The Blu Ray and DVD releases of For Greater Glory are coming out on September 11, 2012. For Greater Glory tells the story of the Cristeros who bravely fought for religious freedom and the Church in the 1920s in Mexico. I heartily recommend this film. The above video is Father Robert Barron’s insightful review of the film. (I believe he is too sanguine as to the effectiveness of purely non-violent movements in the face of regimes who don’t care how many people they kill, but that is a debate for another day.) The below video has additional remarks by Father Barron on the film. Go here for my review of the film. Continue reading
No one, surely, Venerable Brothers, can hazard a prediction or foresee in imagination the hour when the good God will bring to an end such calamities. We do know this much: The day will come when the Church of Mexico will have respite from this veritable tempest of hatred, for the reason that, according to the words of God “there is no wisdom, there is no prudence, there is no counsel against the Lord” (Prov. xxi, 30) and “the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Matt. xvi, 18) against the Spotless Bride of Christ.
Pius XI, INIQUIS AFFLICTISQUE
I knew that my viewing of For Greater Glory was going to be something special when two Dominican nuns, in habits, came out of the showing before the one my family and I attended and one of them remarked to me that it was a very powerful film. I replied that we were looking forward to seeing it. Well, that wasn’t completely true. My worldly, jaded 17 year old daughter would much have preferred to have been back home killing zombies online with her internet chums. By the end of the film she was weeping over the scene in which 14 year old Blessed José Sánchez del Río, stunningly portrayed by Mauricio Kuri, was martyred. I did not blame her. I have not been so deeply moved by a film since I saw The Passion of the Christ.
Before we go any farther, I should announce the obligatory spoiler alert. I will be mentioning plot elements that people who have not seen the film might not wish to have revealed to them. For those wishing to continue on, if you have not read my initial post here on the historical background of the Cristeros War, you might find it helpful to look at it before reading this review. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
We wish to pay a special tribute of praise to those members of the clergy, secular and regular, and of the Catholic laity, who, moved by burning zeal for religion and maintaining themselves in close obedience to this Apostolic See, have written glorious pages in the recent history of the Church in Mexico.
Pius XI, Acerba animi
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 have found some new video clips online from the film. The video at the beginning of the post shows Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, portrayed by Andy Garcia, and his family being turned away from a Church closed by the Mexican government. Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, not a believing Catholic at the start of the struggle, would eventually become the leader of the Cristeros.
In the above clip Father Christopher, portrayed by Peter O’Toole, rejects the counsel to flee from government troops by Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, portrayed by Mauricio Kuri. Captured by government soldiers during the Cristeros War, Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio refused a command to renounce his Catholic faith by shouting out “Death to Christ the King” and was murdered by his captors. He shouted Viva Cristo Rey before he died and, according to an eyewitness, drew a cross on the ground with his blood and kissed it before he died. He was 14 years old. He was beatified by Pope Benedict on November 20, 2005. Continue reading