This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25 -- Feast of Twenty-five Mexican Martyrs

Busted!  O'Toole in Cristiada
I am looking forward to the film Cristiada, which depicts the Mexican government's brutal attempt to outlaw and extinguish the Catholic Church in the 1920s.  I hope that this will be Peter O'Toole's Oscar -- he deserved it for Lawrence of Arabia, of course, but I suppose it is tough to argue with Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.  But all this is beside the point.

During the 1920s, a lot of priests were arrested and killed for the crime of being priests.  It seems strange -- Elizabethan, even -- but it's true.  Some, like Saint Sabas Reyes Salazar, were arrested performing sacraments in private homes.  Sabas was baptizing a child when federal troops broke down the door and arrested him.  He was taken to prison, beaten and burned for two days (seriously enhanced interrogation) and then shot by a firing squad.

Others, like Miguel de la Mora, were executed on the spot.  They arrested him at his brother's ranch.  They took him inside the barn and shot him in front of a pile of manure and forced his brother to witness the execution. 

Some made the most of their last days before their executions.  Cristobal Magallanes Jara gave the last of his possessions to the guards and gave them absolution.  Tranquilino Ubiarco Robles, sentenced to hanging upon arrest, blessed the rope.  He also spoke a benediction to one of the soldiers who had refused to participate in the killing.  That soldier, whose name and fate I can't find, was arrested on the spot. 

Also arrested was a unknown soldier who refused to participate in the torture and execution of Father Jose Isabel Flores Varela.  The torture was repeatedly hanging him -- slow strangulation rather than a quick drop -- and then taking him down to repeat when he caught his breath.  After the soldier disobeyed and was arrested, the commander ordered execution by firing squad, but the guns failed to fire, so he cut the priest's throat instead. 

Distinguished among these martyrs is Antonio Carillo, one of the soldiers instructed to execute Roman Adame Rosales.   Father Adame had been arrested by Colonel Quinones, tied to a post during the day, and locked in a cell at night.  The Colonel accepted a bribe from local townspeople, but then decided to shoot the priest rather than free him.  Since Antonio Carillo refused to shoot, he too was executed.  He, however, got skipped by the beatification committee.  I'm using the privileges granted to me here to correct that omission -- he is henceforth to be called Blessed Antonio Carillo. 

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