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.