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José María de Jesús Belaunzarán y Ureña: On "Los Novadores"

José María de Jesús Belaunzarán y Ureña. Carta pastoral que dirige a su clero y diocesanos el ilmo. y rmo. sr. D. Fr. José María de Jesús y Ureña, obispo de Monterey. México: Impr. de Luís Abadiano y Valdés, 1835. (Pamphlet, 16 p., [2], 22cm x 16cm)

Bridwell Library’s collection of printed Mexican religious ephemera possesses 13 documents written by José María de Jesús Belaunzarán y Ureña, Bishop of Linares (Monterey) from 1831 to 1839 and one of the most influential clergymen of post-Independence Mexico. He was described as “one of the two great figures (along with Portugal of Michocán) who led the clergy against the ideas of the early ‘reformers.’” The selections below highlight the bishop’s unremitting defense of the freedom of the Catholic Church.

This letter by Belaunzarán is also addressed to his clergy and diocesans, and it is bound with the previous work. Written in the same month and very similar in substance, Belaunzarán cautions his readers against the “novadores,” or the free-thinking liberals who challenge the doctrines of the Catholic Church with “doctrines [that] are without a doubt contrary to this Evangelism, and which tend directly or indirectly, not only to weaken and debilitate the faithful in their belief, but if it be possible, to wear down and destroy the holy edifice of the Church.” He goes on to describe the nature of each manifestation of the Holy Trinity, as well as the mission of Christ and his sacrifice on the cross to vanquish the power of sin and death. The Church, he asserts, must unite in resisting all who challenge the truths revealed by Scripture.