Bonsoir, mes ches lecteurs! (or the lack thereof, as surely no one reds this) Those of you familiar with Mexican history will have surely heard of the Cristero Wars, also known as the Cristiadas (for those of you that don’t speak Spanish, the term refers to the wars of those who support Christ).
The Cristero Wars were a series of open revolts against the Mexican government by people who opposed the anti-clerical laws established in the 1917 Constitution of Mexico (this is the current constitution of Mexico). The laws stated, in various articles that:
-Education must be secular (Part of article 3, still in effect).
-Monastic religious orders are outlawed (Article 5, modified since, this part has been derogated).
-Public worship outside church buildings is forbidden (Article 24, modified since, this part now reads: “Ordinarily, all religious acts will be practiced in temples, and those that extraordinarily are practiced outside temples must adhere to law.”).
-The right to own property is restricted for religious organizations (Article 27, modified since, this part has been derogated).
-Priests and religious leaders may not vote, may not wear their habits, and may not comment on any political situation (Article 130, modified since, it still holds many restrictions for members of the clergy, but was softened).
These laws, while active since 1917, were not stringently applied until 1924, when President Plutarco Elias Calles was elected.
Now, it is important to note that Church and State have been officially separated in Mexico since the 19th century. I take the precaution of making it known because a British friend told me he honestly believed that the Catholic Church continued to be the State religion to this day. He found it was not through recent events that I have previously discussed in my blog and will discuss further in this post.
Now, back to subject.
On July 14, 1926, catholic bishops openly called for a boycott on economic activities. This boycott collapsed by October 1926, as boycotters lacked economic support. In an open violation of Mexican sovereignty, Pope Pius XI ordered bishops to resist the government and to work in having the “offending” laws changed. The hostilities escalated, with armed uprisings backed by the Church in Durango and Guanajuato, which were forced to use guerilla warfare against federal forces. In the meantime, rebels in Guadalajara were slowly and quietly increasing their numbers. The rebellion started in Guadalajara on January 1 1927, and the region became a focal point in the conflict. The rebels were led by the head of the Mexican Association of Catholic Youth, Rene Capistran Garza.
The conflict became a war, with clergymen at the head of the rebels opposing the government. The local priests and bishops mostly endorsed the armed revolt and the Vatican had yet to openly endorse or condemn the rebellion.
It is important to know that, while there were a few summary executions carried out by the government, the secularists did not set fire to the train, killing 51 civilians on board; a rebel priest did. This irreparably damaged the public’s opinion on the rebellion.
The rebellion was waging a losing war and a peace process ensued (supported by the Vatican, no less). As Elias Calles’ term was nearing an end, the process was followed by President Elect Alvaro Obregon, but he was murdered two weeks after his election, by a Catholic rebel.
In the end, the government agreed to be more lenient in applying the anticlerical laws, thus ending the rebellion.
Fast-forward to 2007.
Some of you must surely have heard that there was trouble in Mexico City, because the local congress was deciding whether to modify the laws forbidding abortions.
In the end, despite heavy protest from the church and the ignorant fanatics, the reforms were approved. As you may know, Mexico’s religious majority is catholic. The pope called for civil resistance to these (much needed) reforms.
With this I know of at least two occasions in which the Vatican has openly attacked Mexican Sovereignty.
As I mentioned before, the pope during the time of the Cristero War, also called for civil resistance.
Some may say that is far from being an attack on Mexico’s sovereignty, but I disagree. To put this in perspective, if president Calderon were to openly call for Mexican immigrants in the US to resist the American government, the Mexican government would be righteously and deservedly condemned for violating the sovereignty of the US, and it would be acceptable to put a stop to such an intrusion. In return, the Vatican, through a head of state, has twice (that I know of) violated the rights of a country (to put it nicely). Why is this hypocritically tolerated? Because the pope is a religious leader? Not only is it tolerated but also permitted. They allow a country to force its moralistic view of the world and their prohibitions on other countries, under the pretext of religion.
It appears that religious leaders do not care who they trample in order to preserve their power.
One final thought on the Cristero War before I go to sleep. I understand the leniency in the enforcing of the anti-religious laws was necessary to prevent any further bloodshed, but certain laws were quite correct, and would still be so now. I once before mentioned that religious education should be forbidden, as it deprives a child from his right to choose his religion, leaving it in the hands of others.
Au revoir mes ches lecteurs! I promise not to let it be too long before my next post (even though no one reads this =P )