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96 years of these photos


These photographs were taken 96 years ago in Tototlán, Jalisco, shortly before the start of the so-called Cristero War.

For those who do not know about the Cristero War, they should know that it was a civil war that took place between 1926 and 1929 that burned down much of Mexico.


In this contest, the Catholic clergy and the Cristero militias (supported by the Vatican) fought against the Mexican government and army (supported by the United States) for the implementation of the Law of Tolerance of Cults, issued on June 14, 1926 by the government of President Plutarco Elías Calles. That is why this law was known as the Calles Law.


This law was based on the Mexican Constitution of 1917, which already denied legal personality to churches, prohibited the participation of priests and bishops in politics, and also prohibited the church from owning real estate and giving mass outside the temples.


Among its rules were:

🔸 The limitation of the number of priests to one for every 6 thousand inhabitants.

🔸 The need for a license issued by the Congress of the Union or the states to be able to exercise the priesthood.

🔸 The need to be registered with the municipal government of the place where the priest will officiate the masses.

🔸 As well as some reforms to the criminal code to establish sentences for non-compliance with any of the new provisions.


That is, if we use Tototlán as an example, by then the Catholic Church would have the right to place a priest in the municipality (taking into account the number of inhabitants there were), as long as he had his license to practice, and was registered in the presidency.


But what the government did not count on is that some Catholics would be willing to kill or die to preserve their freedom to believe.


The foregoing brought as a consequence that on July 24, 1926, the bishops protested, with the support of Pope Pius XI, against the law requesting the suspension of religious worship from its entry into force, a fact that occurred on July 31 of the same year.


That day was immortalized in this image:

Handmade image text: Day that public worship was closed throughout the republic July 31, 1926

Caption: In all the towns of Jalisco there were demonstrations like this when the cults were closed. This belongs to the town of Tototlán, Jal. - Most of the men were, 6 months later, soldiers of the Cristero army.


It is worth mentioning that this armed conflict, also known as Cristiada, mainly impacted the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán and Colima. Therefore, in these and also in other affected states there was a significant displacement of people fleeing the war, with the United States and other states of the Republic as their main destination. It is estimated that the number of displaced people exceeded 250,000.


I take this opportunity to comment that of the two images that appear in the video, the framed one is a replica of the original and is located in the office where I work in the municipal presidency of Tototlán (General Secretary of the City Council); which by the way, is not inventoried because I bought it with my money. That way, when I finish my order I can take it with me.


By the way, the reason why I have that image in the office is none other than to maintain the spirit of the citizen organization of which Tototlán has not been oblivious. That was without fear of being wrong, the first citizen demonstration captured in photography of my ancestors, that's why I keep it with pride.

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