Question for Catholics, what are your views on the Malverde Shrine?


Here is an article I found, Celebrating San Malverde, patron saint of thieves and drug dealers

Malverde: Mexico's Drug Trafficking Saint

In the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa in northern Mexico, drug traffickers flock to a small unofficial church, paying homage for their success in the criminal underworld.

Update 2:

Jesus Malverde, patron saint of Mexican drug dealers

Youtube thumbnail

5 Answers

  • Tiger
    Lv 7
    6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is a fake, even for Catholics. Few believe he is a true saint.



    Circa 1870 Jesús Malverde is reported to have been born near the town of Mocorito, Mexico.

    1909 (May 3) Malverde was reportedly killed by Mexican authorities.

    1969 A shrine to Malverde was constructed in Culiacan in the state of Sinola by Eligio González León.

    2007 A Shrine to Malvede was constructed in Mexico City by Maria Alicia Pulido Sanchez.


    The actual existence of Jesús Malverde as an individual is debated, even if there are families who claim that their relatives actually knew Malverde ("Jesús Malverde, Angel de Los Pobres," 2012). It is most often concluded that he is a legendary figure constructed from a number of countercultural folk saints and political bandits. Crechan and Garcia (2005:14) state that "Haraclio Bernal and Felipe Bachomo are the two central influences on the Malverde myth and each lends biographical detail to the social construction of his biography." "Thunderbolt" Bernal led rebellious "miners against governmental land-grabs on behalf of international investors" while Bachomo "attacked American owned sugar factories, South Pacific railway supply lines, and American distilleries during the revolutionary war" (Crechan and Garcia 2005:14). If there was an historical figure, he is most often described as being born Jesus Juarez Mazo around 1870 near the town of Mocorito, Mexico. His death at the hands of Mexican authorities is reported as May 3, 1909. Most of the varied accounts of his life are therefore best understood as hagiography, in this case constructed largely by those who have elevated his persona to the status of folk saint.

    What is known is that the borderlands between northern Mexico and the southern United States have long been a primary center of the drug grade. The historical period that is associated with Malverde's banditry occurred during the governmental administration of Porfirio Diaz, which began in 1887. Diaz sought to develop and modernize the Mexican economy by supporting corporate expansion and attracting foreign-owned business. The building of a railway system increased the penetration of the national economy into the once relatively independent rural areas. The result was a rapid increase in upper status wealth and power and increased impoverishment of the peasantry. The Mexican state of Sinola, where Malverde, reputedly stole from the rich haciendas and gave to the poor, is one of the areas where the drug trade first became established. Guillermoprieto (2010) reports that "Sinaloa was an ideal location for a clandestine trade catering to the U.S. market. The early traffickers' operations were restricted largely to growing marijuana in the mountains or buying it from other growers along the Pacific coast, then smuggling it into the U.S. for a neat profit. For decades this was a comparatively low-risk and low-volume operation, and violence was contained within the drug world.

    One of the consequences of the desperate circumstances of the poorest elements of the population in this area was the appearance of Marian apparitions, live saints who offered miraculous healings, and dead figures who also offered solace and protection. Arias and Durand (2009:12) report that "Between 1880 and 1940, the northern border saw the appearance and flourishing of two types of cult. On the one hand were living people who gained fame as saints due to their 'miraculous' healing abilities…. This was the case with La Santa de Cabora and El Niño Fidencio, both of whom were well-known and venerated during their lives. Santa de Cabora is venerated in Chihuahua after being deported from Mexico for purportedly inciting an uprising by the Indians (Hawley 2010). El Niño Fidencio was a famous healer who treated thousands of sick and injured persons who sometimes traveled great distances to seek his assistance. On the other hand were dead figures who began granting miracles from beyond and whose graves became pilgrimage sites and shrines, as was the case with Jesús Malverde and Juan Soldado." Juan Soldado (Juan the Soldier) was a private in the Mexican Army, who devotees believe was falsely executed and whose protection is now sought by migrants for border crossings around Tijuana. Malverde, of course, was a legendery bandit, in the mold of Robin Hood, who stole money from the rich and gave to the poor, and Pancho Villa, the famed revolutionary war general who seized land from large hacienda owners and redistributed it to soldiers and peasants.

  • KoryP
    Lv 4
    6 years ago


    I honestly don't know very much about it and have only read a bit from here:

    The Catholic Church does not recognize Jesús Malverde as a saint ... It seems the locals think of him as a sort of Robin Hood figure and, it sounds like, there's contention as to whether or not he ever existed. Maybe he did, and maybe he was a great guy. Maybe not. In more recent times, it seems people have labeled him the "patron saint of drug traffickers". Is this by the traffickers themselves, who are trying to sanction their actions? Or is it by their family members, praying that their relative traffickers will repent?

    More generally, Catholicism teaches you can't put the (good) end (helping the poor) before the (bad) means used to achieve it (trafficking). It's a sin to traffic drugs (knowing it causes harm to others) for the purpose of helping the local poor people. At the same time, the Church recognizes that if a person is convinced they have to choose between trafficking or starving to death, their culpability for trafficking would be diminished. In any case, it's not at all surprising to me that impoverished people would be grateful for help--especially if they are oblivious to the harm that their helpers might have caused in the process. I'm certain every American is guilty of the same thing ... on some level ... do you own anything that might have been made by exploited factory workers in China!? Still, I bet you are grateful for your iPad! And maybe you've visited the Apple Store shrine and observed someone sweeping the floor (as can be seen in this video). oooo!!!

    Anyway, sorry, I guess I don't know enough information to make a determination. But it's not sanctioned by the Catholic Church anyway, so maybe it's a moot issue.

  • 6 years ago

    If it makes drug-traffickers comfortable about their evil

    life- damaging and poisoning trade then it is serving evil.

    If he gave to the poor from the evils of drug taking he was simply appeasing his conscience.

    Sometimes the mental image of our Lady the Virgin Mary, has blurred the image of her Son in many a person's inner 'eye'. This is NOT HER message to the world! She always points us to her Son, Jesus, in her genuine apparitions.

    Any shrine that does not revere and worship God and Jesus is a false altar. It is in truth - pagan, especially the habit of leaving food and wine! This is most definitely a custom of pagan religions.

    If anyone is exalted to a place of hero-worship akin to Divine worship, this is clearly idolatry.

    Quite honestly I see it as an insult to God and therefore blasphemous, for our God is Perfect, Righteous and Holy.

    If I were the Church Fathers I would seriously research it and have it (no doubt) destroyed)... but that would cause too much of a what! - People are suffering dying for the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ today.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Jesus Malverde Shrine

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  • John S
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    As a Catholic I don't know what that is. The video doesn't make it any clearer.

    Shrines are used by lots of people for lots of reasons.

    There were pictures of other people... is this some sorta memorial wall, like the Vietnam memorial or something?

    So I have no opinion as I lack information on it. I would reserve judgement until such time as I have enough information to formulate an opinion.

    Thanks for askin'

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