Archdiocese of Yucatán
Arquidiócesis de Yucatán
Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Ildephonsus
|Area||15,229 sq mi (39,440 km2)|
|(as of 2010)|
|Established||19 November 1561 (457 years ago)|
|Cathedral||Cathedral of St. Ildephonsus|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||Gustavo Rodríguez Vega (formerly, since October 8, 2008, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nuevo Laredo, based in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, until his appointment as Archbishop of Yucatán by Pope Francis on Monday, June 1, 2015)|
|Auxiliary Bishops||José Rafael Palma Capetillo|
|Emeritus Bishops||Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzarán|
|Arquidiócesis de Yucatán|
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Yucatán (Latin: Archidioecesis Yucatanensis) is the diocese of the Catholic Church based in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico; the Campeche and the Tabasco are its suffragans. Its area is that of the state of the same name, covering an area of 17,204 square miles.
There is a legend created by missionaries within decades after the military conquest of the Aztec capital that long before the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico the Christian religion had been preached among the Aztecs and other Central Mexicans. This myth is sometimes projected onto the Maya based on popular misunderstanding and thinking that all Mesoamerican peoples are the same. In other words, in popular understandings precolumbian Mexicans are confused and conflated with the Maya peoples who lived in different parts of contemporary Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. No Maya people, particularly not in Yucatán Peninsula , had a myth that Quetzalcoatl Quetzacoatl was going to "return" nor was there ever any "confusion" by Maya peoples that any Spaniard was a "god" such as purported by the famous colonial myth that Cortes was interpreted as Quetzalcoatl by Aztecs.
Yucatán was the first region of the Mexican territory to encounter Christianity in the 16th century; it was there that the first Roman Catholic Mass was celebrated. It is said that in 1517 Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, the discoverer and explorer of the region, founded the first parish. Pope Leo X, believing the newly discovered land to be an island, by the papal bull Sacri apostolatus ministerio, dated 27 January 1518, created the Diocese of Yucatán, under the name Carolense and placed it under the protection of Our Lady of the Remedies (Santa Maria de los Remedios).
When it became known that Yucatán was part of the continent which Hernán Cortés was conquering, Pope Clement VII made certain modifications, and Dominican friar Julián Garcés, was transferred from his office of Bishop of Yucatán to that of Bishop of Tlaxcala (now the Archdiocese of Puebla de los Angeles) when he arrived in Mexico, as the Spanish had abandoned the conquest of Yucatán for this new land. The first resident bishop was Francisco Toral, a Franciscan friar, who took possession on 15 August 1562, one year after his appointment; he assisted at the first and second Mexican Provincial Councils.
Marcos de Torres y Rueda, the 12th bishop (1647), owing to dissensions between Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, Bishop of Puebla, and Viceroy García Sarmiento de Sotomayor, 2nd conde de Salvatierra, was named Viceroy of New Spain and entered into office 13 May 1648; he died at the capital, 22 April 1649.
Juan Gómez de Parada, the 20th bishop, governed the dioceses of Yucatán, Guatemala, and Guadalajara with great success. His successor, Ignacio Castorena y Ursúa, was the founder of the first newspaper published in Mexico. José María Guerra, 35th bishop (d. 1863), lived during the famous Caste War, which ruined almost the whole of Yucatán. It was at the instance of Leandro Rodríguez de la Gala, his successor, that the new See of Tabasco was formed from parishes taken from the Diocese of Yucatán. The Province and Vicariate of Petén, situated in Guatemala, which ecclesiastically had belonged to Yucatán, became a part of the See of Guatemala. Believing that the colony of Belize was his dependency, the bishop sent missionaries there in 1864; this land, however, had been under the administration of priests sent form the Vicariate Apostolic of Jamaica since 1837. The Diocese of Yucatán was suffragan of Mexico until 1891, when it became suffragan of the newly created Archdiocese of Oaxaca. In 1895 the new See of Campeche was created from parishes taken from Yucatán, to which was added all the territory of Quintana Roo.