The Mexican Martyrs

Two More Knights Beatified

Father José T. Rangel Montaño

Father José T. Rangel Montaño

Father Andrés Solá Molist

Father Andrés Solá Molist

In 2005, two other Knights, also Mexican Martyrs, were beatified.

Father Jose Trinidad Rangel Montaño, a diocesan priest from Leon and member of Council 2484, and Claretian Father Andres Sola Molist, a Spaniard, and member of Council 1963. Both were executed for their faith in Rancho de San Joaquin, Mexico, in April 1927.

These men, and many thousands more, paid the ultimate sacrifice for their Catholic faith in Mexico during the 1920s and 1930s. But throughout that period, the Knights of Columbus in Mexico kept the faith and hundreds gave their lives to protect their beliefs, some as martyrs and others in the armed Cristero movement.

Always an advocate of peaceful struggle against the government, Pius XI singled out the Knights of Columbus for praise in his 1926 encyclical Iniquis Afflictisque, writing: “First of all we mention the Knights of Columbus, an organization which is found in all states of the [Mexican] Republic and fortunately is made up of active and industrious members who, because of their practical lives and open profession of the Faith, as well as by their zeal in assisting the Church, have brought great honor upon themselves.”

Mexican Knights, and the entire Church in Mexico, were consistently supported by the Knights in the United States who, in addition to distributing literature that informed the American people of the plight of the Church in Mexico, also lobbied President Calvin Coolidge to bring pressure to end the persecution.

In 1926, Coolidge met with a delegation of Knights including Supreme Knight James Flaherty, future Supreme Knight Luke Hart and Supreme Director William Prout. Coolidge affirmed his administration’s commitment to bringing about a resolution to the problems in Mexico.

Though the Knights had been outlawed in Mexico – even the Order’s Columbia magazine was temporarily banned – the Knights of Columbus survived. In 2005, at the centennial convention in Mexico City, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson declared that Mexican Knights are “second to none” in their commitment to “our founding ideals and their devotion to the Catholic faith.”