The Contrast of French and Spanish Missionaries
"Ethical religion can be real only to those who are engaged in ceaseless efforts at moral improvement. By moving upward we acquire faith in an upward movement, without limit." (Felix Adler (1851-1933), American educator)
Since the beginning of colonial expansion, the missionaries believed in the divine right to evangelize the natives in the new world. By converting the natives the missionaries believed that they will reach eternal salvation. However, the missionaries' methods were split into two different prospective. The Spaniards believed in the concept of control by force and the French believed in conversion through negotiation and sincerer affection. The relationships shared between these missionaries and the Native Americans were an essential part of successful evangelization.
During the Spanish colonization and expansionism the monarch funded the churches to sear out possible evangelization and development of ecclesiastical establishments in the new world. The monarchs believed that the conversion to the Christian creed in the new world would be the stepping stone to establishing unionized Christianity, in the Spaniards case it was the preservation of Catholic creed.
One of the areas which the Spanish missionaries hoped to find opportunity of evangelization was in New Mexico. There they found the villages of Pueblo Indians. According to Winthrop S. Hudson, the Franciscans portrayed them selves as a superior and wonder-works in order to get the respect as authorities from the Indians by staging dramatic plays in which the Indian greets the priest by kissing his feet. By
acquiring authority over them it made the processes of creating a strict flame work of Christian moral behavior easier to force onto the Pueblos. They believed that through monitoring and accommodations of their behavior it will reach their soul. These modifications were made especially in sexual behaviors and marriage.