Voice of the Guns

Saturday, January 4, AD 2014

Something for the weekend.  In no war has artillery played a greater role than World War I.  It was therefore appropriate that Frederick Joseph Ricketts, the British Sousa, under his pen name Kenneth Alford, wrote a march, Voice of the Guns, in 1917, his tribute to British artillerymen.

The song is featured in a sequence of Lawrence of Arabia where General Allenby, portrayed by Jack Hawkins, and Major T. E. Lawrence, portrayed by Peter O’Toole, are discussing strategy:

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4 Responses to Voice of the Guns

  • Everyone wanted war in 1914

    1. Ever since the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Austria and Germany had been determined to prevent Russian expansion in the Balkans. Austria knew that, if she allowed herself to be humiliated by Serbia, she could not keep control of her minorities.
    2. Germany saw war with Russia as inevitable and wanted it before Russia completed her rail network and gained the ability to mobilise reserves quickly.
    3. With her prestige already damaged by her defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, Russia knew if she allowed her ally, Serbia, to be humiliated, she could well face revolt in her Western provinces, particularly Poland and the Baltic states, from which the bulk of her tax revenue was derived.
    4. With her stagnant birth-rate and Germany’s growing one, France knew she could not wait another generation, if she were ever to recover the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine and avenge the defeat of 1870.
    5. Italy wanted to incorporate Austria’s Italian provinces (Italia Irredenta).
    6. Tirpitz’s naval expansion and the consequent arms race with Germany was ruinously expensive for Britain.

  • At Thanksgiving, we visited family in Kansas, and went to see the WW I Museum at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City. Well worth the time to see side by side by side how the British, French, and Germans equipped their boys to go to war, and finally, the way in which we kitted out our own boys.

    The original dedication of the Memorial site, in 1921, with all five supreme Allied commanders present, was nothing if not aspirational.

    I think the most striking element of the Memorial are the

    Two Assyrian Sphinxes [which] guard the south entrance… “Memory” faces east toward the battlefields of France, shielding its eyes from the horrors of war. “Future” faces west, shielding its eyes from an unknown future.

  • The first sentence in the first comment sums pretty nearly sums it all up. Well, let’s not forget the bosses of all the big “defense industries” of that time. There’s nothing like that [other] profit principle to help a businessman develop a taste in martial music.

  • Without the German Empire, the dispute between Austria and Serbia probably would have remained a regional war in the Balkans. It was the German Empire that wanted a bigger war, and got what it wanted.

    If you trace its history, the German Empire was the successor to the Kingdom of Prussia. When Bismarck created the German Empire, Prussian militarism became German militarism. The original sin (if you can call it that) was planted when Frederick the Great of Prussia coveted Silesia which was owned by Austria, and fought the War of Austrian Succession. Prussia then coveted Alsace-Lorraine, and fought the Franco-Prussian War. Kaiser Wilhelm II’s cadre coveted territory in eastern Europe, and turned what would have been the Austrian-Serbian War of 1914 into World War I.

Peter O’Toole: Requiescat In Pace

Sunday, December 15, AD 2013

 

 

Perhaps the foremost actor of his time, Peter O’Toole died yesterday.  As indicated by the video clip above from For Greater Glory, O’Toole never lost his skill before the camera.  He catapulted to fame in Lawrence of Arabia in 1962 in the eponymous role of T.E. Lawrence.

His portrayal of Lawrence was the archetype for many other O’Toole roles:  intense, a bit of humor, nervous and more than a little mad.

 

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2 Responses to Peter O’Toole: Requiescat In Pace

  • R.I.P. Peter O’Toole. Great actor who aged well before the camera. Those small but critical roles in his last years are amongst my favorites.

  • Thanks for posting this. He is a baptized Catholic and we always hope that even those who profess of loss or lack of faith, will nonetheless receive the mercy and love of our God.

    A prayer from psalm 85:7,8 for him:

    Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
    Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

Theme From Lawrence of Arabia

Saturday, February 16, AD 2013

Something for the weekend.  In the middle of winter it is no accident, as the Marxists used to say, that I have chosen for our musical selection the theme song from Lawrence of Arabia (1962).  One of the last great historical epics, the film tells the tale of Colonel T.E. Lawrence’s involvement in the Arab uprising.  It is largely historically inaccurate, although a magnificent story.  One reason for the historical inaccuracy, other than the usual transmogrification of history in the hands of filmmakers, is that it relied too heavily on Lawrence’s war memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom.  Lawrence was a brilliant writer and a talented leader of guerrilla forces, but he never let a little thing like truth stand in the way of a good yarn. 

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18 Responses to Theme From Lawrence of Arabia

  • Colonel T. E. Lawrence died in a car crash when his brakes failed two years after his return to England.

  • He died in 1935 when he was riding a motorcyle and swerved to avoid two boys riding bicycles. He lost control, crashed and died six days later from his injuries.

  • When (May 1935) he died, he was serving, under an assumed name (T. E. Shaw), as an aircraftman (enlisted man) in the RAF.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/1935/may/19/fromthearchive

  • He had actually left the RAF two months prior to his death.

  • Ah, the Arab Revolt and the subsequent screw-job. But no, all Arabs/Muslims hate the West because they hate freedom.

  • Meh, that was off-topic and deliberately provocative (not necessarily “compelling” but liable to provoke something). Delete it if you’d like.

  • Arab nationalism, such as it is, has never had much to do with Democracy. The dynasty founded by Faisal ended with his grandson Faisal II being murdered in the July 14, 1958 rebellion in Iraq. The House of Saud of course ousted the Hashemites from what became known as Saudi Arabia. The Hashemites, miraculously, still rule in Jordan. The brief period of Western rule that some parts of the Arab world experienced, after centuries of domination by the Turks, is routinely used in the Arab world as an excuse for Arab cultural pathologies and the inability of the Arabs to produce stable democratic regimes. It has as much historical validity as Hitler blaming the problems of Germany on the Jews.

  • Donald,

    I think Arabs/Muslims are wary of democracy as it is articulated in the modern West because it has become, unfortunately, conflated with liberalism of the Enlightenment variety. Muslims, much like the Church, are skeptical of modernity, and I think they have good reason to be. Rejecting democracy is (mistakenly) perceived as necessary in the rejection of liberalism and modernity, forces that will invariably lead to the destruction of traditional values and cultural norms, as they most certainly have in our country and in the West (world?) at large. The Arab would is hampered by the belief that accepting democracy means becoming like America– but indeed, they can hardly be blamed. The conflation of these terms is pretty pervasive. I think the world would be wise to remember that the originators of democracy were anything but liberals and anything but modern.

    I don’t necessarily think Sykes-Picot, the TPAJAX Project, and ongoing Western economic and cultural penetration are necessarily legitimate reasons as to why democracy hasn’t worked in the Middle East, but they are certainly are a basis for understanding why many in the Arab world have much resentment for the West. It’s obvious that Qutb was an extremist and a radical, and his prescriptions are certainly detestable, but it’s also clear that his critique of American culture was in many ways legitimate, as was his fear of the exportation of such values.

  • and I realize Iran=/=Arab. Arabs still frequently cite the Mossadeq coup as an example of Western meddling in the Middle East.

  • “I think Arabs/Muslims are wary of democracy as it is articulated in the modern West because it has become, unfortunately, conflated with liberalism of the Enlightenment variety.”

    I doubt if that argument has any currency outside of a small group of Arab intellectuals, considering the popularity of variants of fascism, communism, socialism and other authoritarian isms throughout the Arab world. Arab nationalism itself is a hot house import from the Enlightenment. I rather suspect that Arab antipathy to democracy has far more to do with the Arab world having almost no experience with the concept of a loyal opposition. As was said about the Tsars could be said about most Arab polities throughout history: despotism tempered by assassination. As for resentment of the West, it is as I indicated a handy excuse, and we are of course infidels in their eyes. The Arabs have dealt poorly with modernity, and seem to specialize in copying our vices and ignoring our virtues. Crashing demographics throughout the Arab world will give the Arabs yet another challenge they are ill-adapted to deal with.

  • Hi Donald,

    “As for resentment of the West, it is as I indicated a handy excuse, and we are of course infidels in their eyes.”

    I am not sure what you’re saying here. Are you literally saying that Western engagements in the ME, be they economic, military, cultural, or political, and the negative consequences they have induced have played NO role in the radicalization of Islam over the past century, and are simply “excuses?”

    Most Muslims consider us infidels in the same way that Catholics consider Protestants to be heretics–with indifference.

    “The Arabs have dealt poorly with modernity,”

    As certainly have we, but in a different way and, perhaps, to a worse extent. Let’s not forget what country murders 1.2 of its most innocent civilians a year, is on the brink of eliminating religion from the public square, and is the pornography capital of the world.

  • “I am not sure what you’re saying here. Are you literally saying that Western engagements in the ME, be they economic, military, cultural, or political, and the negative consequences they have induced have played NO role in the radicalization of Islam over the past century, and are simply “excuses?””

    The Arabs have hated the West since the time of Mohammed. They would hate the West if there had been no involvement by the West in the Middle East. A good example of what I am talking about is the Crusades, something that now bulks large in the Arab grievance list, but was largely forgotten in the Arab world until it became a handy stick to raise against Westerners. Bernard Lewis in his many tomes is quite convincing on the use by Arab leaders of the West as a convenient scapegoat for failures of the states they run. The Arabs only need to look in the mirror to find the cause of most of their problems, but such an examination is far harder than blaming the West and the Jews.

    “Most Muslims consider us infidels in the same way that Catholics consider Protestants to be heretics–with indifference.”

    If that were only true, or perhaps I have missed Catholic mobs howling for the blood of Protestants?

    “As certainly have we, but in a different way and, perhaps, to a worse extent. Let’s not forget what country murders 1.2 of its most innocent civilians a year, is on the brink of eliminating religion from the public square, and is the pornography capital of the world.”

    One will never confuse the West with Utopia, although we possess the freedom to critique our societies and to take political action to correct evils. Would that one could say the same about the despotisms that largely make up the Arab world. In regard to modernity one has only to examine the grinding poverty of most Arab states, along with their backwardness in regard to science and industry, not to mention their appalling records on human rights, and the fact that they almost always have hostile relations with any non-Arab states luckless enough to share a border with them, to see that the Arab world and modernity are not even on speaking terms.

  • “The Arabs have hated the West since the time of Mohammed. They would hate the West if there had been no involvement by the West in the Middle East.”

    You are either ignoring my question or I did not ask it properly. Hating someone in a detached and abstract way is one thing, but devoting your life to killing someone you hate is something entirely different. Do you deny that Western meddling in the Middle East has played a more than insignificant role in the radicalization and mobilization of Islamic terrorists? If you do, then how do you explain the fact that these types of groups (completely and utterly distinct from imperialistic or militaristic ventures) were practically non-existent prior to the past century?

    “If that were only true, or perhaps I have missed Catholic mobs howling for the blood of Protestants?”

    Oh, we’ve certainly had our fair share of that over the years. If anything, the fact that we don’t in a world of fallen men is perhaps a testament to the fact that religion isn’t taken seriously in most Western countries. Certainly not something worth fighting over.

    And by saying “if that were only true,” are you actually challenging my assertion that most Muslims don’t hate the West in a way that manifests itself meaningfully? How many Muslims do you know, Donald? How many Muslim countries have you been to?

    “One will never confuse the West with Utopia, although we possess the freedom to critique our societies and to take political action to correct evils. Would that one could say the same about the despotisms that largely make up the Arab world. In regard to modernity one has only to examine the grinding poverty of most Arab states, along with their backwardness in regard to science and industry, not to mention their appalling records on human rights, and the fact that they almost always have hostile relations with any non-Arab states luckless enough to share a border with them, to see that the Arab world and modernity are not even on speaking terms.”

    I do not condone any number of Muslim customs and practices that I find oppressive and unjust. However, there’s something to be said for resisting the temptations of pleasure and wealth that modernity offers for the sake of preserving the integrity of tradition and religious observance. If only the West had had a similar approach to modernity.

  • Donald McClarey: I read or saw what I posted. After seeing Lawrence of Arabia a half century ago, I have carried this with me and am glad to be relieved of my misinformation. T. E. Lawrence was truly a greater man than I believed him to be, in avoiding the injury to other human beings.

  • “Do you deny that Western meddling in the Middle East has played a more than insignificant role in the radicalization and mobilization of Islamic terrorists? If you do, then how do you explain the fact that these types of groups (completely and utterly distinct from imperialistic or militaristic ventures) were practically non-existent prior to the past century?”

    Yes I do think Western involvement in the Middle East is fairly insignificant in regard to Arab hatred of Westerners. In the nineteenth century the Arabs were a subject people ruled mostly by the Turks, except for the Brits in Egypt. Scapegoating of the West, and the manipulation of traditional Arab hatred of the West, became useful to Arab elites once they were jockeying for political power. The Arab elites did learn from the West the utility of grievance politics, and they have become masters of it, not only with their populations but with gullible Westerners.

    “Oh, we’ve certainly had our fair share of that over the years.”

    Please try not to be deliberately obtuse. There is nothing in Catholic and Protestant relations today to come within shouting distance of the visceral hatred of Christians and Jews that is so easily mobilized throughout the Arab world.

    “are you actually challenging my assertion that most Muslims don’t hate the West in a way that manifests itself meaningfully?”
    Public opinion polls in those nations normally reveal a fairly broad animosity to the West. Political groups manifesting a hostility to the West normally do quite well in what passes for elections in that part of the world.

    “How many Muslims do you know, Donald? How many Muslim countries have you been to?”

    Five personal acquaintances and zero countries traveled to, although I keep pretty close tabs on developments throughout the Arab world and I have read a great deal of the history of the groups that make up the Arab states today.

    “However, there’s something to be said for resisting the temptations of pleasure and wealth that modernity offers for the sake of preserving the integrity of tradition and religious observance.”

    If that was what was going on in the Arab world you might have a point. However, the Arab world for generations has been the home of a particularly virulent and degrading form of pornography, pederasty has traditionally been common throughout the Middle East, the Islamic prohibition against alcohol is routinely violated, and where the Arabs have money they seem to be eager to copy the vices of the West.

  • “Yes I do think Western involvement in the Middle East is fairly insignificant in regard to Arab hatred of Westerners.”

    Donald, that wasn’t the question, and now I am honestly beginning to believe that you are avoiding it on purpose. I am not asking about the source of “hate,” I am specifically limiting this discussion to the emergence of such groups as Al-Qaeda, such figures as Sayyid Qutb and Osama bin Laden, and such tactics as terrorism and suicide bombings. I repeat: Do you deny that Western meddling in the Middle East has played a more than insignificant role in the radicalization and mobilization of Islamic terrorists? If you do, then how do you explain the fact that these types of groups (completely and utterly distinct from imperialistic or militaristic ventures) were practically non-existent prior to the past century?”

    “The Arab elites did learn from the West the utility of grievance politics, and they have become masters of it, not only with their populations but with gullible Westerners.”

    What a truly bizarre conflation you make! How have you gone from terrorist groups to Arab elites, as if they’re the same thing? I’m not even sure how to address this…

    “Please try not to be deliberately obtuse. There is nothing in Catholic and Protestant relations today to come within shouting distance of the visceral hatred of Christians and Jews that is so easily mobilized throughout the Arab world.”

    I said over the years, Donald. That implies over the course of time. You know, centuries of religious wars, the Troubles, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, etc.

    “Public opinion polls in those nations normally reveal a fairly broad animosity to the West. Political groups manifesting a hostility to the West normally do quite well in what passes for elections in that part of the world.”

    If you flipped those same questions and asked them of Americans about the Middle East you’d probably get similar percentages. I guess that means most Americans hate Middle Easterners. And last time I watched a GOP primary debate, mentioning your plans to drop bombs on any number of countries in that part of the world earned you a pretty raucous applause.

    Your last line was the best, considering several of the ME’s most ruthless dictators and suppressors of the political process were propped up unabashedly by the US, Mubarak in particular.

    “Five personal acquaintances and zero countries traveled to, although I keep pretty close tabs on developments throughout the Arab world and I have read a great deal of the history of the groups that make up the Arab states today.”

    I’m not holding it against you, but that’s a small sample size. Anecdotal evidence is somewhat overrated, but I will share mine. I have lived and traveled extensively in the Middle East. I never encountered any manifestation of hate, at least not the kind that would cause someone to lay down his life and blow me up (the most heated exchange occurred at a McDonalds when some Egyptian teens were egging me and my friends on as the US lost to Ghana in the 2010 World Cup). Aside from the tourist trap merchants that resort to all types of deception, my experience with Arabs was that they are a hospitable and kind bunch. In fact, the Syrians of Aleppo stuck out in my mind as particularly open and inviting.

    Donald, the fact is that people are people. I imagine that many Middle Easterners do talk hatefully of the West in their coffee shops and at their dinner tables, much as Americans do of the Muslim world and many of the comboxers of this site do about our president. However, I can also say that it is patently absurd to suggest that anything but a tiny fraction of these people are motivated by this animosity to do something like throw away their lives and crash a plane into a building.

    “If that was what was going on in the Arab world you might have a point. However, the Arab world for generations has been the home of a particularly virulent and degrading form of pornography, pederasty has traditionally been common throughout the Middle East, the Islamic prohibition against alcohol is routinely violated, and where the Arabs have money they seem to be eager to copy the vices of the West.”

    No, I think it accurately conveys exactly why the Middle East is doing its strange and sloppy two-step with modernity.

  • Much of the resentment of the Arabs as a civilisation is driven by their realisation that they cannot match the material achievements of the West. Other civilisations which encountered the West, the Indians, the Chinese do not harbour the same levels of resentment as they like the Japanese have been able to climb the ladder of material progress. It has little to do with the alledged spirituality of the East. Pacific Islanders do not care to challenge the West in the domain of material progress and may therefore lead a bucolic life, but for the Arab ideologues of the measure has always been military strength which requires a technical base, in which they’ve had no success for hundreds of years now. The Arabs should spend some time to reflect that had it not been for the advances in health and agriculture pioneered in the West and brought to them by the same empire buiilders and adventurers, with the best of intentions, perhaps half of us alive today would not be around. Having said this I have to say that Arabs I knew were invariably hospitable and courteous.

    Just like the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Travels in Arabia Deserta by Charles Doughty is a rousing read and is supposed to be a model for its writing.

  • “Much of the resentment of the Arabs as a civilisation is driven by their realisation that they cannot match the material achievements of the West. ”

    This is an interesting theory, but, again, it fails to address what I have been asking. Namely if Arabs have resented the West since the time of the Crusades, why have we only seen the type of radicalism by non-state actors, embodied by a group like AQ, over the past century? Continuing to rely on the simplistic slogan that they simply “hate us” is really disconnected from a pretty evident relationship of causes and effects.

    Furthermore, although I don’t know if you were attempting to apply your theory to the explanation of the motives of Islamist terrorists, the case is actually the opposite. These factions hate the west not because of any jealousy of our material might, but because they are resentful that Western materialism has been forced upon them. Sayyid Qutb is considered by many to be the inspiration of AQ and his thoughts are a clear indication of this. In particular, an extended trip to the US in the 50’s shaped his views on the decadence of Western culture, and gave rise to the notion that Islamists should not only attack “the near enemy” (faux-Islamic governments in the ME), but the “far enemy” as well.

    “Should I travel to America, and become flimsy, and ordinary, like those who are satisfied with idle talk and sleep. Or should I distinguish myself with values and spirit. Is there other than Islam that I should be steadfast to in its character and hold on to its instructions, in this life amidst deviant chaos, and the endless means of satisfying animalistic desires, pleasures, and awful sins? I wanted to be the latter man.”

    “The American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs—and she shows all this and does not hide it.”

    “Qutb concluded that major aspects of American life were primitive and “shocking”, a people who were “numb to faith in religion, faith in art, and faith in spiritual values altogether”. His experience in the U.S. is believed to have formed in part the impetus for his rejection of Western values and his move towards Islamism upon returning to Egypt.”

    I don’t understand why people who claim to be interested in history and have a desire to understand the motives of historical actors don’t just bother to look up the books that these people write or the statements that they issue. The cause of the rise of radical Islamist terrorism directed at the West is pretty clearly articulated.

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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