The seat of the Inquisition from Lima concentrated its professional efforts in the social control of the "old christians", rather than in the persecution of real heretics. With the exception of restricted periods, the institution devoted most of its time in following trials against bigamous, witches or blasphemous. There where, however, kinds of "old christians" who suffered in a very severe way by the pressure to reform their conduct. Undoubtedly the religious were their favourite targets. The article studies the process followed against the Peruvian jesuit Rafael Venegas, for solicitation, perpetrated in Santiago of Chile in the middle of the XVII century. It tries to explain why the sacrament of penitence became a means to an undure erotism and what where the conditions that made the Church start seeing the incontinence of its members as punishable offense. The article, based on the rich information given in legal source, pretend to shows an internal visión of the way in which the trials of this kind were conducted, pointing out its judiciary dimension as well as the anthropological ones.
Instituto de Historia, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile