Monday, May 14, 2012
Religious Liberty and For Greater Glory
On June 1 a movie will be coming out titled "For Greater Glory". The movie highlights the religious persecution of Catholics by President Calles. For greater insight and further information there is a Lighthouse Catholic Media CD by Patrick Madrid titled "Battle for the Faith in Mexico: Viva Cristo Rey." What many people may not know is that President Calles was a 33rd degree Freemason. The very first thing he did as President is turn a Catholic parish into a masonic temple. Modern Americans may think Freemasonary is a benevolent social organization. It is anything but. Its roots are strongly anti-Catholic. It was the protests of Freemasons outside the Vatican in 1917 that inspired St. Maximilian Kolbe to start the Militia Immaculata. Notice the year 1917 again? There is a very disturbing photograph in the current Columbia magazine of the Knights of Columbus. It is a picture of Catholics hanging from telephone poles along railroad tracks. The caption notes: "The media fallout from theis photograph was so negative that President Calles later ordered the Secretary of War to hang people away from the train tracks in the future." Here is a continuation of Maria de Lourdes Ruiz Scaperlanda's article in Columbia magazine titled: "The untold story of the Knights during the Cristiada." "In 1926, anti-Catholic pressure increased under President Calles. The Calles law called for uniform enforcement throughout the country of the constitution's anti clerical articles. It threatened severe sanctions for violators and for goverment officials who failed to enforce the law. 'As long as I am president of the Republic, the constitution of 1917 will be obeyed,' Calles vowed, saying that he would not be moved by the 'wailing of sacristans or the groans of the over-pious.' Dr Patrick Foley, editor emeritus and founder of the journal Catholic Southwest: A Journal of History and Culture, emphasized that Knights-both lay members and clergy-led the opposition to this law. 'Many of the Knights were attacked simply because they were....singled out by the government as opponenets of the radical socialist views of the government,' he explained, adding that the Knights involvement 'was seen most prominently in heroic individual actions of Knights, both overt and underground.' Aware of President Calles' anti-clerical policies, Pope Pius XI condemned the 'cruel persecution' and 'great evils' of the Mexican Government in his 1926 encyclical Iniquis Afflictisque. The pope also highlighted the work of the Order: 'First of all we mention the Knights of Columbus, an organization which is found in all states of the Republic and fortunately is made up of active and industrious members who, because of their zeal in assisting the Church, have brought great honor upon themselves.' Although the Knights as an organization did not provide support to the Cristeros' military efforts, it remained a target for the Mexican government, explains historian Meyer. 'The K of C headquarters in Mexico was attacked, ransacked and its records destroyed. Soon the Knights of Columbus in Mexico was forced underground.' As was the case wit Yocundo Duran, simply being a Knight was considered subversive, since one had to be a practicing Catholic to join-which revealed public allegiance to the Church. In August 1926, the New York Morning World published a questionaire that the Mexican government gave to all of its employees, whether at the federal, state, and municipal levels. The first question: 'Are you a Knight of Columbus?' At the 1926 Supreme Convention in Philadephia, Supreme Knight James A. Flaherty denounced the Mexican government's persecution and condemned the U.S. government's silence on the issue. In Mexico, the initiatives of the Supreme Council did not go unnoticed. At a meeting of the Mexican legislature held Nov. 25, 1926, legislators discussed various articles in the November issue of Columbia magazine and cited remarks made at that Supreme Convention. Addressing the assembly and his radio listeners during the legislative session, Deputy Alejandro Cerisola accused the Knights of instigating rebellion and of 'unpatriotic activities' to 'betray the country.' He labeled the Catholic clergy and the Knights of Columbus as enemies and characterized Supreme Knight Flannery as 'a vile slanderer and vulgar liar.' Cerisola then condemned the proposals made at the convention, 'as it proves that we are right in thinking that the Mexican clergy is crazily attempting to retake power over the country's political situation.'.......According to Meyer, more than 200,000 people from every socioeconomic background were killed or martyred by 1930. On May 21, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized 25 martyrs-including six Knights-from the Cristiada period. Thirteen more Mexican martyrs-including three Knights-were beatified in Guadalajara, Mexico on the Solemnity of Christ the King on Nov. 20, 2005." All told, according to Wikipedia, between 1926-1934 40 priests were killed. One of the most well known was Blessed Miguel Pro (SJ) who was shot on November 23, 1927 simply for performing his religious duties. There was a supposed truce in 1935 but President Calles insisted on complete state monopoly of education, suppressing all Catholic education and introducing secular education in its place. In Calles' words: "We must enter and take possession of the mind of childhood, of the mind of youth." It was not until the election of Manuel Avila Camacho in 1940 that the outright persecution of the church ended. What are we to learn from this? Religious liberty is precious. It should not be taken for granted. Just south of our border in Mexico we have a living reminder of what can happen when unscrupulous leaders take control of a country. Pray for the success of the movie "For Greater Glory". Do research on the Cristiada and pray for religious liberty in our country. May God be praised in all His Works!