In Blood-Drenched Altars, Oklahoma's Bishop Francis Clement Kelley, one of the foremost contemporary proponents of American help for suffering Mexican Catholics, describes the horrific tale of the worst disaster in the history of once-pious Mexico.
Mexico was once the jewel in the crown of Catholic Spain; for 300 years, that country developed a strong Catholic identity and became prosperous and happy. When Mexico gained independence, successive mismanagement and poor governmental judgment led to a catastrophe in the country's history: From 1910 to 1917, Mexico underwent a turbulent revolution that subverted all previous Catholic morality. The 1917 Constitution sought to destroy Catholicism and end religion in the populace, with disastrous consequences. What followed in the 1920s and '30s under the atheistic, communist government of Plutarco Calles was a series of harsh, bloody persecutions and a counter-revolution by Catholics called "Cristeros."
In this crucial volume, Bishop Kelley makes a meaningful reference via the titular blood-drenched altars, comparing the brutality of martyrdoms of heroic Catholics in the '20s and '30s, including Fr. Miguel Agustín Pro, to the animalistic rituals of the Aztecs conquered by the Spaniards. This book is essential for any American wishing to understand the history of our southern neighbor, its sad anti-Catholic tribulations, and the American hierarchy's futile struggle to convince the American government to help. Most of all, however, this book serves as an invaluable historical witness to the former vivacity of Catholicism across national borders in the face of persecution, and, especially, the willingness we all must share to, like the "Cristero" martyrs, lose our own blood in profession of the Christian Faith.
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