Regnum Mortis

15 10 2008

Part II – How Vatican II led to the Cult of Death in Mexico

On my way back from San Francisco, I was psychologically recovering from my botanica  encounters. I was a little freaked out by it. I knew that Santa Muerte was popular, I just had not realized how popular. In virtually all of the photos and examples of the cult to Santa Muerte, it seems that, unlike other folk saints, she crowded out everyone else, including Christ. Jesus Malverde is often portrayed beneath the mantle of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Juan Soldado and Gauchito Gil are often portrayed below or next to a crucifix. Folks saints are traditionally seen as a supplement to popular devotion. In this case, Santa Muerte had become the entire focus of devotion. Indeed, entire independent churches in Mexico have emerged to solely defend the cult of Santa Muerte. So where does this impulse come from?
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