“Iglesia me llamo” (“church is my name”) was the only phrase uttered over and over by numerous criminals during judicial interrogations that took place at various times throughout the Iberian kingdoms that ultimately became Spain, and their American colonies. This expression meant that even after committing heinous crimes, those outlaws received shelter at local churches and thereby felt entitled not to disclose any information to justice officials about their conduct. Such criminals were confident that it would not be easy to remove them from the church for punishment. Indeed, groups of wrongdoers turned churchyards, churches, their cloisters, and their adjoining cemeteries into permanent residences. They were alleged to move freely in and out of church buildings under cover of night and to bring friends, lovers, and liquor in for enjoyment. Their presence terrorized neighbors and passersby, and inconvenienced priests and parishioners alike.
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