What was the Cristero War?

The Cristero war (Cristero Rebellion or La Cristiada) took place between 1926 and 1928 in most central-western Mexican states against the anti-Catholic, anticlerical and secular laws of the Mexican government. President Plutarco Elías Calles enforced the laws (Calles Laws) in 1917 following the constitutional provisions to eliminate the powers of the Catholic community and its institutions along with other religious celebrations. The rebellion was popular in rural areas and had the support of the Catholic Church. La Cristiada was a great battle between the church and the state.

background

During the Mexican Revolution that took place from 1910-1920, the Catholic Church and the state made an informal agreement not to apply the anti-clerical articles of the 1857 constitution. After the change of leadership in the country, the Nordic revolutionaries targeted the Catholic Church with a violent anticlericalism. The new regime reinforced criminal anti-clerical laws in 1926 and applied them because the state believed the Church was too powerful. The widespread peasant revolts on land rights in regions with a Catholic majority at the time also led to the prohibition of religious celebrations, giving rise to conflicts that killed thousands of people fighting for religious freedoms.

Church-State conflict

At that time, the Catholic Church was very powerful and had many followers. In many cases, they have openly participated in politics by denouncing certain political activities, supporting other activities and making friends with political factions. Calles’ laws have been enacted to cut out church wings. The rules were severe because the priests were not allowed to wear their religious clothes outside church facilities or to criticize the government. In some areas, only a single priest was authorized to serve the church. Church properties, including schools, were seized and foreign priests expelled. The peaceful resistance of the Catholics produced no results and led to small skirmishes in 1926, then to violent insurrections in 1927. The rebels were called “Cristeros” and invoked the name “Cristo Rey”, which means “Christ the King”. A group of women known as “The Female Brigades of Saint Joan of Arc” smuggled food, ammunition and other aid to the rebels. Many priests were publicly tortured and murdered during the La Cristiada rebellion. Of the 4,500 priests before the uprising, only 334 received licenses to serve the millions of followers of 15. Many priests migrated while others were expelled or murdered. About 5% of Mexicans fled to the United States. Many priests were publicly tortured and murdered during the La Cristiada rebellion. Of the 4,500 priests before the uprising, only 334 received licenses to serve the millions of followers of 15. Many priests migrated while others were expelled or murdered. About 5% of Mexicans fled to the United States. Many priests were publicly tortured and murdered during the La Cristiada rebellion. Of the 4,500 priests before the uprising, only 334 received licenses to serve the millions of followers of 15. Many priests migrated while others were expelled or murdered. About 5% of Mexicans fled to the United States.

truce

The US ambassador to Mexico, Dwight Whitney Morrow, has committed the church and state diplomatically to end the war. The Knights of Columbus provided financial aid and logistical aid during the diplomatic process until the end. Concerned, Pope Pius XI published the Quas Primas establishing the feast of Christ the King in 1925 and Iniquis afflictisque (On the persecution of the Church in Mexico), disapproving of the fierce anticlerical persecution in Mexico. After 1928, the government’s oppression continued, but in isolated cases the pope responded every time. However, the Catholic Church did not support the Cristeros who continued to fight.

The end of hostility between the Church and the State

The Catholic Church and the followers continued to suffer long after the truce. The government introduced secular education into Catholic schools and monopolized most Catholic institutions despite the repeal of Calles’ laws. Calles’ successor, Lazaro Cardenas, later condemned the laws and instituted legal proceedings against Calles and his associates, most of which ended in exile. In 1940, Manuel Avila Camacho, a Catholic, became president and re-established the relationship that existed between the church and the state.

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