Ibarra watches a long procession in the street, which culminates with the Virgin Mary, who is pulled in a cart by people dressed as ghosts. Amidst the celebrations, police officers beat back onlookers to make sure the streets remain clear. Ibarra is disgusted by the vigor these officers apply to the task, and he asks the mayor if “they hand out these blows as punishment for one’s sins or merely because they enjoy it.” The Captain General overhears this and agrees with Ibarra, saying it would be “better to ban” this kind of celebration.
Once again, the Captain General voices his skepticism regarding how much power the town of San Diego grants the church. When he says that it would be “better to ban” such processions, he aligns himself with the town’s younger, liberal body, putting himself alongside people like Don Filipo, who resent the fact that the town must pay for spectacles that only benefit the church.