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Buyl, Bernal (Boyl)


First vicar apostolic of the New World; b. near Tarragona, Spain, 1445; d. place and date unknown. The name is variously spelled as Buyl, Boyl, Boil, etc. As a youth be entered the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat, and he was ordained in 1481. He became involved with governmental business and was known to King Ferdinand, serving him in various capacities, including that of ambassador to France in 1488. During much of his life as a Benedictine, Buyl lived as an anchorite in the garden and not in the monastery itself. Sometime after 1488 he left the Benedictine Order and in France joined the Order of minims founded by Francis of Paula. This change in religious order gave rise to much confusion about the identity of the first vicar apostolic until Fita discovered documents on the matter. In October of 1492 King Ferdinand granted Buyl permission to found the new order in Spain and in the spring of 1493 donated to it a hermitage in Málaga. However, the king also had other plans for Buyl and on June 25, 1493, secured a papal bull appointing him vicar apostolic in the Indies. Buyl left Cádiz for America on Sept. 25, 1493, in the second expedition of Columbus; probably a dozen or more priests accompanied him. In Española Buyl quarreled with Columbus over the admiral's harsh treatment of the colonists and the native peoples. Since he considered the situation quite impossible, Buyl left for Spain while Columbus was on an expedition to Cuba and Jamaica. He arrived there Dec. 3, 1494. Even though nothing came of his assignment in America, Buyl had not lost the confidence of the king. At the end of the century, he spent three years in Rome acting as a special ambassador, at times for the king of Spain, at others as the representative of his superior, Francis of Paula. Nothing is known about the last years of his life.

Bibliography: e. w. loughran, "The First Vicar-Apostolic of the New World," American Ecclesiastical Review 82 (1930) 114. f. fita, a series of articles in Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia Madrid 1877 19 (1891) 173233, 267348, 354356, 557560; 20 (1892) 160178, 179205, 573615.

[j. herrick]

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