Father Manuel Corral, a spokesman for the Mexican Bishops Conference, said Monday that priests in eight Mexican states have been threatened with harm or death, presumably by drug traffickers. Although the threats are anonymous, he said, most come via missives and third-party go-betweens when priests have attempted to turn members of their parishes away from the traffickers and use of drugs."It's always when the priests denounce violence, injustice and crime, or when we try to get our people to leave the narco-menudeo," or drug street sales, Corral said in an interview. A small number of priests have had to be transferred from their churches because of threats, but most traffickers remain discreet.
The Mexican Constitution of 1917 - a year that also saw the Russian Revolution and the bloody rise of Bolshevikism - basically outlawed the Catholic Church in that country, and it is a testament to the Holy Spirit that so many Mexicans remain devout to their faith.
The 1920's and 1930's saw persecution of priests in Mexico, akin to the Elizabethan times of England, when merely being an ordained priest brought about a sentence of detah.
Likely the best known martyr in Mexico was the Jesuit Bl. Miguel Pro (1891-1927). He was known for his wit and his ability to speak of sacramental subjects with great erudition and interest. He went "underground," secretly administering the Sacraments, until his arrest. At his execution before a firing squad, he outstretched his arms in the style of a Crucifix and shouted, "Viva Cristo Rey!" before the bullets silenced him.
What do we see today? There is little difference between the thugs of Presidente Calles in the 1920's and the leaders of the drug cartels. No one is safe. The boundaries set by civility are destroyed. When women are killed and children are recruited, do not expect a priest to be safe. Or a nun, for that matter.
Blessed Migiel Pro, pray for those religious who strive to bring the Gospel to mexico, that they be kept safe from harm's way or be given the martyr's courage to suffer for Christ. Pray, too, as you did on Earth, for their killers that they might repent and be spared the fires of Hell. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. (+)