National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Weigel & the Cristeros

So, George Weigel went to the movies to see "For Greater Glory" and it gave him the warm fuzzies. Still, the title of his latest example of agitprop "The Cristeros & us" is a little too precious in the use of that pronoun. I am reminded of a book of poems about the Holocaust: a publicity blurb written by Maya Angelou stated (I do not recal the exact quote), "This book reminds everyone that none of us survived the Holocaust without scars" to which Leon Wielseltier replied "Us?"

One of the lessons of the Mexican persecution of the Catholic Church is that religious freedom is precious. Another lesson is that when the Church gets too cozy with the powerful, and the powerful are indifferent to the sufferings of the people, the Church's reputation is trashed and when the Revolution comes, the Church will stand among the accused. Another lesson is that those who seek first the Kingdom should not be too quick to bless any particular political or social arrangement, but Mr. Weigel has made a career out of trumpeting the socteriological significance of democratic capitalism in ways that would make a true scholar blush. If he cared to engage in real scholarship regarding the Mexican Revolution, he might start with Enrique Krauze's "Biographia de Poder," which illustrates how complicated, often corrupt, always convoluted, the relationships were between the Church and the plutocrats and the revolutionaries, to say nothing of how the out-sized personalities among all groups fed a narrative that is tragic not least because in their desire to be proven right, they avoided the more pedestrian means by which peaceful resolutions of their conflicts could be achieved. That might be an instructive lesson today, no?

Weigel allows that "Barack Obama is not Plutarco Elias Calles, and the United States in 2012 is not Mexico in 1926-29. But..." He then goes on to suggest ways that they are alike. This is ridiculous nonsense and it demeans the martyrdoms of the Mexicans who clung to their faith. No one is asking Weigel to apostasize. There are no armed guards outside the offices of the Ethics & Public Policy Center. And, surely, somewhere in his readings about democracy, Weigel has encountered the notion that the value of public discourse is to tame the passions, not unleash them, and permit reason, not faulty and inaccurate metaphors, to leaven political decision-making. All honor to the Mexican martyrs. But, let part of that honor be a firm commitment to avoid the kind of polarized politics that made their martyrdom inevitable.

Christmas-in-content-block.jpg Give a Christmas gift that lasts all year. Give the gift of NCR!

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Christmas-Feature-Flag-275x60.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

November 21-December 5, 2014

11-21-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.