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Latin American Churches

Altar of Quito’s La Compañía de Jesús Church

Altar of Quito’s La Compañía de Jesús Church

In my posting the other day on Why Did I Go to Ecuador?, I seem to have left out one of the main reasons. This applies equally to Peru and probably Colombia, but not so much to Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.

I am referring to the Catholic cathedrals, basilicas, and other old churches of the Andes. Until age 17, I received a Catholic education at St. Henry School in Cleveland and Chanel High School in Bedford, Ohio. Then, while I was at Dartmouth, although a nominally Congregationalist school, I was very active with the Catholic Students’ Newman Club.

Coming to California has been disastrous to my faith—but yet something remains. It comes out when I visit the Andean churches, the most beautiful of which is La Compañía de Jesús church (shown above) near Quito’s Plaza de la Independencia.

In both Peru and Ecuador, I frequently stopped in at the local churches; and, not infrequently, I stayed for the services. In the Andes, I felt like a Catholic again. Even the smaller churches in places like Otávalo, Alausi, and Mindo drew me in.

The Small Church in the Village of Mindo

The Small Church in the Village of Mindo

In my life’s journey, I can see my returning to the Catholic Church. I continue to take exceptions to many points of dogma, such as the prohibitions on married priests, women in the priesthood, abortion, and divorce and some doctrines such as the relatively recent ones of the Immaculate Conception and what I call Papal Inflammability. On he other hand, there is much to admire. At this point, I am not sure which route I will take.

4 thoughts on “Latin American Churches

  1. i’m not religious, but i’m just blown away about the engineering it took to build those churches… especially the ones in France and England that date from the 11th c…. it must have seemed like a true miracle to the indigenes, watching those walls rise… it still seems miraculous today…

  2. Did you ever read William Golding’s The Spire about the building of one of those medieval cathedrals — from the architect’s point of view? It’s really a great book.

  3. Our Classics Books Club will be reading The Spire in a few months. I have read it, and I’m the one who suggested it. I wonder what the others will make of it.

  4. yes i’ve read it also, quite enjoyable as i disremember… there are as well, historical papers re ancient cathedrals and the construction thereof that i presume are attainable on the web; some are good…

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