the eighteenth-century shift in Europe to the image of a more compassionate and accessible God who could be approached directly. Rural villagers found such an image unpersuasive. They lived in a world fraught with perils and in which patrons were deemed necessary. Access to the intercessory powers ofthe saints, then, was extremely important both at an individual and a community level.
The cult of the saints was also strong in the Andean highlands, and the popularity of Our Lady of Copacabana in Bolivia paralleled that of the Virgin of Guadalupe. But here much more of the pre-conquest religious traditions seem to have been retained. Ecclesiastical authorities were deeply concerned with the perpetuation of the cult of the huacas (ancestor spirits who were critical to communal life), and a much publicized campaign to extirpate them peaked in the third quarter of the seventeenth century. Although these efforts declined significantly thereafter, there is good reason to believe that the practices that occasioned them did not. After 1671, the prevailing tendency was to define the persistence of native religious practices as superstition resulting from ignorance rather than apostasy.
An account of a festival honouring a local saint in a village near Cuzco in 1767 provides an example of the problems of interpreting indigenous religious behaviour. The pastor reported that the festival began (as all did) with a Mass in the parish church. After Mass, the priest moved the image of the saint to the door of the church where villagers venerated it. The people also asked the saint's help in dealing with problems and left offerings of goods, animals, and money. When they had finished, the priest blessed the offerings and the villagers began a village festival, observed by the saint's image which stayed at the door of the church. At the end of the day, the priest took the offerings for himself.
This description ofprayers and offerings to a village saint echoed descriptions of indigenous practices involving huacas that inspectors defined as idolatrous during the heyday of the extirpation movement. To be sure, the ceremony was now preceded by a Mass, the image had been given a saint's name, and the priest was intimately involved through his blessing of the image. But were such changes sufficient for the people to see themselves as orthodox Catholics and for the practices to be considered 'Catholic'? Members of the community themselves have left us no commentaries.
It is also clear that by the eighteenth century religious practice divided more along rural-urban lines than along an indigenous-Spanish continuum. As in pre-Enlightenment Europe, processions displaying saints' images and religious dramas celebrated on the great feast days and in times of trouble were critical
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