The Church in the century of Independence

The arrival to the date of the Bicentennial of the Independence of Guatemala gave rise to multiple initiatives and written investigations. For its part, the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, through the Pastoral Section of Culture, led by Monsignor Víctor Hugo Palma in 2020, and Monsignor Mario Fiandri, bishop of the Vicariate of Petén, in 2021, promoted the publication of the second volume entitled: Ana María Urruela de Quezada, Editor and Co-author of Memoria y Compromiso: The Church and the Bicentennial of Independence, 1821-2021. Volume II. XIX century. Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, Section of Pastoral of Culture. Guatemala, 2019, printed by Mayaprin. The printing was sponsored by Banco Industrial, SA 407 pages.

Twelve historians and researchers participated in Volume I, and in Volume II it was expanded to seventeen people. The content of the book begins with an introduction, indicating the page number under discussion in parentheses. Next, the authors begin their investigations with the topic they chose and that are indicated below.

José Luis Colmenares S., Ecclesiastical Signatories (/ 1768-1900); Mariano Fazio, The Liberal Century; Guillermo Antonio Aragón, Ideological and Political Context of the Church; Alejandro Conde Roche, The Organization of the Church in Guatemala in Times of Deep Transformations; Norman Bercián, The Church-State Relationship in Guatemala; Horacio Cabezas Carcache, Independence of Guatemala. Background and Political Definition.

The content continues with José Molina Calderón, Johann Melchor Toledo, La Iglesia y la Economía; Ana María Urruela V. de Quezada, An Interpretation of Literary Expressions in the independent age; Guillermo Aguirre García, Development of Religious Architecture in the Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción. Cathedral, Parishes and Hermitages; Marco Antonio To Quiñónez, Convents and Monasteries. Comparative study between buildings in Santiago de los Caballeros and Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción; Claudia Dary, The Schools of First Letters in the Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción.

The content continues with Dieter Lenhoff, The Liturgical Music of Guatemala during the 19th century; Miguel F. Torres, The Incense; Hugo David López Hernández, Basilica of Esquipulas; Miguel Álvarez Arévalo and Deyvid Molina, Traditions. Finally, the authors’ biographies, annexes and bibliography and photo indexes are included. In the Introduction it is indicated that after having published the first Volume of that series of specialized books, we are pleased as a historical circle belonging to the Culture Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, to reach the culmination of that second Volume, which is offered as a contribution to the analysis of society, both Guatemalan and other countries, in pursuit of the deepening and dissemination of the history of ideas. (10)

This second Volume, as indicated by the word Emancipation, referring to the declaration of Independence and its surroundings, is published in the rarefied atmosphere of the terrible pandemic of covid-19 that will be considered part of the recent history of the world and of the “ change of epoch ”, approximately in the beginning of the XXI century. Recently Pope Francis has often repeated that more than a time of change, we have entered a “change of age.” (10)

The Introduction concludes by stating that this is not a religious work, but rather a historical-scientific work, made with the contribution of prestigious people in the Guatemalan intellectual field, extended in the areas of history, economics, sociology, education, music, architecture and art. (eleven)

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