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Synopsis

The situation between the State and the Church had been going downhill for many years. To make matters worse, the Constitution of 1917 took away the Church’s official standing in Mexico. Priests were not allowed to wear clerical garb. Previously, all church property had been confiscated by the State. Now, the church was forbidden to accumulate any new private property. The priesthood was classified as a profession, like a doctor or lawyer. Priests had to have licenses to practice their profession. If they had no license, they could not preach. If they did have their license, the government had its finger on them at all times. Foreign missionaries were banned in Mexico; and native Mexicans were forbidden to train in the Mexican seminaries. So the faithful were not allowed to have Mexican priests, and not allowed to have foreign priests come in. The idea was to kill off Catholicism in Mexico, by eliminating the priesthood. When none of this seemed to work, the president, Plutarco Elias Calles, issued an order that all clergy were to leave their duties and report to Mexico City. None of them left their parishes, which made them outlaws in the eyes of the State. God only knows what Calles would have done with them, if they had all come to Mexico City.
Most of the world knew very little, or nothing, of what was going on in Mexico. Those Catholic priests, nuns and lay people who had been murdered, might have remained unknown statistics of man’s inhumanity to man, and Satan’s hate for God, had President Calles not made a move that backfired on him, and all of Mexico. The execution of Miguel Pro, and the publicizing of that execution, was a huge mistake on the part of the Mexican government in 1927, which they have never been able to live down, or sweep under the carpet. It highlighted the persecution of the Church by the government. Padre Pro just refused to go away, and based on his recent beatification, he never will.

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