Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society & Culture - Vol. 1

By Michael S. Werner | Go to book overview

A

ABASCAL, SALVADOR

1910– • Writer and Catholic Activist

One of the most charismatic leaders of the Sinarquist movement, otherwise known as the Unión Nacional Sinarquista (UNS), Salvador Abascal was an important Catholic activist during 1930s and 1940s. His militancy was impressive, and his abilities as a strategist put him on an equal level with Anacleto González Flores. Abascal arrived a little late on the scene to participate in the Cristero Rebellion of 1926 to 1929. The church by this stage had decided to fall in with the Holy See’s recommendations to accept the conditions imposed by the Mexican government and take a course guided by a strategy of conciliation and collaboration.

Abascal retired from the Sinarquist movement after his hazardous attempt to found the colony María Auxiliadora in Baja California. He nevertheless promoted the cause with equal intensity as a writer, producing La reconquista espiritual de Tabasco (1942), Memorias (1980), La revolución antimexicana (1978), El Papa nunca ha sido ni será hereje (1979), and Tomás Garrido Canabal: Sin Dios, sin curas, sin iglesias (1987).

Abascal was born in the State of Guanajuato in 1910, one of 12 brothers and sisters. His father was a member of the “U,” or Unión Popular (Popular Union), a secret organization founded in 1918 by the then rector of the seminary and canon of the cathedral in Morelia, Luís María Martínez. This group would recruit cadres of individuals who would later lead the Cristero movement.

Abascal, like Luis María Martínez before him, entered a seminary at the age of nine; he remained there from November 1919 to December 1925. He left to take up law studies at the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City, the only school that recognized his seminary studies. On completion of his legal training he worked in various towns in Guerrero as a judge with general responsibilities for initial proceedings in the appellate court. In August 1935 he made contact in Morelia with what remained of the Liga Defensora de la Libertad Religiosa (League for the Defense of Religious Freedom) which by that time had metamorphosed into the Legiones (Legions), a secret organization trying to reorganize the Catholic militants in the wake of the papal agreement of 1929. As a legionary in May 1938 he initiated the “spiritual reconquest,” the reopening of the churches in Tabasco, which was controlled by the anticlerical socialist Tomás Garrido Canabal.

Already a member, he was named national leader of the UNS on August 26, 1940; he held the post until December 11 of the following year. Sinarquism was in its heyday during this period, but Abascal’s belligerence and aggressive methods led Archbishop Luis María Martínez to force Abascal to hand the reigns of the organization to Manuel Torres Bueno.

A week later Abascal, at the head of 350 people from some 70 families, set out to found the María Auxiliadora Colony in Baja California. The intention of this adventurous enterprise was to prove the effectiveness of Catholicism in a world he considered had abandoned the faith. But once again, he was obliged in March 1944 by Archbishop Luis María Martínez to abandon his post at the head of this initiative.

Abascal went on to work for Jus, a publishing company, where he stayed until 1973, later founding his own publishing house, Tradición. This company edited the monthly bulletin, Hoja de Combate, under Celerino Salmeron, head of the Mexican Traditional Falangists.


Select Bibliography

Blancarte, Roberto, Historia de la iglesia católica en México 1939–1987. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1992.

—GUILLERMO ZERMEÑO PADILLA

-1-

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Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society & Culture - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editor’s Note vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Alphabetical List of Entries xvii
  • Thematic Outline of Entries xxiii
  • A 1
  • B 125
  • C 175
  • D 391
  • E 423
  • F 465
  • G 549
  • H 625
  • I 667
  • J 715
  • K 723
  • L 727
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