PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH
"SOUTH OF THE BORDER" IN MEXICO
Very few are aware of the horrific events that took place in Mexico during this century. For all practical purposes, the Catholic religion was outlawed. Churches, convents and schools were closed or destroyed; Catholic bishops, priests and nuns were expelled and/or murdered. In fact, hundreds of Catholic priests and religious were killed and tortured along with those valiant Catholic men known as the "Cristeros."
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chapel was so pleased and honored when noted author, Mary Ball Martinez sent us a relic "fragmentos de la Urna que, durante 35 años, encerro los restos mortales del Beato Martir Mexicano"with the document signed on 23 of November, 1993 by the Vicepostulator, Fr. Fernando Suarez, SJ. This relic is a precious treasure for us at the Chapel. It is housed in a beautiful reliquary.
I invite you to read about the life of Blessed Miguel Pro and the many Mexican Martyrs. Please keep in mind that these events took place very close to home: just south of the border. This diabolic attempt to crush the Catholic faith did not happen in some far off communist land, but right next door. Let us pray for Catholic Mexico, as the devil is doing everything he can to remove any semblance of Catholicism from that once very Catholic society! It was only recently that the Federal District (Mexico City) approved abortions and homosexual "marriage." Where are the Catholic men of Mexico today? Where are the Catholic bishops and priests of Mexico? What happened to the once great Catholic people of Mexico?
(please scroll down for the article)
Martyr of the Masonic
Revolution in Mexico
Blessed Miguel Pro was born in Mexico, January 13, 1891. He grew up in a large family with six brothers and sisters. Inspired by two of his sisters who entered the religious life at the age of twenty. Miguel entered the Jesuit order at the Hacienda El Llano so that he may devote his life to the service of God. He was ordained a priest in Belgium on August 21, 1925. In 1926, Father Pro returned to Mexico at a time in which the Catholic Church faced great opposition. Any Catholic priest who would dare to continue to serve the sacraments such as communion, baptism, confession, confirmation and marriage risked persecution, torture, arrest and even execution! While the solders and the police had their guns and rifles, Father Pro had the greatest of all weapons as he had once stated in reference to the crucifix.November 1927, Father Pro, along with his brother Humberto, without due process or trial, were condemned to die though they were innocent of any crime. They were only guilty of being Catholic priests. On the morning of November 23, 1927, Father Pro was led from his cell to the location of his execution. It did not matter to the police and soldiers that beyond the wall, within earshot, a man was shouting that he had in his hands a stay of execution that would free the brothers. The shouts were ignored and Father Pro was lead to his death. As he was led to death, one of the policemen responsible for his capture asked for his forgiveness which Father Pro freely gave. Just minutes before he was to be executed, Father Pro asked to be able to pray as a last request. During this short amount of time, he kneeled upon the hard, uncomfortable ground, near the bullet-riddled wall where he would soon be executed. In submission to God's will, he accepted his fate, stood up, stretched his arms out wide in the shape of the cross in preparation for his death. After forgiving his executors, and as the squad raised its weapons, Father Pro shouted in a clear, yet loud voice: Viva Cristo Rey!" With humility and bravery, Father Pro met his martyrdom.
THE MURDER OF FR. MIGUEL PRO
OTHER CATHOLIC PRIEST MARTYRS
+ Fathers Cristobal Magallanes Jara and Agustin Caloca were martyred together on May 25, 1927 at Colotitlan, Jalisco. Father Magallanes was accused of promoting the Cristero revolt, although he had preached and written against armed rebellion. While he was in jail, he told Father Caloca, “Cheer up, God loves the martyrs . . . one moment and we are in Heaven.” Father Caloca, responded, “We have lived for God and in him we die.” Before he was shot, Father Magallanes distributed his few possessions among his executioners and gave them absolution, saying: “I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serves toward the peace of our divided Mexico.”
+ Father David Galvan, a seminary teacher, was arrested while on his way to aid the victims of a confrontation in Guadalajara on January 30, 1915. Warned that he might be killed, he replied, “What greater glory is there than to die saving a soul?” He was executed by firing squad.
+ Father Luis Batiz, and the Catholic laymen David Roldan, Salvador Lara, and Manuel Moralez were killed August 15, 1926 at Chalchihuites, Zacatecas. The three laymen were officers of the Liga Defensora de la Libertad Religiosa. Father Batiz was accused of plotting an uprising. The four were offered their freedom if they recognized the legitimacy of President Calles’s anti-religious laws. All of them refused. Father Batiz asked the soldiers to free Morales, because he had children, but Morales told them, “I am dying for God, and God will care for my children.” He raised his hat as the soldiers fired. The others died crying out “ Viva Cristo Rey! Viva Santa Maria de Guadalupe!”
+ On January 17, 1927, Father Jenaro Sanchez, a pastor in Tecolotlan, Jalisco, was arrested and hanged from a mesquite tree. When the soldiers put the rope around his neck, he said, “My countrymen, you are going to hang me, but I pardon you, and my Father God also pardons you, and long live Christ the King!”
+ As a young priest Father Mateo Correa gave First Communion to Miguel Pro. In 1927, frail and elderly, he was taking the viaticum to a sick parishioner near Valparaiso when he was caught and accused of being in league with the Cristeros. Taken to Durango, he heard the confessions of some Cristeros awaiting execution. When the commander demanded to know what they had said, the brave confessor refused to answer, and he was shot.
+ On March 26, 1927, Father Julio Alvarez, pastor of Mechoacanejo, Jalisco, was arrested, tied to the saddle of a horse, and led away to Leon. On hearing his sentence, he said, “I know that you have to kill me because you are ordered to do so, but I am going to die innocent because I have done nothing wrong. My crime is to be a minister of God. I pardon you.” He crossed his arms and the soldiers fired, then threw his body onto a trash heap near the church.
+ While in prison in Cuernavaca, Father David Uribe wrote, “I declare that I am innocent of the things of which I am accused. . . . I pardon all my enemies and I beg pardon from any that I have offended.” On April 12th, 1927, he was shot in the back of the head near San Jose Vidal, Morelia.
“Devout Mexican Catholics worshipping without their priests.”
New York Literary Digest, August 1926
+ On April 11, 1927, the pastor of Totolan, Jalisco, Father Sabas Reyes was arrested, beaten, and tortured, but he suffered with heroic patience. His hands and feet were burned, he was starved, left in the sun, and given nothing to drink. He was beaten until a number of his bones were broken and his skull was fractured. On April 13, he was taken to the cemetery and shot. Three or four times the rifles spoke; each time, Father Reyes raised his head and cried out “Viva Cristo Rey.”
+ Father Roman Adame, the parish priest of Nochistlan, Zacatecas, was denounced and arrested on April 18, 1927. He was forced to walk barefoot from Mexticacan to Yahualica, until a soldier offered his horse when he realized the elderly priest could not walk another step. For three days, Father Adame was kept tied to the columns in front of his jail, given neither food nor water. Although a ransom was paid, he was taken to the cemetery on April 21 and shot. One of the soldiers from the firing squad refused to take part in the execution; in punishment he himself was shot.
+ Father Jose Isabel Flores of Zapotlanejo, Jalisco, was denounced, arrested, and starved for three days. On June 21, 1927, he was taken to the cemetery and tortured by being hanged from a tree limb, then raised up and down three or four times. Finally he told his tormentors: “This is not the way you are going to kill me, my children. . . . But just let me say, if you received the sacraments from me, don’t cripple the hands that served you.”
One of soldiers present, who had been baptized by Father Flores, then refused to take part in the execution; once again, the soldier himself was immediately shot. When the guns of the remaining soldiers did not fire properly, the commanding office slit the throat of Father Flores with his sword.
+ Father Jose Maria Robles was pastor of Tecolotlan, Guadalajara. He founded the congregation of sisters known as the Hermanas del Corazon de Jesus Sacramentado. In response to suggestions that he should leave his parish to avoid persecution, he said, “The shepherd can never abandon his sheep.” He was arrested and, in defiance of a legal stay of his execution, he was led on horseback to an oak tree where he prayed briefly, blessed the members of his parish, then pardoned and blessed his murderers. He kissed the rope, put it around his neck, and was hanged on June 26, 1927.
+ Father Miguel de la Mora, pastor at Colima, was on a trip with friends and stopped for breakfast when a woman asked him to officiate at her daughter’s wedding. Some government officials overheard the conversation, and arrested the group, taking them back to Colima. Advised of his sentence, Father Miguel calmly recited his rosary. He was shot August 7, 1927.
+ In October 1927, Father Rodrigo Aguilar, a priest in Union de Tula, Jalisco was betrayed and captured by government soldiers. He was taken to the main square of Ejutla where he blessed and forgave his executioners. One of the soldiers arrogantly asked, “Who lives?” telling him he would be spared if he would answer: “Long live the supreme government.” Instead, in a firm voice, the priest responded, “Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe.” Furiously the soldier pulled on the rope to suspend the priest in mid-air. Then he lowered him and again asked, “Who lives?” Father Aguilar gave the same answer. When the same question and answer were repeated a third time, the soldier left the priest to hang until death.
+ During the height of the persecution, a bishop in the state of Guerrero could not find a priest willing to go to the parish of Atenango del Rio, because city officials had threatened to kill any priest who dared to go there. When he heard of that problem, Father Margarito Flores—a seminary professor and vicar of Chilapa, Guerrero—volunteered at once. On the way, he was caught and forced to walk to Tuliman in the blazing sun, half naked and barefoot. Serenely, Father Flores shared his last meal with his captors, then was taken behind the church where he blessed the soldiers and prayed as he was led forward. He was shot on November 12, 1924.
+ When he was advised to leave his parish, Father Pedro Esqueda of San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, responded “God put me here; He knows where I am.” November 18, 1927, he was captured by government troops at a private home. He was brutally tortured for four days, but suffered in silence. On November 22, he was led to a mesquite tree and ordered to climb it. Although he attempted to obey, he could not because his arm was broken. He was tortured again, then shot.
“Part of the throng that crowded into the Mexico City cathedral just days
before the Government took it over.”
New York Literary Digest, August 1926
+ On February 5, 1928, the parish priest of Valtierilla, Michoican, Father Jesus Mendez had just celebrated Mass secretly when he heard fighting outside the house where he was staying. He left by a back window, taking the chalice under a tilma, but was stopped by a soldier who thought he was carrying arms. He quickly admitted he was priest. Taking his prisoner to the town plaza, the commanding officer attempted three times to kill him. On the first attempt the officer’s pistol misfired. So he ordered his soldiers to shoot the priest, but not a single shot hit Father Mendez (possibly because no one wanted to kill him). Finally, the soldiers removed the priest’s medals and cross, and on a third attempt they succeeded at least in wounding him; one of the soldiers then gave him the coup de grace. His body was thrown on the railroad tracks, but the wives of the town officials rescued and buried it.
+ Father Toribio Romo was assigned at Tequila, Jalisco where he lived in an abandoned factory. He prayed for courage, telling his sister, “I am cowardly, so if one day God wants me to be killed, I hope he will give me a rapid death, with only the time necessary to pray for my enemies.” In the early morning of February 25, 1928, government troops forced the local mailman to show them where the secret Masses were celebrated. They surprised Father Romo and shot him in his bed, stripped his body of clothing, and threw the naked corpse in front of the city hall.
+ Father Justino Orona, parish priest at Cuquio, Jalisco, wrote to a friend, “Those of us who walk the road of sorrows with fidelity can leave for heaven with a feeling of security.” On June 29, 1928, at a local ranch, he and his young vicar, Father Atiliano Cruz, recited the rosary and planned their hidden ministry. He asked Father Cruz if he was afraid of the soldiers, and the younger priest replied that he would greet them with the words, “Viva Cristo Rey.” At dawn on July 1, soldiers broke into the house where the two priests were sleeping. Father Cruz greeted them as he had promised, in a strong clear voice. Father Orona was killed immediately; Father Cruz was mortally wounded. Their bodies were thrown in the town plaza.
+ Father Tranquilino Ubiarco was arrested on October 5, 1928, while officiating at a wedding in a private home. As he was led to his execution, he asked who was commissioned to kill him. When all the soldiers remained silent, he said, “All of this is God’s will; the man who is made to kill me is not responsible.” One of the soldiers then confessed that he was the one who had been chosen, but he now felt that he could not carry out the assignment. Calmly, Father Ubiarco blessed all the soldiers. They hanged him from the branch of a eucalyptus tree at the entrance of town. Once again, the soldier in charge of the execution refused to carry out the order, so he was shot.
+ Because of the political unrest in Mexico, Father Pedro de Jesus Maldonado was ordained in El Paso, Texas. Returning home, he became pastor of Santa Isabel, Chihuahua. In the early 1930s, he was sent back to safety in Texas, but he begged to be allowed to return. A group of armed and drunken men arrested him at his house and made him walk barefoot to Santa Isabel. He recited his rosary along the way. He was beaten and hit on the head so hard that his left eye popped out. He had prayed for the grace of receiving final Communion. He had a consecrated host with him in a pyx, and when his murderers found it, one of them forced him to eat it saying, “Eat this, this is your last Communion!” He was then beaten until he was unconscious, then taken to the civil hospital where he died on February 11, 1937.
Holy Mass offered in Mexico: 1937
Mexico’s Red Government Makes War on the Catholic Church
From the Irish Independent, March 6th, 1933
by Dr. Frank O’Reilly, K.C.S.G., Secretary
of the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland
Benito Juarez of Mexico
The voice of the Catholics of the Republic of Mexico is overwhelmed in the babel of international controversy on debt-cancellation, trade restrictions, and disarmament.Only the voice of the Father of Christendom is heard pleading their cause. And even his voice in a world which boasts its worship of liberty, is, as far as it is possible, silenced, to the benefit of a great tyranny.Mexico is no longer in the news. The world has, it would seem, settled down comfortably to regard the Mexican terror as a normality — as something, at least, which has lost its news value. The duty of Catholics, in the circumstances, is plain. The fact of the persecution of our brothers in Mexico must not be taken as merely a fait accompli. Here is a wrong to be righted.
Our Holy Father the Pope, in his announcement of the Holy Year, deplored “the sad condition of oppression which still afflicts the Faith and the Faithful in Mexico.”
Persecution Begins Here is a plea to Catholics everywhere to assist him in the work of the liberation of Mexico, but none of us can take more than a passing interest in his appeal without a realisation of the enormity of the terror which he opposes.I propose, therefore, in a few short articles to explain the position in which the Church is situated, under Masonic rule, in a land steeped in Catholic tradition and sentiment.The persecution of the Church in Mexico was inaugurated early in the last century, but it will suffice to date its beginning from 1917, when a Constitution, under which the country is at present government, was promulgated.
The Constitution of 1917The Congress which drew up this 1917 Constitution was “elected” under the shadow of the same terrorism which is in control of the country’s destinies today.In the first place, the majority of the electors were not permitted toe exercise the franchise, and, in the second place, no candidate was permitted to be declared elected who could not prove that he had given material support to the revolution which had made the new Constitution possible.Mr. William F. Montavon, director of the Legal Department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference of the U.S.A., says of this farcical election: “(The Constitution) was imposed upon the people by a chosen band of revolutionists who did not have, by any means, control, even in a material way, of the Republic, and who had refused to fight under the national flag of Mexico, but only under their own Red banner. The Constitution has never been submitted to any form of ratification by the people of Mexico.”
Advent of Calles to PowerPresently I shall make a resume of the anti-religious provisions of this imposed Constitution. I may remark, however that Mr. Montavon’s judgement receives ample conformation in the fact that the Government did not dare to put these provisions fully into effect.Most of the more vicious of them were allowed to lie dormant until the “election” of one of the revolutionary generals, Pluturch Calles, as President in 1924.Calles was outstanding among the Masonic enemies of Catholicism in Mexico. He was obsessed with an inveterate hatred of the Church. Forthwith, almost, he proceeded, in the name of the law, unwarrantably enacted, as we have seen, to enforce the Constitution in all its rigour.At the same time, following in the footsteps of all persecutions he loudly proclaimed that there was “no such thing as persecution of a religious character against religious creeds….” We shall see.
War on ReligionCalles retired from the Presidency in 1928. The present President in Ortex Rubio, who, after making pretence of accommodation with Our Holy Father the Pope, has, if anything, intensified the tyranny under which an entire Catholic nation groans.The 1917 Constitution, among other things, forbids ministers of religion or religious bodies to found or direct primary schools (Article III). It bans religious orders and prohibits the taking of vows (Article V) and declares religious associations incapable of acquiring, possessing, or administering movable or immovable property (Article XXVII).Article XXVII further enacts that all Church property is confiscated to the State, and that the State will fix the number of churches necessary for public worship.
And in the HomeArticle XXX enacts (1) that “the right of intervention in accordance with the laws, in matters of religious worship and external discipline, belongs to the federal authority,” to which other authorities, i.e., the Church, are subsidiary.(2) That “marriage is a civil-contract, exclusively within the competence of the civil authority.(3) That ministers of religion are merely members of a profession, and that the State legislatures have power to determine their number.(4) That a minister of religion must be a Mexican by birth.In addition, it enacts that ministers of religion cannot either at public meetings or in private committees, nor yet in the course of religious services or religious propaganda, criticise the fundamental laws of the land, nor authority in particular, nor the Government in general; neither shall they have a vote, active or passive, nor a right to associate themselves with any political aims.Also, it denies recognition “for any motive whatever” to courses of studies designed for the training of priests.
.All Orders SuppressedAnd here is the confession of Masonic despotism. The same Article XXX, sub-section 16, enacts: “Prosecutions for the infringement of the foregoing regulations shall in no case be tried before a jury.”I have been compelled to be brief, owing to space limitations, but I have picked out from the 1917 Constitution enough to demonstrate the obnoxious character of the laws of the Masons of Mexico.On July 2nd 1926, by proclamation, Calles, in accordance with the Constitution, prohibited the taking of religious vows, perpetual or temporary, and suppressed all the religious orders.Priests who either by written or spoken word incite others not to recognise even a simple order of any authority whatsoever are liable to six years’ imprisonment. Public criticism of the laws by any priest renders him liable to imprisonment for from one to five years.
Lawmakers Above Their Laws!But while the junta which has established itself in power by the might of the gun mouths respect for their iniquitous laws they do not even obey those iniquitous laws themselves, for the degree of their iniquity is not apparently intense enough to please them thoroughly.Article XVII of the 1917 Constitution guarantees that “the liberty to write and to publish articles on all matters is inviolable. No law nor authority can enact preventative measures, nor limit the liberty of the Press, which has no limits except respect for private life, for morals, and for the public peace.” But in the face of this Masonic guarantee, the Catholic Press is persistently and cruelly persecuted.In future articles I shall deal with other aspects of this minority terror, but neither in this present one nor in those to come can I give more than a bare idea of its ferocity. The anti-religious laws are cruel in the extreme in their details, and several Catholics have paid the penalty of death for loyalty to Christ.
From the Irish Independent,March 7th, 1933In my last article I pointed out that Article III of the 1917 Constitution forbids ministers of religion or religious bodies to found or direct primary schools.In addition, Article V bans religious orders, and Article XVII declares them incapable of possessing or administering property. The same article confiscates all Church property to the State.It is invariably true of persecutors that their most energetic and thorough efforts are directed always against the Catholic schools. The Masonic persecutor in Mexico is not different from his brother in any other country.He has made the most determined assault upon the little ones of Mexico, endeavouring, with all the energy of his being, to uproot all their ideas of religion, and actually to pollute their minds with the most immoral of doctrines.
Out of the Tyrants’ Own MouthsI think it well to let the tyrants speak for themselves, and so I quote Circular No. 24, dated March 31, 1932, and published by the Controller of Schools in the State of Vera Crux, for the purpose of giving “directions concerning the anti-religious action to be worked up in the schools.” It is as follows: —“On June 27 of last year, in accordance with Law No. 197, promulgated by the present Legislature, this Directory issued instructions concerning the work of anti-fanaticism within and outside the schools, which must be developed in the educational institutions of our State. We now wish to insist on the obligation binding on all teachers to carry out this work with perseverance and an enthusiasm in keeping with its social importance.
“Anti-Religious Committees”“Accordingly, we recommend that extra school action be carried on through discourses and conferences to adults and by forming anti-religious committees which will labour to infuse into the popular conscience the conviction of the necessity to abolish religious belief, which is an obstacle in the way of true social development.“Concerning action in the schools, which aims at forming in the pupils the materialistic conception of the world, and in this way eliminating all religious belief and prejudice, we deem it useful to give the following direction as to the gradual working out of this purpose.
Plan for Godless Campaign“1st Year. Combat familiar superstitions and religious dogmas which are told to little children of this class. In considering the buildings which are found in the country fix the attention of the children on the churches, and form the necessary comparisons with the working-class districts in the locality.“In the lessons on primitive man, explain how, in the beginning, labour was the characteristic of all men, but as society organized itself, classes were formed, who lived by the labour of others, part of these oppressor classes being the priests.“2nd Year. Bring under observation the anti-hygienic side of certain religious practices as ‘the use of Holy Water, kissing pictures, medals, relics of the Saints, or the priests’ hands.’ Explain how religious practices, while causing man to lose time which he should be spending in labour, have no influence of the production of atmospheric phenomena; draw the conclusion of the uselessness and harmfulness of these practices.Poison for Young Minds“Explain to the pupils how they should not give offering to light candles to the Saints, or make offerings to the churches or for Masses, etc., showing how such offerings go exclusively to the profit of the priests.“Insist on the lessons from history showing the function of the priests in impoverishing others, which they exercised from the primitive social epoch.“3rd Year. Stress how religions form individuals without initiative, awaiting all from the Divinity, and how, on the contrary, persons without religious prejudices are active, energetic in character, able to overcome by themselves their difficulties.“In history lessons treat of the harmful influence of the priestly class in the times before the conquest of Cortes; how religious superstitions contributed to consummate the Spanish victory; how the fanaticism of the primitive religions were replaced by the fanaticism of Catholicism, which facilitated the impoverishment of the natives. Comment on the ridiculousness of the nonsense of the existence of a heaven, a hell, a purgatory, saints, devils, etc.“Tell of the social groups, distinguishing between them as workers and capitalists, oppressed and oppressors; pointing out that the priests belong to this latter group because by their preaching they contribute to the existence of the oppressors; point out how, therefore, they should be eliminated from Society. Constitution and functioning of an anti-clerical committee.War on Protestantism Also“4th Year. During the studies on the form of the earth and its movements, bring out the falseness of the relative dogmas.“In the history lessons dwell on the formation of the clerical estates in New Spain; on the unfortunate part played by the clergy in the economic, political and social life of the colony.“Dwell on the Inquisition and its crimes; on the opposition of the clergy to the pioneers of independence; how they tried to frustrate the final gaining of it, lending their support to the Emperor of Iturbido; the despicable and anti-patriotic conduct of the clergy during the epoch of independence, siding with the class of the oppressors, and with the reactionary Government; the rebellious conduct of the clergy against the government which emerged from the last revolution, and the crimes which their conduct provoked.“Draw attention to the dangers of the diffusion of Protestantism in our country, which would constitute a means for capitalistic domination from the United States.Proletarianising Policy“Treating of the evolution of forms of government explain how the priests have co-operated in maintaining, as rulers, the oppressors of the people, and how they were opposed to the establishment of a government which would defend the rights of the working classes.“Treat of the damage to the national economy of the existence of a class of priests (a non-producing class); the religious prejudices through which people await everything from a divinity; the money which the Catholic clergy send to Rome.“Insist that the priestly class are a part of the class of oppressors, and with their preaching of obedience oppose the liberation of the proletariat.“Compare the achievements of the great benefactors of Mexico (men who have contributed to the building up of nationality, to the progress of the country, to the development of arts and sciences and to the betterment of the proletarian classes) with the obscurantist works of the priests. Formation and functioning of an anti-clerical committee.The Communist Creed“5th Year. Treating of the knowledge of the laws ruling physical and chemical phenomena, insist on the materialistic conception of the world; demonstrating the falsity of the religious dogmas.“In the historical studies bring out the harm done to the progress of the American people by the priestly class. Point out the harm suffered by the economy of America by religious prejudice through which, in spite of improved methods of production, the people seek the divine aid.“Make the pupils understand that to lead a moral life no religion whatever is needed; that on the contrary religion is an obstacle; avoid falsehood and hypocrisy and that is sufficient. Comment on the immorality of religious confessions. Show the necessity of destroying the priestly classes so that the proletarian classes of America may regain their rights and set about establishing a social regime in which proletarian justice rules…To Enthrone Materialism“6th Year. Treating of the general laws ruling nature and in the study of the planter system and of the formation of the earth (theory of La Place) and of the origin of man (Darwin’s theory); inculcate into the pupils the full materialistic conception of the world.“In historical studies draw attention to the execrable works of the priestly class in the evolution of the peoples, always blocking progress; the conquest of human rights and the vindication of the proletariat.“Show the damage done to world economy by the existence of a priestly class. Explain also the origin of evolution of religions, showing how they are all founded on the unknown, and how they are disappearing with the progress of science.True Soviet Technique“Give a full commentary on the Russian Revolution, and explain how in the Soviet State all religious dogmas are cast out and the priestly classes suppressed to more securely establish a regime in which proletarian justice shall rule.“Suggest to the pupils the necessity of taking advantage of the churches for the establishment of schools, libraries, working centres, etc., showing what steps would be opportune for the accomplishment of this purpose. Formation and functioning of an anti-religious committee.“It is hardly necessary to say that these activities, which we may call anti-religious, should be supported by the co-operation of all other branches of study; the national language, through literature; drawing, illustrating, competitions in caricaturing, etc., modeling with figures representing scenes which would strengthen the anti-religious idea; social instructions with anti-clerical and anti-religious committees as mentioned above.League of the Godless, Too“It is well to remember that in each centre of primary education an anti-religious league should be organised, formed from the pupils of different years, in order to co-ordinate and regulate the functioning of the anti-clerical and anti-religious committees of the various groups.”I can usefully contribute no comment upon this anti-God instruction. It can be taken for granted that the campaign in Vera Crux is in the spirit of the Federal Government, and that it is duplicated, except perhaps in some details, in many other States.The fact that the campaign has to be undertaken is an additional proof that the persecutor has seized power against the will of the people.
From the Irish Independent, March 10th, 1933Whatever public worship of God is permitted by the Mexican persecutor is so intolerably restricted as to amount to virtual prohibition. The most elaborate machinery for the suppression of Divine Services has been set up, and once again in such a way as to demonstrate the Government’s distrust of the people.Only a small proportion of the churches of the country are open for worship. Licences to open the churches are withheld at the will of the State Governors, and only on condition of what amounts not only to lay but actually to anti-Catholic domination.Each church must have a trustee to see to it that the anti-religious laws and observed by the priest. This trustee, together with a committee of ten persons from the locality — who need not, obviously, be Catholics — really appoint the priest, for they nominate him to the Municipal Council, which, however, has the power to accept or reject the nomination.
The Governor must at all times be kept informed of changes not only of priests but of members of the parish committees.One Priest For 100,000 People The trustees and their committees are bound under penalties of heavy fines or imprisonment or other punishments to carry out their duties. The persecutor thus protects his iniquitous laws against the disloyalty of even the hand-picked adherents who administer them.In addition to this rigorous control of the churches and of religious ministrations, the persecutor rigorously controls the priesthood. The number of officiating priests in each State is limited. In Vera Crux and Yucatan, for instance, one priest is allowed for every 100,000 inhabitants. In Chiapas the quote is 60,000. In Michoacán only 33 priests are permitted in the whole territory.One can realize the horror of these iniquitous laws by thinking of the Diocese of Cork, for instance, with, at the most, three priests; or of towns like Galway or Limerick with one each. How many would die without the Sacraments if the laws were obeyed, as, thank God, they are not and never will be.
The Red Junta’s ObsessionIn Mexico, as in Ireland in Penal Days, the priesthood is “On the run.” Mass is celebrated in the catacombs as in the first ages of the Faith, and in God’s own time the Church will emerge victorious as it has always done everywhere.In the meantime, however, it would surely be extraordinary if Catholics and lovers of liberty of every creed, and of none, did not voice their protest against an insufferable tyranny.Our Holy Father the Pope, under whose wise rule the Church is more at peace with the nations than perhaps ever before in history, has failed to inspire in the Mexican Government any desire for justice. As far as the Vicar of Christ could go, Pius XI has gone to placate the persecutor, but in vain.The foolish determination to wipe out religion has obsessed the Red Junta. In the pursuit of their object they are forgetful of even the principles of honour.
An Agreement Not Kept.In an Apostolic Letter to the Bishops of Mexico on 2nd February, 1926, Our Holy Father lamented that, despite the clear and precise undertaking entered into by the Mexican Government with the Holy See, that Government had refused, without stating any motive, to permit the return to Mexico of the Apostolic Delegate who had been contumaciously expelled.The letter from the Mexican Government dated 25th October, 1924, agreed clearly and definitely to the recognition of an Apostolic Delegate, in accordance with the usual diplomatic practice.That is made clear in the actual letter from the Mexican Government to his Eminence Cardinal Gasparri, Secretary of State, which was in the following terms: —“Monsignore — I have received the note N.34064 dated September 5th, in which your Eminence states he learns from persons whom he has reason to consider well informed that, should the Holy See nominate an Apostolic Delegate to Mexico, this Government is prepared to permit his entry and permanent stay in the country, and to grant him the use of cypher, and to undertake that, should any difficulty arise, he will not be expelled from the territory, but his withdrawal requested of the Holy See.The President’s Decision“Your Eminence adds that if the reply is in the affirmative you will immediately communicate the name of the person whom the Pope appoints as Delegate; to whom opportune instructions will be given, so that in appointing to dioceses there may be nominated as Bishops ecclesiastics who are not implicated in political strife, and who give promise of devoting themselves; and their clergy to the good of souls; also the Delegate will be given faculties to enter into contact with the Government whenever circumstances demand it.“In reply, by decision of the President of the Republic, I have the honour to inform your Eminence that as a result of conversations of an informative character which have taken place between a high dignitary of the Church and our Minister at Rome, with the purpose of arriving at an accord for the maintenance of those relations with the Church, consistent with our laws, and having considered the request which, for this purpose, was made to the Government of Mexico, the President of the Republic wishes to make known that the entry and permanent stay in the country — after further communication from the Holy See — of an Apostolic Delegate will be permitted; who will also be permitted the use of cypher in his correspondence.“This Government also agrees that should any serious difficulty arise it will first request his recall by the Holy See, before proceeding directly to expel him.
.Holy See’s Offer Welcomed!“I have the pleasure to inform your Eminence that the Government of Mexico is very glad to know that, in nominating a new Delegate the Holy See will have care to instruct him that in appointing to dioceses there will be nominated as Bishops ecclesiastics who are not implicated in political strife, and who, with their clergy, will devote themselves exclusively to the Christian functions proper to their ministry.“From conduct of this kind, this Government expects the best results, which will commence from the moment in which there is a cessation of those activities which have been for a long time now the chief obstacle between the State and the Catholic Church.“Consequently, it has also been decided that the new Apostolic Delegate will be given faculties necessary for entering into contact with the Government when circumstances demand.”
Apostolic Delegates ExpelledOur Holy Father the Pope nominated Monsignor Cimino as Apostolic Delegate. He was not permitted to enter Mexico. Monsignor Caruana, nominated instead, was expelled almost at once; and Monsignor Ruiz — himself a Mexican — who was then nominated, was declared a foreigner and then expelled. The malafides of the Mexican junta needs no comment.How eventually the victims of their hatred are to be redeemed from the rule of slavery it is difficult to see. The facts set out in these articles must, however, increase the interest of Irish Catholics in the fate of their Mexican brothers and sisters, and induce our people to respond to the Holy Father’s appeal for prayers for their welfare.
CATHOLIC SOLDIERS OF CHRIST
20th Century Mexico’s Catholic Uprising
The 20th century was the bloodiest century in history, the "century of massacres," "hell's century,"the century of martyrs-just like all the others"? No, not just like all the others; it was the great century of martyrs, infinitely more than the others....Never had there been so many martyrs in the space of 100 years, not even in the space of 1,000 years. And these tens of millions of Christians, the victims of a century in open revolt against God, remain unknown and unsung. Today I would like to recall for you the Mexican Catholics who, some 70 years ago, rose up against Freemasonry for the social reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were called the Cristeros.
A Century of Religious Persecutions
From the time its independence was declared in 1821, Mexico had a troubled history: civil wars, dictatorships, coup d’états, revolutions (1876-1911)....Maximilian's Empire (1863-67) was but a brief and very imperfect parentheses in the persecutions endured by the Church once the Spanish left: property despoiled, priests imprisoned, assassinations plotted, bishops expelled....Why so many misfortunes? A proverb provides the answer: "Poor Mexico! so far from God and so close to the United States..." The United States did not want a great Catholic power at their door. At the time of Mexican independence, they worried about this potential rival whose land mass roughly equaled their own, and whose population, though less numerous (6.5 millions of inhabitants versus 9.5 millions) had become, thanks to a very lively Catholic faith, a true nation, while the United States remained, and remains even now, the "Salad Bowl."
In the 1830's, war broke out. Betrayed by Masonic generals, Mexico lost its northern territory, California, Texas, New Mexico (1848), and was placed under United States political and economic hegemony.
The puppets successively made presidents of Mexico were all corrupt Masons who immediately enforced the orders issued from Washington to "defanaticize" the country, that is, to destroy its Catholicism which dated from the 16th century when the Spanish (especially the Franciscans), had evangelized Mexico; the order also demanded defiling the memory of its European heritage by exalting the pre-Columbian era and the "marvelous" Aztec civilization where the wheel and the vault were unknown, but where slavery, human sacrifice and cannibalism were practiced on a grand scale even in the 16th century!
Here are just two examples of this policy: The first official act of President Juarez was to transform St. Francis of Mexico Church into a Protestant temple (1867), and the publication of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Humanum Genus (1884) was prohibited (it condemns Freemasonry) even in the seminaries!
(above) Federal soldiers defiling a Catholic Church
In 1914, President Carranza, put in place by the US, inaugurated a period of open persecution: priests were massacred (160 were killed in Mexico in February, 1915). John Lind, one of Woodrow Wilson's advisors, rejoiced over the news: "Great news! The more priests they kill in Mexico, the happier I shall be!" An American pastor, indignant about the outraging of the nuns in Vera Cruz, received this reply from Wilson's personal representative: "After prostitution, the worst thing in Mexico is the Catholic Church. Both must disappear!"
In 1924, Plutarco Elias Calles became President. For this descendant of Spanish Jews, a 33rd degree Mason, "the Church is the unique cause of all Mexico's misfortunes." For him, too, she had to disappear. With the complicity of a Masonic priest, Fr. Perez, proclaimed by the government "Patriarch of the Mexican Catholic Church," Calles founded a schismatic "patriotic Church," as the Communists were to do later in China. The wine used in the Mass was replaced by mescal. But the maneuver was met with widespread contempt. The government could finance the opening of 200 Protestant schools and Calles could smooth the way for heretical sects (already well financed by the US), but the Mexican people remained stubbornly attached to Rome!
In 1926, the president and his clique launched a new offensive which they hoped to be definitive: "Now there must be a psychological revolution," Calles declared. "We must penetrate and take hold of the minds of the children and the youth because they must belong to the revolution." The Catholic schools were shut down, the congregations expelled, Christian trade unions forbidden, numerous churches confiscated and profaned (turned into stables or halls) or destroyed. Public school attendance became mandatory, atheism was officially taught, and religious insignia (medals, crucifixes, statues, and pictures) were forbidden, even at home. God was even chased from the language! The use of such expressions as Adios, "If God wills," or "God forbid," was subject to a fine. Lastly, the priests were "registered": some states (Mexico is a federal republic) required them to swear not to proselytize, others tried to command them to marry if they wished to continue in their function! Msgr. Carvana, the Apostolic Nuncio, protested; on May 12, 1926, he was expelled. Throughout the country, Catholic public figures were assassinated, girls coming out of church were kidnapped, imprisoned, raped. Msgr. Curley, the Archbishop of Baltimore, vented his indignation: "Calles persecutes the church because he knows that he has Rome's approval. Our government has armed Calles's killers. Our friendship has encouraged him in his abominable enterprise: to destroy the idea of God in the minds and hearts of millions of Mexicans."
On May 28, Calles received the Masonic medal of merit from the hands of the Great Commander of the Scottish rite in Mexico. On July 12, the following communique appeared in the press: "International Masonry accepts responsibility for everything that is happening in Mexico, and is preparing to mobilize all its forces for the methodic, integral application of the agreed upon program for this country."1
On July 26, an elderly shopkeeper was coldly struck down by two policemen in civilian clothes. His crime? In his shop he had posted a sign reading Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King! The Mexicans peacefully reacted to the persecution: they boycotted state-owned enterprises (tobacco purchases and railroad traffic were reduced by 74%, and in just a few weeks, the national bank suffered a 7 million peso loss), and they also circulated a protest petition signed by 2 million (out of a population of 15 million).
But Christians have something even better than that, they have prayer, and the country was crisscrossed by gigantic penitential processions: 10,000, 15,000 faithful, barefooted, crowned with thorns, implored God for their country. The powers that be could not tolerate that; their heavy machine guns dispersed the processions, and the first martyrs fell, singing.
(above) A Catholic Church closed for Mass. The sign on the Tabernacle says: "He is not here."
Public Worship Suspended
On July 24, 1926, Cardinal Gaspari sent a telegram from Rome to the Mexican episcopate: "Under no condition we will accept the registering of priests." The bishops decided to suspend public worship throughout the land starting July 31: all the places of public worship would be closed, there would be no Masses offered nor sacraments administered throughout the country except in private chapels. This was an unheard of, inexplicable decision, unless by it they intended to push the Mexicans to revolt, for the one thing they could not bear was to be deprived of the sacraments. During the final days of July, people thronged the churches day and night, going to confession, getting baptized, marrying...
(above) A Priest Martyr being executed by Federal soldiers. His crime? Offering Mass!
People began to come to put their consciences well in order even though it was already time to begin working in the fields. With each passing day more and more peasants streamed into the village from the neighboring hamlets, their pale faces and sorrowful eyes bespeaking their anguish. There were three priests in Tlalte-nango parish, not enough to confess so many people. Despite being in the confessional from dawn to dusk, with no time to eat or rest, still they could not confess all who came... How surprising to see someone estranged from the sacraments come to receive forgiveness of his sins; and others who lived in concubinage come to seek out the confessor, asking to be united in marriage....
And then the terrible hour came...
This day, there was to be a Mass at midnight and by the end of Vespers the church could no longer contain the immense multitude of the faithful. One after the other, the faithful would go on their knees from the door to the altar; no one wanted to see this most dolorous moment arrive, but God was going to permit it to come to pass. At 11:30 pm, the bells dolefully tolled the hour of the Mass. The nocturnal adorers, the pious associations and the Catholic social organizations with their groups and their banners were there, as were all the faithful. At midnight the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and the Mass began. After the Gospel, our dear Fr. Gonzalez mounted the pulpit. He had barely gone up when all the people gathered at the foot of Jesus-Host began to cry. The broken words that the father spoke, full of sorrow, were interrupted by sobs. After Communion, at the end of holy Mass, we were given the benediction with His Divine Majesty. Finally, the father, divested of his ornaments, knelt at the foot of the altar, his eyes fixed on the image of Our Lord of Mercies; silently he took leave of him and went out through the midst of the faithful. Christ and his minister had departed.
From the first days of August, the Mexican people, deprived of their priests (only 200 remained with their faithful) and of their bishops (only 1 remained out of 38) used force to resist the inventorying of the closed churches and the accompanying sacrileges. Their rallying cry was that of the Mexican shopkeeper: "Long live Christ the King!" To keep from hearing it, the soldiers had only one solution: cut out the tongue of those whom they were going to kill, of those whom, because of these cries, they named the Cristeros. One of them wrote before dying: "We are going to perish. We will not see the victory, but Mexico needs all this blood for its purification....Christ will receive the homage which is due Him." Blood flowed....Ireland broke its diplomatic relations with Mexico....No other state followed suit.
On September 18, 1926, Pius XI published the encyclical Iniquis Afflictisque:
In narrating this, Venerable Brothers, we can scarcely keep back our tears, some of these young men and boys have gladly met death, the rosary in their hands and the name of Christ King on their lips....What a beautiful spectacle this, that is thus given to the world, to angels and to men!
In October the Holy Father declared: "The blood of martyrs has always been the seed of blessings from heaven." How could one fail to understand that one year after Quas Primas, the Cristeros were signing with their blood this text on the social reign of our Lord Jesus Christ? Freemasonry understood it, and in its American journal The New Age of December 1926, it expressed its stand:
The Catholic Church has perverted the Mexicans for 400 years. Calles's merit is to have delivered them from ignorance and superstition. That is why he can count on our understanding and on North America's support.
In January 1927, Catholic Mexico rose: 20,000 combatants (30,000 by the end of the year, and 50,000 in 1929); few arms (a few rifles and carbines, but mostly hatchets, machetes, and sometimes simply sticks); few horses; but all the people supporting them, offering them their money, and necessaries. A Cristero peasant recounted how they set out with songs and prayers on their lips:
We were 1,000, then 5,000, then more! Everyone set out as if to go to the harvest....We firmly intended to die, angry or not, but to die for Christ.
The old men and children, unarmed, followed behind the troops, in the hope of martyrdom. "The parents of Nemesio and Isidro Lopez did not want to see them depart for the war for fear that their flesh would go to feed coyotes and eagles; but they replied, "The coyotes may indeed eat our flesh, but our souls will ascend straight to heaven." Against them were 100 mobile columns of 1,000 men each, veritable "infernal columns" financed by the US (light armored cars, tractor-drawn artillery, combat aircraft...). The first clashes were bloody massacres. An officer of Calles wrote: "They are more like pilgrims than soldiers. This isn't a military campaign, it's a hunting party!" The president himself predicted: "It will be wrapped up in less than two months."
But when a pilgrimage takes up arms, it becomes a crusade! The Cristeros were able to equip themselves from the adversary, profiting from their cowardice or their corruption. The "Federales" were more like pillagers, drunk on tequila and marijuana, rather than soldiers worthy of the name. On March 15, 1927, they were defeated at San Julian; at Puerto Obristo, they left 600 dead. In November, the military attache of the US began to worry about the success of the "fanatics," 40% of whose troops were now equipped with excellent Mausers recuperated from the enemy. How was it possible?
The Cristiada was a succession of miracles. One was when the consecrated hosts flew into the sky before the very eyes of the squad that was getting ready to shoot them; it led to the conversion of the Masonic officer who commanded it, and who ended the war as a Cristero general. But there are very many more: God does not let Himself be outdone in generosity. I will just recount two.
A Christian general told how he arrived with 350 men who had been fasting for two days in a miserable hamlet of only 11 straw huts. He retired to write his report. Coming out, he saw his soldiers eating with gusto and an old woman with tears in her eyes saying over and over; "I just had a few biscuits, and yet there is enough for everyone, and what is left over is more than I had to begin with!"
A Cristero spy had spoken with the Federales:
They are sorcerers, and the one who commands them is a very valiant general mounted on a white horse, and he is accompanied by a woman. When we open fire on them, it has no effect, and when they approach us, we cannot do anything to them. They command the mist to conceal these accursed Cristeros.
The spy added:
There is no white horse, and there is no woman in our army. In truth, we believe that St. James and the most Blessed Virgin accompany us, and if we cannot see them, it is because we do not deserve to.
Marvelous Cristeros! While the Federal army recorded an average of 30,000 desertions annually, they did not experience a single case of treason. A cobbler, become sector chief, was contacted by the enemy who offered to spare his life and make him a colonel, answered: "I am not fighting for a rank. I am fighting for the Church and for Christ the King. As soon as the victory is won, I shall return to my shoes." He was killed in combat in March 1928.
With diabolic tenacity, Calles's men tried to make their prisoners apostatize, but in vain. Fr. Reyes was tortured for three days and two nights. This pastor of Totolan, born in very poor circumstances (as a child he hawked newspapers) had decided to remain at his post. That was enough to unleash the hatred of the Federales, who tormented him with fire. "You say that God descends into your hands, well then, let Him descend and deliver you from ours!" his torturers taunted. They finished him off with bullets on the evening of Holy Wednesday. One of them testified: "We had already lodged three or four bullets in him when he roused himself to cry out once more: 'Long live Christ the King!'" Sabás Reyes Salazar was canonized on May 21, 2000.
Valencia Gallardo, a Cristeros leader, was tied to a stake and tortured but only cried out throughout: "Long live Christ the King!" They tore out his tongue; he freed one of his hands from the bonds and pointed to heaven. They cut it off, and then split open his skull with their rifle butts.
Admirable Cristeros! The Cristiada was not a counter revolution with its share of exactions: it was the opposite of a revolution. Read the order of the day of one of its generals (killed in combat in 1927):
Disciplinary measures affecting the southern division:
The division chiefs of the South of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit and Western Michocan of the National Liberation Army have adopted the following measures:
1)To render an official, public, and solemn homage to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, sovereign King of our army, and to humbly and lovingly consecrate to Him all the works and all the persons of this division;
2)To never omit, under any pretext, the daily group recitation of the rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, and to accord this observance the same priority as a strict disposition of military regulation;
3)Whenever possible, to arrange things to allow all the leaders, officers and soldiers to officially fulfill the precepts of Sunday worship, confession and Communion;
4)To guarantee divine protection during the battles by making the army and the Catholics prepare themselves by humble, confident prayer, and by recommending making acts of perfect contrition.
Their awareness of the supernatural character of their fight did not lead the Cristeros to neglect temporal realities: "Fight and organize; fight and moralize" was one of their mottoes. In the liberated territories, "administrators" were appointed, Catholic schools were opened (more than 200), public sins (drunkenness, prostitution) were suppressed.
Who were these new crusaders? They were the people. As one Federale wrote: "We run no risk of making a mistake (by massacring one and all): they all resist." They were 95% rural folk: peasants, artisans, miners, muleteers, or rural landholders. There was, for instance, Luis Navarro Origel, with a degree in philosophy and a third-order Franciscan: in 1926, he took the lead of the men of the village where he was mayor. He declared: "I am going to kill for Christ those who kill Christ, and perhaps die for Him if need be; I am going to offer the blood of redemption." He fell at the head of his troops on August 10, 1928, at the age of 30.
The city folk who joined them were especially students and the women involved in the St. Joan of Arc Brigades. Some of these 25,000 heroines were only 14 years old. They acted as liaison agents or scouts, nurses, collectors of money or munitions in the arsenals where they infiltrated as workers! Woe to those who fell into the clutches of the Federates' hardened soldiers....But they never betrayed any information.
Beautiful youth of Mexico. José Sanchez was 13. In February 1928 he was surrounded by the Federales. He gave up his horse to the group leader who was wounded and covered his retreat. Running out of ammunition, he was captured. "Know it well," he said, "I am not surrendering, I have merely run out of ammo." He was slaughtered. A note was found in his pocket: "My dearest Mom: Here I am a captive, and they are going to kill me. I am happy. The only thing that troubles me is that you are going to cry. Don't cry. We shall meet again." Signed, José, killed for Christ the King.
Tomasino was a member of the executive committee of the ACJM (Mexican Catholic Youth Association) and prefect of the congregation of Mary. Arrested, he was offered his freedom if he talked. "Really, you would be making a mistake: free, I would continue to fight for Christ the King. For us, the fight for our freedom of worship is not optional." In August 1927, he was hanged. He was 17.
Manuel Bonilla, a student, kept a daily diary:
I well know that, to do great things, God uses littler ones, and that help does not come whence we were expecting it...I trust in God's goodness: all these sacrifices will not be in vain.
He was shot at 22 years of age, on Good Friday, 1927, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. In 1942, his body was discovered perfectly intact.
The Mystery of Iniquity
The year 1928 was terrible: the infernal columns had received the order to deport the rural population to "concentration camps" where famine and epidemics decimated them. At the least show of resistance, the Federates would massacre them. Harvests and flocks were seized, grazing land burned, and villages destroyed by the thousands. Despite this scorched earth policy, the Cristeros stood fast like latter-day Machabees.
In 1929, the government renounced its policy of governing the countryside. Three-fourths of inhabitable Mexico was in the hands of the troops of Christ the King, victory was in reach especially as the riffraff in Mexico were fighting each other, and in the United States Hoover, who was not a Mason, was elected! Then they learned that the secret negotiations between the Mexican government and the Vatican had resulted in an accord. On June 21, the Mexican episcopate (except for one of its members, His Excellency Jose de Jesus Manriquez y Zarate) signed a "resolution" of the conflict with the ruling power on bases "negotiated" by a US Jesuit, a Fr. Walsh. The accord provided for: (1) immediate, unconditional cease fire; (2) the resumption of public worship beginning the next day (June 22).
That was all. It restored them to the same situation that prevailed in 1926 with all the anti-Catholic laws then in effect, including the registration of priests! In the text, the Cristeros are called fanatics directed by a few third-rate priests; their revolt was an error, an imprudence, even a sin: they must lay down their arms under pain of excommunication...
Jésus Degollado, commander in chief of the Cristeros, addressed his troops, his voice breaking from sorrow:
His Holiness the Pope, by the intermediary of the most excellent Apostolic Nuncio, has decided, for reasons which are unknown to us but which, as Catholics, we accept, that public worship will be resumed tomorrow without the law being changed...This arrangement...has wrested from us that which is most noble and most holy on our flag, at the moment when the Church has declared that she will resign herself to what she has obtained...Consequently, the National Guard assumes responsibility for the conflict....As for ourselves as men, we have a satisfaction that no one can take from us: the National Guard does not disappear defeated by its enemies, but rather abandoned by the very ones who were to be the first to receive the fruit of our sacrifices and abnegation! Ave, Christ! Those who for You are going to humiliation, to exile, and, perhaps, to an unglorious death,...with the most fervent love salute You, and once more proclaim You as King of our country.
Six thousand Cristeros obeyed, and were immediately massacred. In three years, they had only lost 5,000 men in combat! The Mexican episcopate decreed the excommunication of the Cristero priests, but those who had not been killed during the war (180) had already been martyred...All was lost.
The new president, the Masonic lawyer Fortes Gil, rejoiced. At the summer solstice banquet, he acknowledged his astonishment at the unconditional capitulation of a victorious army, and his intention to continue the fight: "The fight did not begin yesterday. The fight is eternal. The fight began 20 centuries ago." Indeed, but the novelty was that the Vatican was not on the right side. Freemasonry, condemned by all the popes from the 18th century (Clement XII, in 1738) to the end of the 19th (in 1892, Leo XIII equated Freemasonry with Satanism), had infiltrated the Church at the highest levels of the hierarchy: Were not G. della Chiesa (the future Benedict XV) and A. Ratti (the future Pius XI) the "proteges" of Cardinal Rampolla? In 1926, was it not Pius XI who condemned Action Frangaise in accordance with the sect's desires. In 1928, was not Fr. Vallet expelled from Spain and his work suppressed by a hierarchy that preferred to favor the Opus Dei.
When, from 1934 to 1937, a new Cristiada was launched, Pius XI let the Mexican episcopate excommunicate the Cristeros and then waited until they were all dead before daring to write (in his Letter to the Mexican Episcopate, 1937):
When power rises against justice and truth,...one cannot see how one could condemn the citizens who unite to defend the nation and themselves-even by the use of arms-against those who, by means of the state's power, devise their misfortune.
The same year, in Divini Redemptoris, he blamed Communism for the atrocities perpetrated against the Christians of Mexico...but he did not mention Freemasonry.
The saga of the Cristeros reminds us of the famous rising of the Vendée during the French Revolution, and the two epics have many points in common:
1)The refusal of priests to take an oath of loyalty to the state;
2)The creation by the state of a schismatic church;
4)Part of the episcopate's indifference to the suffering of the flock;
5)The character of the country folk at arms, poor, unequipped, unprepared and undisciplined, yet courageous, joyous, generous even towards the enemy, and profoundly Christian. This letter from a colonel to his regiment embodies this spirit of the crusaders:
Beloved in Christ:
It is not merely a question of a few flatterers who can be doubted, but of a very widespread belief that our regiment is the best in the region, either because its leaders and followers are motivated by the right intentions or, considering the numbers involved, because of the order and especially the solid piety responsible for urging its men to unashamedly frequent the sacraments. For better or worse, those in the other regiments see this.
I render thanks to our Lord for such a beautiful thing, and I believe that you, too, do as much, and that you have the real desire to continue brandishing on high the flag of your people for the glory of Christ the King, and that your honor will know how to efface the black mark that your compatriots have cast upon your people.
Knowing your sincerity and human misery, I put you on guard against a danger that would vanquish you without remedy, that of vain glory, the dear daughter of the pride that manifests itself under the name and sentiment of self-love.
Far from falling into such a great evil, my beloved in Christ, remember often, and in all of your actions, that everything good in you belongs to God alone, and what evil there is in your regiment belongs to you; to God all the glory, all the good, all the triumph, because you are vile instruments.
Show yourselves, then, to be always faithful and subject to your king Jesus Christ our Lord. Never forget the rosary, recommend yourselves to our Lord morning and evening. Love your soldiers as your sons and be fathers to the neediest. Treat all with charity, but never let justice suffer. Never speak well of yourselves unless there is good reason and then do so with modesty. Do not denigrate the men of the other regiments and do not criticize their faults. Keep a right intention. Live united. Never let your rank of colonel, major, captain, etc., go to your head. Remember death and the rigorous judgment that you will undergo according to your works; keep Christ always present and imitate Him in everything. Be faithful sons of Mary your good Mother, the most holy Virgin of Guadalupe. Do not misuse what little you have, for your families live in misery, and remember those of others. This is what I always ask of our Lord for you, and many other things as well which I do not mention in order not to lengthen a letter which is becoming a journal. May His Divine Majesty hear our poor supplications.
6)The role of women: wives who encourage their husbands (and, if need be, chase them back to the fight with blows), and mothers who have understood that martyrdom is the crowning of a truly Christian education. Dona Guadalupe, mother of Luis Navarro Origel, would say: "I offered the life of my four boys to Christ; but the Lord came up short: He only took two!"
7)The conflict's apocalyptic dimensions, of which both camps were aware: The one side's admirable religious fervor corresponded with other side's satanic mania for sacrilege and spiritual destruction. (Viva el Demonio! was the Federates' rallying cry.)
8)The ultimate betrayal of the Catholic troops...by the religious authorities.
These similarities should not, however, mask an essential difference: the sole motive of the Cristiada was religious. The defense of the faith was not mixed with any other cause, be it political, social, economic, or particular (as the refusal of the draft by the Vendée).
The army captured them and the general commanding the Place d'Arandas asked them for whom they had taken up arms to create such disorder. They replied that it was not to create disorders that they had taken up arms, but to defend Christ the King, who was no longer on the altars. They were shot immediately.
(above) Fr. Miguel Pro and his execution.
Blessed Miguel Pro, Pray for us!
This single-mindedness explains the remarkable homogeneity of the Mexican counter-revolutionary movement, its purity and its efficacy. It is a lesson worth meditating on.
The Kingdom of Our Lady of Guadalupe
More than 70 years after the epic, what remains of the Cristeros? Until July 2000, Mexico lived under the yoke of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) founded by Calles. Despite the backing of Messrs. Clinton and Gore, he was defeated in the elections, a victim of scandals and divisions between different Masonic obediences. Since the beginning of the 1990's, relations between the powers that be and the episcopate were the best: the "government's tribune" dominates the sanctuary of the new basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and, in 1995, its rector, Fr. Shulembrum publicly declared the apparitions of 1531 to be false. The Mexican "miracle" is that this scandal prompted millions (which some estimate at a dozen) of pilgrims to come from all parts of the country, often on foot, sometimes on their knees, in reparation. It is well to briefly recall the facts, whose supernatural character was recognized by Benedict XIV in 1754, when he declared: "Non fecit taliter omni nationi-Not with every nation has He dealt thus."
On Saturday, December 9, 1531, Juan Diego, an Indian peasant of 57, recently converted, was on his way to Mass. At the foot of Tepeyac hill, a maiden of marvelous beauty appeared to him in a cloud of light: "I am truly the perpetual and perfect Virgin Mary, holy mother of the true God...and mother of those who have confidence in me." She asked him to go and find the bishop and ask him to have a church built. He did, but was shown the door. The same evening a new apparition reiterated the same request. On December 10, the bishop, troubled, requested a sign. On the 12th, there was a new apparition: "Climb to the top of the hill and gather the flowers." Nothing grew on the hilltop, especially in December! But Juan Diego obeyed, and filled his tilma...with Castilian roses! Overjoyed, he ran to the bishop's house, opened before the bishop his tilma full of flowers, and revealed beneath them the portrait of the Virgin, the only portrait of our Lady which has not been made by human hands! At the same time, our Lady appeared to the seer's uncle, who was dying, cured him, and told him the name by which she wished to be honored: Tequantlaxopeuh, that is, "she who crushes the serpent." The Spanish would hear this as "Tequatlasupe" and would associate it with Our Lady of Guadalupe in Extremadura, Spain (apparition in 1323). One can imagine the devotion the Mexicans have towards this miraculous image which, like the Holy Shroud, reveals its marvels progressively to the scholars of every age. Here are just the principle inexplicable aspects of the image:
1)The cloak's fabric (made of the fiber of the maguey cactus) should have decomposed in 20 years; 470 years after the apparition, it is in perfect condition.
2)The back of the tilma is rough (which is normal), but the side with the image is as soft as silk.
3)The colors are as vibrant today as on the first day, despite the effects of time, light, candles, handling, attacks (acid, an explosion in 1921...), etc.
4)The colors are of an unknown origin (conclusion of Dr. Kuhn, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry).
5)It is not a painting. NASA declared the image to be "incomprehensible" in 1979.
6)Finally, digitization of the image has enabled researchers to peer into the eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and to discover there the scene that occurred on December 12, 1531: the bishop, the Indian, a servant and some Franciscans who were there when Juan Diego opened his tilma. One can readily understand the devotion of the Christians of Latin America to Our Lady of Guadalupe, "Queen of Mexico, Empress of the Americas."
An Army of Martyrs
In 1988, Miguel Pro (a Jesuit) was the first Cristero to be beatified. Born in 1891, he was obliged to take refuge in France in order to continue his studies. He was ordained at Amiens in 1925. Having returned clandestinely to Mexico in July 1926, he was shot on November 23, 1927, along with his brother who was also a Cristero, while crying out: "Long live Christ the King!"
On the Feast of Christ the King, 1992, Pope John Paul II beatified 26 other Cristeros (22 of whom were priests). Let us name some of them: Salvador Lara Puente, employee, killed in 1926, aged 21; Atilano Cruz Alvadaro, ordained on Sept. 14, 1927, and killed July 1, 1928; or Manuel Morales, born in 1898, Catholic trade unionist, married and the father of three young children, who said before his execution: "I die, but God does not die; He will take care of my wife and children." "Dios no muere."...These were the last words of Garcia Moreno, President of Ecuador, assassinated by the Freemasons in 1875.
In October 1997, Matteo Elias Del Socorro Nieves was beatified. The son of peasants, the young Matteo heard God's call early, but his father having been assassinated, he had to support his mother and brothers; he became a priest at 34 years of age. Pastor of a village in the mountains of Culiacan, he refused to take refuge in the city and go underground. He spent 14 months in a grotto from which he only came out at night to exercise his priestly office. He was shot at 46, while crying out: "Long live Christ the King!"
On May 21, 2000, the Pope canonized 27 Mexicans, 23 of them from the Cristiada era (20 priests and 3 laymen). The press only mentioned the name of Fr. Cristobal Magallanes, pastor of Totatiche, martyred in 1927. Documentation Catholique did not deem it newsworthy enough to publish the text of the ceremony; yet 20,000 Mexicans converged on St. Peter's Square, for until then their country only had one canonized saint (St. Philip of Jesus, martyr of Japan), and the memory of the Cristiada remains strong there.
Five of those canonized were martyred by reason of hatred of the faith, as they had not participated in the resistance: Cristóbal Magallanes Jara (1869-1927), pastor; Luis Batis Sáinz (1870-1926), pastor; Augustín Caloca Cortés (1898-1927), seminary prefect; Mateo Correa Magallanes (1866-1927), pastor; Margarito Flores García (1900-1927), vicar.
The other canonized priests had gone underground, and were leading lives worthy of the "refractory" priests of the Vendee.
O admirable Blessed and Sainted Cristeros, known or unknown, pray for Mexico! Pray for us, You luminous examples of humility, who, without bitterness or revolt, accepted the terrible trial of persecutions in a spirit of penitence and expiation for your sins and those of Mexico. Obtain for us from God an unshakeable faith while today, more than ever, the Masonic beast, to whom repentance is unknown, furiously wars against God.
"The great power of our enemies," wrote Blessed Miguel Pro, "is based on money, arms, and lies; it will crumble one day soon like the statue that Daniel saw collapse under the shock of a pebble falling from heaven. "
This is the transcript of a lecture given in 1997 at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School located in the Vendee in western France. It was translated by Angelus Press from the Sel de la Terre (Summer 2001). The unidentified quotations are mostly from Hugh Keraly's Les Cristeros [Grez-en-Boulere: DMM, 1986]. For readers unfamiliar with the history of the French Revolution and the resistance of the Vendee, a province in Western France where the people rose up against the regicide Republicans, Michael Davies's book For Altar and Throne [available from Angelus Press. Price: $13.95] provides a brief summary of the events and a moving tribute to those heroes and heroines.
The author M. Olivier Lelibre is a young father of a family and a high school teacher in the Vendee region of France.
1.Eugenic Corti, La Responsabilite de la culture occi-dentale dans les grands massacres du XX'' siecle, Atlantide, Europe No. 2, L'Age d'Homme (Lausanne, 1998). By "Western culture," the author means the "Enlightenment."
2. French title of the book by Gustave Corçao, O Seculo do nada.
3. Jean Madiran, preface to Siècle de I'Enfer (Ed. Sainte-Madeleine, 1995), p.5.
4. Maximilian, who became a Freemason as early as 1864, readily showed toleration to Protestantism and Judaism.
5. "The Salad Bowl": a simile used by geographers to show how the different "ingredients" of the population are juxtaposed without blending. It would be useful to study the role of Protestantism in maintaining this state of affairs.
6. A. Sanders, "La preuve par le Mexique," Présent, July 19-22.
7. A. Sanders (article cited, July 22, 2000) lists the masters of the Mexican economy in 1914: Rockefeller (rubber), Goblentz (textiles), Guggenheim (mines), Hearst (alias Hirsch) who owned 3 million metric arces, and the Kuhn-Loeb bank, which financed Lenin.
8. Beginning in 1529, the Franciscans opened eight colleges for the young Indians, as well as upper level technical schools. Financed by the king of Spain, in 1536 they opened, for the Indians alone, the Superior College of Holy Cross in Mexico (Latin, rhetoric, philosophy, music, medicine). In 1551, the University of Mexico was founded, open to Indians as well as Spanish. See La Vraie contro-verse de Valladolid by Jean Dumont (Paris: Criterion, 1995), pp. 130-131.
9. Cardenas, president of Mexico from 1934-1940, named his son Cuauhtemoc, after the name of the last Aztec emperor. Having become a politician like his father, he was named the "Aztec sphinx" by the leftist media.
10. Human sacrifices were offered almost daily. The number of victims, who had their hearts cut out still beating before being dismembered and eaten, have been estimated at 20,000 a year on the average (more than 50 a day!). The inauguration of the temple at Mexico was the occasion of massacring 20,000 victims in four days (some sources speak of 80,000). See "Croisades, Inquisition...: Faut-il demander pardon?" Savoir et Servir 60, 73-74.
11. A. Sanders, art. cit. July 21 and 22 , 2000.
13. A. Sanders, art. cit., July 26, 2000.
15. A. Sanders names Calles's entourage: Aaron Saenz, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Moses Saenz, Vice Minister of Education; the US advisor Habermann (an agent of the Soviet GPU); Hirschfeld, Master of the Mexican Grand Lodge (art. cited, July 27, 2000).
16. According to M. Reboul (Monde et Vie, Oct. 19, 2000), 15 priests and 1 bishop of the Chinese "Patriotic" Church visited seminaries and parishes in France and Belgium in 1994. They concelebrated Mass with the priests and even bishops of the places visited without provoking the least protest (p. 14). Cardinal Etchegarray is also reported to have concelebrated with the functionary-priests of the Patriotic Church last October in the Marian sanctuary of Sheshan (Libre journal, Oct. 27, 2000).
17. A. Sanders, art. cit., July 27, 2000.
18. La Tribuna, July 12, 1926, quoted by F. M. Algoud, " 1600 Young Saints, Young Martyrs," 1994.
19. J. Meyer, Apocalypse et Révolution au Mexique, 1926-1926 (Archives Gallimard-Julliard, No. 56, 1974), pp.54-55.
21. A. Sanders, art. cit., July 28, 2000.
22. J. Meyer, Apocalypse et Rèvolution, p. 175.
23. The biographical information on the Mexican saints comes from the internet site http://www.sanctus.com/Paginas/SanctosMexi-canos.html
24. J. Meyer, ibid., p. 172.
25. Most of the 20 martyred priests of period (canonized in 2000) were of rural origin, and half of them of very humble circumstances (shepherds like St. Atilano Cruz Alvarado; newspaper hawkers like St. Sabas Reyes).
26. J. Meyer, "Les Cristeros," L 'Histoire, 86, February 1986.
27. A. Sanders, art. cit., July 29, 2000.
28. N. Dehan, in Sel de la terre, 11 (1994-1995), 126.
29. The letter of Msgr. de Mercy, Bishop of Lucon, in exile in Italy, deserves mention. On June 1, 1793, he wrote: "For a long time I hoped to be able to save the furniture I left...at Luçon. I might have...but the troubles in the Vendée harmed my cause, even though I do not take their side." Quoted by X. Martin, Sur les Droits de I'homme et laVendée (DMM, 1995) p.75, n.269. Absent from his diocese from 1789, he only returned from exile in 1802, and was named Archbishop of Bourges....
30. J. Meyer, Apocalypse et Révolution, pp.173-174.
He was dismissed. See the Madrid daily ABC, Dec. 14, 1996.
Thursday, Oct. 22, 1992, was, in fact, close to the Sunday of the Feast of Christ the King (Oct. 25) according to the traditional calendar (for, in the new rite, it was the 30th "Ordinary Sunday." The new calendar has moved the Feast of Christ the King to the Sunday "of the End of Time," which closes the liturgical year, as if one thereby wished to signify that Christ's kingship is purely "eschatological."-Ed.)
The first one named had even condemned the Cristero movement insofar as they had recourse to arms; he offered his life "for peace." One might wonder why exactly he was chosen to head the list of the Cristero martyrs? [Ed. note.]
Was it, perhaps, due to their intercession? Last Oct. 1, abortion, which had been tolerated in Mexico in the case of rape, was forbidden. The law states: "As legislators, we must consider not only the injury and pain of the mother who was violated, but also the greater evil constituted by the death of an innocent minor" (Fails et Documents, Nov. 15, 2000).