St. Cesar?

San Jose leaders propose Catholic sainthood for farm labor leader
Cesar Chavez mural in San Fernando ('I am San Fernando' blog)

Cesar Chavez mural in San Fernando (‘I am San Fernando’ blog)

The following comes from a March 28 Santa Cruz Sentinel article by Matt O’Brien: 


SAN JOSE — Family members of labor leader Cesar Chavez led a march in his honor Saturday through the neighborhood where he once lived, and some supporters also used the birthday commemoration to revive a movement to make Chavez a Catholic saint.

“This is the beginning of a campaign to canonize Cesar Chavez,” said Rudy Chavez Medina, a nephew of the legendary California activist. “When you look at Cesar’s life — and all the lives he touched — that’s a miracle.”

Laying out a detailed case for Chavez’s canonization was the Rev. Jon Pedigo, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, whose proposal was met with surprise and elation from some veterans of the United Farm Workers movement.

The process of officially declaring someone a saint requires a long, complicated investigation by the Catholic Church, usually to prove that the person miraculously cured physical ailments. But Pedigo said it can begin with a popular movement.

Librado Chavez, 80, said he would be happy if his older brother was made a saint.

“That would be great,” he said as he led the march carrying a tapestry showing the Virgin of Guadalupe. “I’m all for it.”

Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez

But older sister Rita Chavez Medina, 89, who was inseparable with Cesar Chavez during their youth, said her brother would have opposed such a grandiose idea.

“He was a famous man, but to me he was my brother,” she said. “He would have said, ‘Why me?’ ”

An earlier movement to make Chavez a saint, which began in the Bay Area in 2007, stalled because of the opposition of high-ranking clergy such as the Rev. John Steinbock, bishop of the Fresno Diocese. There, Pedigo said, animosity still exists between union organizers and the farm owners, many of them also Catholic, with whom they were at loggerheads.

But that could change because of the growing recognition of Chavez’s transformative work in lifting up the lives of Latino laborers and other marginalized people, Pedigo said.

Some said Saturday that Chavez’s good works were on par with modern-day figures such as Mother Teresa, who was beatified in 2003, and Archbishop Oscar Romero, killed by a right-wing El Salvador death squad in 1980 and officially declared a Catholic martyr last month by Pope Francis.

“What a saint does is awaken the holiness in other people,” Pedigo said. “Cesar Chavez is already a de facto saint for people who are looking for social change.”

Among the marchers who agreed with Pedigo was Dave Cortese, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. The former mayoral candidate said that as a Catholic he hopes to see Chavez become a saint one day.

Social “transformation qualifies as a miracle,” Cortese said. “It doesn’t need to be just physical healing.”



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  1. Anything supported by Roger Mahony needs to be seriously reviewed. He was a very evil Cardinal as most of us know, and he helped organize several of the marches by Chavez.
    Mahony is well know for full support for breaking US Laws – ILLEGAL immigration.

    Politico’s are not Saints. And this would do the Church a disservice. Chavez like the rest of us will get our reward or punishment at death – and Jesus will be the judge.
    Pridefully, being idolized by humans means nothing in the long run.

    • Don’t forget about Mahony breaking the law against sex with children – since he hid so many abusive priests.

  2. Was Cesar Chavez a faithful Catholic? Or is that any longer a requirement for sainthood?

  3. Many liberal Catholics want to, or have already in their minds and hearts, canonized Martin Luther, and Martin Luther King. And yet, Blessed Henry Suso is still a blessed after hundreds of years, and Pope Pius XII and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen are only venerable. Pope Francis is going to mark Archbishop Romero a saint, (a cleric who disobeyed Pope John Paul II!) This is a time of great confusion and apostasy. In other words; Diabolical Disorientation!

  4. Where is the evidence of heroic virtue in Chavez? Was he even a faithful Catholic? People may be regarded as saints by some, but the road to canonization is a long and sometimes difficult one, and rightly so. The Church cannot definitively proclaim that a person is in heaven unless it has investigated every aspect of a person’s life and work. How many holy people are in line for sainthood but the requisite miracles are not yet known, or someone in authority has thrown in a monkey wrench to stop the process as in the case of Bishop Sheen?


    A wise woman friend of mine had a way of putting these in perspective. When asked about a certain issue or person, Agnes V. would reply, “Time will tell.” And thus it is with a saint. Time will tell. What are the fruits? Time will tell.

    • Gratias says:

      Some of the fruits were the California grapes that withered on the vine because of the Cesar Chavez Communist Agitation. Chavez was a star pupil of Saul Alinsky, the one that dedicated his masterpiece Rule for Radicals to the Devil Himself. Cesar Chavez has been surpassed by community agitator Barack Hussein so perhaps the NewChurch can save the intermediate step and elevate Barry instead.

  6. If anyone pushes that agenda I’ll reveal information I have about Chavez and his thuggish threats against a Catholic institution in the Napa Valley.

    • Oh, please go ahead, Larry – drop your bombshell. Don’t ask us to believe an un-named, un-described smear.

      • Brian S. I do have a bombshell and I will drop it if anyone is so foolish as to pursue the nonsense of a cause of canonization for the guy.

        • Brian S says:

          Larry, I’m sure you realize that I imagine your bombshell to be more of a well-doused firecracker. However, Robert S. is correct. Our time here is short, and the life of the Church is long. Stop flattering yourself that your threat is in any way achieving anything now, and enter anything you have into the historical record now.

    • Robert S. says:

      Larry if you can prove and have documentation, you have an obligation to provide copies and/or other information to the Diocese Bishop and the US Papal Nuncio in Washington DC.
      You should not wait for this to go any further.

  7. Technically speaking, anyone who dies in the state of grace, and is not in Purgatory, or Hell, but in Heaven, is a saint. However, not many people have lived lives of heroic virtue. Chavez was not a nice man. He was mean, he was a communist, and a liberal. Oh, he may have gone to Mass frequently and received Holy Communion (very few people who attend Mass abstain from Holy Communion), but that does not mean he did not commit the sin of sacrilege, and maybe he went to Mass just to ‘show off’. Before all the radical changes in the Church three miracles had to be proven, and there was a strict process that had to be followed, and there was a devil’s advocate. It also took time, and the process was thoroughly investigated, not rammed through like cattle in a stockade. Do not expect many Catholics to pray to these ‘liberal giants of Catholic lite’. These could be termed ‘pseudo saints’ at best.

    • This will cause scandal and set a false/bad example for Mexicans.

      • You do realize that Chavez was born in Arizona, that he served in the U.S. Navy, and that he lived in the United States his entire life, don’t you, Sally?

    • Recently the proposed canonization of certain persons has caused opposition or confusion. So I think it prudent to return to the former standards/practices of the requisite three verified miracles, as well as the re-introduction of the investigatory work done by the “devil’s advocate” (but lose that title!—-he’s not doing the devil’s work, but the Church’s). The faithful are entitled to a process which assures that they should truly venerate the canonized.

  8. I thought this post was about Sid Cesar.

  9. Father Karl says:

    I believe the Gallo family, who grew grapes and made wine, were outstanding Catholics in the San Joaquin Valley. Chavez and his gang of thugs caused much pain and hardship to the Gallos. How absolutely tragic it would be if this communist and rabble rouser would be canonized. But then, we would not be forced to pray to him. We could instead pray to St. Christopher, St. Felix, as well as to St. Philomena, who were real saints, and never caused scandal to anyone (except to those who questioned their existence).

    • Brian S says:

      The Gallo family may have been outstanding Catholics in some ways, however they treated their hired help very badly indeed. One need not consider Chavez a saint to recognize that.

    • Those imperialist running dog Gallos. Year after year Earnest & Julio exploit Manuel Labor, and year after year like clockwork this spirited pater familias leaves hearth and home to travel hundreds, even thousands of miles to the very same Gallo vineyards for his proverbial denarius. Why, Manuel even spreads word to friends and relations who join him in this inspirational display of unfettered Capitalism (Pope Francis, call your office.)

      Gluttons for punishment, or enterprising free marketers? You be (not) the judge.

      • . . . and alla famiglia Gallo: Good people, good wine. By their enemies (Marxist revolutionaries) shall ye know them.

  10. “Laying out a detailed case for Chavez’s canonization was the Rev. Jon Pedigo, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.”

    Rev Jon Pedigo has a pronounced lean left: no surprise he advances the cause for Chavez. See more at “Gay Catholics come out” Metro Active November 18. 2009 :

  11. Why don’t we canonize Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler Robin Williams, and other famous people that a few people admire? After all, maybe they died after going to confession. Just a bit of irony on how easy it is to become a saint these days. Everyone wants to get to Heaven, but they are unwilling to die to the world in order to get there.

  12. FrMichael says:

    Mary, wow, that article you linked to. At first I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. Unbelievable.

    • St. Christopher says:

      Why the surprise, “FrMichael”? There are two Catholic Churches in America, and perhaps more. The one outlined in the article, “Gay Catholics Come out,” is simply sad, and infuriating. Sad, because it shows what happens when a Church become theologically flabby and forgets to preach Christ Crucified to its people.

      Infuriating, because of the scandal caused by bishops, like Bishop McGrath, who directly refuse to understand, and implement, the Gospel and Catholic doctrine. People in sin will naturally become encouraged when a bishop does all but proclaim that their “sin” is no sin at all, but some kind of “grace” provided by God. The language of the Relatio regarding homosexuals was no accident, in speaking of “gifts” provided through the mere fact of their sodomy.

      Just think of it — Catholic bishops and cardinals saying anything — anything — positive about God providing special graces due to the fact of men having anal sex. The article about the outrageous pro-homosexual leadership of the San Jose Diocese should lead the Vatican to immediately do something about this. But they won’t.

      And, why no? Well, for one thing, the Vatican is pretty much signing on to the Modernist Agenda. Not only homosexuals will benefit, but all of those who practice on the dark side of sexual ethics. Pope Francis knew what he was saying when answering, “Who am I to judge”. He knew indeed (and it is foolish to ignore it, or to engage in Pope idol worship).

  13. The Gallo workers here in California were treated much better than they were in Mexico, and that is a fact, not fiction.

  14. Better than Gallo workers in Mexico, Pilar? What does that have to do with anything? Chavez was born and lived in the United States.

    No doubt conditions that concern you here are even worse in other countries. Does that mean you should be satisfied?

    • John S. says:

      And Chavez was fully aided and abetted by Mahony –
      the same Roger Mahony who unsuccessfully tried to steal EWTN from Mother Angelica;
      and the same Roger Mahony who aided and abetted child abusing Priests – as proven in LA Diocese and Court Documents.

  15. Most of the workers who labored in the San Joaquin Valley were from Mexico. Because he was an agitator, Chavez probably did little or no physical work. Your snide comments are not very nice, and not very Christian, especially during Holy Week. No one attacked YOU, but you attack people with whom you disagree . Facts are facts. Leave the mud slinging to unfaithful Catholics and other haters of the truth.

    • On the nationality of most farm workers, under Chavez’s leadership, the UFW famously fought against the importation of Mexican labor – a position in alignment with most of the commentators here.

      However, everytime his name arises in Cal Catholic, posters make it clear why Chavez was forced to find his allies not among his fellow Churchmen where his appeal to worker justice should have resonated, but on the Left. This is a sad and ongoing fact.

  16. Brian S says:

    I know more about how field hands were treated in California than how they were treated in Mexico, but no matter the injustice, any place this side of hell will allow worse examples to be found. This is an argument?

    Why do you seek solace that in its injustice our country might have been less unjust than the totalitarian country of 60’s Mexico, especially considering its by-then long history of suppressing the Church and killing priests?

    • Brian S., ” ILLEGAL” immigrants should not be allowed to work in the USA – PERIOD. (This has nothing to do with any foreign country.)

      Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA):
      1) requires employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status;
      2) made it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly;
      3) legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants, and;
      4) legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt;
      5) candidates were required to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the country before January 1, 1982,
      6) and that they possessed minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language.

      “LEGAL” immigrants (as well as citizens) should be and are entitled to protection under Federal Labor Laws.
      They do not need UAW or other unions, who merely want to grow their membership for their dues – to support the Democratic Party of Death.

      • Brian S says:

        Ted, you ignore the Church’s long standing support for labor unions, among other realities, in favor of a utopian notion of an all-caring State. But, I look forward to reading more from you in favor of minimum wages, workman’s compensation, overtime hour protections, and other aspects of Federal Labor Law.

        • The Church supported Unions PRIOR to Unions using their resources to promote candidates and policies that promote all taxpayers paying for:
          Abortion, Contraception, Homosexual Marriage, (and soon Euthanasia).

          Union leaders use Union dues and Union poll workers, and other Union resources to support evil. These include but are not limited to: UAW, AFL-CIO, SEIU , AFSCME, and other top unions.

          Regarding wages, etc:
          CCC: ” 2411 Contracts are subject to commutative justice which regulates exchanges between persons and between institutions in accordance with a strict respect for their rights.
          Commutative justice obliges strictly;
          it requires safeguarding property rights, paying debts, and fulfilling obligations freely contracted.
          Without commutative justice, no other form of justice is possible.
          One distinguishes commutative justice from legal justice which concerns what the citizen owes in fairness to the community,
          and from distributive justice which regulates what the community owes its citizens in proportion to their contributions and needs. “

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