Bl. Miguel Pro

Moments before execution

Moments before execution

Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ (January 13, 1891 – November 23, 1927) was a Mexican priest executed on trumped-up charges of bombing and attempted assassination of former Mexican President Álvaro Obregón.

Pro’s arrest, lack of trial, and summary execution by firing squad gained prominence during the Cristero War (1926-29) for which he served as an inspirational figure. Known for his religious piety and innocence, he was beatified on September 25, 1988 by Pope John Paul II as a Catholic martyr, killed in odium fidei (in hatred of the faith).

At the time of Pro’s death, Mexico was under rule of the fiercely anti-clerical and anti-Catholic, Plutarco Elías Calles, President from 1924-28. The constitution of 1917 included five articles aimed at suppression of the Catholic Church. Article 3 mandated secular education in schools, prohibiting the Church from participating in primary and secondary education. Article 5 outlawed monastic religious orders. Article 24 forbade public worship outside of church buildings, while Article 27 restricted religious organizations’ rights to own property. Finally, Article 130 revoked basic civil rights of clergy members: priests and religious workers were prevented from wearing their habits, were denied the right to vote, and were forbidden from commenting on public affairs to the press.

Unlike his predecessors in the Presidency, Calles enforced these provisions with a vengeance. In 1998, however, most of the anti-clerical provisions of the constitution were repealed.