In the Name of the Holy... (Papal Bull of Pope Paul III)


This Papal Bull of 1537, in Latin, was issued by Pope Paul III, who was pope from 1534 to 1549. Best known for calling the Council of Trent in 1545, Paul III also was concerned with the role of the church in America. The bull discusses evangelization and conversion, including the proper way to apply the sacraments, in particular baptism. This was especially important in the early days of colonial rule, when hundreds and sometimes thousands of indigenous people were baptized every day. One interesting aspect of this bull is its discussion of how to deal with local practices, for example, polygamy. After their conversion, polygamous men had to marry their first wife, but if they could not remember which wife was the first, they then "could choose among the wives the one they preferred."

Last updated: September 18, 2015