Skip to comments.Mexican "Cristeros" Martyrs Beatified
Posted on 11/21/2005 9:43:55 AM PST by marshmallow
Guadalajara, Nov. 21 (CWNews.com) - Cardinal José Saraiva Martins presided at the beatification of 13 Mexican martyrs of the 20th century, in ceremonies held in a soccer stadium in Guadalajara on November 20.
The martyrs-- 3 priests and 10 laymen-- were members of the Cristeros movement, which rose up in the late 1920s to defy the anti-religious strictures of the Mexican regime. They join a growing list of 20th-century Mexicans recognized by the Church, including the 25 martyrs beatified by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) during his trip to Mexico in 2000.
In a message relayed to the Gaudalajara congregation by satelitte, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) said that it was appropriate to hold the beatification ceremonies on the feast of Christ the King; many of the Cristeros martyrs shouted "Viva Cristo Rey!" as they faced their executioners.
The Pope made a point of naming the martyrs recognized on Sunday: Anacleto Gonzalez Flores and seven companions, José Trinidad Rangel, Andres Sola Molist, Leonardo Perez, Dario Acosta Zurita, and José Sanchez del Rio, who died at the age of 14.
[Blessed Jose's] martyrdom was witnessed by several people, among them a seven-year-old boy who would later become the founder of a religious congregation, Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Regnum Christi Movement. In the book-length interview Christ is my Life (www.christismylife.org), he speaks of the decisive role that his friend, José Luis, testimony had for his vocation.
He was captured by government forces, which wanted to give the civilian population that supported the Cristeros an exemplary lesson, remembers the founder, who was then seven years old. [
] Then the skin of the soles of his feet was sheered off, and he was obliged to walk through the village towards the cemetery, he remembers. He wept and moaned with pain, but would not give in. Every now and then, the stopped and said: If you cry out Death to Christ the King, well will spare your life. Say Death to Christ the King! But he answered, Hail to Christ the King! [
] Once in the cemetery, before shooting him, they asked him once more if he would deny his faith. He refused and was killed right then and there. He died crying out as many other Mexicans did: Hail to Christ the King! [
] These are indelible images of my memory and of the memory of the Mexican people, although often there is not much mention of it in the official history (Christ is my Life, n. 4).
If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.
Many enemies, much honor.
I've seen it exactly one other place: in a work of fiction. It was the motto of a bunch of (fictional) truly nasty, reprehensible people.
This is a part of Mexican history during the 20th Century that many are completely unaware of.
Very true. Many people are also unaware that Mexico, technically, is a socialist state and officially very hostile to the Church. In fact, clergy only got official permission to wear their clericals on the street a few years ago.
Vicente Fox adopted it during his campaign for President of Mexico so I did some research and that's what I learned.
However, 8mmMauser informed me that a similar slogan was used in France during the revolution but others defending their Catholic faith.
Oddly enough, it was on this improbably titled thread:
Interesting. I suppose it takes on a different sort of spin, depending on whether it's used by satanic French revolutionaries, Catholic martyrs, or fictional communist racists.
thanks for the background.
I believe a very similar slogan was used by the Catholic and Royal Army (of the Vendee) fighting the French Revolutionaries: "If I advance, follow me; if I am killed, avenge me; if I retreat, shoot me."
Viva Cristo Rey!
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Miguel Pro's feast day is Wednesday. He is another Cristeros martyr and I think he was in the KofC too.
MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO
Memorial 23 November
Son of a mining engineer. From childhood he was known for high spirits and cheerfulness, and he grew up in a pious home. Born to privilege, he had great affinity for the poor and working classes. Jesuit novice at 20. Exiled during the Mexican revolution. Ordained in Belgium in 1925 at age 36. Victim of recurring stomach disorder. Returned to Mexico in 1926, a time when churches were closed, priests were in hiding, and persecution of the Church was policy. Father Miguel used disguises to conduct an underground ministry, bringing the comfort of charity and the sacraments to the faithful.
Falsely accused in 1927 of a bombing attempt, Pro became a wanted man, was betrayed to the police, and without trial, he was sentenced to death. The photograph on this page was taken the day of his martyrdom. As he was about to be shot, he forgave his executioners, refused a blindfold, and died shouting "Love live Christ the King!" The government prohibited a public funeral, but the faithful lined the streets when his body passed.
Born 13 January 1891 at Zacatecas, Mexico
Died martyred by firing squad in 1927
25 September 1988 by Pope John Paul II
We ought to speak, shout out against injustices, with confidence and without fear. We proclaim the principles of the Church, the reigh of love, without forgetting that it is also a reign of justice.
Miguel Agustin Pro
Thank you, Incorrigible.
Si je recule, tuez moi; si j'avance, suivez
moi; si je meurs, vengez moi!
Click on the link on post #9.
We lived quite a few years in the Vendee.
The martyrs of the Vendee and the Cristeros are kindred. We are deeply touched by their sacrifice.
An excellent novel about it is "The Fourth Gift" by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino.
A novel about the Vendee:
I have a novel about it called "No Surrender", G.A. Henty, Scribners, 1899. From the other titles listed in the back of the book, Henty seems to have written a lot of inspirational (heroic-type, more than spiritual-) books for boys. I should really track them down for my nephews.