The Third Mexican Provincial Council of 1585 sought to restructure the local church in order to implement the policies and positions of the Catholic Reformation and the Council of Trent. Bishops of the Third Mexican Provincial Council identified confession as an effective means of influencing their parishioners' religious attitudes and practices. In order to advance their objectives, the bishops supported the writing of a text, or directory, that described the educational and personal qualifications of confessors and provided priests who would work with Spanish parishioners in Mexican parishes with “a compendium of moral and sacramental theology, canon law, and pastoral practice” (p. 5).

Stafford Poole's The Directory for Confessors, 1585: Implementing the Catholic Reformation in New Spain makes available a scholarly and erudite English translation of this manual for priests. The original source was written in Spanish and then translated to Latin....

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