Father Barron Reviews For Greater Glory

Monday, September 10, AD 2012

The Blu Ray and DVD releases of For Greater Glory are coming out on September 11, 2012For 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.

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12 Responses to Father Barron Reviews For Greater Glory

  • Thank you, Donald! I watched Fr. Barron’s first video above, but it’s now time to shower to go to “Neutrons ‘R Us” and be productive. But I just wanted to say that while I am among the first to advocate that our Second Amendment protests the First, maybe there is something to Jesus’ rebuke against the sons of thunder for wanting to call down an air strike against those unrepentant villages of yore. True – not the same situation as the Cristeros, but victory is through the Cross and always has been. I will still, however, keep my mini-14 in good working order lest, Heaven forbid, we ourselves in America face our own Plutarco Elias Calles. God bless!

  • Opps – protects, NOT protests! Darn fat fingers on iPad keyboard!

  • Christ was never interested in politics Paul, or any of the more mundane matters that must concern us. The truth is that Christianity has been effectively exterminated by force in many regions of the planet throughout history. The examples cited by Father Barron, Gandhi and King, would have been completely useless in the face of totalitarian regimes. One can imagine the short shrift that Gandhi would have received if the Nazis had ultimately conquered the British Empire for example. Traditionally the Church has understood both the need for priests and soldiers and I stand by that traditional wisdom.

    “And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,

    And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.”

  • “One can imagine the short shrift that Gandhi would have received if the Nazis had ultimately conquered the British Empire for example.”

    Sounds like you may have read Harry Turtledove’s “The Last Article.”

    One of the grimmer short stories from his oeuvre.

  • Thought so. 🙂

    Great, insightful alternate history that rings wholly true.

    Sure, the tyrant can repent in the face of non-violence, but he has to accept the legitimacy of that tactic in the first place. He has to have a conscience, and it has to be a lot like yours.

    Speaking of grim Turtledove ruminations, I just re-read “Ready for the Fatherland” last night–my wife found it in storage. A helpful reminder that one of the greatest assets to the Allied cause in wartime was Hitler’s armchair generalship.

  • Gandhi’s advice to the Jews in Germany prior to World War 2:

    “Can the Jews resist this organized and shameless persecution? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect, and not to feel helpless, neglected and forlorn? I submit there is. No person who has faith in a living God need feel helpless or forlorn. Jehovah of the Jews is a God more personal than the God of the Christians, the Musalmans or the Hindus, though, as a matter of fact in essence, He is common to all the one without a second and beyond description. But as the Jews attribute personality to God and believe that He rules every action of theirs, they ought not to feel helpless. If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment . And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed in the world outside Germany can. Indeed, even if Britain, France and America were to declare hostilities against Germany, they can bring no inner joy, no inner strength. The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the god fearing, death has no terror. It is a joyful sleep to be followed by a waking that would be all the more refreshing for the long sleep.”

    Gandhi’s belief in non-violence admitted no failure, even if all the people attempting it were massacred. I assume the Jews found this letter cold comfort indeed, as the more perceptive among them no doubt realized that a massacre on an unbelievable scale was where the Nazi anti-Semitic policies were heading.

  • Toleration, passive aggressive-resistance and non-violent resistance.

    Being sued and penalized for practicing my freedom of religion is not toleration. Government is the servant of the sovereign person. Toleration of freedom by the government is the enslavement of the sovereign person. Freedom comes from God, our “Creator”.

    Government is constituted by its constituents to celebrate the freedom of its constituents, to protect, to guard and to do combat for the freedom of its constituents. Toleration of the freedom of religion by the individuals who constitute government is totalitarianism. Non-violent resistance is labeled “passive aggressive resistance” by a government that is no longer government, but dictatorship. The dictatorship says: “I will let you…have some of your rational, immortal soul”. The dictatorship says: “You did not build that”.

    Government says: “God built that”.

    Paul W. Primavera: May your “fat fingers” continue to comment.

    Donald McClarey: “Traditionally the Church has understood both the need for priests and soldiers and I stand by that traditional wisdom.” “You shall not stand idly by while your neighbor’s life is in jeopardy.”

  • I think Fr. Barron’s priase of those who didn’t directluy participate in the fighting and writing off the combatants as merely “well intentioned” rather silly when you consider the fat that the young boy who has since been beatified was a comabatant and those who didn’t directly participate did what they did in support of the Crsteros combatants.

  • The Crusades were ordered by the reining Pope. The Crusades were not a non violent response to the Muslims. The Church gave the world the just war concept. So much for non violence.

  • In non-violence, the purpose of which is to instruct people with the reality of the human being’s immortal soul, Ghandi said: the scripture: “an eye for an eye”, will make the whole world blind. The law was written to save some of the eyes in the world. When Jesus told Peter to put down the sword, Peter was already an ordained priest, since the Last Supper, just as Father Barron is an ordained priest, who belongs to the church, first and to the people second. Lay people serve as armed forces and may, God forbid, die by the sword. Non-violence does not repudiate armed force. Armed force repudiates violence.

Review of For Greater Glory

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

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.


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.

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9 Responses to Review of For Greater Glory

  • Steve doesn’t give it a rating, but my guess is he would give it a B+ or A- on his Decent Films scale.

  • A fourteen year old boy is executed after torture for loving Jesus. Calles is a Mexican Hitler. St. Agnes was only twelve years old when she was butchered. Fourteen year old children are not even executed for capital one murder and Calles was butchering children for loving Jesus. Calles is a Mexican Herod.

  • Why do they (Obama and the Dem party) hate us?

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  • Don: I posted this over on your other blog entry, “They will shoot me on Tuesday” before I saw this area. With your permission, I’ll repost my question here:
    What is known regarding how the Cristero’s ended up? I read in a blog yesterday by Steven Greydanus, the movie critic at the National Catholic Register (the good NCR) [and lauded by you here earlier], that the Mexican government and the Catholic Church eventually came to an agreement whereby the Church stopped fighting the federal forces. As a result, the Cristeros became isolated and cut off from support and more were killed after the agreement than before. I realize the events in Mexico almost a hundred years ago are not the same as the attacks on religious liberty here in the US in 2012 but the ending in Mexico, if correct (and here I rely on you and your readers for help), sounds ominous with the Church leaders cutting a deal and leaving the people to fend for themselves against the State. It just makes me wonder about how current events will unfold…

    God bless you – thanks for this blog!

  • Some of the Cristeros were reluctant to accept the agreement, although most did. Most Cristeros expected that the Mexican government negotiated in bad faith and they were correct. Cristeros were persecuted and their leaders massacred. Many Cristeros fled to the United States where they usually received a warm welcome from Catholics here. The situation became intolerable in Mexico in the thirties and led to a second Cristeros revolt in the mid to late thirties. It should be noted that Pius XI bitterly denounced the Mexican government for reneging on the terms of the agreement With the election of Manuel Ávila Camacho, a believing Catholic, as President of Mexico in 1940, the situation dramatically improved, with the worst attacks on Catholics ended.

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New Video Clips From For Greater Glory

Tuesday, May 29, AD 2012

 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.

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4 Responses to New Video Clips From For Greater Glory

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  • I hope this will give American Catholics the courage to stand up for their faith, to practice with fervor, to cease fomenting internal dissent over small matters in order to stand united against the bigger threat of a total secularization, led by the Obama administration, that would entirely privatize religion and keep it from influencing the moral tenor of the public square. The new dogma that there is no dogma is making a terrible mess of American society, infusing it with lewd behavior, rage, lawlessness, violence. For sure, the Church is made up of people and people all bear the burden of original sine and are capable of bad, even disgusting, behavior. But the temptation to leave the Church in disgust is the work of the Devil. The Church was founded by Christ and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. A bumper sticker reads: “The game is fixed. The Lamb will win. Be there.” Be faithful, be true, be there.

  • I like Susan’s quote, “The game is fixed. The Lamb will win. Be there.”

  • “Who are you if you don’t stand up for what you believe?”