(This information is from the League of St. Martin.)
In the midst of multicolored specs,
My gaze turned upon Her:
The Virgin of Tepeyac.
My heart fluttered its wings with joy at Her sight.
Heading to Her,
As a child seeks after a butterfly resting on a branch,
I beamed at Her,
As four angels watched in awe.
My two right-handed fingers,
Pressed to my lips,
Touched her salmon, gold-filigree dress,
And Her praying hands,
Above the Christ Child,
Dwelling in the Holy Ghost’s Temple.
And then kneeling,
Pressed to my lips,
Clinging a rosary and a medal
To Her praying hands,
Like a stethoscope,
Listening to the pulsations of Her Heart
From a cable line
Flowing, an electrical current,
Surges from Her Heart,
And enters mine.
O dear Mother, holy and refined,
I hope to give Thee honor
For the glory of God Divine!
from Deus Vult:(http://deus-vult.org/actualites/pourquoi-etre-royaliste/)
(from Priere Pour La France: http://www.priere-pour-la-france.com/post/2013/02/24/Acte-de-cons%C3%A9cration-de-la-France-au-Sacr%C3%A9-C%C5%93ur-et-%C3%A0-la-Sainte-Vierge)
Acte de consécration de la France au Sacré Cœur et à la Sainte Vierge
Cet acte de consécration au Sacré Cœur a été fait par Marie Antoinette et Élisabeth Marie dans la prison du Temple avant la mort de Louis XVI.
O Jésus Christ ! Tous les cœurs de ce royaume, depuis le cœur de votre auguste Monarque jusqu’à celui du plus pauvre de ses sujets, nous les réunissons par les désirs de la charité, pour vous les offrir ensemble.
Oui Cœur de Jésus, nous vous offrons notre patrie tout entière et les cœurs de tous ses enfants.
O Vierge Sainte ! Ils sont entre vos mains ; nous les avons réunis en nous consacrant à vous, comme à notre protectrice et à notre Mère. Aujourd’hui, nous vous en supplions, offrez les au Cœur de Jésus. Présentés par vous, il les recevra, il leur pardonnera, il les bénira, il les sanctifiera, il sauvera la France tout entière et y fera revivre la Sainte Religion.
Marie Antoinette, Elisabeth Marie. Dans la prison du Temple avant la mort de Louis XVI
(from Catholic Apologetics: http://catholicapologetics.info/catholicteaching/history/cristero.htm)
THE CRISTEROS CATHOLIC SOLDIERS OF CHRIST
20th Century Mexico’s Catholic Uprising
The 20th century was the bloodiest century in history, the “century of massacres,”1 “hell’s century,”2the century of martyrs-just like all the others? No, not just like all the others; it was the great century of martyrs, infinitely more than the others….Never had there been so many martyrs in the space of 100 years, not even in the space of 1,000 years.3 And these tens of millions of Christians, the victims of a century in open revolt against God, remain unknown and unsung. Today I would like to recall for you the Mexican Catholics who, some 70 years ago, rose up against Freemasonry for the social reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were called the Cristeros.
A Century of Religious Persecutions
From the time its independence was declared in 1821, Mexico had a troubled history: civil wars, dictatorships, coup d’états, revolutions (1876-1911)….Maximilian’s Empire (1863-67) was but a brief and very imperfect4 parentheses in the persecutions endured by the Church once the Spanish left: property despoiled, priests imprisoned, assassinations plotted, bishops expelled….Why so many misfortunes? A proverb provides the answer: “Poor Mexico! so far from God and so close to the United States…” The United States did not want a great Catholic power at their door. At the time of Mexican independence, they worried about this potential rival whose land mass roughly equaled their own, and whose population, though less numerous (6.5 millions of inhabitants versus 9.5 millions) had become, thanks to a very lively Catholic faith, a true nation, while the United States remained, and remains even now, the “Salad Bowl.”5
In the 1830’s, war broke out. Betrayed by Masonic generals,6 Mexico lost its northern territory, California, Texas, New Mexico (1848), and was placed under United States political and economic hegemony.7
The puppets successively made presidents of Mexico were all corrupt Masons who immediately enforced the orders issued from Washington to “defanaticize” the country, that is, to destroy its Catholicism which dated from the 16th century when the Spanish (especially the Franciscans8), had evangelized Mexico; the order also demanded defiling the memory of its European heritage by exalting the pre-Columbian era9 and the “marvelous” Aztec civilization where the wheel and the vault were unknown, but where slavery, human sacrifice and cannibalism were practiced on a grand scale even in the 16th century!10
Here are just two examples of this policy: The first official act of President Juarez was to transform St. Francis of Mexico Church into a Protestant temple (1867),11 and the publication of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Humanum Genus (1884) was prohibited (it condemns Freemasonry) even in the seminaries!12
In 1914, President Carranza, put in place by the US, inaugurated a period of open persecution: priests were massacred (160 were killed in Mexico in February, 1915). John Lind, one of Woodrow Wilson’s advisors, rejoiced over the news: “Great news! The more priests they kill in Mexico, the happier I shall be!” An American pastor, indignant about the outraging of the nuns in Vera Cruz, received this reply from Wilson’s personal representative: “After prostitution, the worst thing in Mexico is the Catholic Church. Both must disappear!”13
In 1924, Plutarco Elias Calles became President. For this descendant of Spanish Jews,14 a 33rd degree Mason, “the Church is the unique cause of all Mexico’s misfortunes.” For him, too, she had to disappear.15 With the complicity of a Masonic priest, Fr. Perez, proclaimed by the government “Patriarch of the Mexican Catholic Church,” Calles founded a schismatic “patriotic Church,” as the Communists were to do later in China.16 The wine used in the Mass was replaced by mescal. But the maneuver was met with widespread contempt. The government could finance the opening of 200 Protestant schools and Calles could smooth the way for heretical sects (already well financed by the US), but the Mexican people remained stubbornly attached to Rome!
In 1926, the president and his clique launched a new offensive which they hoped to be definitive: “Now there must be a psychological revolution,” Calles declared. “We must penetrate and take hold of the minds of the children and the youth because they must belong to the revolution.” The Catholic schools were shut down, the congregations expelled, Christian trade unions forbidden, numerous churches confiscated and profaned (turned into stables or halls) or destroyed. Public school attendance became mandatory, atheism was officially taught, and religious insignia (medals, crucifixes, statues, and pictures) were forbidden, even at home. God was even chased from the language! The use of such expressions as Adios, “If God wills,” or “God forbid,” was subject to a fine. Lastly, the priests were “registered”: some states (Mexico is a federal republic) required them to swear not to proselytize, others tried to command them to marry if they wished to continue in their function! Msgr. Carvana, the Apostolic Nuncio, protested; on May 12, 1926, he was expelled. Throughout the country, Catholic public figures were assassinated, girls coming out of church were kidnapped, imprisoned, raped. Msgr. Curley, the Archbishop of Baltimore, vented his indignation: “Calles persecutes the church because he knows that he has Rome’s approval. Our government has armed Calles’s killers. Our friendship has encouraged him in his abominable enterprise: to destroy the idea of God in the minds and hearts of millions of Mexicans.”17
On May 28, Calles received the Masonic medal of merit from the hands of the Great Commander of the Scottish rite in Mexico. On July 12, the following communique appeared in the press: “International Masonry accepts responsibility for everything that is happening in Mexico, and is preparing to mobilize all its forces for the methodic, integral application of the agreed upon program for this country.”18
On July 26, an elderly shopkeeper was coldly struck down by two policemen in civilian clothes. His crime? In his shop he had posted a sign reading Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King! The Mexicans peacefully reacted to the persecution: they boycotted state-owned enterprises (tobacco purchases and railroad traffic were reduced by 74%, and in just a few weeks, the national bank suffered a 7 million peso loss), and they also circulated a protest petition signed by 2 million (out of a population of 15 million).
But Christians have something even better than that, they have prayer, and the country was crisscrossed by gigantic penitential processions: 10,000, 15,000 faithful, barefooted, crowned with thorns, implored God for their country. The powers that be could not tolerate that; their heavy machine guns dispersed the processions, and the first martyrs fell, singing.
Public Worship Suspended
On July 24, 1926, Cardinal Gaspari sent a telegram from Rome to the Mexican episcopate: “Under no condition we will accept the registering of priests.” The bishops decided to suspend public worship throughout the land starting July 31: all the places of public worship would be closed, there would be no Masses offered nor sacraments administered throughout the country except in private chapels. This was an unheard of, inexplicable decision, unless by it they intended to push the Mexicans to revolt, for the one thing they could not bear was to be deprived of the sacraments. During the final days of July, people thronged the churches day and night, going to confession, getting baptized, marrying…
People began to come to put their consciences well in order even though it was already time to begin working in the fields. With each passing day more and more peasants streamed into the village from the neighboring hamlets, their pale faces and sorrowful eyes bespeaking their anguish. There were three priests in Tlalte-nango parish, not enough to confess so many people. Despite being in the confessional from dawn to dusk, with no time to eat or rest, still they could not confess all who came… How surprising to see someone estranged from the sacraments come to receive forgiveness of his sins; and others who lived in concubinage come to seek out the confessor, asking to be united in marriage….19
And then the terrible hour came…
This day, there was to be a Mass at midnight and by the end of Vespers the church could no longer contain the immense multitude of the faithful. One after the other, the faithful would go on their knees from the door to the altar; no one wanted to see this most dolorous moment arrive, but God was going to permit it to come to pass. At 11:30 pm, the bells dolefully tolled the hour of the Mass. The nocturnal adorers, the pious associations and the Catholic social organizations with their groups and their banners were there, as were all the faithful. At midnight the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and the Mass began. After the Gospel, our dear Fr. Gonzalez mounted the pulpit. He had barely gone up when all the people gathered at the foot of Jesus-Host began to cry. The broken words that the father spoke, full of sorrow, were interrupted by sobs. After Communion, at the end of holy Mass, we were given the benediction with His Divine Majesty. Finally, the father, divested of his ornaments, knelt at the foot of the altar, his eyes fixed on the image of Our Lord of Mercies; silently he took leave of him and went out through the midst of the faithful. Christ and his minister had departed.20
From the first days of August, the Mexican people, deprived of their priests (only 200 remained with their faithful) and of their bishops (only 1 remained out of 38) used force to resist the inventorying of the closed churches and the accompanying sacrileges. Their rallying cry was that of the Mexican shopkeeper: “Long live Christ the King!” To keep from hearing it, the soldiers had only one solution: cut out the tongue of those whom they were going to kill, of those whom, because of these cries, they named the Cristeros. One of them wrote before dying: “We are going to perish. We will not see the victory, but Mexico needs all this blood for its purification….Christ will receive the homage which is due Him.” Blood flowed….Ireland broke its diplomatic relations with Mexico….No other state followed suit.
On September 18, 1926, Pius XI published the encyclical Iniquis Afflictisque:
In narrating this, Venerable Brothers, we can scarcely keep back our tears, some of these young men and boys have gladly met death, the rosary in their hands and the name of Christ King on their lips….What a beautiful spectacle this, that is thus given to the world, to angels and to men!
In October the Holy Father declared: “The blood of martyrs has always been the seed of blessings from heaven.” How could one fail to understand that one year after Quas Primas, the Cristeros were signing with their blood this text on the social reign of our Lord Jesus Christ? Freemasonry understood it, and in its American journal The New Age of December 1926, it expressed its stand:
The Catholic Church has perverted the Mexicans for 400 years. Calles’s merit is to have delivered them from ignorance and superstition. That is why he can count on our understanding and on North America’s support.21
In January 1927, Catholic Mexico rose: 20,000 combatants (30,000 by the end of the year, and 50,000 in 1929); few arms (a few rifles and carbines, but mostly hatchets, machetes, and sometimes simply sticks); few horses; but all the people supporting them, offering them their money, and necessaries. A Cristero peasant recounted how they set out with songs and prayers on their lips:
We were 1,000, then 5,000, then more! Everyone set out as if to go to the harvest….We firmly intended to die, angry or not, but to die for Christ.
The old men and children, unarmed, followed behind the troops, in the hope of martyrdom. “The parents of Nemesio and Isidro Lopez did not want to see them depart for the war for fear that their flesh would go to feed coyotes and eagles; but they replied, “The coyotes may indeed eat our flesh, but our souls will ascend straight to heaven.”22 Against them were 100 mobile columns of 1,000 men each, veritable “infernal columns” financed by the US (light armored cars, tractor-drawn artillery, combat aircraft…). The first clashes were bloody massacres. An officer of Calles wrote: “They are more like pilgrims than soldiers. This isn’t a military campaign, it’s a hunting party!” The president himself predicted: “It will be wrapped up in less than two months.”
But when a pilgrimage takes up arms, it becomes a crusade! The Cristeros were able to equip themselves from the adversary, profiting from their cowardice or their corruption. The “Federales” were more like pillagers, drunk on tequila and marijuana, rather than soldiers worthy of the name. On March 15, 1927, they were defeated at San Julian; at Puerto Obristo, they left 600 dead. In November, the military attache of the US began to worry about the success of the “fanatics,” 40% of whose troops were now equipped with excellent Mausers recuperated from the enemy. How was it possible?
The Cristiada was a succession of miracles. One was when the consecrated hosts flew into the sky before the very eyes of the squad that was getting ready to shoot them; it led to the conversion of the Masonic officer who commanded it, and who ended the war as a Cristero general. But there are very many more: God does not let Himself be outdone in generosity. I will just recount two.
A Christian general told how he arrived with 350 men who had been fasting for two days in a miserable hamlet of only 11 straw huts. He retired to write his report. Coming out, he saw his soldiers eating with gusto and an old woman with tears in her eyes saying over and over; “I just had a few biscuits, and yet there is enough for everyone, and what is left over is more than I had to begin with!”
A Cristero spy had spoken with the Federales:
They are sorcerers, and the one who commands them is a very valiant general mounted on a white horse, and he is accompanied by a woman. When we open fire on them, it has no effect, and when they approach us, we cannot do anything to them. They command the mist to conceal these accursed Cristeros.
The spy added:
There is no white horse, and there is no woman in our army. In truth, we believe that St. James and the most Blessed Virgin accompany us, and if we cannot see them, it is because we do not deserve to.
Marvelous Cristeros! While the Federal army recorded an average of 30,000 desertions annually, they did not experience a single case of treason. A cobbler, become sector chief, was contacted by the enemy who offered to spare his life and make him a colonel, answered: “I am not fighting for a rank. I am fighting for the Church and for Christ the King. As soon as the victory is won, I shall return to my shoes.” He was killed in combat in March 1928.
With diabolic tenacity, Calles’s men tried to make their prisoners apostatize, but in vain. Fr. Reyes was tortured for three days and two nights. This pastor of Totolan, born in very poor circumstances (as a child he hawked newspapers) had decided to remain at his post. That was enough to unleash the hatred of the Federales, who tormented him with fire. “You say that God descends into your hands, well then, let Him descend and deliver you from ours!” his torturers taunted. They finished him off with bullets on the evening of Holy Wednesday. One of them testified: “We had already lodged three or four bullets in him when he roused himself to cry out once more: ‘Long live Christ the King!'” Sabás Reyes Salazar was canonized on May 21, 2000.23
Valencia Gallardo, a Cristeros leader, was tied to a stake and tortured but only cried out throughout: “Long live Christ the King!” They tore out his tongue; he freed one of his hands from the bonds and pointed to heaven. They cut it off, and then split open his skull with their rifle butts.
Admirable Cristeros! The Cristiada was not a counter revolution with its share of exactions: it was the opposite of a revolution. Read the order of the day of one of its generals (killed in combat in 1927):
Disciplinary measures affecting the southern division:
The division chiefs of the South of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit and Western Michocan of the National Liberation Army have adopted the following measures:
1) To render an official, public, and solemn homage to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, sovereign King of our army, and to humbly and lovingly consecrate to Him all the works and all the persons of this division;
2) To never omit, under any pretext, the daily group recitation of the rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, and to accord this observance the same priority as a strict disposition of military regulation;
3) Whenever possible, to arrange things to allow all the leaders, officers and soldiers to officially fulfill the precepts of Sunday worship, confession and Communion;
Their awareness of the supernatural character of their fight did not lead the Cristeros to neglect temporal realities: “Fight and organize; fight and moralize” was one of their mottoes. In the liberated territories, “administrators” were appointed, Catholic schools were opened (more than 200), public sins (drunkenness, prostitution) were suppressed.
Who were these new crusaders? They were the people. As one Federale wrote: “We run no risk of making a mistake (by massacring one and all): they all resist.” They were 95% rural folk: peasants, artisans, miners, muleteers, or rural landholders. There was, for instance, Luis Navarro Origel, with a degree in philosophy and a third-order Franciscan: in 1926, he took the lead of the men of the village where he was mayor. He declared: “I am going to kill for Christ those who kill Christ, and perhaps die for Him if need be; I am going to offer the blood of redemption.” He fell at the head of his troops on August 10, 1928, at the age of 30.
The city folk who joined them were especially students and the women involved in the St. Joan of Arc Brigades. Some of these 25,000 heroines were only 14 years old. They acted as liaison agents or scouts, nurses, collectors of money or munitions in the arsenals where they infiltrated as workers! Woe to those who fell into the clutches of the Federates’ hardened soldiers….But they never betrayed any information.
Beautiful youth of Mexico. José Sanchez was 13. In February 1928 he was surrounded by the Federales. He gave up his horse to the group leader who was wounded and covered his retreat. Running out of ammunition, he was captured. “Know it well,” he said, “I am not surrendering, I have merely run out of ammo.” He was slaughtered. A note was found in his pocket: “My dearest Mom: Here I am a captive, and they are going to kill me. I am happy. The only thing that troubles me is that you are going to cry. Don’t cry. We shall meet again.” Signed, José, killed for Christ the King.
Tomasino was a member of the executive committee of the ACJM (Mexican Catholic Youth Association) and prefect of the congregation of Mary. Arrested, he was offered his freedom if he talked. “Really, you would be making a mistake: free, I would continue to fight for Christ the King. For us, the fight for our freedom of worship is not optional.” In August 1927, he was hanged. He was 17.
Manuel Bonilla, a student, kept a daily diary:
I well know that, to do great things, God uses littler ones, and that help does not come whence we were expecting it…I trust in God’s goodness: all these sacrifices will not be in vain.
He was shot at 22 years of age, on Good Friday, 1927, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. In 1942, his body was discovered perfectly intact.
The Mystery of Iniquity
The year 1928 was terrible: the infernal columns had received the order to deport the rural population to “concentration camps”26 where famine and epidemics decimated them. At the least show of resistance, the Federates would massacre them. Harvests and flocks were seized, grazing land burned, and villages destroyed by the thousands. Despite this scorched earth policy, the Cristeros stood fast like latter-day Machabees.
In 1929, the government renounced its policy of governing the countryside. Three-fourths of inhabitable Mexico was in the hands of the troops of Christ the King, victory was in reach especially as the riffraff in Mexico were fighting each other, and in the United States Hoover, who was not a Mason, was elected! Then they learned that the secret negotiations between the Mexican government and the Vatican had resulted in an accord. On June 21, the Mexican episcopate (except for one of its members, His Excellency Jose de Jesus Manriquez y Zarate) signed a “resolution” of the conflict with the ruling power on bases “negotiated” by a US Jesuit, a Fr. Walsh. The accord provided for: (1) immediate, unconditional cease fire; (2) the resumption of public worship beginning the next day (June 22).
That was all. It restored them to the same situation that prevailed in 1926 with all the anti-Catholic laws then in effect, including the registration of priests! In the text, the Cristeros are called fanatics directed by a few third-rate priests; their revolt was an error, an imprudence, even a sin: they must lay down their arms under pain of excommunication…
Jésus Degollado, commander in chief of the Cristeros, addressed his troops, his voice breaking from sorrow:
His Holiness the Pope, by the intermediary of the most excellent Apostolic Nuncio, has decided, for reasons which are unknown to us but which, as Catholics, we accept, that public worship will be resumed tomorrow without the law being changed…This arrangement…has wrested from us that which is most noble and most holy on our flag, at the moment when the Church has declared that she will resign herself to what she has obtained…Consequently, the National Guard assumes responsibility for the conflict….As for ourselves as men, we have a satisfaction that no one can take from us: the National Guard does not disappear defeated by its enemies, but rather abandoned by the very ones who were to be the first to receive the fruit of our sacrifices and abnegation! Ave, Christ! Those who for You are going to humiliation, to exile, and, perhaps, to an unglorious death,…with the most fervent love salute You, and once more proclaim You as King of our country.
Six thousand Cristeros obeyed, and were immediately massacred. In three years, they had only lost 5,000 men in combat! The Mexican episcopate decreed the excommunication of the Cristero priests, but those who had not been killed during the war (180) had already been martyred…All was lost.
The new president, the Masonic lawyer Fortes Gil, rejoiced. At the summer solstice banquet, he acknowledged his astonishment at the unconditional capitulation of a victorious army, and his intention to continue the fight: “The fight did not begin yesterday. The fight is eternal. The fight began 20 centuries ago.” Indeed, but the novelty was that the Vatican was not on the right side. Freemasonry, condemned by all the popes from the 18th century (Clement XII, in 1738) to the end of the 19th (in 1892, Leo XIII equated Freemasonry with Satanism), had infiltrated the Church at the highest levels of the hierarchy: Were not G. della Chiesa (the future Benedict XV) and A. Ratti (the future Pius XI) the “proteges” of Cardinal Rampolla? In 1926, was it not Pius XI who condemned Action Frangaise in accordance with the sect’s desires. In 1928, was not Fr. Vallet expelled from Spain and his work suppressed by a hierarchy that preferred to favor the Opus Dei.28
When, from 1934 to 1937, a new Cristiada was launched, Pius XI let the Mexican episcopate excommunicate the Cristeros and then waited until they were all dead before daring to write (in his Letter to the Mexican Episcopate, 1937):
When power rises against justice and truth,…one cannot see how one could condemn the citizens who unite to defend the nation and themselves-even by the use of arms-against those who, by means of the state’s power, devise their misfortune.
The same year, in Divini Redemptoris, he blamed Communism for the atrocities perpetrated against the Christians of Mexico…but he did not mention Freemasonry.
The saga of the Cristeros reminds us of the famous rising of the Vendée during the French Revolution, and the two epics have many points in common:
1) The refusal of priests to take an oath of loyalty to the state;
2) The creation by the state of a schismatic church;
3) Religious persecution;
5) The character of the country folk at arms, poor, unequipped, unprepared and undisciplined, yet courageous, joyous, generous even towards the enemy, and profoundly Christian. This letter from a colonel to his regiment embodies this spirit of the crusaders:
Beloved in Christ:
It is not merely a question of a few flatterers who can be doubted, but of a very widespread belief that our regiment is the best in the region, either because its leaders and followers are motivated by the right intentions or, considering the numbers involved, because of the order and especially the solid piety responsible for urging its men to unashamedly frequent the sacraments. For better or worse, those in the other regiments see this.
I render thanks to our Lord for such a beautiful thing, and I believe that you, too, do as much, and that you have the real desire to continue brandishing on high the flag of your people for the glory of Christ the King, and that your honor will know how to efface the black mark that your compatriots have cast upon your people.
Knowing your sincerity and human misery, I put you on guard against a danger that would vanquish you without remedy, that of vain glory, the dear daughter of the pride that manifests itself under the name and sentiment of self-love.
Far from falling into such a great evil, my beloved in Christ, remember often, and in all of your actions, that everything good in you belongs to God alone, and what evil there is in your regiment belongs to you; to God all the glory, all the good, all the triumph, because you are vile instruments.
Show yourselves, then, to be always faithful and subject to your king Jesus Christ our Lord. Never forget the rosary, recommend yourselves to our Lord morning and evening. Love your soldiers as your sons and be fathers to the neediest. Treat all with charity, but never let justice suffer. Never speak well of yourselves unless there is good reason and then do so with modesty. Do not denigrate the men of the other regiments and do not criticize their faults. Keep a right intention. Live united. Never let your rank of colonel, major, captain, etc., go to your head. Remember death and the rigorous judgment that you will undergo according to your works; keep Christ always present and imitate Him in everything. Be faithful sons of Mary your good Mother, the most holy Virgin of Guadalupe. Do not misuse what little you have, for your families live in misery, and remember those of others. This is what I always ask of our Lord for you, and many other things as well which I do not mention in order not to lengthen a letter which is becoming a journal. May His Divine Majesty hear our poor supplications.30
6) The role of women: wives who encourage their husbands (and, if need be, chase them back to the fight with blows), and mothers who have understood that martyrdom is the crowning of a truly Christian education. Dona Guadalupe, mother of Luis Navarro Origel, would say: “I offered the life of my four boys to Christ; but the Lord came up short: He only took two!”
7) The conflict’s apocalyptic dimensions, of which both camps were aware: The one side’s admirable religious fervor corresponded with other side’s satanic mania for sacrilege and spiritual destruction. (Viva el Demonio! was the Federates’ rallying cry.)
8) The ultimate betrayal of the Catholic troops…by the religious authorities.
These similarities should not, however, mask an essential difference: the sole motive of the Cristiada was religious. The defense of the faith was not mixed with any other cause, be it political, social, economic, or particular (as the refusal of the draft by the Vendée).
The army captured them and the general commanding the Place d’Arandas asked them for whom they had taken up arms to create such disorder. They replied that it was not to create disorders that they had taken up arms, but to defend Christ the King, who was no longer on the altars. They were shot immediately.31
This single-mindedness explains the remarkable homogeneity of the Mexican counter-revolutionary movement, its purity and its efficacy. It is a lesson worth meditating on.
The Kingdom of Our Lady of Guadalupe
More than 70 years after the epic, what remains of the Cristeros? Until July 2000, Mexico lived under the yoke of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) founded by Calles. Despite the backing of Messrs. Clinton and Gore, he was defeated in the elections, a victim of scandals and divisions between different Masonic obediences. Since the beginning of the 1990’s, relations between the powers that be and the episcopate were the best: the “government’s tribune” dominates the sanctuary of the new basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and, in 1995, its rector, Fr. Shulembrum32 publicly declared the apparitions of 1531 to be false. The Mexican “miracle” is that this scandal prompted millions (which some estimate at a dozen) of pilgrims to come from all parts of the country, often on foot, sometimes on their knees, in reparation. It is well to briefly recall the facts, whose supernatural character was recognized by Benedict XIV in 1754, when he declared: “Non fecit taliter omni nationi-Not with every nation has He dealt thus.”
On Saturday, December 9, 1531, Juan Diego, an Indian peasant of 57, recently converted, was on his way to Mass. At the foot of Tepeyac hill, a maiden of marvelous beauty appeared to him in a cloud of light: “I am truly the perpetual and perfect Virgin Mary, holy mother of the true God…and mother of those who have confidence in me.” She asked him to go and find the bishop and ask him to have a church built. He did, but was shown the door. The same evening a new apparition reiterated the same request. On December 10, the bishop, troubled, requested a sign. On the 12th, there was a new apparition: “Climb to the top of the hill and gather the flowers.” Nothing grew on the hilltop, especially in December! But Juan Diego obeyed, and filled his tilma…with Castilian roses! Overjoyed, he ran to the bishop’s house, opened before the bishop his tilma full of flowers, and revealed beneath them the portrait of the Virgin, the only portrait of our Lady which has not been made by human hands! At the same time, our Lady appeared to the seer’s uncle, who was dying, cured him, and told him the name by which she wished to be honored: Tequantlaxopeuh, that is, “she who crushes the serpent.” The Spanish would hear this as “Tequatlasupe” and would associate it with Our Lady of Guadalupe in Extremadura, Spain (apparition in 1323). One can imagine the devotion the Mexicans have towards this miraculous image which, like the Holy Shroud, reveals its marvels progressively to the scholars of every age. Here are just the principle inexplicable aspects of the image:
1) The cloak’s fabric (made of the fiber of the maguey cactus) should have decomposed in 20 years; 470 years after the apparition, it is in perfect condition.
2) The back of the tilma is rough (which is normal), but the side with the image is as soft as silk.
3) The colors are as vibrant today as on the first day, despite the effects of time, light, candles, handling, attacks (acid, an explosion in 1921…), etc.
4) The colors are of an unknown origin (conclusion of Dr. Kuhn, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry).
5) It is not a painting. NASA declared the image to be “incomprehensible” in 1979.
6) Finally, digitization of the image has enabled researchers to peer into the eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and to discover there the scene that occurred on December 12, 1531: the bishop, the Indian, a servant and some Franciscans who were there when Juan Diego opened his tilma. One can readily understand the devotion of the Christians of Latin America to Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Queen of Mexico, Empress of the Americas.”
An Army of Martyrs
In 1988, Miguel Pro (a Jesuit) was the first Cristero to be beatified. Born in 1891, he was obliged to take refuge in France in order to continue his studies. He was ordained at Amiens in 1925. Having returned clandestinely to Mexico in July 1926, he was shot on November 23, 1927, along with his brother who was also a Cristero, while crying out: “Long live Christ the King!”
On the Feast of Christ the King, 1992,33 Pope John Paul II beatified 26 other Cristeros (22 of whom were priests). Let us name some of them: Salvador Lara Puente, employee, killed in 1926, aged 21; Atilano Cruz Alvadaro, ordained on Sept. 14, 1927, and killed July 1, 1928; or Manuel Morales, born in 1898, Catholic trade unionist, married and the father of three young children, who said before his execution: “I die, but God does not die; He will take care of my wife and children.” “Dios no muere.”…These were the last words of Garcia Moreno, President of Ecuador, assassinated by the Freemasons in 1875.
In October 1997, Matteo Elias Del Socorro Nieves was beatified. The son of peasants, the young Matteo heard God’s call early, but his father having been assassinated, he had to support his mother and brothers; he became a priest at 34 years of age. Pastor of a village in the mountains of Culiacan, he refused to take refuge in the city and go underground. He spent 14 months in a grotto from which he only came out at night to exercise his priestly office. He was shot at 46, while crying out: “Long live Christ the King!”
On May 21, 2000, the Pope canonized 27 Mexicans, 23 of them from the Cristiada era (20 priests and 3 laymen). The press only mentioned the name of Fr. Cristobal Magallanes, pastor of Totatiche, martyred in 1927. Documentation Catholique did not deem it newsworthy enough to publish the text of the ceremony; yet 20,000 Mexicans converged on St. Peter’s Square, for until then their country only had one canonized saint (St. Philip of Jesus, martyr of Japan), and the memory of the Cristiada remains strong there.
Five of those canonized were martyred by reason of hatred of the faith, as they had not participated in the resistance: Cristóbal Magallanes Jara (1869-1927), pastor; Luis Batis Sáinz (1870-1926), pastor; Augustín Caloca Cortés (1898-1927), seminary prefect; Mateo Correa Magallanes (1866-1927), pastor; Margarito Flores García (1900-1927), vicar.34
The other canonized priests had gone underground, and were leading lives worthy of the “refractory” priests of the Vendee.
O admirable Blessed and Sainted Cristeros, known or unknown, pray for Mexico!35 Pray for us, You luminous examples of humility, who, without bitterness or revolt, accepted the terrible trial of persecutions in a spirit of penitence and expiation for your sins and those of Mexico. Obtain for us from God an unshakeable faith while today, more than ever, the Masonic beast, to whom repentance is unknown, furiously wars against God.
“The great power of our enemies,” wrote Blessed Miguel Pro, “is based on money, arms, and lies; it will crumble one day soon like the statue that Daniel saw collapse under the shock of a pebble falling from heaven. ”
This is the transcript of a lecture given in 1997 at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School located in the Vendee in western France. It was translated by Angelus Press from the Sel de la Terre (Summer 2001). The unidentified quotations are mostly from Hugh Keraly’s Les Cristeros [Grez-en-Boulere: DMM, 1986]. For readers unfamiliar with the history of the French Revolution and the resistance of the Vendee, a province in Western France where the people rose up against the regicide Republicans, Michael Davies’s book For Altar and Throne [available from Angelus Press. Price: $13.95] provides a brief summary of the events and a moving tribute to those heroes and heroines.
The author M. Olivier Lelibre is a young father of a family and a high school teacher in the Vendee region of France.
1. Eugenic Corti, La Responsabilite de la culture occi-dentale dans les grands massacres du XX” siecle, Atlantide, Europe No. 2, L’Age d’Homme (Lausanne, 1998). By “Western culture,” the author means the “Enlightenment.”
5. “The Salad Bowl”: a simile used by geographers to show how the different “ingredients” of the population are juxtaposed without blending. It would be useful to study the role of Protestantism in maintaining this state of affairs.
7. A. Sanders (article cited, July 22, 2000) lists the masters of the Mexican economy in 1914: Rockefeller (rubber), Goblentz (textiles), Guggenheim (mines), Hearst (alias Hirsch) who owned 3 million metric arces, and the Kuhn-Loeb bank, which financed Lenin.
8. Beginning in 1529, the Franciscans opened eight colleges for the young Indians, as well as upper level technical schools. Financed by the king of Spain, in 1536 they opened, for the Indians alone, the Superior College of Holy Cross in Mexico (Latin, rhetoric, philosophy, music, medicine). In 1551, the University of Mexico was founded, open to Indians as well as Spanish. See La Vraie contro-verse de Valladolid by Jean Dumont (Paris: Criterion, 1995), pp. 130-131.
9. Cardenas, president of Mexico from 1934-1940, named his son Cuauhtemoc, after the name of the last Aztec emperor. Having become a politician like his father, he was named the “Aztec sphinx” by the leftist media.
10. Human sacrifices were offered almost daily. The number of victims, who had their hearts cut out still beating before being dismembered and eaten, have been estimated at 20,000 a year on the average (more than 50 a day!). The inauguration of the temple at Mexico was the occasion of massacring 20,000 victims in four days (some sources speak of 80,000). See “Croisades, Inquisition…: Faut-il demander pardon?” Savoir et Servir 60, 73-74.
15. A. Sanders names Calles’s entourage: Aaron Saenz, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Moses Saenz, Vice Minister of Education; the US advisor Habermann (an agent of the Soviet GPU); Hirschfeld, Master of the Mexican Grand Lodge (art. cited, July 27, 2000).
16. According to M. Reboul (Monde et Vie, Oct. 19, 2000), 15 priests and 1 bishop of the Chinese “Patriotic” Church visited seminaries and parishes in France and Belgium in 1994. They concelebrated Mass with the priests and even bishops of the places visited without provoking the least protest (p. 14). Cardinal Etchegarray is also reported to have concelebrated with the functionary-priests of the Patriotic Church last October in the Marian sanctuary of Sheshan (Libre journal, Oct. 27, 2000).
23. The biographical information on the Mexican saints comes from the internet site http://www.sanctus.com/Paginas/SanctosMexi-canos.html
25. Most of the 20 martyred priests of period (canonized in 2000) were of rural origin, and half of them of very humble circumstances (shepherds like St. Atilano Cruz Alvarado; newspaper hawkers like St. Sabas Reyes).
29. The letter of Msgr. de Mercy, Bishop of Lucon, in exile in Italy, deserves mention. On June 1, 1793, he wrote: “For a long time I hoped to be able to save the furniture I left…at Luçon. I might have…but the troubles in the Vendée harmed my cause, even though I do not take their side.” Quoted by X. Martin, Sur les Droits de I’homme et laVendée (DMM, 1995) p.75, n.269. Absent from his diocese from 1789, he only returned from exile in 1802, and was named Archbishop of Bourges….
33. Thursday, Oct. 22, 1992, was, in fact, close to the Sunday of the Feast of Christ the King (Oct. 25) according to the traditional calendar (for, in the new rite, it was the 30th “Ordinary Sunday.” The new calendar has moved the Feast of Christ the King to the Sunday “of the End of Time,” which closes the liturgical year, as if one thereby wished to signify that Christ’s kingship is purely “eschatological.”-Ed.)
34. The first one named had even condemned the Cristero movement insofar as they had recourse to arms; he offered his life “for peace.” One might wonder why exactly he was chosen to head the list of the Cristero martyrs? [Ed. note.]
35. Was it, perhaps, due to their intercession? Last Oct. 1, abortion, which had been tolerated in Mexico in the case of rape, was forbidden. The law states: “As legislators, we must consider not only the injury and pain of the mother who was violated, but also the greater evil constituted by the death of an innocent minor” (Fails et Documents, Nov. 15, 2000).
– CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS –
Hail, Almighty and Eternal God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
From Thy Providence, we have received the right to the gifts of truth, beauty, and goodness
and the privilege of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven,
the Immaculate Conception,
as the Patroness and Owner of our country.
We beseech Thee, O Glorious King,
for the graces and virtues to defend Thy Holy Catholic Church.
Imbue in Thy sons and daughters,
a valiant Catholic counterrevolutionary Spirit against the masonic Revolution
so that the sweet Name of Thy Jesus, Our Beloved,
rings forever in Churches, Chapels, Parishes, Cathedrals, street corners, schools, homes,
and in the hearts of men.
Grant us, O Heavenly Father, assistance from the Majestic Queen Mary,
the courageous knight St. Michael the Archangel,
the heavenly Host of Angels,
and from all the Church Triumphant in our daily battles with the enemy.
With them, help us crush him under our feet and overcome every obstacle to Thee
and to our salvation,
that after this land becomes “one kingdom under GOD, the Most Blessed Trinity, eternal,
with truth, beauty, and goodness for all”,
it will be a vehicle to lead souls to Thee.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in
unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world, without end.
For a list of the SSPX Chapels by state, go here:
Source: Find an SSPX Chapel
The Josias was founded as the mouthpiece of a small community of men and women seeking to articulate an authentically Catholic political stance from which to approach the present order of society. …
Source: What is the Josias?
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
TO OUR VENERABLE BRETHREN THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.
Venerable Brethren, Greeting and the Apostolic Benediction.
In the first Encyclical Letter which We addressed at the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the duty of obedience.
2. The many notable and memorable events which have occurred during this Holy Year have given great honor and glory to Our Lord and King, the Founder of the Church.
3. At the Missionary Exhibition men have been deeply impressed in seeing the increasing zeal of the Church for the spread of the kingdom of her Spouse to the most far distant regions of the earth. They have seen how many countries have been won to the Catholic name through the unremitting labor and self-sacrifice of missionaries, and the vastness of the regions which have yet to be subjected to the sweet and saving yoke of our King. All those who in the course of the Holy Year have thronged to this city under the leadership of their Bishops or priests had but one aim – namely, to expiate their sins – and at the tombs of the Apostles and in Our Presence to promise loyalty to the rule of Christ.
4. A still further light of glory was shed upon his kingdom, when after due proof of their heroic virtue, We raised to the honors of the altar six confessors and virgins. It was a great joy, a great consolation, that filled Our heart when in the majestic basilica of St. Peter Our decree was acclaimed by an immense multitude with the hymn of thanksgiving, Tu Rex gloriae Christe. We saw men and nations cut off from God, stirring up strife and discord and hurrying along the road to ruin and death, while the Church of God carries on her work of providing food for the spiritual life of men, nurturing and fostering generation after generation of men and women dedicated to Christ, faithful and subject to him in his earthly kingdom, called by him to eternal bliss in the kingdom of heaven.
5. Moreover, since this jubilee Year marks the sixteenth centenary of the Council of Nicaea, We commanded that event to be celebrated, and We have done so in the Vatican basilica. There is a special reason for this in that the Nicene Synod defined and proposed for Catholic belief the dogma of the Consubstantiality of the Only begotten with the Father, and added to the Creed the words “of whose kingdom there shall be no end,” thereby affirming the kingly dignity of Christ.
6. Since this Holy Year therefore has provided more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the desire of many of the Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to Us both individually and collectively, by closing this Holy Year with the insertion into the Sacred Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This matter is so dear to Our heart, Venerable Brethren, that I would wish to address to you a few words concerning it. It will be for you later to explain in a manner suited to the understanding of the faithful what We are about to say concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that the annual feast which We shall decree may be attended with much fruit and produce beneficial results in the future.
7. It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of “King,” because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign “in the hearts of men,” both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind. He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his “charity which exceedeth all knowledge.” And his mercy and kindness which draw all men to him, for never has it been known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ. But if we ponder this matter more deeply, we cannot but see that the title and the power of King belongs to Christ as man in the strict and proper sense too. For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father “power and glory and a kingdom,” since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.
8. Do we not read throughout the Scriptures that Christ is the King? He it is that shall come out of Jacob to rule, who has been set by the Father as king over Sion, his holy mount, and shall have the Gentiles for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession. In the nuptial hymn, where the future King of Israel is hailed as a most rich and powerful monarch, we read: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the scepter of thy kingdom is a scepter of righteousness.” There are many similar passages, but there is one in which Christ is even more clearly indicated. Here it is foretold that his kingdom will have no limits, and will be enriched with justice and peace: “in his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace…And he shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”
9. The testimony of the Prophets is even more abundant. That of Isaias is well known: “For a child is born to us and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God the mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace. He shall sit upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever.” With Isaias the other Prophets are in agreement. So Jeremias foretells the “just seed” that shall rest from the house of David – the Son of David that shall reign as king, “and shall be wise, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” So, too, Daniel, who announces the kingdom that the God of heaven shall found, “that shall never be destroyed, and shall stand for ever.” And again he says: “I beheld, therefore, in the vision of the night, and, lo! one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven. And he came even to the Ancient of days: and they presented him before him. And he gave him power and glory and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve him. His power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed.” The prophecy of Zachary concerning the merciful King “riding upon an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass” entering Jerusalem as “the just and savior,” amid the acclamations of the multitude, was recognized as fulfilled by the holy evangelists themselves.
10. This same doctrine of the Kingship of Christ which we have found in the Old Testament is even more clearly taught and confirmed in the New. The Archangel, announcing to the Virgin that she should bear a Son, says that “the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
11. Moreover, Christ himself speaks of his own kingly authority: in his last discourse, speaking of the rewards and punishments that will be the eternal lot of the just and the damned; in his reply to the Roman magistrate, who asked him publicly whether he were a king or not; after his resurrection, when giving to his Apostles the mission of teaching and baptizing all nations, he took the opportunity to call himself king, confirming the title publicly, and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given him in heaven and on earth. These words can only be taken to indicate the greatness of his power, the infinite extent of his kingdom. What wonder, then, that he whom St. John calls the “prince of the kings of the earth” appears in the Apostle’s vision of the future as he who “hath on his garment and on his thigh written ‘King of kings and Lord of lords!’.” It is Christ whom the Father “hath appointed heir of all things”; “for he must reign until at the end of the world he hath put all his enemies under the feet of God and the Father.”
12. It was surely right, then, in view of the common teaching of the sacred books, that the Catholic Church, which is the kingdom of Christ on earth, destined to be spread among all men and all nations, should with every token of veneration salute her Author and Founder in her annual liturgy as King and Lord, and as King of Kings. And, in fact, she used these titles, giving expression with wonderful variety of language to one and the same concept, both in ancient psalmody and in the Sacramentaries. She uses them daily now in the prayers publicly offered to God, and in offering the Immaculate Victim. The perfect harmony of the Eastern liturgies with our own in this continual praise of Christ the King shows once more the truth of the axiom: Legem credendi lex statuit supplicandi. The rule of faith is indicated by the law of our worship.
13. The foundation of this power and dignity of Our Lord is rightly indicated by Cyril of Alexandria. “Christ,” he says, “has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature.” His kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union. From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men, but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures. But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. Would that they who forget what they have cost their Savior might recall the words: “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled.” We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us “with a great price”; our very bodies are the “members of Christ.”
14. Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We need scarcely say, in a threefold power which is essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a law-giver, to whom obedience is due. Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love. He claimed judicial power as received from his Father, when the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. “For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son.” In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey his commands; none may escape them, nor the sanctions he has imposed.
15. This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. That this is so the above quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ by his own action confirms it. On many occasions, when the Jews and even the Apostles wrongly supposed that the Messiah would restore the liberties and the kingdom of Israel, he repelled and denied such a suggestion. When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honor and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.
16. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices?
17. It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.
18. Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: “His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.” Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.” He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. “For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?” If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. What We said at the beginning of Our Pontificate concerning the decline of public authority, and the lack of respect for the same, is equally true at the present day. “With God and Jesus Christ,” we said, “excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation.”
19. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord’s regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen’s duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. “You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men.” If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.
20. If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth – he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: “My yoke is sweet and my burden light.” Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! “Then at length,” to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, “then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.”
21. That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year – in fact, forever. The church’s teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man’s nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God’s teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life.
22. History, in fact, tells us that in the course of ages these festivals have been instituted one after another according as the needs or the advantage of the people of Christ seemed to demand: as when they needed strength to face a common danger, when they were attacked by insidious heresies, when they needed to be urged to the pious consideration of some mystery of faith or of some divine blessing. Thus in the earliest days of the Christian era, when the people of Christ were suffering cruel persecution, the cult of the martyrs was begun in order, says St. Augustine, “that the feasts of the martyrs might incite men to martyrdom.” The liturgical honors paid to confessors, virgins and widows produced wonderful results in an increased zest for virtue, necessary even in times of peace. But more fruitful still were the feasts instituted in honor of the Blessed Virgin. As a result of these men grew not only in their devotion to the Mother of God as an ever-present advocate, but also in their love of her as a mother bequeathed to them by their Redeemer. Not least among the blessings which have resulted from the public and legitimate honor paid to the Blessed Virgin and the saints is the perfect and perpetual immunity of the Church from error and heresy. We may well admire in this the admirable wisdom of the Providence of God, who, ever bringing good out of evil, has from time to time suffered the faith and piety of men to grow weak, and allowed Catholic truth to be attacked by false doctrines, but always with the result that truth has afterwards shone out with greater splendor, and that men’s faith, aroused from its lethargy, has shown itself more vigorous than before.
23. The festivals that have been introduced into the liturgy in more recent years have had a similar origin, and have been attended with similar results. When reverence and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament had grown cold, the feast of Corpus Christi was instituted, so that by means of solemn processions and prayer of eight days’ duration, men might be brought once more to render public homage to Christ. So, too, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was instituted at a time when men were oppressed by the sad and gloomy severity of Jansenism, which had made their hearts grow cold, and shut them out from the love of God and the hope of salvation.
24. If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God’s religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.
25. Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.
26. The way has been happily and providentially prepared for the celebration of this feast ever since the end of the last century. It is well known that this cult has been the subject of learned disquisitions in many books published in every part of the world, written in many different languages. The kingship and empire of Christ have been recognized in the pious custom, practiced by many families, of dedicating themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; not only families have performed this act of dedication, but nations, too, and kingdoms. In fact, the whole of the human race was at the instance of Pope Leo XIII, in the Holy Year 1900, consecrated to the Divine Heart. It should be remarked also that much has been done for the recognition of Christ’s authority over society by the frequent Eucharistic Congresses which are held in our age. These give an opportunity to the people of each diocese, district or nation, and to the whole world of coming together to venerate and adore Christ the King hidden under the Sacramental species. Thus by sermons preached at meetings and in churches, by public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed and by solemn processions, men unite in paying homage to Christ, whom God has given them for their King. It is by a divine inspiration that the people of Christ bring forth Jesus from his silent hiding-place in the church, and carry him in triumph through the streets of the city, so that he whom men refused to receive when he came unto his own, may now receive in full his kingly rights.
27. For the fulfillment of the plan of which We have spoken, the Holy Year, which is now speeding to its close, offers the best possible opportunity. For during this year the God of mercy has raised the minds and hearts of the faithful to the consideration of heavenly blessings which are above all understanding, has either restored them once more to his grace, or inciting them anew to strive for higher gifts, has set their feet more firmly in the path of righteousness. Whether, therefore, We consider the many prayers that have been addressed to Us, or look to the events of the Jubilee Year, just past, We have every reason to think that the desired moment has at length arrived for enjoining that Christ be venerated by a special feast as King of all mankind. In this year, as We said at the beginning of this Letter, the Divine King, truly wonderful in all his works, has been gloriously magnified, for another company of his soldiers has been added to the list of saints. In this year men have looked upon strange things and strange labors, from which they have understood and admired the victories won by missionaries in the work of spreading his kingdom. In this year, by solemnly celebrating the centenary of the Council of Nicaea. We have commemorated the definition of the divinity of the word Incarnate, the foundation of Christ’s empire over all men.
28. Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October – the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day. This year, however, We desire that it be observed on the thirty-first day of the month on which day We Ourselves shall celebrate pontifically in honor of the kingship of Christ, and shall command that the same dedication be performed in Our presence. It seems to Us that We cannot in a more fitting manner close this Holy Year, nor better signify Our gratitude and that of the whole of the Catholic world to Christ the immortal King of ages, for the blessings showered upon Us, upon the Church, and upon the Catholic world during this holy period.
29. It is not necessary, Venerable Brethren, that We should explain to you at any length why We have decreed that this feast of the Kingship of Christ should be observed in addition to those other feasts in which his kingly dignity is already signified and celebrated. It will suffice to remark that although in all the feasts of our Lord the material object of worship is Christ, nevertheless their formal object is something quite distinct from his royal title and dignity. We have commanded its observance on a Sunday in order that not only the clergy may perform their duty by saying Mass and reciting the Office, but that the laity too, free from their daily tasks, may in a spirit of holy joy give ample testimony of their obedience and subjection to Christ. The last Sunday of October seemed the most convenient of all for this purpose, because it is at the end of the liturgical year, and thus the feast of the Kingship of Christ sets the crowning glory upon the mysteries of the life of Christ already commemorated during the year, and, before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect. Make it your duty and your task, Venerable Brethren, to see that sermons are preached to the people in every parish to teach them the meaning and the importance of this feast, that they may so order their lives as to be worthy of faithful and obedient subjects of the Divine King.
30. We would now, Venerable Brethren, in closing this letter, briefly enumerate the blessings which We hope and pray may accrue to the Church, to society, and to each one of the faithful, as a result of the public veneration of the Kingship of Christ.
31. When we pay honor to the princely dignity of Christ, men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state; and that in fulfilling the task committed to her by God of teaching, ruling, and guiding to eternal bliss those who belong to the kingdom of Christ, she cannot be subject to any external power. The State is bound to extend similar freedom to the orders and communities of religious of either sex, who give most valuable help to the Bishops of the Church by laboring for the extension and the establishment of the kingdom of Christ. By their sacred vows they fight against the threefold concupiscence of the world; by making profession of a more perfect life they render the holiness which her divine Founder willed should be a mark and characteristic of his Church more striking and more conspicuous in the eyes of all.
32. Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.
33. The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God. If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection. It is Our fervent desire, Venerable Brethren, that those who are without the fold may seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ, and that we, who by the mercy of God are of the household of the faith, may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy, with love, with devotion; that having lived our lives in accordance with the laws of God’s kingdom, we may receive full measure of good fruit, and counted by Christ good and faithful servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal bliss and glory with him in his heavenly kingdom.
34. Let this letter, Venerable Brethren, be a token to you of Our fatherly love as the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ draws near; and receive the Apostolic Benediction as a pledge of divine blessings, which with loving heart, We impart to you, Venerable Brethren, to your clergy, and to your people.
Given at St. Peter’s Rome, on the eleventh day of the month of December, in the Holy Year 1925, the fourth of Our Pontificate.
I pledge allegiance to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, and to the Monarchy of Heaven, upon which the Just Judge, Who comes to judge the living and the dead, is seated at the right hand of His Heavenly Father; one Kingdom under GOD, the Most Blessed Trinity, eternal, with truth, beauty, and goodness for all.