Mexicos Religious Violence

Junior (College 3rd year) ・History ・Chicago ・3 Sources

The Church Overthrowing the Mexican Government

The church overthrew the then-existing Mexican government in 1926. The uprising began as a nonviolent protest before turning violent clashes between the two groups. The church was subjected to a number of onerous rules and regulations that were imposed by Plutarco Elias Calles, the Mexican President at the time. He even went so far as to close several church institutions and mandate that priests register. The Mexican people, led by "El Maestro" Anacleto Gonzalez Flores, began nonviolent protests and boycotts of government goods and services in various parts of the country as a result of this restriction on the churches. The paper discusses and expounds on what was the cause of the explosion of the explosion of the religious violence in 1920s Mexico.

The Cause of the Religious Violence in Mexico

The religious violence that erupted in Mexico can be attributed to the revolutionaries dictatorial attempt to trample the over the faith of the Mexican people. As seen it is the president's strict and rigid laws against the church that led to the revolts. Despite the people of Mexico participating in the peaceful strikes, the government did not lower its stand but instead went on to close more church schools. As a result, the Mexican church members united against the federal government with the main aim of defending their faith. The war erupted between the army of the church and the federal government army. In the criteria war, 90,000 people lost their life.

The Mexican Revolution and the Catholic Church

The main aim of the Mexican revolution was to reduce the influence of the Catholic Church over the land of Mexico. The leader of the rebellion Francisco Madero had the perception that Catholic Church had a major influence in the Mexican politics and therefore there was a need for necessary change in the church and state politics. The result of the revolution was the enactment of a constitution that forced the church to be controlled by the state. The changes were not received well by the religious population, and thus Mexican began protesting by boycotting. The religious violence was as a result of the implementation of the new constitution in 1917 that stripped the power of the church in the state's politics.

The Government Crackdown on the Church

President Plutarco Elias Calles enforced the constitution immediately he came in power. His regulations required that all priest be registered. Besides registering the priests, he ordered for deportation of all foreign priests, Bishops including other missionaries. The president believed that the church was a threat to the government since most Mexicans devoted to their religion more than the country. The church responded by canceling religious services this cause tension in those who had their faith in the church. More Mexican joined the church and rebelled against the federal government. However, the government ignored with a strong basis that the rebels were just tools used by the priests to spread propaganda. During the war, all the religious leaders were forced to depart Mexico by the president while the remaining believers were imprisoned or executed if found celebrating mass. More so many civilians left Mexico due to the constant harassment by the federal army that destroyed their homes because of the belief that they were helping the criteria movement.

The Responsibility of the Church and the Federal Government

In conclusion, as much as one can be inclined to believe the war was as a result of the revolutionary dictatorship the blames falls squarely to both the church and the federal government. The church was too rigid to accept amends in the constitution by believing that the society cannot be led without being controlled by faith. On the other hand by the imposition of the strict regulation on the church to the extent of closing down church school the government kick-started the war.


Bantjes, Adrian. ""Saints, Sinners, and State Formation: Local Religion and Cultural Revolution in Mexico."" The eagle and the Virgin (2006):38

Smith, John. ""“True Patriots for the Salvation of the Fatherland”: Sinarquistas and the Struggle for Post-Revolutionary Mexico."" PhD diss., 2014.

Meyer, Jean A. The Cristero Rebellion: The Mexican People between Church and State 1926–1929. Vol. 24. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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