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Madero, who overthrew Diaz in 1911 with the moral support of much of the Catholic clergy.
The Catholic bishops of the country responded to Calles with the suspension of public worship, in the apparent hope that they would stiffen the resolve of Catholics to resist the government’s measures.
However, they had little idea of the explosive forces that they were about to unleash.
In Mexico City alone, 118 schools and dozens of convents were closed.
In some states, Catholic education was prohibited altogether, and no schools were permitted to teach the Catechism, an activity that was sometimes prohibited even in churches.
The forces of Carranza and Obregon defeated Zapata and Villa, and established Carranza as president of Mexico in 1917.
The Carranza-Obregon faction was openly wedded to Marxist ideology, and under its leadership the Mexican government would become the first sovereign state in the western hemisphere to recognize the Soviet Union.
These numbers often left one priest to serve tens of thousands of people spread over large areas, an impossible task that meant the end of Catholic sacramental life for many.
The effect on Catholic education was equally devastating.
The new constitution also declared that education must be lacking in religious content, and prohibited religious institutions from operating primary or secondary schools.
It gave the state governments the right to regulate the number of clergy permitted to operate in their jurisdictions, a power that eventually would be used to eliminate public worship for millions. All religious groups were deprived of legal recognition.