Roger Ebert Pans For Greater Glory For Being Too Catholic
Roger Ebert is one of the more celebrated movie critics in the country. He is also a secular liberal of a fairly exteme variety. This was on display in his review of For Greater Glory. Go here to read the review.
Ebert confesses that he had never heard of the Cristeros war:
This war has all the elements to make it well-known, but I confess I’d never heard of it. A close Mexican-American friend, well-informed in Mexican history, told me she never has, either. Is it in the usual history books? You’ll learn a lot about it in “For Greater Glory,” the most expensive film ever made in Mexico, an ambitious production with a cast filled with stars.
Judging from the rest of the review, this confession of ignorance was superfluous.
Ebert seems to lack any concept of the Catholic beliefs regarding martyrdom:
It is well-made, yes, but has such pro-Catholic tunnel vision I began to question its view of events. One important subplot involves a 12-year-old boy choosing to die for his faith. Of course the federal troops who shot him were monsters, but the film seems to approve of his decision and includes him approvingly in a long list of Cristeros who have achieved sainthood or beatification after their deaths in the war.
Yes Mr. Ebert, we Catholics do believe it is better to die than to deny Christ. We have it from the mouth of Christ that this is what we should do. If you have problems with this, take it up with Him.
Ebert seems to believe that it is OK to persecute the Church a little, but Mexican President Calles took things a wee bit too far:
President Calles (Ruben Blades), who can’t believe the Cristeros can possibly be successful, pursues the war beyond what seems to be all common sense. It’s one thing to enforce legal restraints on the Catholic Church and another — a riskier one — to order such extremes as sending all the bishops and foreign-born clergy out of the country and authorizing the murder of priests in their own churches.
Overall Ebert thinks that For Greater Glory is a good film, but all this Catholic business ruins it:
For Greater Glory” is the kind of long, expensive epic not much made any more. It bears the hallmarks of being a labor of love. I suspect it’s too long for some audiences. It is also very heavy on battle scenes, in which the Cristeros seem to have uncannily good aim. But in its use of locations and sets, it’s an impressive achievement by director Dean Wright, whose credits include some of the effects on the “Lord of the Rings” films. If it had not hewed so singlemindedly to the Catholic view and included all religions under the banner of religious liberty, I believe it would have been more effective. If your religion doesn’t respect the rights of other religions, it is lacking something.
Hoo boy. Mr. Ebert, the Cristeros were fighting for religious liberty and the Catholic Church stands for religious liberty. I can only assume that you acquired your ideas about the Catholic Church from people who know as much about the Church as you do about the Cristeros War. For your edification here is a passage from the Catechism on the topic of religious freedom:
2106 “Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits.”34 This right is based on the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it “continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it.”35
2107 “If because of the circumstances of a particular people special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional organization of a state, the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom must be recognized and respected as well.”36
2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error,37 but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.38