Like the other Chicano novels we have read thus far, Bless Me, Ultima is a book which is greatly concerned with religion and its changing meaning for youth as they grow and learn. Antonio, like Richard and the narrator of And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, faces struggles and backlash when it comes to his understanding of God.
After witnessing the death of Lupito, Antonio wonders what will happen the dead man in the afterlife. He questions whether Lupito will wind up in hell or purgatory or be forgiven. But before he can consider this thought for too long, he decides, "But God doesn't forgive anyone," (30). This viewpoint is somewhat surprising for a boy whose been raised in the Catholic faith, a tradition in which Confession and forgiveness is key.
Antonio is not able to hold on to this belief for long, however. When he expresses his concerns to Ultima, she rebuffs him by saying, "...you must never judge who God forgives and who He doesn't -" (36). Why might Anaya include these two contradictory statements within just a few pages of each other? It could be a commentary on the confusion inherent in Antonio's Catholic upbringing. Antonio appears to have a flawed and discomforting view of his religion, and these contradicting influences clearly don't make things any better.