Friday, May 1, 2020

Los Cristeros

Between heaven and earth
Between light and dark
Between faith and sin
Lies only my heart
Lies God and only my heart

-          Opening Poem, For Greater Glory; Movie depicting the Cristero War

The Cristero War or the Cristero Rebellion (1926–29), also known as La Cristiada, was a widespread struggle in central-western Mexico in response to the imposition of secularist and anti-clerical articles of the 1917 Constitution of Mexico, which were perceived by opponents as anti-Catholic measures aimed at imposing state atheism.

President Plutarco Elías Calles of Mexico moved to enforce certain articles of the Mexican Constitution, articles aimed at eliminating the power of the Catholic Church and suppressing popular religious celebrations.  The ensuing conflict pitted the Mexican army against tens-of-thousands of armed civilians. 

These civilians included a women’s brigade, known as the Feminine Brigades of St. Joan of Arc, who assisted the rebels in smuggling guns and ammunition.  At its height, upwards of 25,000 women were reported to be involved in its activity.  The civilians also consisted of priests, who were tortured and murdered in public (and later canonized by Pope John Paul II).

The American Knights of Columbus collected more than $1 million to assist exiles from Mexico, to continue the education of expelled seminarians and to inform citizens of the US about oppression.  High-ranking members of the Ku Klux Klan offered President Calles $10,000 to help fight the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XI would issue three papal encyclicals on this matter between 1925–37.  In these, he denounced the actions of the Mexican government, yet asked the Church in Mexico to abide by the orders ceasing all services.  He also called for an end to the armed rebellion.  Let’s just say that some of the rebellious faithful failed to comply.

The movie is wonderful, and worth watching.  At Amazon, from over 1,000 reviews, it receives 4.8 / 5.0 rating.  Count me among the 5.0.  In the reviews, there are many comments in favor of standing up to religious oppression, of stories from descendants of those who lived and fought during this period of Mexican history, and of what happens when government works to stand in the place of God. 

Many of these reviews were written even as recently as the last couple of years.


The Battle Hymn of the Cristeros ended with the line "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" – Long live Christ the King!

Today we have king corona.  It is amazing what a little bug can do.


  1. The original Latin American revolutions against Spain were partly fueled by parish priests who were sold out by their Bishops when the Bourbons replaced the Habsburgs on the Spanish throne and government became far more centralized. The higher clergy appointed by the Bourbons were all Spanish, instead of some creoles or mestizo under the Habsburgs. This Spanish higher clergy in Latin America balanced its accounts to the detriment of the lower clergy when the Bourbons reduced tax privileges to the churches. The parish priests and parishioners got tired of the centralization and taxes.

  2. The Mexican government remains anti-Christian and anti-European. Our family lives in Mexico and home-schools our four children. Recently we had to evacuate from our home due to violence and insecurity in our community. I sent my wife and kids to a nearby city and enrolled the two younger kids in a church run school rather than attempt to continue homeschooling through such a difficult time. I was horrified to discover that the church school uses the official government curriculum. The history and geography textbooks have a blatant anti-Christian and anti-European bias. The accomplishments of Christian civilization are minimized and those of Egypt, the Arabs, the Mayans and the Aztecs are inflated. The rest of the curriculum promotes sexual perversion and the myths of overpopulation and climate change. As you can imagine we will not be enrolling in the school for another semester.

  3. For more information on the background to the Mexican persecution I think you would find Alberto Villasana's essay, The Origin and Essence of Mexican Identity, very helpful. The English translation from Spanish appeared in the July/August,2015 issue of Culture Wars Magazine, pg 14-19