PopeWatch: Viva Christo Rey!

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa describes how when it comes to the Faith, Mexico is in better shape than most of Latin America:

ROME, February 15, 2016 – The Mexico that Pope Francis is visiting is an atypical case compared with other countries of Latin America.

In absolute numbers it hosts the second-largest Catholic population in the world, after Brazil, and is surpassed only by Paraguay in the proportion of Catholics in the overall population: 81 percent.

It is precisely this ample and above all solid presence of Catholics that distinguishes Mexico with respect to other Latin American countries. For at least two reasons.

The first is its resistance to the expansion of Protestant communities of a Charismatic and Pentecostalist stamp, which are instead running rampant in other countries, especially in Brazil and in Central America.

In Brazil Catholics, who a few decades ago were almost the totality of the population, have now been reduced to 61 percent.

While in Honduras they are now less than half, 46 percent, and in Guatemala, in El Salvador, in Nicaragua are around 50 percent.

In Mexico, the erosion of Catholicism by the activity of these sects is seen almost exclusively in the region on the border with Guatemala, Chiapas, which is one of the stops on the journey of Pope Francis.

*

The second threshold of resistance for Mexican Catholicism instead has to do with the challenge of secularization.

Not so much with secularization as a cultural phenomenon, which assails all the countries of Latin America equally, but that which is imposed systematically – and at times violently – on the terrain of politics.

Uruguay is the country in which the Catholic Church has suffered most from the effects of the long-term domination of a political class and a bourgeoisie that is strongly anticlerical and Masonic. In fact, in Latin America today it is the one with the lowest proportion of Catholics, 42 percent, and the highest percentage of agnostics.

While in Mexico, on the contrary, Catholics are still twice as numerous, in spite of the fact that the anticlerical and Masonic offensive in this country has been much more strong, prolonged, ruthless.

The acme of this offensive was reached in the 1920’s during the presidency of Plutarco Elías Calles, with a genuine attempt to annihilate the Church, to which numerous Catholics of every walk of life reacted with an armed insurrection, under the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe and to the cry of “¡Viva Cristo Rey!”, which brought them the title of “Cristeros” and their insurrection the name of “Cristiada.”

The “Cristiada” also had its child martyr, José Sanchez del Rio, a very young combatant and witness of the faith, called “Tarcisius” by his fellow fighters, after the young Roman who was martyred for defending the consecrated host. Captured by government troops in 1928, when he was 14 years old, he was tortured and killed for his undaunted refusal to betray his comrades, and died murmuring: “Viva Cristo Re, viva la Madonna di Guadalupe.”

Go here to read the rest.  Magister raises some valid points, and PopeWatch thinks that the Mexican Church has benefited from being persecuted.   For many Catholics the Faith is taken for granted until it is threatened by an outside force.  Then more than a few Catholics realize how precious the Faith truly is.

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20 Comments

  1. From my vantage point, Northern Michigan, I witness the strong mission activity of local Protestants trekking to Central America to build communities. In one Catholic parish the efforts are similar. For the most part Catholic endeavors from the pews are monetary. No hand on per se. Personally, I have only heard of one mission organized locally, to go to the poor South of the border and bring relief via Catholic outreach. Two co-workers, both Protestant from different Churches, speak of the annual mission trips with much enthusiasm.

    One of our favorite DVD’s is Andy Garcia’s, For Greater Glory. Exceptional portrayal of the Cristeros movement, and of course perfectly timed when it debut in 2012. HHS mandate v Stand Up For Religious Freedom grassroots protests. Obama makes a great President Calles.

  2. When it comes to the strength of the Catholic Church in “Latin America” my mind is stuck in a time warp where Jesuits infused solidly faithful people with the secular religion of Marxist Liberation Theology. Hope came to be economic and in the realm of the here and now.
    This travesty of faith opened the door to any heresy that continued to offer the good news of salvation to the poor. Sadly, the evangelicals appeared to offer a Catholic view of existence while the Jesuits taught that a better economic system is the answer. Sound familiar? Am I confused? Please enlighten me…..

  3. 81% of Mexicans are Catholic? Really? Where’s the evidence? Other than a strong emphasis on the externals of the faith, where is the effect on people’s interior lives. Mexico is a thoroughly corrupt state where the rule of law is somewhat of a joke. Its own government actually encourages its citizens to violate the laws of its “neighbor” to the north. It does this with the complicity of the country’s bishops. What a sad example of “Catholicism”.

  4. “Other than a strong emphasis on the externals of the faith, where is the effect on people’s interior lives.”

    The very same could be said about American Catholics. The post did not claim that Catholicism in Mexico is perfect, but rather that it is in better shape than in the rest of Latin America. I would note that Mexico has a very strong pro-life movement and to me that is one element in assessing the strength of Catholicism in a nation.

  5. Jesus Christ ! He is the difference! The Cristeros obviously knew that. The martyrs of the Middle East know that.
    It is Jesus that Isis and Calles are /were against…and the modernist relativists try to avoid. I am so tired of this confusion coming from priests and Catholic educators about WHO Jesus is! God! Jesus is God. Supernatural Faith is supplanted by liberation theology And by the confusion in the Church that we all worship the same god…
    No we don’t. Islam is not a great religion, yes the Jews need to be converted, no our salvation is not in an economic system.

  6. .Anzlyne

    I feel your frustration.
    I share in your frustration.
    The Church has been and will probably always be in conflict, interior and exterior. EXCEPT on that terrible and glorious day when the curtain falls. On that day our frustration ends thanks be to God. Prayers and the Eucharist? You bet! It’s my only source of peace in this theatre production called “Life on Earth.”

  7. The success of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements in Latin America is simply another example of a recurring phenomenon in Christian history, going back at least to the Montanists.

    Mgr Ronald Knox, the indefatigable chronicler of such movements, observed, “You have a clique, an élite, of Christian men and (more importantly) women, who are trying to live a less worldly life than their neighbours; to be more attentive to the guidance (directly felt, they would tell you) of the Holy Spirit…The pattern is always repeating itself, not in outline merely but in detail. Almost always, the enthusiastic movement is denounced as an innovation, yet claims to be preserving, or to be restoring, the primitive discipline of the Church… I would have called [this] tendency ‘ultrasupernaturalism’. For that is the real character of the enthusiast; he expects more evident results from the grace of God than we others. He sees what effects religion can have, does sometimes have, in transforming a man’s whole life and outlook; these exceptional cases (so we are content to think them) are for him the average standard of religious achievement. He will have no ‘almost-Christians’, no weaker brethren who plod and stumble… the emphasis lies on a direct personal access to the Author of our salvation, with little of intellectual background or of liturgical expression… at the root of it lies a different theology of grace. Our traditional doctrine is that grace perfects nature but leaves it nature still. The assumption of the enthusiast is bolder and simpler; for him, grace has destroyed nature, and replaced it.”

  8. The question is, of the percentage of Catholics vs. Protestants, what proportion of each is nominal vs. active, even fervent? I suspect a higher percentage of the latter. I am also tired of Catholic media crowing about some Catholic celebrities are at best nominal.

  9. “Supernatural Faith is supplanted by liberation theology And by the confusion in the Church that we all worship the same god…”

    Yes indeed. That is a problem for many today. Faith is supernatural. It is not brought about by knowledge or study (the Devil can quote Scripture) nor by human will nor by human works. It is a free gift of God that moves our will to assent to the truths of the Faith. As the Church has pronounced in Dominus Iesus:

    “7. The proper response to God’s revelation is ‘the obedience of faith (Rom 16:26; cf. Rom 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) by which man freely entrusts his entire self to God, offering ‘the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals’ and freely assenting to the revelation given by him.’ Faith is a gift of grace: ‘in order to have faith, the grace of God must come first and give assistance; there must also be the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and gives ‘to everyone joy and ease in assenting to and believing in the truth’”

    Liberation theology is not this Faith. It is a bastardization of Faith in which humans reveal God and bring about his truth in their “lived experience.”

  10. God is exciting- I hope to always be enthusiastic. ” en theos”astic.
    I appreciate the wisdom of Msgr Knox
    wouldn’t it be great to converse with him today!
    Yes grace builds on nature. At the same time nature itself is grace. A gift. He created us out of and for love.
    Evil or “not God” is a detraction from the original goodness. Evil is a minus sign Modernism, Islam , secularism, liberation theology are all departures and rdetractions from the Faith He has given in His self revelation- Jesus.

  11. That visit to the Chiapas bishop’s tomb is telling:

    “On Monday, the pope prayed before the tomb of Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, former prelate of the diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, a controversial figure famous for his perceived support for neo-Marxist movements in the state of Chiapas, where a military uprising allegedly inspired by his highly politicized pastoral approach took place in the mid-1990s. Ruiz was reputed to encourage a synchronistic approach to indigenous cultural practices, seeking to promote indigenous traditions rather than teaching the gospel to the locals, and resulting in a mixture of pagan and Catholic practices among the Maya of the region that remains to this day. His emphasis on politics was so strong that the sacraments were reportedly neglected by his activist clergy; membership in the Catholic Church plummeted and 30% of children in his diocese were reportedly unbaptized when he left office. He also publicly associated with notorious condemned exponents of liberation theology, such as ex-priest Leonardo Boff and others.

    Ruiz’s activities were regarded as so subversive of Catholic doctrine that he was denounced in a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico by Cardinal Bernadin Gantin, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops, and consequently asked to resign by the nuncio in 1993. However, he refused to do so and held out until his 75th birthday, submitting his resignation in accordance with the Code of Canon Law in 1999.”

    Quite an inspiring vision of the Gospel there: no baptisms, but plenty of guerillas.

  12. It is like the pope is trying to bring us all together in one big indiscriminate mass. His visit to the rebellious bishop’s grave gives a strange message. Like it doesn’t matter what we believe or what we do. No separation.
    But in creation God brought order out of chaos by definition and distinction. Separation. Ekklesia.
    It seems the trend is back to chaos\

  13. “Ruiz’s activities were regarded as so subversive of Catholic doctrine that he was denounced in a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico by Cardinal Bernadin Gantin, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops, and consequently asked to resign by the nuncio in 1993. However, he refused to do so and held out until his 75th birthday, submitting his resignation in accordance with the Code of Canon Law in 1999.”

    Yes. Let’s replay this for those who insist we must obey this Pope in all things – even things in which Catholic teaching states he has no competence. Seems this Pope respects those who don’t obey.

  14. Philip wrote, “Yes. Let’s replay this for those who insist we must obey this Pope in all things…”

    But Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia did not disobey the Pope (St John Paul II). He chose not to comply with a request from the Nuncio. Had the Holy Father seen fit to deprive him of his see (by a sentence rightly and canonically pronounced), which manifestly he did not, then and only then would “obedience” have been in question.
    Indeed, it would appear that the bishop had never been subjected to any canonical censure of any kind and died in the peace of the Church

  15. MPS,

    Bishops serve at the pleasure of the Pope, not the Nuncios. The Nuncio is merely the messenger. Of course nothing more was done. That was the method of JP II. A flawed one at that.

  16. Philip wrote, “Of course nothing more was done. That was the method of JP II. A flawed one at that.”
    Flawed? St John Paul II’s life in Poland had given him considerable experience of informers and denunciations and he knew how to evaluate them.

  17. “That was the method of JP II. A flawed one at that.”

    Of course, we weren’t privy to Saint JPII’s info, nor mindset at the time. This was a giant of a man who managed in Poland to keep the faith and grow through both, the Nazis and the commies, and become pope. He was a man who banged his fist down in Medellin Columbia as a new pope, demanding “No more” of the destructive Jesuit-led Marxist Liberation theology. Give him a little break. I’d take him back in a minute and drop to my knees in thanks.

  18. “Flawed? St John Paul II’s life in Poland had given him considerable experience of informers and denunciations and he knew how to evaluate them.”

    JP II was a profoundly great saint, philosopher and true shepherd in a theological and pastoral sense. That said, not every prudential judgment by a saint is correct. That implies an infallibility that is not in the charism of infallibility. He clearly had a difficult time clamping reading people at times and was too willing to assume the best as seen here:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/as-pope-john-paul-ii-is-made-a-saint-what-did-he-know-about-the-sexual-abuse-that-festered-under-his-9275465.html

    My asserting this does nothing to reduce my respect for the man. When he died I prayed that I would receive a portion of his Faith and named my first son after him. But that does not mean he was perfect in all his judgments nor that he is God. To say otherwise is to take part in that ultramontanism that plagues the Church today with the current Pope.

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