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is raising awareness of a long-forgotten chapter in Catholic history that seems increasingly relevant for religious believers in America today.
Catholics responded at that time with the revolt of the “Religionists,” a series of violent outbursts and wholesale defiance of the government that would last from 1874 to 1876, and was only pacified by the rise of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, who relaxed the enforcement of anti-clerical policies and laws, although he continued the process of confiscating and redistributing Church lands.
The Reforma, which also confiscated the lands of Mexico’s indigenous peoples, would ultimately culminate in the concentration of 90 percent of the agricultural land of Mexico in the hands of one percent of the country’s families, resulting in abuses that would lead to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, and the rise of Francisco I.
Anacleto Gonzalez Flores: Spiritual leader of the Cristiada Among the many colorful figures that animated the Cristiada, Anacleto Gonzalez Flores may be described as the movement’s “spiritual leader.” His Gandhi-like movement of peaceful resistance would ironically provide the infrastructure for the armed struggle in the state of Jalisco, the center of the Cristero revolt.
Gonzalez Flores himself would be transformed from a pacifist into the reluctant leader of the Cristiada’s political wing, although he did not participate directly in the fighting himself.
The forces of Carranza and Obregon defeated Zapata and Villa, and established Carranza as president of Mexico in 1917.
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The Carranza-Obregon faction was openly wedded to Marxist ideology, and under its leadership the Mexican government would become the first sovereign state in the western hemisphere to recognize the Soviet Union.It would also create a new Constitution in which it would enshrine its secularist, anti-clerical ideology, which still reigns as the supreme law of the country today, albeit in heavily modified form.The Constitution of 1917 reestablished the old anti-Catholic legislation of La Reforma, elevating much of it from mere civil law to the level of constitutional law.Origins of the Cristiada The true story of the Cristiada begins in the 1850s, when the US-backed regime of Benito Juarez began the confiscation of the agricultural lands of the Catholic Church, as well as other reforms that culminated in a series of anti-Catholic laws declaring that all of the nation’s churches were property of the federal government, and that no religious expressions of any kind, including the wearing of clerical garb, could occur in public.Today, the government celebrates these changes, which are called (“The Reform”), with a paid holiday.The anti-clerical provisions of the 1917 Constitution, as the civil laws that had preceded it, were not fully enforced in the years immediately following the document’s adoption.However, that began to change in 1925, when the fanatically anti-Catholic, atheistic president Plutarco Elias Calles began to browbeat state and federal government officials into applying the laws with the greatest strictness, ultimately issuing a penal reform decree known as the “Calles Law” that provided criminal penalties for violating the provisions.The Catholic bishops of the country responded to Calles with the suspension of public worship, in the apparent hope that they would stiffen the resolve of Catholics to resist the government’s measures.However, they had little idea of the explosive forces that they were about to unleash.Some of the conflict’s most important figures, such as Anacleto Gonzalez Flores, are glossed over, and others are portrayed in an inaccurate or even inverted manner.In the interest of character and plot development, relationships between characters were created for the film that never existed in reality.