Letter from Granddaughter of General Gorostieta

Wednesday, June 6, AD 2012

 

 

Here is a translation of a letter from a granddaughter of  General Gorostieta, who is portrayed by Andy Garcia in For Greater Glory, to Andy Garica.  Go here to read the letter in the original Spanish.   Hattip to commenter Rogelio Núñez Ruiz. Translation is by my hard working and deeply appreciated better half Cathy:

[Opening commentary by Fernando Banuelos, Editorial Director of the Cine 3 film news website:]

Letter from Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta to Andy Garcia about Cristiada [AKA For Greater Glory ]

This is an emotive letter sent by Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta, granddaughter of General Gorostieta, to Andy Garcia for his role in Cristiada.  Although I’m not a fan of Mexican films, especially Mexican history films in another language and with non-Mexican actors, I believe that this film falls in the “top-priority must-see” category of films, just to see what they say about us, and to see how faithful this adaptation is to what history tells us.

[Maria Teresa Perez Gorostieta’s letter follows:]

Mr. Garcia:

I saw the film last week, and I enjoyed the character of my grandfather, even though I don’t share the legend that he was an unbeliever and converted in the Movement; it seems to me that [portraying him that way] brings him to people in a better way than if they had portrayed him as being too religious.

I congratulate you for having accepted the role on behalf of my mother, who unfortunately died 4 days before they finished filming it; she was happy that it would be you who would interpret it.  His death scene is lovely and, as the Bible says, the applause that counts is in Heaven, and the whole family is there, so that the Glory of the Cristeros is now that they’re with God.

I don’t know if you read the letters which we sent to you through the Director, but I believe that my grandfather had the arrogance with which you characterized him, and the tenderness he showed his people.  He had a great love for his family:

[Quoting a letter from General Gorostieta to his family:]

“For my little children, who I can’t give a kiss to, who I can’t buy a ball for, who I can’t, as I did so often, let sleep in my arms, on such a great date for the world, on a day in which even wild beasts become tender with Glory!, by your conduct I send them this gift:  all the privations which they suffer, all the sorrows which you and I suffer, are only obedient to one end – leaving them a road, marking for them a route.  I know well that there are smoother roads in the world, and God well knows that I know how to walk them.  But those aren’t the ones that I will leave marked for them.  It’s the same bitter, gloomy road that their grandfather marked for me, the only one that exists, if one is to be forever content to have finished it and able to give an account of the journey.  The only one which, having been walked, imparts true peace.  I give them as a gift, the privations and the sorrows which the road is giving me.  Give them many kisses, and never rest from preventing – I don’t say now, but [even] within many years – that they should lose their faith on such a road.”

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19 Responses to Letter from Granddaughter of General Gorostieta

  • Very touching and powerful letter. I’ll venture to say (I hope) that Andy Garcia was equally moved and humbled by it.

  • I just saw this movie today with my mother and it is very moving. It gave me a deeper resolve to face whatever minor challenges in faith that I face and a greater love of the sacrament of reconcilliation.

  • No movie has moved me more Chris since I saw The Passion of the Christ.

  • Can’t wait to see it!!!

  • Unparalleled seems like an over statement considering how long the Hmong Catholics have ad to deal with General hatred of the faith by other Vietnamese as well as Communism and they still get arrested and used to get killed and hung quite often for their faith The problem they have is that there a lot more Cuddhists and Communists in the country of Vietnam than there are Catholics.

  • I wrote Cuddhists when I should have written Buddhists.

  • It’s a great film and one that I have been posting about on Facebook, Twitter, and my own blog. As a Catholic, the film was deeply moving since we are watching now canonized saints and blessed’s who died for the cause of religious freedom and most importantly for Christo Rey. The Church has recognized their convictions and heroic virtue in the face of evil. Andy Garcia a fine job and hope that he makes more films like – For Greater Glory. Viva Christo Rey!

  • I was deeply impress with the story and made a parallel of the Russian civil war , when the killing of priest and desecration of churches was part of the communist agenda
    The world is divided between evil and good , no matter the place , the time or the people.
    More stories like this should be presented to the world .
    thank you Gorosieta, you are an inspiration for future generations .
    Kira Mihailtichenko
    Miami

  • It is important remember that Evil is simply the destruction twisting and lack of Good. Therefore Evil to exist there has to be Good but Good can exist without Evil therefore Good is much stronger and integrated than Evil. That is the ultimate reason the Soviet Union collapsed because it was based on corrupt things things that fall apart.

  • Andy Garcia did a superb performance of General Gorostieta. As a Mexican American individual I was not aware of the cristero civil war. This movie along with research has opened my eyes and heart to the people who fought for this strong stand. From someone who loves her God thank you all for fighting and dying for your belief.

  • Did not know this history at all. Andy Garcia did a wonderful job as did the young actor who played Jose. The development of the story and the movement of scenes were so well done. All stayed to watch the credits and catch the bios of the characters.
    I wish the creators well and that they continue to bring similiar stories to audiences. People think that evil is old. This story is less than 100 years old. We must know our past to find our future.

  • i saw this movie yesterday and i can say that i had been waiting for it for years. i have a personal interest in this movie because my father became an orphaned in this christero war because my grandfather was involved in this christero movement and was killed in 1929. the mexican govermment due to being victorious in this horrific war has been very succesful in erasing the atrocities it commited during this era. when i saw the christero soldiers in battle uniform, it was like seeing my grandfather coming back to life.

  • Clementina one of the great things about the films is that we recall the heroes, like your grandfather, who stood up for the faith and paid for their lives as martyrs.

  • There is a verse in the book of Proverbs from the ” Holy Bible ” that says, ” A man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. ” Because I believe in a sovereign Lord, I have no doubt that General Gorostieta was a man placed by our Lord at the time of the Christero movement for such a time. No different than when the Lord chose Moses many years ago. The most moving statement of the movie to me was when Mr. Garcia as General Gorostieta said to his wife, ” I believe in FREEDOM !!! ” Tyranny, oppression, starvation, and other horrible atrocities may for a time have their way but the final word will be GODS !!!!

  • It was a wonderful movie inspiring faith and courage in the face of evil, and very timely considering the current war against Catholic beliefs in the USA.

    What a shame that a faithful Catholic wife is played by Eva Longoria who is supporting Obama despite his war against the Catholic Church.
    I find her playing that role disrespectful to the memories of all those who lost their lives for religious freedom.

    Just as there were Catholics amongst the “federales”, we will see the same in the upcoming battle over religious conscience here in the USA… Those who will choose government over God and the Church.
    Hopefully, the USA will never get to this point. But who would have believed it could happen in Mexico?

  • Saw the movie yesterday. Very,very impressive! Can’t stop thinking of so many courageous believers especially that of a 14 year old, Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio. When I am in need of this virtue, I will definitely be thinking of him. Que Viva Cristo Rey.

  • This film makes us to reflect in the great blessing to practice our religious belief with FREEDOM. But it goes beyond; it shows up to what extend we should fight for what truly believe. Even without having FAITH this film speaks about FREEDOM, CONVICTION, HONESTY, LOVE and overall how the WORDS FAITH, PRINCIPLES and SACRIFICE are really spell.
    It is a very important film in a timely way, since our core Catholic principles are under attack right now not only in Mexico but here in the USA. That is why is important that our society really knows what does it mean to be Catholic. History has failed to give credit and acknowledges to these brave Catholics who gave their life, just like Jesus did for love to us.
    It would be an honor to have you in our church to hear your personal stories about your great-grandfather and to inspire our community with your family portraits.
    With Sincere affection;
    Jose Luis Villeda
    Viva Cristo Rey!

  • Brenda I will say something which I heard which is “hope for the best and expect the worst.”

A Film For Our Time, and All Times

Sunday, June 3, AD 2012

 

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.

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25 Responses to A Film For Our Time, and All Times

  • I saw the film on Friday, opening day, and was very moved by it. I am a B16 kind of Catholic and find the LCWR and their supporters in a role of harrassment against those of us who accept the teaching magisterium of the Church and want to be faithful to its dogma and sacramental life. I wonder how the dear nuns would react to a film where courageous Mexicans were willing to give their very lives for God, where heaven cost them everything. I admire their deep faith and am grateful for their example. What are the LCWR nuns examples of? New Age faux theologies, feminism that supports abortion on demand, gay marriage. Who would die for those things?! They need to wake up. Go see the movie, sisters, and find out what the Church is really about. Certainly not your power struggle with the bishops. Viva Christo Rey!

  • I saw the film on Friday evening with some young men from the Church. The martyrdom of Blessed José Sánchez del Río reminded me of Revelation 6:9-11:

    9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

  • The Mexican Constitution to this day contains many anti-Catholic articles,
    forbidding the church to own property, interfering in Her administration,
    banning monasteries, limiting seats in seminaries, prohibiting Church schools,
    even prohibiting both processions and the wearing of clerical dress outside
    the walls of a church. Some of these laws are now ignored by the authorities,
    but they remain as a threat. For example, a few years back the Cardinal
    Archbishop of Mexico City made a public statement condemning government
    corruption and collusion with drug cartels. As I recall, the president of
    Mexico responded by pointing out that the provisions of the constitution
    remain in effect. The Church’s social services and schools are permitted to
    operate only on the sufferance of the government, and could be swept away
    should She make herself too troublesome.

    I’d imagine our president rather envies Mexico for her modern, progressive
    constitution.

  • My wife and I saw this movie last night. I noted one of the liberties that the film too, namely the burning of the train by Vega. I also noted in retrospect that they made it a point of showing him with several women smuggling ammunition when he meets General Ramirez, who seems to raise an eyebrow about the circumstances. In wanting to be charitable to the filmmaker, I wonder if it’s possible that perhaps other sources picked up Mexican government propaganda and used that as a source on Fr. Vega. I’m sure you’re right about the character of Fr. Vega, but I’m not a historian, so I have no idea what kind of evidence was used in the sources which present Fr. Vega in a rather negative light. Perhaps you can give us more information?

  • I’d like to think this movie may be a lesson for Obama and the secularist. Is there a point beyond which we will resist?

  • “I’d imagine our president rather envies Mexico for her modern, progressive
    constitution.”

    Not just Obama:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/06/ginsburg-to-egyptians-wouldnt-use-us-constitution-as-model/

  • Just saw the movie and certainly can’t add to what you’ve said. All I can say I hope my faith is never put to the test.
    Can you suggest any books on the Cristero war or the period generally? My knowledge of Mexican hiistory is spotty at best.

  • The literature on the Cristero War in English is fairly sparse. The best book is probably Jean Meyer’s The Cristero Rebellion

    http://www.amazon.com/Cristero-Rebellion-1926-1929-Cambridge-
    American/dp/0521102057/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338758811&sr=1-1

    A good short history is in Latin American Wars, volume II

    http://www.amazon.com/Latin-Americas-Wars-Professional-1900-2001/dp/1574884522/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338758811&sr=1-10

  • Wikipedia has what I would consider to be a reasonable section on the Cristero War, but I am hardly one to speak authoritatively. It “seems” accurate, to me.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) Don tells me the Wikipedia article on the Cristero War is accurate, Don the Kiwi. (Although I’m the one with the university degree in Spanish, Don’s read more Latin American history than I have. At least I can translate the Spanish-language resources for him!)

  • What is the story behind José Victoriano Huerta Márquez, 35th President of Mexico, whose dictatorship the Church allegedly supported, because of which support the anti-clerical laws in the Mexican Constitution were established? Did the Church shoot itself in the foot? I also read that at first the US supported Victoriano Huerta, and then Woodrow Wilson admonished him to restore / institute democratic reforms. Is this liberal progressive revisionist history, or is there some truth to all of this?

  • Few events in history are more convuluted and confusing then the Mexican Revolution that started in 1910. Madero toppled Diaz. He was overthrown by Huerta in 1913 after Madero proved unable to cope with the revolts that he faced. Huerta had initial US backing, but the incoming Wilson administration opposed him and backed Carranza who toppled Huerta in 1914. The Church in the chaos of the Mexican Revolution simply attempted to survive. Mexico has a long tradition of anti-clericalism dating back the first half of the nineteenth century. Anti-clericalists were at the helm when the 1917 Constitution was written. The Church was attacked at the time as supporting conservative forces in the Mexican Revolution, notably Huerta, but that was a false allegation:

    http://pittsburgh.academia.edu/ReynaldoRojoMendoza/Papers/150348/The_Church-State_Conflict_in_Mexico_from_the_Mexican_Revolution_to_the_Cristero_Rebellion

  • Thanks for the clarification, Donald. It’s always best to be properly informed.

  • From Fr Seraphim Beshoner’s podcast “Catholic under the Hood” (Franciscan humor there) an episode about the role of women in the revolt.

    http://catholicunderthehood.com/2011/12/10/278-las-brigadas-femeninas/

    Looking a the show notes he does give sources that interesting.

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  • Wow, it’s like we watched two different movies. As important as this story is and as much as I wanted to like this movie as a practicing Catholic, a combination of poor directing, an overblown and hammy score and average to sometimes cringeworthy acting (with a few exceptions – Blades and Greenwood) just ruined it for me. Despite their obvious anti-Catholic bias, I have to admit the secular critics were right in panning this seriously flawed movie. It seems that Catholics are so
    hungry for any movie that treats the faith favorably these days, some are willing to overlook the fact that a movie is just not that good (There Be Dragons is another recent example). We should expect better than this.

  • “It seems that Catholics are so hungry for any movie that treats the faith favorably these days, some are willing to overlook the fact that a movie is just not that good ”

    Or simply have a completely different opinion from yours as to the film. Everyone should go see it and make up their own minds as to the merit of the movie.

  • The movie was GREAT! Absolutely awesome. And head and shoulders above any of the recent releases (e.g., Battleship, Avengers, etc.).

  • I can’t get the scene of the martyrdom of Jose out of my head. The kid was fantastic throughout the entire movie.

  • Dear Donald,
    I was pleasantly surprised to see a link to my paper. Thanks very much!

    I would be happy to hear comments about it and to answer questions anyone may have about the Cristero Rebellion, or about the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary (anti)religious policies.

  • Thank you Reynaldo for writing an epic paper that clarifies a topic I have always found somewhat confusing.

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  • My sole complaint about the movie comes at the very end. In order to give the pretense of a happy ending all that’s mentioned is that the church bells rang again. There was no mention of the 6,000+ Cristeros that Calles executed once they laid down their arms. Guess that was his idea of “amnesty.”

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