This study of a period in Mexican religious and intellectual history begins with the year in which Emperor Maximilian was shot by the Juaristas, covers the whole Porfiriato, and ends with the year in which General Victoriano Huerta was driven into exile by Carranza and other men of the Revolution. The first half of the volume tells how the losers in the Conservative-Liberal conflict of the mid-nineteenth century carried on their ideological struggle; the second half describes how another generation of Catholic thinkers sought to interpret and to apply new papal directives.

Part I, entitled “El tradicionalismo político,” was written originally under the direction of Professor Andrés Lira González and presented as a doctoral dissertation in the Centro de Estudios Históricos of El Colégio de México. Covering the years 1867-92, it focuses on the thought of Alejandro Arango y Escandón, Ignacio Aguilar y Marocho, Tirso Rafael de Córdoba, Miguel Martínez, José de Jesús Cuevas, Manuel García Aguirre, Bishop José María Díez de Sollano, Archbishop Pelagio Antonio de Labastida y Dávalos, and others. These católicos conservadores had been overwhelmed by Mexican Liberals, but they remained steadfast in defense of traditionalist ideals: a social order based on Christian doctrine and a political system featuring cooperation between secular authorities and the hierarchy of an established Catholic church.

Part II, entitled “El catolicismo social,” tells of the impact of Rerum Novarum and other papal documents as reformist ideals were disseminated in Mexico by another generation of Catholic thinkers that included laymen (Trinidad Sánchez Santos, Miguel Palomar y Vizcarra, Refugio Galindo, Francisco Pascual García), bishops (Emeterio Valverde Tellez, Othón Núñez, José Mora y del Río, Ramón Ibarra, Miguel de la Mora), and priests (Alfredo Méndez Medina, José Castillo y Piña, Bernardo Bergöend). These reformers sought to implement the new Catholic social doctrine through education and propaganda, and through organizations that included the Confederación de Círculos Católicos de Obreros, the Liga Agraria Popular, the Asociación de Damas Católicas Mexicanas, and the Liga Nacional de Estudiantes Católicos. In the political field, they inspired creation of the Partido Católico Nacional, which enjoyed limited successes (for example, in Jalisco) under the administrations of Madero and Huerta, but was suppressed by the Carrancista regime.

This work is based entirely upon published Spanish-language sources; and it draws heavily on editorials and articles found in three Mexican newspapers: La Voz de México (1870-1912), El País (1894-1914), and El Tiempo (1883-1912). These materials have been researched effectively, but the author does not cite Miguel Palomar y Vizcarra’s excellent oral history memoir printed in México visto en el siglo veinte: Entrevistas de historia oral by James W. Wilkie and Edna Monzón de Wilkie (1969).

As is the case with many good books, this volume has lamentable printing errors, some of which are listed on the one-page “Fe de Erratas Notables.” To the list should be added another error that will be especially notable to norteamericanos: the single reference to President “Gaufier” (p. 203) should be President James A. Garfield. More important, however, is the fact that Adame Goddard has performed a useful service in chronicling the development of Catholic political and social thought through a period of nearly fifty years when neither traditionalist nor reformist thinkers held high office in Mexico’s government.