According to the movie Mission, the catholic missionaries are represented in Latin America by father Gabriel. The roles of the catholic missionaries include educating the locals, converting them to Christianity, and saving them from the colonizers and agents of civilization. Father Gabriel educated the local Guarani Indians on different issues including religious values. The education he delivered to the Guarani people was religious and moral. His role as an educator is demonstrated by his success in convincing Mendoza that selling the locals as slaves to the plantation owners is immoral. Moreover, he taught Mendoza religious values such as penance, which helped him to convert to Christianity. Another role played by the catholic missionaries in Latin America was to condemn slavery and colonization. Father Gabriel strongly condemned the attempts by the Spanish and Portuguese governments to close down the mission. One of the reasons for his condemnation is the view that once the mission is closed, many locals, especially those who are converted to Christianity, would be enslaved. However, his efforts as well as those of other priests failed to bear fruits, when Spanish and Portuguese soldiers opened fire at the priests and locals and killed a lot of them. In addition to the role of educating and converting people to Christianity, the missionaries consoled the locals when they were faced by the challenges of social life. This was evident when father Gabriel consoled Mendoza when he was depressed because of his brother’s death. Communities in Latin America were depicted as uncivilized. By educating and teaching the locals on religious practices, the missionaries had simultaneously brought civilization to the people.
In my opinion, the missionaries caused the Latin Americans more harm than good. When the local people were introduced with the Christian religion, they were most probably taught that God was against violence, since father Gabriel believed so. However, this reduced their concern for security against their enemies. The local people were, therefore, less prepared to fight their enemies than they would have been before the coming of the missionaries. When the combined Portuguese and Spanish army attacked the mission and the Guarani people, many of the locals were torn between observing the Christian teachings of non-violence approaches to life and defending their lives through the violence. Amid this confusion, they were not able to defend themselves against the Portuguese and Spanish armies. Consequently, many of the locals were killed, including the priests. The children ran away to the forest. Therefore, the local people were in a more vulnerable state than they were before the establishment of the mission.
Rodrigo Mendoza expiated his guilt for killing his brother by accepting father Gabriel’s invitation for repentance. Moreover, Mendoza accepted Christianity and went ahead to become a priest. In addition, he abandoned his slave trade and violence against the Guarani people.
Mendoza and father Gabriel chose two different methods of resisting the capture and enslavement of the local people. Father Gabriel was against the armed resistance and preferred a peaceful demonstration and resistance. His choice of the method was to a large extent influenced by his religious views. According to his belief, God was against violence, and, therefore, a peaceful demonstration was considered the best way. On the other hand, Rodrigo Mendoza thought that the best method to resist the enslavement of the local people by the colonists was through the violence. His view could have been influenced by his history since he was a violent man before he became a priest. The differences that emerged as a result of the varied opinions made the two men take different actions. Mendoza disregarded the Christian stand on violence and started teaching the local people military tactics. Moreover, he armed the Guarani people in preparation to the imminent attack by the Spanish and the Portuguese armies. On the other hand, father Gabriel gathered the local women and children and formed a procession, which met the invading Spanish and Portuguese armies.
Comparing the two choices, the best one can only emerge based on its real or potential effectiveness to counter enslavement and capture of the local people by the Portuguese and Spanish armies. Father Gabriel’s choice was based on the assumption that the invading armies would not respond violently to a peaceful procession of children and women. However, this assumption was wrong, since the soldiers were determined to demolish the mission. Probably, father Gabriel’s assumption and choice would have worked if the invading army had a different General. The stand of the soldiers on how to react to the locals, especially when they made a peaceful resistance, was evident when they arrived. They were reluctant to shoot at the peaceful procession and only shot when they were put under pressure by the Spanish commander. Taking into consideration the outcome of father Gabriel’s choice, I think it was not the best. On the other hand, Mendoza’s choice led to some significant resistance, which led to the killing of the Portuguese commander. Although the locals and the missionaries were defeated, Mendoza’s choice could probably have brought success if they had acted together as a group. If the mission had supported the violent reaction, the locals could have been more united and confident about defeating the invading armies. Although it is not known what would have ensued if the mission and locals were armed, it is certain that women and children, who were killed, may have taken cover, thereby reducing the levels of injury. Therefore, I think that Mendoza’s choice was the best.
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