Navarrete, Domingo Fernández

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Dominican missionary, polemicist, archbishop, and primate of the West Indies; b. Castrogeriz, Spain, 1618;d. Santo Domingo (Hispaniola), Feb. 16, 1686. After religious profession at Peñafiel on Dec. 8, 1635, and higher studies at Valladolid, Navarrete volunteered for the Philippines, and arrived there on June 23, 1648. A decade later he transferred to the China field (Macau, July 14, 1658), working in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces until the outbreak, in 1665, of the disastrous Regency persecution. Internment of the mission personnel at Canton (March 25, 1666) made possible a collective conference to adopt uniform directives of pastoral action for the China Church, a program in 42 articles. In an interchange of argumentative briefs with the Jesuit apologists through 1668 and 1669, Navarrete opposed implementation of Alexander VII's permissive ruling of 1656 for the Rites (art. 41), but in the end gave written adherence to an earlier text of the Jesuit practices (Sept. 29, 1669). Three months later, however, he secretly left Canton and set out for Europe, arriving at Lisbon on March 19, 1672. While mission procurator at Madrid, he began composition of a massive trilogy dealing with the culture, peoples, and Christian penetration of the Chinese Empire and characterized by trenchant strictures on Jesuit methods there. Besides its controversial chapters, the first volume, Tratados historicos, politicos, ethnicos y religiosos (Madrid 1676), contains a spirited account of the missionary's travels and adventures (Eng. tr., Churchill, 1704); the second, Controversias antiguas y modernas, more combative in spirit, was suppressed by the Inquisition in 1679. Two years earlier its author had left for the Spanish Indies (July 17, 1677), having been nominated to the archiepiscopal See of Santo Domingo. Consecrated on April 4, 1682, he spent the remaining four years of his life in an embattled effort to raise the standard of colonial morals, aided in this struggle for reform by the local Jesuits, whose zeal he praised in successive reports to the Crown. (see chinese rites controversy.)

Bibliography: The Travels and Controversies of Friar Domingo Navarrete 16181686, ed. j. s. cummins, 2 v. (London 1962). Scriptores Ordinis 2.2:720723.

[f. a. rouleau]