A provocative account of the brutal persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico in the 1920's and 1930's that tells the stories of eight pivotal players. The saints are now honored as martyrs by the Catholic Church, and the sinners were political and military leaders who were accomplices in the persecution. Murphy combines a fast-paced survey of Spain's colonial roots (where the Church-State problems originated) with a compelling narrative format of the Cristero War that engages the reader like a gripping novel.
This work gives an accurate, alternative view of Mexican history to that found in many secular university courses which often blame the Church for Mexico's problems. Catholic leaders tried to work with the revolutionary government to improve the living conditions for all Mexicans, but the revolutionists would have none of it. Rather, they saw the Catholic Church as a threat and tried to eliminate it from the Mexican landscape. The result was a civil war that cost thousands of lives, and produced many courageous martyrs.
The four martyrs featured are: Anacleto Gonzalez Flores, whose non-violent demonstrations ended with his brutal torture and death; Archbishop Francisco Orozco y Jimenez who ran his vast archdiocese from hiding while on the run from the Mexican government; Fr. Toribio Romo, a humble country priest shot in his bed one morning simply for being a Catholic priest; and Fr. Miguel Pro, the famous Jesuit who kept slipping through the hands of the military police despite being on the "most wanted" list for sixteen months until he was finally captured and immediately shot.
The four sinners are Melchor Ocampo, the powerful politician who believed that Catholicism was the cause of all Mexico's problems; President Plutarco Elias Calles, the fanatical atheist who brutally persecuted the Church; Jose Reyes Vega, the Guadalajara priest who ignored the orders of his archbishop and became a general in the Cristero army; and Tom s Garrido, the farmer-turned-politician who became known as the "Scourge of Tabasco."