Sunday 16 October 2022

Rebel Mexico - Edward Lodge Curran - International Catholic Truth Society

Rebel Mexico
Edward Lodge Curran
International Catholic Truth Society

This is the second of three booklets from the same time, and on the same subject . I stumbled across this and a couple of other titles from The International Catholic Truth Society while doing research for a review of a different volume about the Cristero Wars. These three volumes were published between 1927 and 1935 the three I found on Open Library were:

Catholic Mexico - Edward Lodge Curran
Rebel Mexico - Edward Lodge Curran
The Mexican Crisis Its Causes and Consequences - Rev. Michael Kenny, S.J., Ph.D.

And this is the direct companion to, Catholic Mexico, which was published the year before this one. The description of this booklet:

“A clean and forceful account of the last hundred years of revolution, tyranny and oppression in Mexico.

Three hundred years of Catholic influence undone by usurpers of government. Mexico changed from a civilized country into a land of ignorance, poverty and degradation.

A reading of this pamphlet together with Catholic Mexico will make your knowledge of Mexican history complete.”

Reading this volume was fascinating. The two volumes are clearly meant to be read together. This one is a little clearer. Less wandering in the thought and material presented. Thopught at times it still goess off track with a look at the last 100 years in Mexico, comparison Mexico to the Us, and even the Irish under British rule and oppression. He covers a lot in such a short volume. This ones seems to be less all over the place. This volume would never be published today, and as such it offers a great insight. I highlighted many passages. I will share them here to give a feel for the volume:

“THIS pamphlet, written as a supplement to "Catholic Mexico," indicates the cause and suggests the remedy of a century of persecution in Mexico.

The Mexican people have been robbed of their right to worship God and train their children in accordance with their conscience."

The author is pleased to dedicate this pamphlet to the day when tyranny in Mexico shall be ended and when the Mexican people, who love their God and their Church and their country, shall be permitted to live in peace with themselves and with all humanity.”

“MEXICO is Catholic. Her churches and shrines are impregnated with the suns of centuries. Her Virgin of Guadelupe, often wrapped in the smoke of battle, often marred, as happened recently, by the hands of the blasphemer, has never lost her hold upon the minds and imaginations and hearts and souls of the Mexican people, who honor the Virgin because she is the mother of Christ, who is God. No persecution of the past one hundred years has been able to extinguish the indelible character of the faith of Christ, left as an eternal deposit by the flowing and ebbing waters of Holy Baptism. Mexico was Catholic. Mexico is Catholic. Mexico shall remain Catholic, if we, who are likewise Catholic, shall but raise our voices and our prayers in her defense.”

“Mexico is still Catholic Mexico in soul and heart and mind and substance. Rebel Mexico is a madness and a malady, a disease in the brain of those who call themselves the National Revolutionary Party, whose regime has been a reign of terror. For the past one hundred years in general and for the past twenty-five years in particular Mexico has been in the greedy grasp of a military and tyrannical minority. Successful presidents have been first successful generals. Bullets and not ballots have controlled the presidency.”

“One and only one judicial condemnation can follow such a verdict. The present military tyranny in Mexico must go. It must yield to the rights of Mexicans as human beings. It must succumb to an enlightened and charitable public opinion throughout the world.”

“It is not only the rights of the Church as an organization that are at stake today. The rights of humanity likewise hang within the balance. The Mexican people have a greater right to rise against their oppressors than the Serbians had against the Austrians in 1914; than the American Colonies had against England in 1776; than the French nation had against the Bourbons in 1789; than the Irish had against England; than the Balkan nations had against the Turks. Their failure to exercise that right for a hundred years has not been due to cowardice. It has been due to the Christlike control that the Catholic Church has been able, at terrific odds, to exercise in their regard.”

“In the first place, generation after generation, and law by law, the Church's public influence on the life of Mexico has been taken away until today she is denied the status of a legal entity and prevented from performing such functions as are purely spiritual and religious. Thus, in the year 1932, autocratic and plutocratic, Calles who controls the destinies of the Mexican government, no matter who occupies the presidency, caused a law to be enacted for the Federal District of Mexico (corresponding to our District of Columbia) which reduced the number of priests to 25 for 1,300,000 Catholics. Other States of the Republic of Mexico were quick to follow his example.”

“Hence, less than 500 priests are permitted to minister to 14,000,000 Catholics in Mexico. No priest at all is allowed in the state of Chiapas, where 320,000 Catholics reside; or in the state of Sonora where 300,000 Catholics reside; or in the state of Vera Cruz where 1,000,000 Catholics are robbed of the rights of conscience and humanity. In no state is the Church allowed to train future candidates for the priesthood, so that, even while we write, the number of five hundred priests may have been permanently lessened through natural death or through the bloody sword of persecution which respects neither sex nor age nor home nor sanctuary nor sanctity. For· bidden to organize or direct her priests, who in turn are forbidden to even instruct the children in the home, the Church is on the verge of institutional as well as legal extinction in Mexico.”

“Robbed of her priesthood, the Church has likewise been robbed of her property and possessions. Like Christ she is to have no place of refuge, not even a rock whereon to lay her weary head.”

“That is the policy and the persecution behind the instructions of the Attorney General, Senor Portes Gil, with regard to the nationalization of church property. According to these official instructions all property which has served as (a) the residence of a bishop or priest; (b) a seminary; (c) an asylum; (d) a school conducted by a religious association; (e) a convent; (f) a place of worship; (g) and all objects related to the administration, propaganda or teaching of a religious cult must be absolutely transferred to the ownership of the nation, whether formerly owned by religious individuals and organizations or by private persons. In October 1934, the Mexican Supreme Court, as slavishly controlled and manned by the National Revolutionary Party as the Mexican Legislature or the Governors and Legislatures of the individual Mexican States, upheld the rulings of the Attorney General in a test case that was subjected to its unfair and unwise and unholy and ungodly judicial (?) decision.”

“Again in 1917, when the Constitution of Queretaro, which specifically outlaws religion, was foisted upon a religion loving people by a military tyranny, the Bishops of Mexico contented themselves with the following protest and remarks: "We have no desire to raise any political question. With the little freedom now permitted us, we defend the religious liberty of the Christian people of our country against an attack on religion. We issue this statement in the simple performance of the duty we have to defend the rights of the Church and the liberty of religion."”

“In the same year, President Calles issued the enabling decree which translated the anti-religious provisions of the Constitution into actuality. The legal individuality of the Catholic Church and of every other Church was swept away. The Church was forbidden to exercise any control over her clergy. Religious education was outlawed and the number of priests, as has already been illustrated, fixed and limited for a given geographical territory by the Federal Congress and the governments of the individual states.”

“Despite the petty encroachments that were made from time to time by one Mexican President after another upon the previous rights and privileges of the Church, it was not until the year 1857, and the infamous constitution promulgated in that year by President Ignacio Comonfort, that the military tyranny in Mexico formally and constitutionally declared itself the avowed and open enemy of the Church.”

“In May, 1873, every religious rite or demonstration outside a church building was forbidden. By the same law all ministers of religion were forbidden to wear in public any special dress or insignia of their sacred calling.”

“Here is a condition of affairs that should demand interference, by way of protest at least, on the part of the League of Nations. Here is a condition against which every decent citizen in the United States and every religion, Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, should protest. Here is a condition against which every liberal throughout the world should raise his voice, if the voice of liberalism be enlightened by Christian principles and sincere. Here is a condition against which every Catholic throughout the world must raise his voice in an endless petition of prayer. Mexican Catholics are united with American Catholics and with Catholics everywhere in a unity of faith and morality and sacrament and spiritual authority. Mexican Catholics are a great and noble and gracious part of the mystical body of Christ. The whole body must be interested and alarmed when a part of the body is persecuted and poisoned. In justice to the Church and in defense of the rights of humanity these facts must be placed before the minds and hearts of civilization everywhere.”

“Nor has the United States always been so delicate and bashful in her dealings with Mexico herself. The tiniest school boy knows that it was Woodrow Wilson who interfered in the struggle between Victoriano Huerta, accused of the murder of Francisco Madero who had overthrown Porfirio Diaz, and Venustiano Carranza, whose supporters later gave to Mexico the iniquitous constitution of 1917. By forbidding the shipment of arms to one rebel general and by permitting the shipment of arms to another rebel general the United States has interfered in the internal policies of Mexico again and again during the past twenty-five years.”

“The American government has always been quick to interfere for the sake of American business.”

“2. Justice demands that an American Ambassador be sent to Mexico who knows the history of Mexico and who will not, by word or deed or silence, create the impression that the Government of the United States is in sympathy with savagery.”

“5. Justice demands that the press in America give adequate space to the presentation of the rights of humanity in Mexico and to the constant daily violation of those rights by the brutal soldiery of Calles and his minority. Silence in a press that roared its denunciation of Spain in Cuba and of Germany in Belgium and of the Boxers in China, is the mark of editorial cowardice.”

“Our government has antagonized the Mexican people in the past because of its materialistic interference in their affairs. Now is the time to win back their love and respect and gratitude. Our relations with those beyond the Rio Grande can be as peaceful and as mutually beneficial as are our relations with those beyond the Saint Lawrence and the Great Lakes and the thousand miles of unguarded border, if we but recognize and proclaim to all the world the following verdict, in the case of the Mexican people against the Mexican government:”

“The wrongs of Mexico are born of the Constitution of 1917 and the passage of laws against freedom of conscience, of worship, of speech, of writing, of assemblage and the bloody execution of those laws by a political and military minority known as the National Revolutionary Party. Therefore that constitution must be revised; those laws must be repealed; and that party must go!”

This was an intriguing read. It really captures a very specific point in history and specifically Catholic Relations to the government in Mexico and The US relations to Mexico. As such I believe this is an interesting historical document. I am thankful I read it and the companion volume. And they add some interesting pieces into my growing knowledge of Mexican Catholic History.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here. This volume is from the International Catholic Truth Society, not the Incorporated Catholic Truth Society in the UK. 

Other books about Catholic Mexican History:
The Mexican Crisis Its Causes and Consequences - Rev. Michael Kenny, S.J., Ph.D.
Blood-Drenched Altars: A Catholic Commentary on the History of Mexico - Francis Kelley
Saints and Sinners in the Cristero War: Stories of Martyrdom from Mexico - James Murphy 

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