Father David is assasinated during the Cristero War 

The Cristero War occurred during the reign of President Plutarco Elías Calles, from December 1, 1924 until November 30, 1928.

On January 27, 1926, the Mexican national press announced that the Episcopate headed by Archbishop Monsignor José Mora del Rio would ask for the amendment of certain Articles of the Constitution. The government turned these threatening publications over to the hands of the state authorities and issued memos to the governors to close convents and parochial schools, determine the number of clergy and to be sure that these clergy were Mexican. The reaction to these events came as a surprise. The ACJM (Catholic Association of Mexican Youth) and other religious associations supported the Church and on March 7, 1926 a group of about 300 priests asked for the suspension of the restrictive measures against religious freedom. There were demonstrations and riots.

The government ordered the immediate expulsion of some 200 foreign clergy and closed religious information centers, convents, schools and homes for the poor. Hospital chapels were closed and more than two thousand priests were denied permission to officiate Mass. The Penal Code was reformed in matters of private school education and religious worship. The new code required that the authorities be kept informed of the activities of each priest. With the approval of the Vatican, the Mexican Episcopate decided to suspend all public worship in churches thoughout the Republic after July 31, 1926.

On August 25, 1926 an armed revolution called the Cristera Rebellion began in Valparaiso, Zacatecas and quickly spread to Jalisco, Guanajuato, Colima, Sinaloa, Aguascalientes, Michoacan, Durango, Querétaro, Oaxaca, Coahuila, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, the State of Mexico and the Federal District. The army had to fight on two fronts: against the very bold and active Cristeros headed by Fathers Vega and Pedroza, General Goroztieta and Ramón Aguilar; and beginning in March 1929 against a large military force that was incited to revolt mainly in Coahuila and Nuevo León under General Gonzalo Escobar. It should be noted that the Cristeros and the Escobaristas were not united.

Finally, with the intervention of the North American clergy, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Mr. Dwight W. Morrow and the good offices of Archbishop Leopoldo Ruiz y Flores, on June 21, 1929 the government without changing a single law, ordered a general amnesty, returned all rights and privileges and religious worship was reinstated. Some obsessed Cristero leaders wanted to continue the war but little by little they lost their followers.

Compiled by:  Luz Aydeé Lara Arizmendi


Gobernantes de México, by Fernando Orozco Linares

Editorial Panorama

(Translated Text from Spanish to English)

ACJM The following topics relating to the Cristera War are reproduced with permission from the author, The Catholic Association of Mexican Youth.  Additional information in Spanish may be obtained from ACJM by clicking on the logo to the left. 

The Conflict between the State and the Church
The Blood of Martyrs
The Government and the Cristero Movement


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Producciones J.C.O.M. 2000