In time of despair, and on this Feast of Christ the King, let’s not forget the example of the 20th Century’s numerous martyrs, who witnessed Christ unto their death and demonstrated the world-changing power of a single, defiant act against the spirit of the age.
On Nov. 22, 1927, a man dressed in street clothes was led through a crowd of photographers and politicians on his way to a firing squad in Mexico City. The photographers were present for this illegal execution — there had been no trial or even formal charges — because the Mexican president, Plutarco Elias Calles, the most rabidly anti-Catholic leader in the world at the time, wanted them to record the humiliation of a man desperately pleading for his own life. Calles badly miscalculated. The man walked calmly to the place of his death, asked to be allowed to pray, and then, in a voice neither defiant nor desperate, intoned the words Viva Cristo Rey! — “Long Live Christ the King!”
Through photographs distributed worldwide, the Jesuit priest Miguel Augustin Pro thus became the most famous martyr in Mexico’s anti-Catholic revolution early in the twentieth century.