This article studies an ecclesiastical census, the Relación de sacerdotes, that was compiled by the Secretariat of the Interior during Mexico's Cristero War in 1929. We propose that this statistical device ultimately helped the Catholic Church and the Portes Gil government to plot a way out of the religious crisis. It did so by providing a mutually acceptable means for priests to register with the postrevolutionary state and by providing a discursive mechanism for the Catholic clergy to present itself to the regime as a national, less Rome-oriented body. The Relación can therefore give historians insights into the contingent and bureaucratic ways that revolutionary and ecclesiastical elites renegotiated the contours of Mexico's secular order. The second half of the article contains an analysis of the Relación. There we argue that the Relación offers a kind of prosopographical and political snapshot of the Mexican clergy during the Cristero Rebellion.

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