The Lawyer of the Church


The Lawyer of the Church

Bishop Clemente de Jesús Munguía and the Clerical Response to the Mexican Liberal Reforma

Pablo Mijangos y González

The Mexican Experience Series

372 pages
7 illustrations, 1 table


June 2015


$45.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2015


$45.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2015


$45.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Mexico’s Reforma, the mid-nineteenth-century liberal revolution, decisively shaped the country by disestablishing the Catholic Church, secularizing public affairs, and laying the foundations of a truly national economy and culture.
The Lawyer of the Church is an examination of the Mexican clergy’s response to the Reforma through a study of the life and works of Bishop Clemente de Jesús Munguía (1810–68), one of the most influential yet least-known figures of the period. By analyzing how Munguía responded to changing political and intellectual scenarios in defense of the clergy’s legal prerogatives and social role, Pablo Mijangos y González argues that the Catholic Church opposed the liberal revolution not because of its supposed attachment to a bygone past but rather because of its efforts to supersede colonial tradition and refashion itself within a liberal yet confessional state. With an eye on the international influences and dimensions of the Mexican church-state conflict, The Lawyer of the Church also explores how Mexican bishops gradually tightened their relationship with the Holy See and simultaneously managed to incorporate the papacy into their local affairs, thus paving the way for the eventual “Romanization” of Mexican Catholicism during the later decades of the century.

Author Bio

Pablo Mijangos y González is an assistant professor of history at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City. He is the author of a book on Mexico’s contemporary legal historiography, published in Spain, and is coeditor of a volume on the origins and transformations of the Spanish American constitutional tradition, published in Mexico.


"[The Lawyer of the Church] is without doubt a fascinating intellectual and political history that must be read by anybody concerned with Mexico's Reforma and church-state relations in nineteenth-century Latin America."—Will Fowler, Hispanic American Historical Review

"An essential read for scholars of Mexican history, and scholars of constitutionalism and the nineteenth-century Catholic Church will also find much of interest."—Aaron Van Oosterhout, Catholic Historical Review

"[The Lawyer of the Church] offers a comprehensive and global perspective of how Catholic thinkers in the nineteenth century formed and were formed by the modernizing intellectual currents of their day."—Zachary Brittsan, American Historical Review

“A new, broadly learned, critical, illuminating, and highly significant account of Clemente de Jesús Munguía’s important part in the struggles for Mexico. This is a book every historian of Mexico should read; its value will last long.”—John Womack, author of Zapata and the Mexican Revolution


“The most thorough and extended intellectual history yet written of the Catholic Church as it faced up to the Reform, if not one of the better cultural histories of the Reform written from any angle.”—Matthew Butler, author of Popular Piety and Political Identity in Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion: Michoacán, 1927–1929

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
List of Tables    
1. Born with the Revolution: From Los Reyes to the Lettered City    
2. Tempering Passions: Everyday Life and Curricular Formation at the Morelia Seminary    
3. The Grammar of Civilization: Language, Rhetoric, and the Shaping of Public Opinion    
4. “The Ways of Legitimacy”: Constitutionalism and Church-State Relations in El derecho natural    
5. The Defiant Bishop: The Catholic Church Confronts the Liberal Reforma    
6. Distant Allies: Conservatism and the Twilight of the Catholic State    

Also of Interest