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González Flores, Anacleto

GONZÁLEZ FLORES, ANACLETO

Mexican journalist, orator, organizer of Catholic lay action; b. Tepatitlán, Jalisco, July 13, 1888; d. Guadalajara, 1926. He was the son of poor parents, second in a family of 12. He attended the Seminary of San Juan de los Lagos but decided that he did not have a vocation to the priesthood and left for Guadalajara to study law. Because the state schools refused to validate his seminary courses, he was obliged to resume his studies on the preparatory level. He taught history and literature in private schools, while organizing Catholic worker groups on the principles of Pope Leo XIII. From 1914 to 1916 he formed a series of Catholic study circles in sociology, philosophy, and literature, inspired by such figures as Ketteler, Wind-horst, Manning, Count de Mun, Daniel O'Connell, García Moreno, and even Mahatma Gandhi. This activity was interrupted when the revolution spread to Guadalajara, and he took refuge with a brother who had settled in the southern part of the state. There he joined the troops of Delgadillo, a partisan of Villa, as secretary. In December 1915 Delgadillo was captured and shot for treason, and González returned to Guadalajara, disillusioned with warfare.

By 1916, he had become a local leader, popularly known as El Maestro, in the Asociación Católica de la Juventud Mexicana, a national organization aimed at restoring a Christian social order in Mexico. He was admitted to the practice of law in 1922, and shortly thereafter he married. Upon the government's closing of the Conciliar Seminary of Guadalajara, he organized the Catholic Committee of Defense, and in early 1925 he consolidated this into a permanent Unión Popular, or united front, against the antireligious campaigns that raged from 1926 to 1929. He edited the weekly Gladium, which reached a circulation of 100,000.

When in 1926 the national government under calles determined to exterminate the Church through enforcement of the antireligious articles of the 1917 Constitution, González called upon Catholics in an article in the national newspaper El País to resist. He led the ensuing passive resistance to the government program, which accompanied the hierarchy's decision to suspend public worship. When the intransigent attitude of Calles made it appear that passive resistance was inadequate, Catholic leaders decided to resort to armed resistance. From this came the Liga Nacional Defensora de la Libertad Religiosa, setting off the Cristeros rebellion, socalled from the cry of the Catholic guerrilla warriors "Viva Cristo Rey." González found himself swept into this movement. Working from secret quarters in the home of Dr. Vargas González, he was discovered and arrested on April 1, 1926. After being brutally tortured in a vain effort to extract his secrets, he was bayoneted and shot, together with his companions Luis Padilla and Jorge and Ramón Vargas González. The public funerals accorded him and his associates were a spontaneous general reaction to his final words: "For a second time, may the Americas hear this holy cry: I die, but God does not die. 'Long live Christ the King!"'

Bibliography: a. gÓmez robledo, Anacleto González Flores: El maestro (2d ed. Mexico City 1947). a. rÍus facius. Méjico cristero: Historia de la ACJM, 1925 a 1931 (Mexico City 1960). j. h. schlarman, Mexico: A Land of Volcanoes (Milwaukee 1950). j. herrera rossi, Cinco retratos (Mexico City 1949).

[j. a. magner]

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