Did the Church Excommunicate Mexican Catholics who supported Democracy?

A couple of weeks ago, my professor was talking about the history of democracy in Mexico. He mentioned that the Catholic Church excommunicated Mexican Catholics who supported separation of Church and state (or maybe it was for supporting democracy, I don’t really recall clearly) Did this really happen?

I don’t know, I’ve never heard of it but it may have happened. Ask your professor. What does he say?

As an amateur student of Mexican history, I am not for sure what he would be talking about. It has never been the case (until perhaps very recently), that the government of Mexico has adopted a policy of seperation of Church and state. Actually, quite the opposite, successive governments of Mexico, with perhaps the Diaz dictatorship being a little more lenient, since the break away from Spain have always tried to keep the church under its complete control. It confiscated Church property, schools, hospitals, land and pretty much gave most of it away to cronies. It tried to force priests to be employees of the state. It limited the number of priests per districts based on population levels. It banned foriegn born priests. It banned clerical dress in public. All of this happened time and time again. It has always been very anti-clerical and very anti-religion. The government of Mexico in the 19th century and early 20th century chose an uneducated population over a population educated by the church. Not any type of seperation of church and state we would recognize. BTW, time and time again, the US government sided with the oppressors. There was finally a Catholic uprising in the 1920s, the Cristeros movement, many of the leaders for this movement were martryed. I suppose there has been instances of people excommunicated by the church for supportting the anti-catholic policies of the state, that would not surprise me. But this is hardly being excommunicated for supporting seperation of church and state.

If the professor was talking about the history of democracy in Mexico, it must have been a very short talk, as there is not much history to speak of.

Through it all, the Mexican people kept their faith. Of course, they had the Blessed Virgin looking out for them.

In general, think of the Mexican government’s attitude towards religion much more closer to what you would know about the Soviet Union as opposed to what we have experienced in the US. May I recommend this book, although written in the 30s, it is quite good:


The above is pretty close to what I was told by my parents and grandparents.

not very suprising

MEXICO CITY (CNS) – Revelers, clutching flags and clad in patriotic colors – red, white and green – gathered in town squares across Mexico earlier this year to celebrate the country’s independence with fireworks, music and lusty calls of “Viva Mexico.”

They also feted a revolutionary hero, Father Miguel Hidalgo Costilla, with re-enactments of the “grito,” his 1810 call for independence from Spanish rule.

The celebrations this year kicked off the countdown to the bicentennial of Mexican independence along with the countdown to the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, which erupted in 1910 against the dictatorial rule of President Porfirio Diaz.

But the celebrations ushered in controversy for Catholic officials, who have been attempting to clarify the church’s role in the historical event that was ignited by Father Hidalgo’s fiery sermon but staunchly opposed by the church hierarchy of the day. …

The most recent controversy over Father Hidalgo was provoked by the Mexico City Archdiocese’s response to a request from a congressional commission responsible for organizing bicentennial activities. The commission had asked for the intervention of Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City in petitioning the Vatican for the removal of the independence heroes’ excommunications…

**Blessed Miguel Pro, a Catholic Priest murdered for being a Priest in Mexico in 1927 proclaimed in front of the Mexican firing squad, “Viva Christo Rey!”


Sancta Maria,Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus, nunc et in Hora Morits Nostrae!!!



You are surely a gift from God!

I am an American hockey loving Catholic whose wife & mother in law are beautiful Canadians!.**

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


Someone explain why the Church excommunicated Father Miguel Hidalgo Costilla.

I don’t think it’s anything to lose sleep over. Sometimes, we have Bishops or even pope’s in office who do stupid things. For example, the whole thing with allowing the portuguese to conquer Saracens and heathens or whatever and enslaving people who aren’t Christians. That’s just life. All these people do is cause problems and fuel attacks for people who can’t look beyond the basic truth behind the Church and choose to nitpick and stupid historical examples of nothing.

I guess you could gloss over the Church’s regrettable habit of supporting conservative landowners and military juntas against political reform. Peasants are happier being peasants and it wasn’t like anyone was killed who didn’t need killing, or even excommunicating. Right?

Because he was a heretic.

That explains all.

Yes, it does. Excommunication is the penalty for heresy.

The inquisition investigated him several times beginning in 1803 and his heretical teachings were more than enough to bury him.

They didn’t even bother with the fact that he lived with a woman with whom he fathered two children and had another mistress with whom he fathered three.

His theology was enough. Denying the virgin birth, the existence of hell, transubstantiation of the Eucharist, and a number of other heretical beliefs are more than enough to be found guilty of heresy.

He was no hero and no holy priest.

Thanks. I didn’t want to think the Church would make a mistake.

Frankly I know nothing of Mexican history but I would caution against accepting any teaching that the Church opposed separation of Church from State or that it opposed Democracy per se.

Each history has its own story but often enough we have communism hiding behind the skirts of democracy, often we have jacobinism hiding behind the skirts of separation. I may be wrong but would hazard a guess that your professor, given the tenor of his statement, is both atheist and leftist in which case I do not say he is historically inaccurate but I do say his statements must be seen as open to spin and analysed before being accepted.

My initial guess was that it was that two sides fell out along predictable sides of a class war. Church bishops/cardinals naturally allying themselves with big landowners vs. a populist movement centered around land reform of the peasant class and priests who serve them. I see from reading threads on this forum that communism is the major bugbear for Catholics, but this isn’t so in the Mexican situation.

People like to throw around a lot of statistics of stuff happening in ancient and medieval times and whatnot. But, we really have no way to prove a lot of them. When you get pictures of millions of bodies like in World War II or the Armenian genocide and tangible evidence, thats when we can start actually making people feel bad about themselves. And don’t forget that in Medieval times a lot of the people doing that kind of **** were kings, not the pope, and kings abused the poor old man pope.

I was talking about Mexico around 1920. What are you talking about?

Don’t worry. The Church makes many mistakes.

The Mexican government is not democratic but an oligarchy, and now days the government is mostly owned by the drug cartels. The police and military are either bought off, infiltrated, or murdered if they don’t cooperate and assist with the movement of drugs world-wide.

Used to be noble families from Spain who kept the wealth and enjoyed a very high standard of living, some of those families still exist but the drug cartels are rapidly assuming all the power.

Lots of people say that Mexico is ripe for a revolution, but we have absorbed all their young discontented men who might carry it off, so the Mexicans stay enslaved to their government. Thank God they are still very faithful Catholics!

Pray for them.

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