There is well known to Us, Venerable Brethren – and it is a great cause of consolation for Our paternal heart – your constancy, that of your priests and of the great part of the Mexican faithful, in ardently professing the Catholic Faith and in opposing the impositions of those who, ignoring the divine excellence of the religion of Jesus Christ and knowing it only through the calumnies of its enemies, delude themselves that they are not able to accomplish reforms for the good of the people except by combating the religion of the great majority.
Pius XI, FIRMISSIMAM CONSTANTIAM
The film, For Greater Glory, the heroic story of the Cristeros who fought for the Church and religious liberty in the twenties of the last century in Mexico, is opening on June 1. Go here to read my first post on the film and the historical background of the Cristeros War. I will be seeing the movie with my family on Saturday, and I will have a full review of the film on Sunday or Monday. In the meantime, reviews are beginning to come in. I enjoyed this one by Dustin Siggins at Hot Air:
Over the last several years Catholics in America and Europe have experienced what they believe are the stripping of religious rights, and many are concerned the situation could easily turn into a public confrontation with various governments. One example of this is in England, where just this week the federal government has moved to declare wearing crosses in public is not a right. On this side of the water, my church’s parochial vicar Father Robert Lange often quotes His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, who in 2010 said the following: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
Such things were on my mind as I watched “For Greater Glory,” a movie about the Cristeros, or “soldiers for Christ,” who fought against religious persecution by the Mexican government from 1926 to 1929. The movie starts with laws which encroach upon religious freedom relatively benignly, such as not allowing the public wear of religious symbols. The Mexican government then moves to decry foreigners who allegedly control the nation’s citizens, particularly the Vatican, and rounds up all foreign-born bishops and priests to force them to leave the country. Peaceful rallies and protests are responded to with military force, which leads to an economic boycott.
The boycott is the last straw for Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles. Ignoring the counsel of his advisers, he begins invading churches and killing Catholic priests and parishioners. This leads to protests of various forms, from peacefully marching in the streets to violent rebellion. At the heart of the entire movie are a teenage boy who sees his mentor shot before his eyes, an atheist whose wife’s Catholic faith and his own belief in religious freedom cause him to lead the rebellion, a woman whose network of faithful Catholic women is critical to the rebellion’s early formation, a rebel whose legendary fighting skills are matched by his disdain for authority, and a priest whose violent leadership in the rebellion causes a great deal of spiritual uncertainty.
Go here to read the rest. This is a must see movie for all American Catholics and all Americans who cherish religious liberty. The film is in limited release, so go here to the movie website to find a theater in your area showing it.
Update: Steve Greydanus has a first rate review of the film at National Catholic Register:
Visiting Mexico earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted ongoing restrictions on religious freedom in Mexico’s Constitution. In the United States, the U.S. bishops have made a top priority the defense of religious freedom against encroaching federal tyranny on a host of fronts, from immoral health-care mandates to acquiescence to same-sex “marriage.”
The magnitude of the conflict around religious freedom today is something no one could have predicted when production began on For Greater Glory. Some might call the film’s timing providential. I wouldn’t argue with them. For Greater Glory is the right movie at the right time.
Go here to read the brilliant rest.