The Rise And Fall of the Cristeros Part 1

Proof that winners write the history books is found in history’s treatment of the Cristiada, the peasant rising against the revolutionary government that was persecuting the Church in Mexico in the mid-1920’s. English language history books note the rising in a page or two, making liberal use of adjectives like ‘violent,’ ‘extremist,’ and ‘fanatical.’ The subject is closed by noting that the revolutionary government in Mexico struck a deal with the Vatican and the Church in Mexico wherein the government lost nothing, and many of the peasants – better known as the Cristeros – lost their lives after being ordered by the Church to stop fighting.

In the eyes of the world, the Cristeros were the ultimate losers. Not even their Church supported them at the end. They were not respectable. They were not considered good Catholics by many of their co-religionists. A handful of priests supported them, and fewer bishops. Scorned by the world, the Church, and history, the Cristeros are now but a quirky footnote in the saga of Benign Progress.

At one time, however, they spoke for themselves, in words simple and unbowed by human respect, in tones undaunted by the Revolution, or by historians who seek to swallow the light of the Sun:

I know only too well that what is beginning now for us is a Calvary. We must be ready to take up and carry our crosses…If one of you should ask me what sacrifice I am asking of you in order to seal the pact we are going to celebrate, I will tell you in two words: your blood. If you want to proceed, stop dreaming of places of honor, military triumphs, braid, luster, victories, and authority over others. Mexico needs a tradition of blood in order to cement its free life of tomorrow. For that work my life is available, and for that tradition I ask yours.”1

The Cristeros picked up their weapons when the Church in Mexico closed down. They fought and died until the Church reopened. In the history of the Revolution versus the Church in Mexico, they were not the first to lay down their lives for their religion. The tradition of blood preceded them, and they followed the same narrow red path.

They did not begin hostilities, they engaged the hostilities of a godless, violent government with their pitchforks, scythes, knives, horses, and guns. An accurate picture of the Cristeros must balance the nature of their response against the extremities that provoked their response…

Explosions

The Basilica was filled with people when the main altar seemed to explode. Hidden in a floral arrangement at the foot of the altar, a bomb detonated with force. Chunks of the marble altar were blown into the air. A great iron crucifix was twisted like a pretzel. Behind the mangled altar, the tilma displaying the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was somehow untouched by the explosion.

The year was 1921, and the bomb was the most recent in a series of outrages against the Catholic Church in Mexico. A bomb blew up at the door of the Archbishop of Mexico, Monsignor Jose Mora y del Rio, when the Archbishop was publicly critical of socialism. A week later the Cathedral in Morelia, Michoacan was bombed. When angry Catholics met afterwards, revolutionaries attacked the meeting and killed fifty people.2

It was appropriate, in a way, that the explosions and murders occurred during the centenary of Mexico’s independence. In 1821 she declared herself free of Spanish rule, and although Roman Catholicism was initially retained as the national religion, the new nation soon found herself under the influences of the Enlightenment, liberalism, and Freemasonry.

Scottish Rite masonry was introduced to Mexico courtesy of the mother country, Spain, who had received Masonry from Bonaparte’s France.3 The sons and daughters of wealthy Mexicans were educated in Europe, and returned as liberals. Of equal influence was Mexico’s northern neighbor, the Protestant-Masonic United States of America.

Ambassador Poinsett

The America government happily recognized Mexico’s independence, but it was not until 1825 that President Monroe appointed as ambassador to Mexico one Joel Roberts Poinsett, a Congressman from South Carolina whose diplomacy set the tone for Mexican-American relations.

“Poinsett was an outspoken proponent of U.S. style liberalism: decentralized, constitutional, republican government; anticlericalism; and free trade…Poinsett found like-minded cohorts in the York Rite Masonic Lodge, which he helped to organize in Mexico. The York Rite Masons (Yorkinos) were rivals of the Scottish Rite Masons (Escoceses), and the two lodges increasingly emerged as bitter, secretive political clubs.”4

The Scottish Rite Masons were, relatively speaking, more conservative than the Yorks, seeking influence through the aristocracy and the military. The Yorks were more radical, advocating an uncompromising democracy and destruction of the Church. “The basic ideological cleavage (conservative-liberal) was manifested in branches of Freemasonry to which many leaders, including Catholic priests, belonged…Masonry provided meeting places and support for politicians and plotters during the earliest years of the Mexican republic.”5

Poinsett’s influence is worth noting at some length because it is consistent with later American policies towards Mexico, differing only in degree. Many of Poinsett’s assumptions about the Mexican people, and the Church in Mexico, were shared by future American politicians. In his book, Notes From Mexico, Poinsett called the Mexican aristocracy “an ignorant and immoral race.” As for the clergy,

“The regular clergy formed from the very dregs of the people, was then and is now disgustingly debauched and ignorant. They have lost the influence they formerly possessed over the common people, and so sensible are they of the universal contempt which they have brought upon themselves by their unworthy conduct, that they would not oppose a thorough reform of their orders if the Government had courage to attempt it.”

As for the Indians, “they either gamble away their money, or employ it in pageants of the Catholic Church, in which pagan and Christian rites are strangely mingled. All these evils, if not cured entirely, would be greatly mitigated by education…”6

To this end the Grand Lodge of Mexico (York Rite), which Poinsett founded, collaborated with him on a resolution to “Improve the moral condition of the people by depriving the clergy of its monopoly on public education…”7

Poinsett was in Mexico long enough to witness some of the consequences of his ideas, though it is doubtful he equated the weakening of the Church with the weakening of public morals, which resulted in “a pestilence of robbers”:

“there were ubiquitous bandits, robbers and pickpockets waiting to remove possessions and threaten lives. Even in Mexico City, the American minister Joel Poinsett and other visitors noted that despite good lighting and patrols, robberies, murders, and assassinations were so frequent that everyone of substance went about heavily armed…when one visitor reported to the magistrate that he had run through an attacker with his sword and wounded others, he was told that the best advice was to keep quiet about the incident.”8

Moreover, even if one grants that certain priests were not up to the calling of their office, it is still true that the clergy as a group received far more respect from Mexicans (including bandits) than Poinsett, who was so roundly hated in Mexico that his very presence caused riots.9 The authors of The Oxford History of Mexico assert that

“Poinsett developed close ties to radical Mexican congressmen, exerting much influence over them through their membership in the Masonic lodge. His indiscreet participation in Mexican domestic politics even made his friend Vicente Guerrero, president of the Mexican Republic, ask for his recall in 1829.”10

He is remembered for none of this. Today we know Joel Roberts Poinsett as the amateur botanist who introduced to the United States a Mexican plant often used as a Christmas decoration. Dubbed the Poinsettia by Americans, the Christmas Flower is an ironic legacy for America’s first Ambassador to Mexico.

The New Rulers

Poinsett’s Masonic comrade in arms, Valentin Gomez Farias, became acting President of Mexico in 1832.11 He exiled bishops, forbade the Church to educate Mexicans, claimed the power to appoint bishops and other Church officials, and secularized the Franciscan missions of California, seizing their funds and property.12 The people revolted. Farias’ short rule “was a disastrous failure, in that it united all his enemies,” even the moderates.13 General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna took the reins, let the bishops back into Mexico, and took no action on Farias’ other anti-clerical initiatives.

The following thirty years saw Santa Anna move in and out of exile as the power in Mexico shifted from conservative to radical Freemasons: “Freemasonry and the Government were, in fact, closely linked, so closely that it was necessary to be a Mason to be appointed to any important post,” including the military.14 United by their hatred of the Roman Church, Mexican Freemasons didn’t seem to like each other very much either. Coup upon coup occurred, overtures of violence replete with bloodshed and glossed by fine rhetoric.

The Mexican government grew and grew, particularly the military, which served as the lever of power in Mexico, but was inept at protecting Mexico from the United States. In the 1840’s the United States declared war on Mexico after the Mexican government expelled an American ambassador who offered to buy California. Faced with a common enemy, liberal and conservative Mexican Freemasons stopped killing each other and united, but it was too late. Armed Progress landed at Vera Cruz and marched to Mexico City, which it conquered and occupied. The American army’s marching song was “Green Grow the Rashes O”, from which came the derisive Mexican term for North Americans, “gringo.”

The peace terms exacted a severe price on Mexico. They lost half their territory for fifteen million dollars, barely enough to temporarily move the Masonic government out of bankruptcy. In return the United States gained California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah, thus extending its borders from sea to shining sea.

The Laws of Reform

By the 1850’s Mexicans had lived under five constitutions and fifty-one presidents.15 Revolutions, insurrections, and coups were the order of the day. Mexicans reflected the incompetence and murderous temperament of their government, prompting a French ambassador to remark that “bandit gangs were the only Mexican institution that functioned with perfect regularity.”16

The Revolution, however, was just warming up. In 1855 the first Laws of Reform were formulated, and they continued in waves for the next decade. The reforms sought to nullify the Church’s influence on Mexican culture, and subordinate the Church to the State.

More Church property was taken and sold in order to fill empty government coffers. Civil marriage was introduced, and liberal holidays honoring the revolutionary fathers replaced feast days of the Church. Public worship was banned, as was clerical dress. Religious orders were suppressed. Even Church bells were subject to regulation. Catholicism was no longer recognized as the religion of Mexico. Instead, ‘religious freedom’ was introduced, which meant that the Catholic Church was harassed and Protestant evangelization was encouraged.17 Many American Protestants were enthusiastic supporters of the Revolution.

“When the Mexican Revolution began, the Protestant churches threw themselves into it almost unanimously because they believed that the progress of the Revolution represented what these churches had been preaching through the years and that the triumph of the Revolution meant the triumph of the Gospel. There were some entire congregations who, led by their pastors, volunteered for service in the Revolutionary Army…”18

The Church rose in protest over the new laws. The Mexican episcopate had the full support of Pope Pius IX, who responded to the Laws of Reform with this declaration:

“We raise our Pontifical voice in apostolic liberty…to condemn, reprove and declare null and void everything the said decrees and everything else that the civil authority has done in scorn of the ecclesiastical authority and of this Holy See.”19

Conservatives in the military and the government revolted. The man responsible for the Laws of Reform, Benito Juarez, fled Mexico City, leaving the conservatives to set up a new government. Juarez eventually landed in Vera Cruz, setting up his own rival government. So began the War of the Reform, also known as The Three Years War, a bloody civil conflict that decided the future of Mexico – and who would write the history of the country.

The conservative army marched on Vera Cruz and blockaded the harbor. Things were grim for Juarez until he and his liberal government in exile “were unexpectedly saved by the intervention of the United States, whose government, though itself on the brink of civil war,”20 sent ships to disable the Mexican ships and end the blockade. The tide of war shifted, and on January 1, 1861, the liberals recaptured Mexico City, thus ending the War of the Reform.

“Their (liberals) triumph officially banished the Conservative version of history. From then on, schoolchildren learned the history of the fatherland, described by Justo Sierra as ‘a patriotic religion that unites and unifies us’ through ‘holy love’ and deep devotion’ for the (Liberal) heroes.”21

In spite of their new heroes, or perhaps because of them, postwar Mexico was desolate and impoverished. So was the Church, which had

“lost almost all her imposing buildings, which had served as seminaries, colleges, religious houses, or charitable institutions. Almost all the libraries were taken by the government or destroyed. The Church passed through a time of anguish, as did the entire nation, impoverished by wars and discredited before the civilized world. The public treasury was bankrupt, backwardness and poverty were general, and divisions and grudges among the liberal leaders were implacable.”22

Divisions disappeared where the Church was concerned:

“Eminent Liberals literally picked up axes to destroy altars, church facades, pulpits, and confessionals. Scenes out of the French Revolution were reenacted. Images of saints were decapitated, shot full of holes, burned in public autos-da-fe; Church treasuries were robbed, archives were plundered, ecclesiastical libraries went up in flames.

“Bishops were stoned to death, and Church property was auctioned off. Nuns who had spent their whole lives cloistered were suddenly forced out of their convents. Ocampo ordered the expulsion of all Catholic bishops from the country…’The government banishes the bishops,’ exclaimed the young Ignacio Manuel Altamirano. ‘It ought to hang them!’”23

The liberal government, despite garnering $45,000,000 from the sale of Church property, was bankrupt, owing $80,000,000 on loans from other countries.24 This provided the pretext for the next invasion of Mexico by one of its creditors, France. Taking advantage of the United States Civil War, and intrigued by stories of the vast mineral wealth of Mexico, French Emperor Napoleon III, with the help of well placed Mexican conservatives, installed Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg as Emperor of Mexico. Juarez, “a cunning and ruthless politician who knew how to wait,”25 returned to exile and bided his time.

Maximilian was about as Catholic as Juarez. He broke off relations with the papal nuncio, and ratified several of Juarez’ anti-clerical laws. “The people in cassocks (the priesthood) are evil and weak,“ Maximilian declared. “The great majority of the country is liberal and wants progress in the most complete sense of the word.”26 The new emperor alienated the conservatives and the Church, and failed to win over the liberals. The other problem Maximilian had was one of succession. He had contracted syphilis from prostitutes, and his wife Carlota refused to know him.27 His days were numbered, and only the presence of French troops lengthened his reign.

The American Civil War ended sooner than the French had hoped for, and the United States could now show its support for Juarez tangibly.

“Tons of surplus military equipment were transferred to the Mexican republican forces on the border, and about three thousand discharged veterans of the Union army went to Mexico and joined Juarez’s forces.”28

Then, on the pretext of exterminating stubborn Confederates, “General Grant ordered Major General Philip H. Sheridan, a keen liberal like himself, to the border with 42,000 men…For a time it seemed that the U.S. Army might invade Mexico on behalf of that country’s Republicans.”29

The American government applied diplomatic pressure on Napoleon III to withdraw his troops. Fed up with Mexico, the Emperor complied, leaving Maximilian to twist in the wind.30

Carlota returned to France to persuade Napoleon to reconsider, but she became psychotic and was hospitalized in Belgium. She spent the last sixty years of her life insane, never knowing that her husband was captured by Juarez‘s forces and executed by a firing squad. This needless murder by the Revolution was criticized around the world, even by the United States government. Juarez responded that the execution of Maximilian was

“just, necessary, urgent, and inevitable…We inherit the indigenous nationality of the Aztecs, and in full enjoyment of it, we recognize no foreign sovereigns, no judges, and no arbiters.”31

So the list of new liberal heroes expanded to include the murderous Aztecs, whose tradition of shedding innocent blood was assumed by the Revolution. It is interesting that Benito Juarez, a full blooded Zapotec Indian (mortal enemies of the Aztecs) who received his education from the Jesuits, omitted the predominant tradition of blood that defeated the Aztecs: the blood of innocent martyrs for Christ, shed in emulation of the Master in the Christianizing of Mexico. If Juarez had forgotten this overshadowing tradition of blood that defeated the Aztecs, most of Mexico still had not, and many of them determined to take up their cross and follow the Master, even unto death.

The Religioneros

Though the liberals had won the day, some of them realized the country they now commanded was a smoldering ruin. They set about reforming this after their fashion, and set the smolders ablaze.

Juarez’s successor, Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, began another offensive against the Church by incorporating the Laws of Reform into the Constitution. The Jesuit Order was arrested and deported, supposedly because they were non-Mexican. Also deported were the Sisters of Charity, even though most of the Sisters were Mexican. The Sisters ran hospitals, asylums, and schools. The number of Mexicans in their care was nearly 15,000. The Jesuits and the Sisters of Charity were viewed favorably by Mexicans, and the Laws of Reform were not. Consequently, the people the Revolution claimed to be representing rose up against their benefactors.

An uncoordinated guerilla war broke out in various regions of Mexico. They were poorly armed peasants for the most part. Uniting in small bands against a well armed Federal Army, they would strike, vanish, then reappear to strike again. When it was harvest time they buried their guns and went back to work their farms. When harvest was over they returned to battle. Calling themselves the Religioneros, they fought for their religion and way of life. Try as it might, the Revolution had trouble ending the counter-revolution it had provoked.

Captured Religioneros were rarely afforded the legal rights so venerated by proponents of modern society. They were generally shot, and often beaten or tortured first. One guerrilla leader, Socorro Reyes, was allowed to receive last rites before facing the firing squad. He was

“a straightforward and honourable man. In all his public declarations he was frank and truthful, and when he was asked who had encouraged him to take part in the revolution, he said ‘my conscience commanded me.’ On being taken to the place of execution, he asked permission to say a few words, but this request was denied. However, he asked forgiveness for any offences that his soldiers might have committed during their advance into the outskirts of the town.

“Socorro Reyes was not a thief or a murderer, and he died in poverty; his presence had been the most solid guarantee for anyone traveling between Morelia and Puruandiro. He forbade his soldiers to loot. The man whom they called ‘general’ wore only a pair of white breeches and a rough woollen shirt, plain shoes, a felt hat and a borrowed sarape. His capital totaled nine an a half reals, and out of that sum he provided for a pound’s weight of candles to be lit in honour of Our Lord of Salvation from the moment of his death, to be lit in honour of Our Lord of Salvation from the moment of his death, and he gave one an a half reals to an uncle who had come to help him, to enable him to return to his hut.

“His family were unable to be with him at the last hour, on account of the poverty in which they lived. Socorro Reyes had been born in the San Isidro ravine, in the district of Huaniqueo. He was forty five years of age, well-built, with a full and long beard. His calm demeanor was evidence of the inward tranquility of a man whose actions were inspired by sincerity and deeply held convictions.”32

The Porfiriato

One of the generals charged with ending the Religioneros insurrection was Porfirio Diaz. Like many generals, he had ambitions for the Presidency. Like Lerdo, and Juarez before him, Diaz was a Freemason33 and a liberal bent on modernizing his nation. He developed a grudging respect for the Religioneros, and exploited Lerdo’s inability to curb the revolt to his own political advantage. There was a mixture of truth and self interest in Don Porfirio’s declaration:

“There are no…uprisings of the people except when attempts are made to undermine their most deeply held traditions and to diminish their legitimate liberty of conscience. Persecution of the Church, whether or not the clergy enter into the matter, means war, and such a war that the Government can only win it against its own people, through the humiliating, despotic, costly and dangerous support of the United States.” 34

What Diaz neglected to mention was that he rode to power

on American coattails. In 1876 his base of operations was Brownsville, Texas, from which

“Diaz and his allies sought foreign capital as the instrument of change. The Americans who supported his cause were equally impressive. They included Texas landholders, New York bankers, railroad tycoons, the state and national print media, U.S. congressmen and senators, officers of the Texas state government, and U.S. Army officers…”35

As Diaz prepared to overthrow his fellow liberals and Freemasons ruling Mexico, American merchants equipped him with 500 rifles, 250,000 rounds of ammunition, and 2,000,000 cartridges from the Remington Arms Company. Five hundred more rifles followed, along with 350 carbines, 382,000 additional rounds of ammunition, horses, wagons, mules uniforms, and cattle. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to Diaz by bankers, railroad men, and various other interested parties north of the border.36

Striking hard and then retreating to America, Diaz eventually wore down the federal army, many of whom deserted to his cause. By the end of the year Porfirio Diaz was President of Mexico, and recognized by the United States. In return, the new President made concessions to American railroad companies, which began building tracks from El Paso to Mexico City.

Other concessions by Don Porfirio involved the Catholic Church. The Mexican episcopate had been split as to handling the latest religious persecution. So were the clergy; some aided the Religioneros, others condemned them. Diaz quietly eased some of the more onerous restrictions without repealing any of the Laws of Reform. The Church had more room to breathe, the Religioneros had less to fight about, and Don Porfirio was hailed as a peacemaker. Many Mexican Catholics interpreted Diaz’s statement: “Without its religion, Mexico is irretrievably lost,”37 as an act of faith, but it was mere resignation. His passion, it seems, was power, as evidenced by his virtual dictatorship over Mexico from 1876 to 1911. The means to this end was order, something Mexico had seen precious little of since the Revolution began. It was Don Porfirio’s desire for order that led him to restrain the more violent (that is, natural) tendencies of Masonry to attack the Church.

In 1883 Diaz, at age fifty-three, married a nineteen year old Catholic girl, Carmelita Romero Rubio, a practicing Catholic who “attached herself to an ageing but virile Freemason and former radical.”38 This also seemed to influence his dealing with the Church, which once more began to flourish. The economy improved and Mexico developed an embryonic resemblance to the modern secular nation to their north.

Diaz’s thirty year reign became known as the Porfiriato. It ended when the revolutionaries became exasperated with him. He was replaced by Francisco Madero, who was assassinated after about a year. A cavalcade of military leaders led the country for short periods over the next seven years, as the features of classic Masonic rule became prominent once more: assassination, social unrest, economic instability, and renewed persecution of the Church.

In 1917 a new Constitution was drafted that was more radical than the 1857 Laws of Reform. Religious education was now under an outright ban, as were all religious and monastic orders, and outdoor religious ceremonies. The Church was even prohibited from owning land.39

Enforcement of the new Constitution varied. When strict enforcement was attempted, Catholics fought in the streets with revolutionaries and the federales. When Alvaro Obregon came to power in 1920 he tended to imitate Porfirio Diaz in his relations with the Church. In 1924 he was replaced as President of Mexico by Plutarco Elias Calles. Calles’ claimed his fierce opposition to the Catholic Church began as a boy: “When I was an altar boy I stole the alms to buy candy.”40 Giving up childish games, he exiled all the priests in Sonora when he became governor. He was also known to have drunks executed by firing squads.

Of uncertain lineage – he was called “The Turk” and was rumored to be Armenian or Semitic – Calles had several failed business attempts prior to becoming governor.41 Once in power he ruled with a determination that earned him another nickname: The Iron Man. Upon becoming President of Mexico in 1924, Calles’ determined persecution of the Church gave him worldwide notoriety, and was a direct cause of the Cristeros uprising.

1From David C. Bailey, Viva Cristo Rey, The Cristero Rebellion and the Church-State Conflict in Mexico, University of Texas Press, 1974, pp. 109-110.

2John W.F. Dulles, Yesterday In Mexico, Chronicles of the Revolution, 1919-1936, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1961, p. 298.

3Freemasonry was active in Spain prior to France’s influence, however.. The first lodge was established in 1726, prior to the Church’s first condemnation of Freemasonry, which occurred in 1738. Rev. Dr. R. Parsons, Studies In Church History, Volume VI, P. 44.

4Gilbert M. Joseph & Timothy :J. Henderson, Editors, The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Duke University Press, 2002, p. 11.

5Robert Miller, Mexico: A History, University of Oklahoma Press, 1985, p. 205.

6From a lengthy extract of Notes From Mexico from The Mexico Reader, op. cit., pp. 12-14.

7Most Rev. Francis C. Kelly, Blood Drenched Altars, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1935, p. 170.

8Michael C. Meyer and William H. Beezley, Editors, The Oxford History of Mexico, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 320.

9Kelly, op. cit., p. 170.

10The Oxford History of Mexico, op. cit., p. 346.

11Farias’ Presidency was a curious thing. He was actually the Vice President, ushered in on the coattails of a military coup led by the man ‘elected’ President, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who went on sabbatical shortly after gaining power, leaving Farias in charge of things.

12Miller, op. cit., p. 209.

13Peter Calvert, Mexico: Nation of the Modern World, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1973, p. 30.

14Jean A Meyer, The Cristero Rebellion: The Mexican People Between Church and State, Translated by Richard Southern, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1976, p. 27.

15George W. Grayson, The Church In Contemporary Mexico, The Center For Strategic And International Studies, Washington D.C., 1992, p. 7.

16The Oxford History of Mexico, op. cit., p. 405.

17Brain Hamnett, A Concise History of Mexico, Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 160-164.

18Mayer, op. cit., p. 26. The quote is from testimony by S.G. Inman, a member of the Committee of the League of Free Nations, taken during an Investigation of Mexican Affairs by the U.S. Senate, 66th Congress, in 1919.

19Miller, op. cit., p. 235.

20Calvert, op. cit., p. 35.

21Enrique Krauze, Mexico, Biography of Power, A History of Modern Mexico, Translated by Hank Heifez, HarperCollins Publisher, 1997, p. 17.

22New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 9, p. 779.

23Krauze, op. cit., p. 171.

24Miller, op. cit., p. 237.

25Hamnett, op. cit., p. 175.

26Krauze, op. cit., p. 180.

27The Oxford History of Mexico, op. cit., p. 386.

28Miller, op. cit., p. 246.

29The Oxford History of Mexico, op. cit., p. 387.

30It was not merely American pressure that made Napoleon III withdraw troops. The French budget could not support the expenses of an overseas military, and neighboring Prussia was becoming a military threat to France.

31The Oxford History of Mexico, op. cit., p. 391.

32Jean Meyer, The Cristero Rebellion: The Mexican People Between Church and State, 1926-1929, translated by Richard Southern, Cambridge University Press, 1976, p. 7.

33Diaz was Grandmaster of the Valley of Mexico Lodge. See Paul V. Murray, The Role and the Mission of the Catholic Church in Mexico. Mexico, privately printed, 1963; 2nd edition, 1972).

34Meyer, op. cit., p. 8.

35John Mason Hart, Revolutionary Mexico, The Coming And Process of the Mexican Revolution, University of California Press, 1987, pp. 106-7.

36Ibid., pp. 122-123. It is likely Diaz’ status as a Freemason aided rather than hindered his cause.

37Meyer, op. cit., p. 8.

38Hamnett, op. cit., p. 198

39Hamnett, op. cit., p. 233.

40Krauze, op. cit., p. 409.

41If we are to believe Father Michael Kenny, Calles lost jobs as a teacher and treasurer “for immorality and disappearance of funds.” He is also alleged to have burned down a business for insurance money, and to have bankrupted a mill business given to him by relatives, among other failings.. See Michael Kenny, S.J., PH.D., Litt.D., No God Next Door, Red Rule in Mexico and Our Responsibility, William J. Hirten Co., Inc., New York, 1935, p. 96

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