Fr. Lino Gómez Canedo has added another important scholarly contribution to his long list of studies on the Franciscan Order and on the Roman Catholic Church in colonial Latin America. As with all of his works it is carefully researched, logically presented, and elegantly written. In his introduction, the author states that the present study was not designed to be a history of the Franciscan missions in Hispanic America but rather an examination of the problems missionaries faced as they completed the spiritual conquest. Gómez Canedo is especially interested in the Franciscan approach to missiology—the methods and techniques of evangelization. He stresses that the Franciscans left much to the individual initiative of friars and that eclectic approaches were used, very practical and pragmatic, because the Order of Friars Minor was little inclined to theoretical speculation or radical solutions. Father Lino discusses the so-called “rationality controversy” regarding the Indian’s capacity to understand Iberian Catholicism, to be converted, and to participate in the sacramental system of the Church. The introduction contains a fine commentary on Franciscan missionary chronicles and other sources.

Evangelización y conquista is divided into four major chapters and a critical epilogue. Beginning with the Franciscan monastery at La Rábida and its connection with Christopher Columbus, Gómez Canedo traces the course of Franciscan missionary development in the islands of the Caribbean and on the American mainland. He has an informative second chapter on Franciscan organization in America, an exposition of the functions of Commissaries General in Spain and in the Indies, as well as regional and local organization and personnel administration. An excellent section follows entitled “Los Franciscanos y su política indigenista” (pp. 63-147), a splendidly detailed account of the order and the rationality issue, the Franciscans and “just war,” and pacific conquest as well as labor institutions and general Indian policy. A final section on techniques of evangelization—Indian education in Spanish religion and Spanish Catholic culture—rounds out this fine study. Use of Indian languages in conversion, administration of the sacraments, use of art, music, and theater as teaching devices, founding of schools and hospitals—all of these themes are woven into Lino Gómez Canedo’s fabric of Franciscan missionary effort. The study ends with thirty-three valuable appendixes which include illustrative documents from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century as well as short biographical lists of Commissaries General of the Indies, of New Spain and Peru, and Commissaries General of the Indies resident in Madrid. A full annotated bibliography of manuscript and printed materials and an excellent index enhance this work.