Luis Cabrera.

The religious question in Mexico online

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sion or legacies, wdiicli, even though they may have been made
ostensibly in favor of those legally qualilied, are in direct con-
travention of the law and infringe fraction III of art. 15.

"Art. 10. — The ministers of the cults may not enjoy, by reason
of their character, any privileges which shall distinguish them,
by law, from other citizens, and are not subject to any more
interdictions than those wdiich this law and the Constitution
outline. • ^

— 24 —

*'Ait. 11. — The speeches of relig-ious ministers which may
be spoken advising disobedience to the laws or provoking- some
misdemeanor or some felony make unlawful the assembly
wherein such words are spoken, and therefore such assembly
loses the guarantees granted in art. 9 of the Constitution, 'riic au-
thor of the address or sjjeocli will he suhjccl in this case to tli(»
rules of the third book, section six, chapter eiglit of the Penal
Code, whieli is declared in force on this ])oint thi-oughout thi'
Republic. The misdemeanoi-s committed by instigation or
suggestion of a minister of any cult, as referred to in tliis article,
place such minister in the category of princijial author of the

"Art. 12. — All meetings which may take place in temples shall
be public, subject to the vigilance of the police, and the au-
thorities may exercise the function of their office when the case
demands it.

"Art. 13. — Religious institutions are free to organize hi-
erarchically as they please; l)ut sucli organizations have no legal
status before the State except to invest the suDeriors of the
organizations in each locality with the representative' character
referred to in article 15. Xo niinister of any cult may therefore
present himself oficially as such to the authorities. He may
present himself only in the form and with the requisites with
which every citizen may exercise the riglit of petition.


"Art. l-l. — No religious institution may acquire real estate, or
capital invested in real estate, excepting the temples to be used
immediately and directly in the public service of the cult and the
annex property which may ])e strictly necessary for such service.

"Art. 15. — The religious associations, represented in each
localitv bv their superiors, have the following rights:

]. — The right of petition

11. — The ownership of the temples-acquired in conformity with
article 14. The laws of the State in which the ])uildings are
located shall determine on wliom the right of ownership of the
temples shall fall should the property ])e a))aiidoned or the
association dissolved.

III. — The right of receiving alms or gifts, which may never be
made in real estate,^titles, bonds or promises of future payment,
whether in the shape of bequests, testamentai-y donations,
legacies or any othe'r kind of obligation of this sort^ all which
are hereby declared void /.v

IV. — The right of receiving alms in the interior of the temples
by means of collectors Appointed for such purpose, with the
understanding that outside the temples it is forbidden to appoint
such alms collectors, the ajipointed ones being included in article
415 of the Penal Code of the District, which aiticle is hereby de-
clared in full force throughout the Republic.

— 25 —

V. — The light asf^ii^iKHl in the next aitich-.

" Presides the al)Ovesai(l rights, tlie law (h)es not grant any
otliers to religious societies as corporations.

"Art. 16. — The temples which according to the law of July
thp 12th, 1859, were nationalized and which have l^een left to.
the Catholic cult, as well as others which later may have been
ceded to any other religious institutions, shall continue to be-
long to the nation, but its exclusive use, conservation and im-
provement, will belong to the religious institutions to whom they
may have been ceded, as long as tln^ consolidation of the pi'operty
shall not have been decreed

"Art. 17. — The buildings spoken of in the two former articles
shall be exempt of payment of contributions, except in case that
they should be constructed or acquired nominally or outright by
one or more individuals without transmitting them to a religious-
society. The property in such case shall l)e governed according
to the common laws.

"Art. 18. — The buildings which do not belong to private in-
diA'iduals and which according to this section and the following
one should be regained by the nation, shall l)e transferred
according to the laws in force tliat control this matter.


•'Art. 19. — The State does not recosi'nize any monastic orders
nor can it permit their foundation, no matter what their de-
nomination may be nor the object for which they would be creat-
ed. The secret ordo's which may have l)eeii established shall ))e
considered as illegal and tlie authorities can disolve them,
should their mem])ers live together; in any case, their chief s^
superiors and directors, will be judged as guilty of an infraction
of individual guarantees, in conformity with art. 9()3 of the Penal
Code of the District, whicli article is herel)y declared in force
throughout the RepiiljTK .

"Art. 2(1. — The religious societies whose members live under
certain rules peculiar to themselves, under temporary or per-
petual promises or vows, and under the control of one or more
superiors, are regarded as monastic orders, subject to the
previous article, even though each member of the society should
have a dwelling apart from the others. Consequently, the first
and relevant declarations in the cii-cular of the ^Ministry of the
Interior issued on the 28th. of ]\lav, 1861, are herebv <l(M'lai-ed
null. ' '


"Art. 2t^The simple promises to tell the truth, and to fulfill
one's obligations, shall substitute the religious oath in its effects
and penalties; but either j^romise is a legal requisite only when
it is necessary to testify in a court, in which case the first
promise shall l)e offered; and the second shall be offered on
taking possesion of an official position. The latter will be made in

— 26 -^

a t'oniial oatli, ^vitlioiit any reservi^, to olx^v and loreserve the
political Constitution of the United States "of Mexico with its
additions and reforms, and its laws. This oath shall be taken bv
all those who take charge of a public oftice of the Federation, of
the States or of the Municipalities. In all other cases in which,
according to the laws, the religious oath had some civil con-
sequences, it has these no longer, even though it should be taken.


"Art. 22.— Marriage is a civil contract, and that as well as
other acts which fix the civil state of individuals, belong to the
realm of the functionaries of the civil order according to the laws
and shall have the force and validity which the laws may give

"Art. 23.— The right to legislate on the civil state of
the individuals, and to rule the manner in which the correspond-
ing acts shall l)e performed and recorded, belongs to the States,
but their resolution shall l)e subject to the following i-ules:

I. — The offices of the Civil Register shall be as numerous as it
may be necessary to accomodate all persons who may have need
of it, and nmst always be in charge of employees of tried ability
and honoral)ility.

II. — The register of the acts of the civil state shtfU be entered
with accuracy, in separate entries, in books which will be under
the inspection of the political authorities. The inscription shall
be done with all necessary formalities which will guarantee au-
thenticity and the veracity of its records. They will not be allow-
ed to have erasures, or corrections, or additions between lines,
and the remark (rejected) shall be placed after every mistaken
record before signing it, and the new correct inscription shall be
recorded immediately following the erroneous one.

III. — These services incumbent on the civil state of persons
shall l)e entirely gratuitous, and a table of rates may be estai)lish-
ed to exact payment only for those acts that could be performed
in the offices of the Civil Kegister, but which take place, for the
greater convenience of witnesses, in the homes of those interest-
ed, at their request, and for the burial in privileged plots of the
public cemeteries.

IV. — The officers of the Civil Kegister shall keep a duplicate
of their books in which there shall be no interruptions between
the records. Every six months this duplicate, legalized at the
bottom of the last entry, together, with a statement of the num-
ber of pages it contains, every page signed on the margin, shall
be sent to the archives of the government of the State. Like-
wise and furthermore, they shall remit a notice of the acts
registered in a month

V. — All the acts of the Civil Kegister shall have a public char-
acter, and nobody shall l)e denied the inspection of the records.

VI, — The reconis of* tlic Register will he the only proof of the
civil state of individuals, and will he considered legal in the
courts unless they can he proved to he forgeries.

VII. — Civil marriage may be celebrated by one man with only
©ne woman. Bigamy and polygamy being crimes punishable by

VIII. — The will of the contracting pai'ties, freely expressed in
the foi'm that the law shall estal)lish, constitutes the essence of
civil marriage; consequently, the law shall protect the utterance
of such will and shall pi-event any compulsion against it.

IX. — Civil marriage nuiy be dissolved only by the death of
one of the consorts; but the law may pei'mit temporary separa-
tion for serious reasons which shall be determined by the leg-
islature, this separation allowing neither consort to unite in wed-
lock with any one else.

X. — Marriage may not be contracted by persons who, for phys-
ical unfitness, cannot fulfill the object of that state; or by those
who, because of moral incapacity, are unable to express their
consent to it. Marriages performed in these cases shall be annul-
led by petition of one of the contracting parties.

XI. — Kinship, wiiether natural or legal, between descendants
and ancestors in direct line, or brothers, or step-brothers, shall
also prohibit their intermarriage and, when contracted in such
cases, shall liullify ir.

XII. — All cases brought by mari-ied couples before the civil
authorities as to the validity or nullity of marriage, or of
divorce, or other matters pertaining to their civil state, sh.all be
carried on as the law may determine; and any resolutions that
may be dictated by the ministers of any cult on these questions,,
shall have no legal effect.

XIII, — The law shall not impose oi- prescribe religious rites,,
in respect to marriage. The married couples are free to receive
or not the blessings of the ministers of their religion, which
shall have no legal effect

XIV. — All cemeteries and places of burial will ])e under the
immediate inspection of the civil authorities even should they be
private enterprises. No establishment of the kind may be found
without license from the authorities. Burials or exhumations
may not be carried on without permission or written orders of
the authorities.

"x\rt. 24. — The civil state of a person registered in one State
or District, shall be recognized in all the others of the Republic.


"Art. 25. — No one may be conqjelled to lend his personal
services without his full consent or without fair retribution. The
lack of consent, even when there should l)e retribution, con-
stitutes an attack against personal liberty; and the same holds
true should retribution 1)e lacking when services have been lent,

with tacit or expressed co'nm^ill'j'Dn'cdftVtitibn *bt** forthcoming;

"Art. 26. — The State cannot admit the validity of any contract^
pact or agreement, by virtue of which a rnan may impair, lose or
irrevocably sacrifice his liberty, whether by reason of work, of
education, or of religious vows; no can it authorize pacts by
which a man agrees to his proscription or exile. All the con-
tracts which may be made in contravention of this article are nulls
and void and oblige those who accept them to indemnify the
losses and injuries caused.


"Art. 27. — It is in the power of the political authoi-ities of the
States to impose the sentences of which this law treats. These-
same authorities shall incur, before the governor of the State, the
double of these penalties, should they authorize or knowingly
tolerate any infringement of the laws. The GoA^ernors of the-
States are responsible, in their turn, for any infractions of the
present law or oujmission of the same committed by them or by
the authorities and officials subject under their orders.

"Art. 28. — Crimes committed against sections 1, 2, 3 and 6 of
this law are punishable by the federal laws and are under the-
jurisdiction of the courts of the Federation; but the judges of the
States shall try them in all places where there is no District
Judge; carrying these cases on to the sentence which shall be
passed by the District Judge to wiiom they shall be sent. The
crimes committed against sections 4 and 5 shall be tried accord-
ing to the usual laws by the empowered authorities in each

"Art. 29. — The Laws of Reform are recast in this Law; but, as
regards the Civil Register, the Laws of Reform shall continue
in force until the States legislate in conformity with section 5.
They shall also continue in force in regard to the nationalization
and alienation of ecclesiastical property, and the payment of
dowries to ex-nuns, with the changes hereby made to art. 8 of
the law of the 25th. of June, 185(j. Given at the Palace of the
Legislative Power, on the 10th. of December, 1874. — Nicolas Le-
mus. President of the Chamber of Deputies. Antonio Gomez,
Deputy Secretary. Luis G. Alvirez, Deputy Seer. J. V. Villada,
Deputy Seer. Alejandro Prieto, Deputy Seer."

Whereof 1 order it printed, published, circulate(^l and obeyed.
Given at the Palace of the National Government, at Mexico City,
on the 14th. of Deceml)er, 1874.


— 29 —




Alt. 5—

The State cannot admit the validity ot any contract, pact or
agreement, by virtue of which a man impairs, loses or irrevocably
sacrifices his lil)ei-ty, whetlier ))y j-eason of work, of education, or
of religious vows.

The law, consequeijtiy, does uot recognize monastic orders,
nor can it permit i:lieir estal)lishment, whatever l)e their de-
nomination, or the object with which they claim to be formed.
• It cannot authorize pacts bv which a man agrees to his proscrip-
tion or exile. (Reform of the 19th of June, 1898) !

Art. 27.—

Religious corpoi-ations or institutions, whatever ))e their char-
acter, denomination, duration or purj^ose, and civil institutions
under the patronage, direction or administration of the former,
or of ministers of any sect, will not have legal capacity to acquire
ownership or administration of real estate other than that of the
buildings which are immediately and directly destined to the
service or object of said corporations and institutions; nor will
they be legally authorized to acquire the ownership or admin-
istration of capital invested in real estate.

Civil corpoi-ations and institutions which are not comprised in
the foregoing case, may acquire ownership and administration,
not onl}" of the buildings referred to, ))ut of all real estate and,
-capital invested in same, which may be required for the mainten-
ance and end of said institutions, but subject to the requisites and
limitations which federal laws mav establish through the Con-
^•ess of the rnion. (Reform of the 14th of March, 1901).



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Online LibraryLuis CabreraThe religious question in Mexico → online text (page 3 of 3)