The Uncle : 4th Bishop of Guayaquil

The uncle of Dr. Martinez’ second wife was a Jesuit priest. His name was Roberto Maria Del Pozo Marin.  In 1885 he was elevated to the rank of Bishop of Guayaquil.  An account of his brief tenure as bishop has come to light; the document in its original Spanish together with an English translation are available below.  .  It appeared as a chapter in a book entitled ” Parish Churches of the Archdiocese of Guayaquil”  written by Monsignor Luis Arias, a Jesuit priest who had served as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Guayaquil for 30 years.  Monsignor Arias lived about a century after Bishop Del Pozo; he died in 2011.

We learn from this account that:

  • In his early years, Roberto Del Pozo spent considerable time outside of the country (Central America, Columbia).
  • Following the procedure of Patronage, Monsignor Del Pozo was “presented” to the Pope as a candidate for bishop by President Caamaño.  It is significant to note that it was this same President Caamaño who was seen by a significant faction of Ecuadorians as the candidate who could be trusted to resume the effort to establish a “Republica Catolica” in Ecuador which had been started by President Garcia Moreno who had been violently assassinated a decade earlier.  And it was during the presidency of President Caamaño that Dr. Martinez started publication of the immensely popular weekly “El Perico” in Guayaquil which sought, with significant success, to expose the folly of that effort.  About 14 months into Bishop Del Pozo’s tenure, opposition to President Caamaño’s reforms resulted in a scenario in which Dr Martinez -father of six children at that time- was briefly jailed and then exiled to Peru.
  • Three years into this bishop’s tenure, in 1888, and at a time when he was absent from Guayaquil itself, an incident of extreme religious fanaticism broke out among local ecclesiastical officials.  It spiraled out of control culminating in an incident of civil unrest resulting in the death of one youth and the injury of several others.  As a result he abandoned Guayaquil in 1888 and resided in Lima Peru until his death in May of 1912.  However he did not resign his Bishopric until 1905.
  • The author’s reference to “…end of his administration” (see the document below) at the time of his departure from Guayaquil seems to imply that although Roberto continued to hold the rank of Bishop during the period of his prolonged residence in Peru, he apparently did not function as Bishop of Guayaquil during that period.  However during that 17-year period, of 1888 till 1905 he did not resign his Bishopric and no other bishop was appointed to the diocese of Guayaquil until 1907 – two years after his resignation.
  • He was absent from the country at the time of Garcia Moreno’s accession to the Presidency, returning one year after his assassination. The document does not provide any substantial information regarding whether or not he supported the repressive measures initiated by Garcia Moreno.
  • When Dr. Martinez married his second wife Maria Teresa Del Pozo in 1896, her uncle – Bishop Roberto M. Del Pozo – was still residing in Peru (still occupying the rank of “Bishop”) and would remain there until his death nearly eighteen years later in 1912.

Monsignor Luis Arias’ account is included here as a pdf document in the Spanish original and in English Translation:
SPANISH: Monsignor Luis Arias’ account of Bishop Del Pozo
ENGLISH: Monsignor Luis Arias’ account of Bishop Del Pozo
…Click to download whichever version you prefer.

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