Ibarra is excommunicated from the church. Captain Tiago’s first response is to forbid María Clara from speaking to Ibarra until this excommunication has been lifted. To make matters worse, Father Dámaso—María Clara’s godfather—calls off the young lovers’ engagement. Even Father Sibyla tells Tiago he must not let Ibarra into his home. Breaking the news to his daughter, Tiago tells María Clara that Father Dámaso has a relative who recently arrived from Spain whom he intends to betroth to her. Aunt Isabel pulls him aside and reprimands him for his callousness, but he asks her what she expects, considering the fact that the priests have told him he himself is in danger of excommunication. Stricken with grief, María Clara runs to her room just as the Captain General arrives.
The fear Tiago shows regarding the prospect of being excommunicated underlines how devastating the idea of social isolation is in San Diego. However, it’s worth mentioning that Tiago is perhaps especially fearful of this isolation, since his primary concern is to stay in the friars’ good graces. In order to do so, he quickly makes arrangements with Dámaso for María Clara to marry a new, more acceptable partner. As such, readers see how willing he is to abandon Ibarra—whom he previously showed such kindness—in order to yield to the church’s power.