Tuesday, May 21, 2013

St. Christopher Magallanes & the Cristeros

[Saint Cristobal Magallanes Jara]
Today is a recent feast added to the calendar: St. Christopher Magallanes, priest, and his companions, martyrs.  St. Christopher was executed without trial in 1927 during the savage persecution of the Mexican government of Plutarco Calles.

From 1915-1937 twenty-one priests and three laymen have been canonized after having been martyred by the Mexican government.

For more on St. Christopher, specifically, please note:
Patron Saints Index: St. Christopher Magallanes

In the 1924 election Plutarco Calles (President, 1924-1928), of Sonora, would be elected President of Mexico.  He improved the lot of the army and catered favor with the labor organization, in other words, he “institutionalized the Mexican Revolution.”  He also stepped up the redistribution of private property, including American oil land, in 1925, and made war on the Church, enforcing the anti-clerical 1917 constitution, as well, in 1926.  Church land was seized, foreign priests were exiled, Catholic schools closed, no foreign investments were permitted, and state legislatures determined the number of priests allowed to minister.  The Bishops responded by closing the churches, and some Mexicans resisted with force of arms: the Cristeros – with their great cry of Viva Cristo Rey!  Blessed Miguel Pro (+1927) is perhaps the most famous martyr of this rising.  Pope Pius XI wrote a very strong encyclical denouncing the situation – Iniquis Afflictisque – in 1926.  By 1927 relations actually soured between the US & Mexico dramatically – American Catholics, such as the Bishop Francis Kelley (Bishop from 1924-1948) of Oklahoma City-Tulsa who wrote Blood Drenched Altars protested the persecution of the Church, and business leaders protested the other moves.  US Ambassador Dwight Morrow used some diplomacy to try to ease the situation, and after the assassination of the re-elected puppet of Calles, Obregón, the interim President, Emilio Portes Gil (1928-1930), agreed to cease enforcement in 1929.  [The damage was done, however – sources note that by the mid-1930s, 17 states lacked priests, and there were but 334 priests total for 15 million people]

Here is a link to the Papal Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Iniquis Afflictisque: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius11/P11INIQU.HTM

Finally, of course, recently a film was released on the subject of the Cristeros War, For Greater Glory.  Here is a link on that film:

We must certainly ever remain vigilant for the tyranny and dictatorship of secularism!

Live well!

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