexican Virgin venerated today. Thus, while the name "Guadalupe" would have had certain connotations to Nahuatl speakers, as noted above, its ultimate origins would be the Arabic-Latin term "Wadī Lupum", meaning "Valley of the Wolf". María Guadalupe, or just Lupe, is a common female and male name among Mexican people or those with Mexican heritage. Controversies As early as 1556 Francisco de Bustamante, head of the Colony's Franciscans, delivered a sermon disparaging the holy origins of the painting: “The devotion that has been growing in a chapel dedicated to Our Lady, called of Guadalupe, in this city is greatly harmful for the natives, because it makes them believe that the image painted by Marcos the Indian is in any way miraculous.” In 1611 the Dominican Martin de Leon, fourth viceroy of Mexico, denounced the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe as a disguised worship of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin.The missionary and anthropologist Bernardino de Sahagún held the same opinion: he wrote that the shrine at Tepeyac was extremely popular but worrisome because people called the Virgin of Guadalupe Tonantzin. Sahagún said that the worshippers claimed that Tonantzin was the proper Nahuatl for "Mother of God" -- but he disagreed, saying that "Mother of God" in Nahuatl would be "Dios y Nantzin." In 2002, art restoration expert José Sol Rosales examined the icon with a stereomicroscope and identified calcium sulfate, pine soot, white, blue, and green "tierras" (soil), reds made from carmine and other pigments, as well as gold. Rosales said he found the work consistent with 16th century materials and methods. Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico, commissioned a 1999 study to test the tilma's age. The researcher, Leoncio Garza-Valdés, had previously worked with the Shroud of Turin. Upon inspection Garza-Valdés found three distinct layers in the painting, at least one of which was signed and dated. He also said that the original painting showed striking similarities to the original Lady of Guadalupe found in Extremadura Spain, and that the second painting showed another Virgin with indigenous features. Finally, Garza-Valdés indicated that the fabric on which the icon is painted is made of conventional hemp and linen, not agave fibers as is popularly believed. The photographs of these putative overpaintings were not available in the Garza-Valdés 2002 publication, however. Gilberto Aguirre a San Antonio optometrist and colleague of Garza-Valdés who also took part in the 1999 study, examined the same photographs and stated that, while agreeing the painting had been tampered with, he disagreed with Garza-Valdes' conclusions. Gilberto Aguirre claims the conditions for conducting the study were inadequate. No control of the lighting and the fact that the painting was shot through an acrylic plate scientifically invalidates any results. He also questions Garza-Valdés' claim of ultraviolet light revealing two underlying images because according to Aguirre, ultraviolet light can't penetrate sub-surfaces. The team did take Infrared pictures but those didn't show additional images underneath the present one. Similar Marian apparitions have been reported in many cities and towns throughout Mexico; in the Mexican town of Tlaltenango in the state of Morelos, a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe is claimed to have miraculously appeared in the inside of a box that two unknown travelers left in a hostel. The owners of the hostel called the local priest after noticing enticing aromas of flowers and sandalwood coming out of the box. The image has been venerated on September 8 since its finding in 1720, and is accepted as valid apparition by the local Catholic authorities. It is important to note that at least 300 apparition of the Virgin Mary are reported every year to local church authorities, most of them seen in burnmarks in pieces of toast and Tortillas. In one of the most recent cases, believers have seen a vision of the Virgin of Guadalupe in a humidity stain in the Mexico City metro. This apparition is called the "Virgin of the Subway." Religious theories regarding the image Artistic symbolism The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is often read as a coded image. Miguel Sanchez, the author of the 1648 tract Imagen de la Virgen María, described the Virgin's image as the Woman of the Apocalypse from the New Testament's Revelation 12:1: "arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." Mateo de la Cruz, writing twelve years after Sánchez, "argued that the Guadalupe possessed all the iconographical attributes of Mary in her Immaculate Conception". Likewise, a 1738 sermon preached by Miguel Picazo argued that the Guadalupe was the "best representation" of the Immaculate Conception. Many writers, including Patricia Harrington and Virgil Elizondo, describe the image as containing coded messages for the indigenous people of Mexico. "The Aztecs...had an elaborate, coherent symbolic system for making sense of their lives. When this was destroyed by the Spaniards, something new was needed to fill the void and make sense of New Spain...the image of Guadalupe served that purpose." Her blue-green mantle was described as the color once reserved for the divine couple Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl; her belt is read as a sign of pregnancy; and a cross-shaped image symbolizing the cosmos and called nahui-ollin is said to be inscribed beneath the image's sash. Yet another interpretation of the image is offered by the historian William B. Taylor, who recounted that Guadalupe has also been "acclaimed goddess of the maguey [agave]" and pulque was drunk on her feast day. A 1772 report described the rays of light around Guadalupe as maguey spines. Alleged miraculous properties Some consider it miraculous that the tilma, supposing it's still the original, maintains its structural integrity after nearly 500 years, since a replica of the image was once made, using the same colors and the same material for the tilma, and it lasted only about 15 years before it disintegrated.In addition to withstanding the elements, the tilma resisted a 1791 ammonia spill that made a considerable hole, which was then completely repaired in two weeks with no external help. In 1921, an anarchist placed an offering of flowers next to the image. A bomb hidden within the flowers exploded and destroyed the shrine. However, the image suffered no damage. Photographers and ophthalmologists have claimed to locate images reflected in the eyes of the Virgin.In 1929 and 1951 photographers found a figure reflected in the Virgin's eyes; upon inspection they said that the reflection was tripled in what is called the Purkinje effect. This effect is commonly found in human eyes.The ophthalmologist Dr. Jose Aston Tonsmann later enlarged the image of the Virgin's eyes by 2500x magnification and said he saw not only the aforementioned single figure, but rather images of all the witnesses present when the tilma was shown to the Bishop in 1531. Tonsmann also reported seeing a small family -- mother, father, and a group of children -- in the center of the Virgin's eyes. In response to the eye miracles, Joe Nickell and John F. Fischer wrote in Skeptical Inquirer that images seen in the Virgin's eyes could be the result of the human tendency to form familiar shapes from random patterns, much like a psychologist's inkblots -- a phenomenon known as religious pareidolia. Richard Kuhn, who received the 1938 Nobel Chemistry prize, is said to have analyzed a sample of the fabric in 1936 and said the tint on the fabric was not from a known mineral, vegetable, or animal source. In 1979 Philip Serna Callahan studied the icon with infrared light and stated that portions of the face, hands, robe, and mantle had been painted in one step, with no sketches or corrections and no paintbrush strokes. Catholic devotions With the Brief Non est equidem of May 25, 1754, Pope Benedict XIV declared Our Lady of Guadalupe patron of what was then called New Spain, corresponding to Spanish Central and Northern America, and approved liturgical texts for the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours in her honour. Pope Leo XIII granted new texts in 1891 and authorized coronation of the image in 1895. Pope Saint Pius X proclaimed her patron of Latin America in 1910. In 1935 Pope Pius XI proclaimed her patron of the Philippines and had a monument in her honor erected in the Vatican Gardens. In 1966 Pope Paul VI sent a Golden Rose to the shrine. Pope John Paul II visited the shrine in the course of his first journey outside Italy as Pope from 26 to January 31, 1979, and again when he beatified Juan Diego there on 6 May 1990. In 1992 he dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe a chapel within St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. At the request of the Special Assembly for the Americas of the Synod of Bishops, he named Our Lady of Guadalupe patron of the Americas on January 22, 1999 (with the result that her liturgical celebration had, throughout the Americas, the rank of Solemnity), and visited the shrine again on the following day. On July 31, 2002, he canonized Juan Diego, and later that year included in the General Calendar of the Roman Rite, as optional memorials, the liturgical celebrations of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (December 9) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (12 December). Replicas of the tilma can be found in thousands of churches throughout the world, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome, and numerous parishes bear her name.

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