Catholic World News
Beatification for Cristeros martyrs
September 2, 2005
Sep. 02 (CNA/CWNews.com) - Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez of Guadalajara, Mexico, has announced the beatification of Anacleto Gonzalez Flores and eleven companions, all martyrs, who died defending the Cristeros uprising against the Masonic persecution of 1926-29.
According to Cardinal Sandoval, the announcement was expected in March of this year but was postponed because of the death of Pope John Paul II (bio - news).
Anacleto Gonzalez Flores was born into a large and poor family in Tepatitlán in the Mexican state of Jalisco on July 13, 1889. His love of culture and his desire to gain an education in order to defend the faith against the anti-clerical attacks of the Masons led him to become a lawyer in 1922, the same year in which he married.
He became a history and literature teacher in Guadalajara and in 1925 became president and founder of the “Popular Union of Jalisco.” At the outbreak of the Masonic Mexican Revolution in 1926, Anacleto worked to prevent an armed rebellion against the revolutionaries as he was opposed to resorting to violence against anti-Catholic attacks. He became a successful leader of the boycott launched by Catholics against the Masonic media and businesses. His example and teaching became a symbol for the Cristero uprising, which resulted in his imprisonment in April of 1927.
He was brutally tortured in an attempt to get him to disclose the location where Bishop Orozco y Jimenez was in hiding. His torturers hanged him from the ceiling by his thumbs and used knives to slash his feet. Unmoved by his heroic resistance, his captors began to slash his body with knives, subjecting him to innumerable and inexpressible tortures. As they began to torture his companions with him, Anacleto shouted, “Do not mistreat these young men, if you want blood you can have mine!” Anacleto was let down and struck on the shoulder, resulting in a complete fracture. Nevertheless, he continued to encourage his companions not to give up. He and his companions were sentenced to death for “supporting the rebels.”
Upon hearing the sentence, Anacleto responded, “I will only say one thing, and that is that I have unselfishly worked to defend the cause of Jesus Christ and His Church. You shall kill me, but know that the cause will not die with me. Many will come after me willing to defend it unto martyrdom. I go, but with the confidence that from Heaven I will soon see the triumph of the faith of my country.”
One of his young companions asked to make a confession before dying, but Anacleto told him, “No, brother. Now is not the time for confession but for asking for forgiveness and for forgiving! He who awaits you is Father and not judge. Your own blood will purify you.” Anacleto immediately began to recite the Act of Contrition and was joined by his companions. Upon concluding the prayer, his companions were executed by a firing squad. Still standing despite his pain, Anacleto said to the general in command at the execution,
General, I forgive you from the bottom of my heart. Very soon, we shall see one another before the divine court. The same judge who will judge me will judge you; at that time you find in me an intercessor before God.
As none of the soldiers had the courage to fire upon him, the general ordered a captain to stab Anacleto with a bayonet.
According to the testimonies of several soldiers who witnessed the martyrdom, after being stabbed Anacleto was able to utter, “For the second time may the Americas hear this cry: I die, but God does not. Long live Christ the King!”
The words “For the second time” were a reference to the same words uttered decades earlier by President Gabriel Garcia Moreno of Ecuador, who was murdered on the steps of the Cathedral of Quito by Masons who were furious that he had consecrated Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.