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Santa Muerte

Pope Francis vs. Santa Muerte

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 02.22.2016 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

That both the pope and a high-ranking Vatican official have condemned veneration of a folk saint who only became known to 99 percent of Mexicans in the past fifteen years is most extraordinary.

Mexico Matters: Pope Francis's Most Important National Tour

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 01.31.2017 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for a meeting with religious for the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life at Paul VI audience hall o...

Mission Accomplished: El Chapo Recaptured on Eve of Pope Francis' Visit

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 01.09.2017 | World
R. Andrew Chesnut

In Mexico the apprehension or killing of top drug lords tends to be timed for maximum political advantage. The spectacular recapture of the world's most wanted drug kingpin, El Chapo Guzman, is no different.

Slideshow: Mexico's Trinity of Death in Michoacan

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 11.01.2016 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

All photographs by Fabiola Chesnut, a native of Morelia, Michoacan, and Head of the Department of Fine Arts at Huguenot High School in Richmond, Virgi...

Holy Death: Santa Muerte, Day of the Dead and La Catrina

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 10.15.2016 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

The culture of Mexico is not alone in its remembrance of death, but it is unique in how, more often than not, these commemorations are more festive than somber.

Mexico's Top Two Santa Muerte Leaders Finally Meet

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 10.06.2016 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

The two Enriquetas finally met two weeks ago in Tepito, the notorious Mexico City barrio. For those who haven't been following the development of the ...

The Extraordinary Exorcism of Mexico

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 06.16.2016 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

Christian exorcism has become so popular worldwide that now it's not only performed on tormented individuals but also on entire nations.

Folk Religions Around The World Are Thriving Thanks To Women's Leadership

Religion News Service | Cathy Lynn Grossman | Posted 05.09.2015 | Religion

(RNS) In her Georgia home, Tammy Bloome says her rosary to Santa Muerte, a skull-faced version of the Grim Reaper in woman’s garb. In Maryland, S...

La Tuta's Knights Templar and the Rise of Narco-Religion in Mexico

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 05.03.2015 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

The recent capture of La Tuta (Servando Gomez), the head of the Knights Templar drug cartel, reminds us that the lethal mix of religion and terrorism isn't peculiar to the Middle East.

Meet The Tequila-Loving Saint Who's Comforting Both Criminals And The Marginalized

The Huffington Post | Antonia Blumberg | Posted 11.07.2014 | Religion

Mention the Mexican folk saint "Santa Muerte" in many polite circles and the response will likely be one of confusion, fear or outright antagonism. Ma...

San Pantera: Santa Muerte's First Saint

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 06.07.2014 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

David Metcalfe, author, researcher and founder of Liminal Analytics (website) co-authored this piece....

El Chapo Guzman's Patron Saints

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 04.27.2014 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

The capture of el Chapo, the world's most powerful drug lord, has thrust his hometown folk saint, Jesus Malverde into the media spotlight.

Does Castaway's Tattoo Reveal His Religion?

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 04.21.2014 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

Like so many other aspects of his story, the nature of the castaway's faith remains cloaked in mystery.

Mexico's Trinity of Death: Santa Muerte, Day of the Dead and La Catrina

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 10.15.2015 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

As they say in Mexico, "death is just and even-handed for everyone since we will all die." For many, this unalterable truth provides a strong reason to celebrate life while there is still time.

Searching For The Bony Lady

Tonya Hurley | Posted 07.22.2013 | Religion
Tonya Hurley

She goes, I was told, by many names: Lady Of Shadows. Holy Girl. Lady of the Night. The Skinny Lady. Santa Sebastiana. Frowned upon by the Church and the upper classes, worshiped secretly for centuries by the working classes, Santa Muerte has become the patron saint of the downtrodden.

Death to Santa Muerte: The Vatican vs. The Skeleton Saint

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 07.18.2013 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

Having closely monitored the development of Saint Death's burgeoning cult on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, I had expected a condemnation by the Vatican, although I am somewhat surprised that it came before any such statement made by U.S. bishops.

Vatican Official Denounces Santa Muerte As 'Sinister And Infernal'

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 06.22.2013 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

The confluence of theological concerns, religious competition, new Latin American influence at the Vatican and media coverage have resulted in Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi's condemnation of the cult of Santa Muerte as the embodiment of Latin America's "culture of death."

Santa Muerte And Black Magic Murder On The Border

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 03.30.2013 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

Let's hope that as the cult of the controversial skeleton saint continues to grow on this side of the border, we uphold our own cherished tradition of religious freedom.

PHOTOS: The Gothic Faces Of Mexico City's Santa Muerte

Kurt Hollander | Posted 01.07.2013 | Travel
Kurt Hollander

La Santa Muerte reigns supreme in the city jails, within the criminal class and in the informal work force, as well as defining the aesthetic of the Mexico City death metal and gothic music scenes.

PHOTOS: Santa Muerte - A Familiar Death

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 01.23.2014 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

Having lived, studied and traveled in Mexico for almost 30 years, I can personally attest to the intimate and familiar nature of death in popular culture. Long before Saint Death's public outing 11 years ago today, images of death personified abounded.

The Skeleton Saint's Deadly American Debut

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 06.12.2012 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

Having studied the cult of Saint Death on both sides of the border for the past three years, I feel compelled to respond to this abominable act perpetrated in the name of the Bony Lady.

PHOTOS: Holy Week Celebrations

Posted 04.08.2012 | Latino Voices

For Christians Holy Week is the week which precedes the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. The week starts on On Palm Sunday, when devotees cele...

Pope Will Encounter Changing Religious Landscape In Mexico And Cuba

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 05.17.2012 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

Te Americas, home to half the world's Catholics, are of utmost concern to the Vatican. The future of the global church lies here.

Santa Muerte: The Extraordinary Devotion To Mexico's Saint Of Death (PHOTOS)

R. Andrew Chesnut | Posted 03.08.2012 | Religion
R. Andrew Chesnut

While tens of thousands of Mexicans have lost their lives in the ongoing drug war, millions more have become devoted to Saint Death.

Real Strange Mexicans: Down and Delirious in Mexico City, by Daniel Hernandez

Matt Sledge | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books
Matt Sledge

Daniel Hernandez's Down and Delirious in Mexico City charts the progress of a Chicano from San Diego who is Mexican enough to merit a passport. He determines to head south to reclaim his heritage.