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The Church in ‘Red Mexico’: Michoacán Catholics and the Mexican Revolution, 1920–1929

  • MATTHEW BUTLER (a1)

Abstract

This article recreates the everyday experiences of rural Catholics in Mexico during the Church–State crisis of the 1920s and the cristero revolt (1926–9) against Mexico's post-revolutionary regime. Focusing on the archdiocese of Michoacán in western Mexico, the article contends that the 1920s should be viewed not only as a period of political tension between Church and State, but as a period of attempted cultural revolution when the very beliefs of Mexican Catholics were under attack. It is then argued that the behaviour of many Catholics during the cristero revolt is best described not as overt counter-revolutionism, but as defensive cultural and spiritual resistance designed to thwart the state's secularising aims by reaffirming and reproducing proscribed Catholic rituals and practices in collaboration with the parish clergy. The article then examines Catholic strategies of resistance during the cristero revolt and their consequences, above all the parochialisation and laicisation of the Church.

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AAM=Archivo del Arzobispado de Morelia, Morelia; AHAM=Archivo Histórico del Arzobispado de México, Mexico City: ‘correspondencia de Luis María Martínez’, ‘sacerdotes y laicos’ and ‘arzobispo de Michoacán’; AGHPEM=Archivo General e Histórico del Poder Ejecutivo de Michoacán, Morelia, serie religión; AGN=Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico City, fondo Obregon–Calles; AHSEP=Archivo Histórico de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, Mexico City; f./ff.=foja/fojas; Pbro=Presbítero
Research for this article was made possible by the financial support of Churchill College, Cambridge, and the British Academy. I would also like to thank this JOURNAL's anonymous referee for commenting on an earlier version of the article.

Footnotes

The Church in ‘Red Mexico’: Michoacán Catholics and the Mexican Revolution, 1920–1929

  • MATTHEW BUTLER (a1)

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