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Catholic priests were leading figures in the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence.

In 1810, Hidalgo gave the Grito de Dolores; in 1811, Morelos occupied Acapulco and Mercado took San Blas. All three were executed.

Later, professional soldiers took over the war effort and succeeded in achieving independence. Iturbide, the first individual ruler of independent Mexico, kept conservative clerics in his inner circle during his short rule. Religious doctrines can be deployed to support any kind of policies, but I'd expect collaboration like this from ranking members of a state church, more than violent uprisings.

Why were the churchmen so prominent in the independence struggle?

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    There is always the fact that churchmen would have had, in average, a way better education and more influence than the simple peasant. Then there is the fact that some of the above mentioned did know each other (at least Hidalgo and Morelos) and so they are not independent "events". – SJuan76 May 10 '18 at 23:21
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    And last but not least, churchmen intervention in military operations was far from a new thing. From the historical perspective we have examples like the military orders and Ignacio de Loyola, closer in time the Spanish church did take an active role against the French first and the Spanish liberals later. This article provides some details, although I do not know enough about the subject to endorse it: eial.tau.ac.il/index.php/eial/article/view/282 (HTH). It is noteworthy that it seems that Hidalgo claimed to be defending absolutism and the church to get his parishioners'support – SJuan76 May 10 '18 at 23:27
  • A marriage between church and political power in general has been going on since at least the time of Emperor Constantin. Noteworthy is for example that that politician was able to not just call all the bishops to the council in Nicaea but also presided over it, even though it supposedly was expected to decide over spiritual matters. Of course there was this underlying thought of unifying the church not just within itself but also with Roman paganism for political purposes. – user100487 May 21 '18 at 1:08
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    Mike Duncan covers this pretty well, I think, in his 9.02 podcast. If memory serves me well, Hidalgo was in charge of a church division that was supposed to enforce censorship, and thus was authorized to read seditious texts (which he loved to do, and indeed embraced). Morellos was one of his pupils. I don't recollect off the top of my head for Mercado. But the short answer is the clergy played a role in censorship, but in reading so much enlightenment writings those in charge of censoring it ended up embracing it. – Denis de Bernardy Aug 13 at 18:21

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