Roman Catholic Church
Digital History ID 586
Father Joseph B. Macheboeuf
Archbishop Lamy had a fellow cleric, Father Joseph B. Macheboeuf, remove José Manuel Gallegos from his position of parish pastor. In this selection, Father Macheboeuf describes his actions.
My position was sufficiently delicate and difficult, for he [José Manuel Gallegos] was very popular in his set. I took advantage of his temporary absence in Old Mexico to take possession of the church and to announce from the pulpit the sentence of the Bishop, suspending him from the exercise of any priestly function. Some time later, when I was visiting some Indian parishes in the mountains, about seventy-five miles from Albuquerque, I heard that the Padre had returned and was going to dispute the possession of the church with me the next Sunday. This did not alarm me, but I thought it best to be prepared.... On Sunday morning I went to the church an hour earlier than usual in order to be on the ground and ready for anything that might happen. What was my astonishment upon arriving here to find the Padre in the pulpit and the church filled with people whom I knew to be his particular friends. These he had quietly gathered together, and now he was inciting them to revolt, or at least to resistance. I tried to enter the church through the sacristy, but this communicated with the presbytery, which he still occupied, and I found the doors locked. Going then to the main door of the church I entered, and assuming an air of boldness I commanded the crowd to stand aside and make room for me to pass. Then, as one having authority, I forced my way through the crowd and passed up by the pulpit just as the Padre pronounced the Bishop's name and mine in connection with the most atrocious accusations and insulting reflections. I went on until I reached the highest step of the sanctuary, and then turning I stood listening quietly till he had finished. Then all the people turned to me as if expecting an answer. I replied, and in the clearest manner refuted all his accusations, and I showed, moreover, that he was guilty of the scandals which had brought on his punishment....
From that moment the Padre lost all hope of driving me away, and, abandoning the Church, he went into politics. There was no doubt about his talents, and he used them to good effect in his new field, for through them he worked every kind of scheme until he succeeded in getting himself elected to the Congress of the United States as Delegate from the Territory of New Mexico.
Source: Ralph Emerson Twitchell, ed., The Leading Facts of New Mexican History. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1912, II: 832-34.
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