Persecution of the Church in Mexico
From the Irish Independent, March 6th, 1933:
by Dr. Frank O’Reilly, K.C.S.G., Secretary of the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland
The voice of the Catholics of the Republic of Mexico is overwhelmed in the babel of international controversy on debt-cancellation, trade restrictions, and disarmament.
Only the voice of the Father of Christendom is heard pleading their cause. And even his voice in a world which boasts its worship of liberty, is, as far as it is possible, silenced, to the benefit of a great tyranny.
Mexico is no longer in the news. The world has, it would seem, settled down comfortably to regard the Mexican terror as a normality — as something, at least, which has lost its news value. The duty of Catholics, in the circumstances, is plain. The fact of the persecution of our brothers in Mexico must not be taken as merely a fait accompli. Here is a wrong to be righted.
Our Holy Father the Pope, in his announcement of the Holy Year, deplored “the sad condition of oppression which still afflicts the Faith and the Faithful in Mexico.”
Here is a plea to Catholics everywhere to assist him in the work of the liberation of Mexico, but none of us can take more than a passing interest in his appeal without a realisation of the enormity of the terror which he opposes.
I propose, therefore, in a few short articles to explain the position in which the Church is situated, under Masonic rule, in a land steeped in Catholic tradition and sentiment.
The persecution of the Church in Mexico was inaugurated early in the last century, but it will suffice to date its beginning from 1917, when a Constitution, under which the country is at present government, was promulgated.
The Constitution of 1917
The Congress which drew up this 1917 Constitution was “elected” under the shadow of the same terrorism which is in control of the country’s destinies today.
In the first place, the majority of the electors were not permitted toe exercise the franchise, and, in the second place, no candidate was permitted to be declared elected who could not prove that he had given material support to the revolution which had made the new Constitution possible.
Mr. William F. Montavon, director of the Legal Department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference of the U.S.A., says of this farcical election: “(The Constitution) was imposed upon the people by a chosen band of revolutionists who did not have, by any means, control, even in a material way, of the Republic, and who had refused to fight under the national flag of Mexico, but only under their own Red banner. The Constitution has never been submitted to any form of ratification by the people of Mexico.”
Advent of Calles to Power
Presently I shall make a resume of the anti-religious provisions of this imposed Constitution. I may remark, however that Mr. Montavon’s judgement receives ample conformation in the fact that the Government did not dare to put these provisions fully into effect.
Most of the more vicious of them were allowed to lie dormant until the “election” of one of the revolutionary generals, Pluturch Calles, as President in 1924.
Calles was outstanding among the Masonic enemies of Catholicism in Mexico. He was obsessed with an inveterate hatred of the Church. Forthwith, almost, he proceeded, in the name of the law, unwarrantably enacted, as we have seen, to enforce the Constitution in all its rigour.
At the same time, following in the footsteps of all persecutions he loudly proclaimed that there was “no such thing as persecution of a religious character against religious creeds….” We shall see.
War on Religion
Calles retired from the Presidency in 1928. The present President in Ortex Rubio, who, after making pretence of accommodation with Our Holy Father the Pope, has, if anything, intensified the tyranny under which an entire Catholic nation groans.
The 1917 Constitution, among other things, forbids ministers of religion or religious bodies to found or direct primary schools (Article III). It bans religious orders and prohibits the taking of vows (Article V) and declares religious associations incapable of acquiring, possessing, or administering movable or immovable property (Article XXVII).
Article XXVII further enacts that all Church property is confiscated to the State, and that the State will fix the number of churches necessary for public worship.
And in the Home
Article XXX enacts (1) that “the right of intervention in accordance with the laws, in matters of religious worship and external discipline, belongs to the federal authority,” to which other authorities, i.e., the Church, are subsidiary.
(2) That “marriage is a civil-contract, exclusively within the competence of the civil authority.
(3) That ministers of religion are merely members of a profession, and that the State legislatures have power to determine their number.
(4) That a minister of religion must be a Mexican by birth.
In addition, it enacts that ministers of religion cannot either at public meetings or in private committees, nor yet in the course of religious services or religious propaganda, criticise the fundamental laws of the land, nor authority in particular, nor the Government in general; neither shall they have a vote, active or passive, nor a right to associate themselves with any political aims.
Also, it denies recognition “for any motive whatever” to courses of studies designed for the training of priests.
All Orders Suppressed
And here is the confession of Masonic despotism. The same Article XXX, sub-section 16, enacts: “Prosecutions for the infringement of the foregoing regulations shall in no case be tried before a jury.”
I have been compelled to be brief, owing to space limitations, but I have picked out from the 1917 Constitution enough to demonstrate the obnoxious character of the laws of the Masons of Mexico.
On July 2nd 1926, by proclamation, Calles, in accordance with the Constitution, prohibited the taking of religious vows, perpetual or temporary, and suppressed all the religious orders.
Priests who either by written or spoken word incite others not to recognise even a simple order of any authority whatsoever are liable to six years’ imprisonment. Public criticism of the laws by any priest renders him liable to imprisonment for from one to five years.
Lawmakers Above Their Laws!
But while the junta which has established itself in power by the might of the gun mouths respect for their iniquitous laws they do not even obey those iniquitous laws themselves, for the degree of their iniquity is not apparently intense enough to please them thoroughly.
Article XVII of the 1917 Constitution guarantees that “the liberty to write and to publish articles on all matters is inviolable. No law nor authority can enact preventative measures, nor limit the liberty of the Press, which has no limits except respect for private life, for morals, and for the public peace.” But in the face of this Masonic guarantee, the Catholic Press is persistently and cruelly persecuted.
In future articles I shall deal with other aspects of this minority terror, but neither in this present one nor in those to come can I give more than a bare idea of its ferocity. The anti-religious laws are cruel in the extreme in their details, and several Catholics have paid the penalty of death for loyalty to Christ.
From the Irish Independent, March 7th, 1933
In my last article I pointed out that Article III of the 1917 Constitution forbids ministers of religion or religious bodies to found or direct primary schools.
In addition, Article V bans religious orders, and Article XVII declares them incapable of possessing or administering property. The same article confiscates all Church property to the State.
It is invariably true of persecutors that their most energetic and thorough efforts are directed always against the Catholic schools. The Masonic persecutor in Mexico is not different from his brother in any other country.
He has made the most determined assault upon the little ones of Mexico, endeavouring, with all the energy of his being, to uproot all their ideas of religion, and actually to pollute their minds with the most immoral of doctrines.
Out of the Tyrants’ Own Mouths
I think it well to let the tyrants speak for themselves, and so I quote Circular No. 24, dated March 31, 1932, and published by the Controller of Schools in the State of Vera Crux, for the purpose of giving “directions concerning the anti-religious action to be worked up in the schools.” It is as follows: —
“On June 27 of last year, in accordance with Law No. 197, promulgated by the present Legislature, this Directory issued instructions concerning the work of anti-fanaticism within and outside the schools, which must be developed in the educational institutions of our State. We now wish to insist on the obligation binding on all teachers to carry out this work with perseverance and an enthusiasm in keeping with its social importance.
“Accordingly, we recommend that extra school action be carried on through discourses and conferences to adults and by forming anti-religious committees which will labour to infuse into the popular conscience the conviction of the necessity to abolish religious belief, which is an obstacle in the way of true social development.
“Concerning action in the schools, which aims at forming in the pupils the materialistic conception of the world, and in this way eliminating all religious belief and prejudice, we deem it useful to give the following direction as to the gradual working out of this purpose.
Plan for Godless Campaign
“1st Year. Combat familiar superstitions and religious dogmas which are told to little children of this class. In considering the buildings which are found in the country fix the attention of the children on the churches, and form the necessary comparisons with the working-class districts in the locality.
“In the lessons on primitive man, explain how, in the beginning, labour was the characteristic of all men, but as society organized itself, classes were formed, who lived by the labour of others, part of these oppressor classes being the priests.
“2nd Year. Bring under observation the anti-hygienic side of certain religious practices as ‘the use of Holy Water, kissing pictures, medals, relics of the Saints, or the priests’ hands.’ Explain how religious practices, while causing man to lose time which he should be spending in labour, have no influence of the production of atmospheric phenomena; draw the conclusion of the uselessness and harmfulness of these practices.
Poison for Young Minds
“Explain to the pupils how they should not give offering to light candles to the Saints, or make offerings to the churches or for Masses, etc., showing how such offerings go exclusively to the profit of the priests.
“Insist on the lessons from history showing the function of the priests in impoverishing others, which they exercised from the primitive social epoch.
“3rd Year. Stress how religions form individuals without initiative, awaiting all from the Divinity, and how, on the contrary, persons without religious prejudices are active, energetic in character, able to overcome by themselves their difficulties.
“In history lessons treat of the harmful influence of the priestly class in the times before the conquest of Cortes; how religious superstitions contributed to consummate the Spanish victory; how the fanaticism of the primitive religions were replaced by the fanaticism of Catholicism, which facilitated the impoverishment of the natives. Comment on the ridiculousness of the nonsense of the existence of a heaven, a hell, a purgatory, saints, devils, etc.
“Tell of the social groups, distinguishing between them as workers and capitalists, oppressed and oppressors; pointing out that the priests belong to this latter group because by their preaching they contribute to the existence of the oppressors; point out how, therefore, they should be eliminated from Society. Constitution and functioning of an anti-clerical committee.
War on Protestantism Also
“4th Year. During the studies on the form of the earth and its movements, bring out the falseness of the relative dogmas.
“In the history lessons dwell on the formation of the clerical estates in New Spain; on the unfortunate part played by the clergy in the economic, political and social life of the colony.
“Dwell on the Inquisition and its crimes; on the opposition of the clergy to the pioneers of independence; how they tried to frustrate the final gaining of it, lending their support to the Emperor of Iturbido; the despicable and anti-patriotic conduct of the clergy during the epoch of independence, siding with the class of the oppressors, and with the reactionary Government; the rebellious conduct of the clergy against the government which emerged from the last revolution, and the crimes which their conduct provoked.
“Draw attention to the dangers of the diffusion of Protestantism in our country, which would constitute a means for capitalistic domination from the United States.
“Treating of the evolution of forms of government explain how the priests have co-operated in maintaining, as rulers, the oppressors of the people, and how they were opposed to the establishment of a government which would defend the rights of the working classes.
“Treat of the damage to the national economy of the existence of a class of priests (a non-producing class); the religious prejudices through which people await everything from a divinity; the money which the Catholic clergy send to Rome.
“Insist that the priestly class are a part of the class of oppressors, and with their preaching of obedience oppose the liberation of the proletariat.
“Compare the achievements of the great benefactors of Mexico (men who have contributed to the building up of nationality, to the progress of the country, to the development of arts and sciences and to the betterment of the proletarian classes) with the obscurantist works of the priests. Formation and functioning of an anti-clerical committee.
The Communist Creed
“5th Year. Treating of the knowledge of the laws ruling physical and chemical phenomena, insist on the materialistic conception of the world; demonstrating the falsity of the religious dogmas.
“In the historical studies bring out the harm done to the progress of the American people by the priestly class. Point out the harm suffered by the economy of America by religious prejudice through which, in spite of improved methods of production, the people seek the divine aid.
“Make the pupils understand that to lead a moral life no religion whatever is needed; that on the contrary religion is an obstacle; avoid falsehood and hypocrisy and that is sufficient. Comment on the immorality of religious confessions. Show the necessity of destroying the priestly classes so that the proletarian classes of America may regain their rights and set about establishing a social regime in which proletarian justice rules…
To Enthrone Materialism
“6th Year. Treating of the general laws ruling nature and in the study of the planter system and of the formation of the earth (theory of La Place) and of the origin of man (Darwin’s theory); inculcate into the pupils the full materialistic conception of the world.
“In historical studies draw attention to the execrable works of the priestly class in the evolution of the peoples, always blocking progress; the conquest of human rights and the vindication of the proletariat.
“Show the damage done to world economy by the existence of a priestly class. Explain also the origin of evolution of religions, showing how they are all founded on the unknown, and how they are disappearing with the progress of science.
True Soviet Technique
“Give a full commentary on the Russian Revolution, and explain how in the Soviet State all religious dogmas are cast out and the priestly classes suppressed to more securely establish a regime in which proletarian justice shall rule.
“Suggest to the pupils the necessity of taking advantage of the churches for the establishment of schools, libraries, working centres, etc., showing what steps would be opportune for the accomplishment of this purpose. Formation and functioning of an anti-religious committee.
“It is hardly necessary to say that these activities, which we may call anti-religious, should be supported by the co-operation of all other branches of study; the national language, through literature; drawing, illustrating, competitions in caricaturing, etc., modeling with figures representing scenes which would strengthen the anti-religious idea; social instructions with anti-clerical and anti-religious committees as mentioned above.
League of the Godless, Too
“It is well to remember that in each centre of primary education an anti-religious league should be organised, formed from the pupils of different years, in order to co-ordinate and regulate the functioning of the anti-clerical and anti-religious committees of the various groups.”
I can usefully contribute no comment upon this anti-God instruction. It can be taken for granted that the campaign in Vera Crux is in the spirit of the Federal Government, and that it is duplicated, except perhaps in some details, in many other States.
The fact that the campaign has to be undertaken is an additional proof that the persecutor has seized power against the will of the people.
From the Irish Independent, March 10th, 1933
Whatever public worship of God is permitted by the Mexican persecutor is so intolerably restricted as to amount to virtual prohibition. The most elaborate machinery for the suppression of Divine Services has been set up, and once again in such a way as to demonstrate the Government’s distrust of the people.
Only a small proportion of the churches of the country are open for worship. Licences to open the churches are withheld at the will of the State Governors, and only on condition of what amounts not only to lay but actually to anti-Catholic domination.
Each church must have a trustee to see to it that the anti-religious laws and observed by the priest. This trustee, together with a committee of ten persons from the locality — who need not, obviously, be Catholics — really appoint the priest, for they nominate him to the Municipal Council, which, however, has the power to accept or reject the nomination.
The Governor must at all times be kept informed of changes not only of priests but of members of the parish committees.
One Priest For 100,000 People
The trustees and their committees are bound under penalties of heavy fines or imprisonment or other punishments to carry out their duties. The persecutor thus protects his iniquitous laws against the disloyalty of even the hand-picked adherents who administer them.
In addition to this rigorous control of the churches and of religious ministrations, the persecutor rigorously controls the priesthood. The number of officiating priests in each State is limited. In Vera Crux and Yucatan, for instance, one priest is allowed for every 100,000 inhabitants. In Chiapas the quote is 60,000. In Michoacán only 33 priests are permitted in the whole territory.
One can realize the horror of these iniquitous laws by thinking of the Diocese of Cork, for instance, with, at the most, three priests; or of towns like Galway or Limerick with one each. How many would die without the Sacraments if the laws were obeyed, as, thank God, they are not and never will be.
The Red Junta’s Obsession
In Mexico, as in Ireland in Penal Days, the priesthood is “On the run.” Mass is celebrated in the catacombs as in the first ages of the Faith, and in God’s own time the Church will emerge victorious as it has always done everywhere.
In the meantime, however, it would surely be extraordinary if Catholics and lovers of liberty of every creed, and of none, did not voice their protest against an insufferable tyranny.
Our Holy Father the Pope, under whose wise rule the Church is more at peace with the nations than perhaps ever before in history, has failed to inspire in the Mexican Government any desire for justice. As far as the Vicar of Christ could go, Pius XI has gone to placate the persecutor, but in vain.
The foolish determination to wipe out religion has obsessed the Red Junta. In the pursuit of their object they are forgetful of even the principles of honour.
An Agreement Not Kept.
In an Apostolic Letter to the Bishops of Mexico on 2nd February, 1926, Our Holy Father lamented that, despite the clear and precise undertaking entered into by the Mexican Government with the Holy See, that Government had refused, without stating any motive, to permit the return to Mexico of the Apostolic Delegate who had been contumaciously expelled.
The letter from the Mexican Government dated 25th October, 1924, agreed clearly and definitely to the recognition of an Apostolic Delegate, in accordance with the usual diplomatic practice.
That is made clear in the actual letter from the Mexican Government to his Eminence Cardinal Gasparri, Secretary of State, which was in the following terms: —
“Monsignore — I have received the note N.34064 dated September 5th, in which your Eminence states he learns from persons whom he has reason to consider well informed that, should the Holy See nominate an Apostolic Delegate to Mexico, this Government is prepared to permit his entry and permanent stay in the country, and to grant him the use of cypher, and to undertake that, should any difficulty arise, he will not be expelled from the territory, but his withdrawal requested of the Holy See.
The President’s Decision
“Your Eminence adds that if the reply is in the affirmative you will immediately communicate the name of the person whom the Pope appoints as Delegate; to whom opportune instructions will be given, so that in appointing to dioceses there may be nominated as Bishops ecclesiastics who are not implicated in political strife, and who give promise of devoting themselves; and their clergy to the good of souls; also the Delegate will be given faculties to enter into contact with the Government whenever circumstances demand it.
“In reply, by decision of the President of the Republic, I have the honour to inform your Eminence that as a result of conversations of an informative character which have taken place between a high dignitary of the Church and our Minister at Rome, with the purpose of arriving at an accord for the maintenance of those relations with the Church, consistent with our laws, and having considered the request which, for this purpose, was made to the Government of Mexico, the President of the Republic wishes to make known that the entry and permanent stay in the country — after further communication from the Holy See — of an Apostolic Delegate will be permitted; who will also be permitted the use of cypher in his correspondence.
“This Government also agrees that should any serious difficulty arise it will first request his recall by the Holy See, before proceeding directly to expel him.
Holy See’s Offer Welcomed!
“I have the pleasure to inform your Eminence that the Government of Mexico is very glad to know that, in nominating a new Delegate the Holy See will have care to instruct him that in appointing to dioceses there will be nominated as Bishops ecclesiastics who are not implicated in political strife, and who, with their clergy, will devote themselves exclusively to the Christian functions proper to their ministry.
“From conduct of this kind, this Government expects the best results, which will commence from the moment in which there is a cessation of those activities which have been for a long time now the chief obstacle between the State and the Catholic Church.
“Consequently, it has also been decided that the new Apostolic Delegate will be given faculties necessary for entering into contact with the Government when circumstances demand.”
Apostolic Delegates Expelled
Our Holy Father the Pope nominated Monsignor Cimino as Apostolic Delegate. He was not permitted to enter Mexico. Monsignor Caruana, nominated instead, was expelled almost at once; and Monsignor Ruiz — himself a Mexican — who was then nominated, was declared a foreigner and then expelled. The malafides of the Mexican junta needs no comment.
How eventually the victims of their hatred are to be redeemed from the rule of slavery it is difficult to see. The facts set out in these articles must, however, increase the interest of Irish Catholics in the fate of their Mexican brothers and sisters, and induce our people to respond to the Holy Father’s appeal for prayers for their welfare.