March 2013 Print

Garcia Moreno to the Altars!

by Fr. Paul Kimball, SSPX

The president-martyr of Ecuador, Gabriel Garcia Moreno, who was assassinated by order of Freemasonry for being a model Catholic statesman, ought to be raised to the altars for the following reasons:

Papal Promoters

Such was the explicit desire of Pope St. Pius X. It was November 1, 1907, when Monsignor Manuel Maria Polit was in Rome and received episcopal consecration. In an audience with his Holiness Pope Pius X, he heard these words from his lips: “You ought to introduce Garcia Moreno’s cause of beatification. Take advantage of my Pontificate. You Ecuadorians will never find a Pope like me, so desirous of placing your Hero on the altars, nor a College of Cardinals like the present one, so eager to contribute to the glorification of such an exalted person.”

“Oh, Holy Father,” the newly-consecrated bishop answered, “the situation in Ecuador, as Your Holiness well knows, is horrifying. The government would never permit the least step in this regard. Unfortunately, in our country antichristian political circumstances prevail to such a degree that it would be a dangerous temerity to initiate this so praiseworthy cause. For now, it only remains for us to wait in patience and to trust in God for a favorable, or a perhaps less adverse, future time for our immortal hero.”

His Holiness listened to these words with sorrow, and went on to treat of other matters.1

Distinguished by the Spirit of Justice

Venerable Pope Pius IX spoke of him as a martyr worthy of public honor by the Church: “In the midst of all this, the Republic of Ecuador was miraculously distinguished by the spirit of justice and the unshakeable faith of its President, who showed himself ever the submissive son of the Church, full of devotion for the Holy See and of zeal to maintain religion and piety throughout his nation. And now the impious, in their blind fury, look upon, as an insult to their pretended modern civilization, the existence of a Government, which, while concerning itself with the material well-being of the people, strives at the same time to assure its moral and spiritual progress. Then, in the councils of darkness organized by the sects, these villains decreed the murder of the illustrious President. He fell under the steel of an assassin, as a victim to his faith and Christian charity” (Address of Pope Pius IX to the pilgrims of Laval on September 20, 1875).

Pope Pius IX did not limit himself to words. A few days later he had a magnificent funeral service celebrated for the soul of Garcia Moreno in the Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere, as Pontiffs do when God has taken away one of the most eminent children of the Church; and when certain Italian Catholics determined to erect a statue in his honor, Pius IX largely contributed to it, and placed it in the South American College in Rome. On the four sides of this monument is the following inscription: “To the faithful guardian of Religion, patron of the sciences, most devoted to the Holy See, upholder of justice, avenger of crime. Gabriel Garcia Moreno, President of the Republic of Ecuador, was treacherously assassinated by the hand of the wicked on August 6, 1875. Good men of the whole world celebrated his heroic virtues, his glorious death for the faith, and wept over the crime which took him from the world. The Sovereign Pontiff Pope Pius IX, by his munificence and by the gifts of a great number of Catholics, has raised this monument to the courageous defender of the Church and society.”2

Pope Pius XII called him a martyr in 1948:

“In 1948, the former Cardinal, Eugenio Pacelli, was the Supreme Pontiff, Pius XII, who, when responding to the introductory address of the Ecuadorian Ambassador, Don Carlos Manuel Larrea, recalled President Garcia Moreno and honored him with these epithets: ‘Great statesman, faithful son of the Church and martyr for his faith.’ This was on eighteenth of July of the aforementioned year.”3

In 1954, when speaking with Cardinal Dacosta, Archbishop of Florence, he said to him, “One of the causes of canonization that I would most willingly like to see in Rome is that of Garcia Moreno.”4

Beatification Started

His cause of beatification was begun in Quito by decree of Archbishop Carlos Maria de la Torre in the following words:

“Serious and prudent men well versed in Sacred Theology, and who have studied with special care and diligence, inside and outside of the Republic, the death of Lord Doctor Don Gabriel Garcia Moreno and the cause which motivated it, believe that they have discovered in these the essential marks and characteristics of a true martyrdom.

“It seems to them that the deaths of Saint Canute, Saint Wenceslaus, Saint Thomas of Canterbury, and of the English Catholics sacrificed during the fateful days of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, maintain perfect consonance and analogy to the death of the Ecuadorian President; and that, if the infallible decision of the Church has decorated them with the aureola of martyrdom, she could well encircle the brow of this man with it also.

“Such an assessment is far from negligible indeed, as is the interest that not only simple and devout faithful but even conspicuous members of the College of Cardinals have shown so that, within the canonical framework, everything possible would be done for the extremely upright President to be placed upon the altars, who, notwithstanding the incredulity and apostasy of his century, gloried in his Faith and his unwavering adherence to the Church and to the Vicar of Christ, in his innermost conviction, expressed by constant and superhuman efforts, that only the nation which recognizes Christ’s sovereignty in its customs, its laws and its constitution, will be happy. They have moved us to take the first steps toward the clarification of such an important point.

“How much glory we would give to God, with what new splendor the Church would be clothed, and what unfading honor would redound to our country, if with infallible lips the Roman Pontiff would declare that Garcia Moreno was and ought to be called ‘a martyr of Christ!’5

“…Therefore, after invoking the light of the Holy Ghost, having heard the views of our Fiscal Promoter; fearful of incurring Divine indignation, if perchance we put forward some resistance to the designs which perhaps God may have upon the privileged soul of whom Pius IX said that ‘he had fallen victim of his faith and of his Christian charity,’ and Leo XIII that ‘he surrendered his life for the Church at the hands of the wicked,’ and the Congress of 1875, that ‘he shed his blood for the holy cause of religion, morality and order, peace and progress,’ in compliance with that which has been ordained by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in the document cited above: we deem it beneficial to constitute the Historical Commission which will have for its end to gather all the historical documents relating to the death and the cause that motivated it, or the long standing fame of martyrdom of Dr. Gabriel Garcia Moreno, who died riddled with gun wounds in the Plaza of Independence of Quito, the first Friday, August 6, 1875. This commission will be composed of the Very Reverend Juan de Dios Navas, Magisterial Canon of our Metropolitan church and archivist of our Ecclesiastical Curia; of Reverend Father Joel Monroy, Provincial of the Order of Ransom; and of Reverend Father Jose Le Gohuir of the Company of Jesus.

“Given in Quito, on the 20th of December of 1939. Carlos Maria, Archbishop of Quito. Angel Humberto Jacome, Secretary.”6

Support for Canonization

In Rome the renowned theologian, Cardinal Louis Billot (+1931), strongly supported his canonization: “[Bishop Carlos Maria de la Torre’s] allocution about the great man and renowned martyr, who was Garcia Moreno, has awakened in my soul such a lively joy that I cannot find words to express it. I have read it from beginning to end. Oh, what a beautiful figure, truly worthy of being placed on the altars; worthy of being proposed as an example to our modern Catholics who, unfortunately, let themselves be more and more corrupted every day by the deadly principles of Liberalism! I fervently pray that the political conditions of Ecuador will finally permit his cause to be initiated in the Sacred Congregation of Rites. How happy I would judge myself to be if I were the Postulator!”7

The Ecuadorian bishops likewise supported his canonization.

  • His Excellency Bishop Heredia, Bishop of Guayaquil, has said, “I have always maintained my opinion that God is asking two equally obligatory things of us: firstly, the construction of the National Basilica, so that national and perpetual worship may be given there; and secondly, the glorification, as far as possible on our part, of the Martyr of God and of country amongst us.”8
  • The Bishop of Riobamba, Monsignor Andres Machado, said, “The day will come when Garcia Moreno will be exalted on the altars.”9  
  • The Archbishop of Quito, Monsignor Polit on January 22, 1922, referred to “the Ecuadorian Hero whom I firmly hope will rise one day to the altars as a martyr of Jesus Christ.”10
  • The words of His Excellency Carlos Maria de la Torre, Bishop of Riobamba [who became the Cardinal Archbishop of Quito]: “The moral greatness of Garcia Moreno had soared to such a height that without the glorious martyrdom that was its worthy conclusion, God’s work would have been unfinished and imperfect…”11

The bishops of France added their support to Garcia Moreno’s canonization.

When His Grace, Archbishop Manuel Maria Polit of Quito returned to Guayaquil from a three-month stay in Europe, he gave the following discourse on August sixth, the anniversary of the death of Garcia Moreno:

“In Paris, while conversing with some eminent bishops, I said to them that one of the objectives of my trip consisted in delivering the Informative Processes of our Servants of God, Reverend Father Jose Maria Yerovi and [Saint] Brother Miguel Febres Cordero. This statement not having been well received, those French prelates opposed me with these words: ‘Put these Causes aside for now, and undertake the Cause of Beatification of Garcia Moreno. Bishops and religious of eminent virtue abound on the altars; whereas the exaltation of someone like Garcia Moreno would be the first and sensational case of a president of a republic haloed with such honors. Commission the Ecuadorians to collect all the documents that exist in your country regarding the death of Garcia Moreno, and all the rest will be done by the French Episcopate.”12

Fr. Mateo Crawley, the founder of the home enthronement of the Sacred Heart, longed for his canonization.

“Even more, I dare say that it was Garcia Moreno who, with his hands anointed with his glorious blood, put the precious Labarum13 into my hands. Oh! And how happy I would consider myself to be if one day it were given to me to contribute in some way to his exaltation on the altars, in order to pay for the gift that he gave me, which gave a definitive direction to my vocation of social apostolate! If then, one day, the Church renders such glory to the President-martyr, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts should attain that Rome would assign him to us as Patron of the Enthronement Crusade, since I made my debut in the shadow of his standard.”14

Miracles through His Intercession

At the end of November 1943, the historic oleograph of the Heart of Jesus of Garcia Moreno was exposed in the Cathedral of Loja, receiving the homage of the crowds, when the Franciscan Brother Diego Navarrete joined them and raised the following prayer: “O Garcia Moreno, you who consecrated Ecuador to the Heart of Jesus before this picture, work a miracle, make me recover the use of my ears. I was given no hope in Quito, a cold climate; I was given no hope in Guayaquil, a hot climate; I was given no hope in Loja, a moderate climate. I want to be a missionary in Zamora, to teach the catechism to the Jivaros.15 But how can I do it being deaf? You, who consecrated Ecuador to the Heart of Jesus before this picture, make me hear.” A few minutes passed; he paid attention and related that he heard everything: the bell that rings, the people who pray. He exclaimed, “Now I can go to Zamora.”

Some eight years later he spoke with me in Gualaceo and said to me, “I was unable to hear for six months. I can swear that I was given no hope in Quito, in Guayaquil, and in Loja. The doctors who attended me can swear that they gave me no hope.”

Here is a case that can be considered a first class miracle; an oath was signed by Brother Navarrete and by each one of these three doctors.… I am confirmed in the persuasion that the Cause did not fail for lack of first class miracles.16

Worldwide Importance

In war-torn post World War II Belgium, Garcia Moreno is compared to Charlemagne and St. Louis of France in a booklet explaining his worldwide modern importance:

“Garcia Moreno was far from being the passing of a meteor, without leaving a trail behind itself. Not to present his personality in all its glory would be not to give God the glory of His works, and to this great man the immortality which is due to him even on earth. It would be, moreover, to deprive the human race of an enormous help, since the life of Garcia Moreno presents a providential lesson to ward off the cataclysm which he alone undertook to remedy.

“What more beautiful example could be offered to our rulers, faced with almost superhuman difficulties which characterize these post-war years?

“In fact, the clearing of a heap of ruins, the bringing of prosperity, and above all the rectifying of the standards now so wrong, and the leading of nations according to the principles of the Christian life under the gaze of God and of His Church, did he not achieve all this in a splendid manner in a few years, within the sphere in which he had to act?” (Imprimatur, Mechelen, the eleventh day of November 1944, Jose Carton de Wiart, Vicar General).17

Our Lady of Good Success praised Garcia Moreno as a model Catholic statesman and a martyr 276 years before his heroic death for the faith.

“On January 16, 1599, Our Lady of Good Success appeared to Venerable Mother Mariana of Jesus Torres, Abbess of the Royal Convent of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, in Quito, Ecuador. Our Lady spoke to Mother Mariana these prophetic words: ‘In the nineteenth century a truly Christian president will come, a man of character, to whom our Lord God will give the palm of martyrdom in the plaza on which this convent is located. He will consecrate the Republic of Ecuador to the Divine Heart of my beloved Son and this consecration will sustain the Catholic religion in the subsequent years, which will be ill-fated for the Church. In these years, in which Masonry, that accursed sect, will seize control of the civil government, there will come a cruel persecution of all the religious communities and it will rage against mine.’ ”18

“This great Catholic statesman can only be Gabriel Garcia Moreno. He was assassinated in the square in front of the Cathedral and also the convent of Mother Mariana. As President of Ecuador, he had officially consecrated his country to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by a legislative decree on October 8, 1873. Our Lady’s prophecies were fulfilled to the letter! On August 6, 1875, the first Friday of the month, Garcia Moreno was assassinated. Before he died, he was carried into the Cathedral and laid at the feet of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, where he received the last sacraments and forgave his assassin.”19

Prayer for the Canonization (With Ecclesiastical Approval)

O Sacred Heart of Jesus! Remember the consecration that President Gabriel Garcia Moreno made to Thee of his Republic; of the enthronement of Thy sacred image in his presidential home; and of his blood, shed to seal his unshakeable adherence to Thee and to Thy vicar, the Pope, and grant us the canonical glorification of such an exemplary ruler, that men powerful in deeds and words may rise up for the cause of religion and of country, and finally the particular grace which we ask of Thee, in accord with Thy good pleasure. Amen. (Ask for a particular grace and end with a Glory Be.)20

1 Fr. Severo Gomezjurado, S.J., Vida de Garcia Moreno, Vol. 11, p. 268, and La Consegracion, pp. 278-279.

2 Augustine Berthe, C.SS.R., Garcia Moreno (Dolorosa Press, 2006), p. 334.

3 Gomezjurado, Vida de Garcia Moreno, Vol. 12, p. 406.

4 Ibid., p. 407.

5 Ibid., p. 348, where footnote 25 reads in these terms: “It was Bishop Ordonez, an eyewitness, who told me of the energetic expression and words of the Metropolitan, who always took pride in valiantly promoting the beatification of Garcia Moreno without taking notice of the Masons.”

6 Gomezjurado, La Consagracion, pp. 341-344.

7 Boletin Eclesiastico de la Archidiocesis de Quito (1921), p. 508. Gomezjurado, Is Garcia Moreno a Martyr? [Spanish], p. 151. Vida, Vol. 11, p. 385, and La Consecracion, p. 319.

8 Gomezjurado, Vida, Vol. 11, p. 308.

9 Ibid., p. 308.

10 Ibid., p. 376.

11 Ibid., p. 385.

12 Ibid., Vol. 12, pp. 181-182.

13 I.e. the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus used by Garcia Moreno for the consecration of Ecuador that inspired Father Mateo to begin spreading the practice of the Home Enthronement of Families to the Sacred Heart.

14 Gomezjurado, Vida, Vol. 11, p. 129.

15 The Jivaros are South American Indians of eastern Ecuador and northeast Peru.

16 Gomezjurado, Vida, Vol. 13, pp. 408-409.

17 Ibid., Vol. 12, p. 239.

18 Luis E. Cadena y Aleida, Mensaje Profético de la Sierva de Dios, Sor Mariana Francisca de Jesus Torres y Berriochoa (Quito: Jesus de la Misericordia, 1985), pp. 68-69.

19 Berthe, Garcia Moreno, p. i.

20 Gomezjurado, Vida, Vol. 13, p. 417. This prayer has been approved not only by the bishops of Ecuador, but moreover by the bishops of Pasto in Columbia, of Santiago in Chile, of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and by another in Argentina through the mediation of Fr. Hervé Le Lay. It has been translated into Portuguese and English. More than 100,000 holy cards of Garcia Moreno with these prayers were distributed within forty years.