Go See “For Greater Glory”

BCI recently saw the movie, “For Greater Glory” and we highly recommend you see it in the next few days or this coming weekend, while it is still in theaters.  The film is based on the true story of the 1920s Cristero War in Mexico. The war resulted from Mexico’s atheist constitution of 1917, subsequent anti-religious legislation that violated religious freedoms and brutal anti-clerical persecution by the government of athiest President Calles, who came to power in 1924.

A number of Catholic bishops, including Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Chaput have offered high praise for the movie. Here is the trailer:

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia:

“To describe this film as stirring or powerful would do it a disservice. FOR GREATER GLORY is much more than an exercise in piety; it’s an extraordinary portrait of ordinary people struggling to defend their convictions. It’s among the most absorbing films by any director or movie studio that I’ve seen in the past few years.”

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston:

“As a nation established on the principal of freedom for all people, FOR GREATER GLORY reminds us of the important values that we as Americans and Catholics share and must be willing to protect. This film helps us to understand the history surrounding the Cristero War and its importance in the Mexican Catholics’ efforts to fight for religious freedom and tolerance.  Those values are as relevant today as they were almost one hundred years ago.”

Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona

“It is not often that a film opens a window into the past that casts so much light on the present.”  FOR GREATER GLORY depicts a courageous struggle for religious freedom that was inspired by love of Christ and love of country. The Cristeros of Mexico have much to teach us today.”

By necessity of the subject matter, the movie portrays violence and for that reason is rated R, but BCI feels there is nothing in the movie that is objectionable and the R rating seems a bit unfair. For parents with younger children, we have checked around, and parents with children 10-17 have had no problem bringing children that age to see the movie.

Archbishop Chaput has written an excellent review of the movie you can find here:

“…since all good things are meant to be shared, I… enthusiastically recommend — a film that no Catholic should miss this summer.

The Catholic response to the Calles regime first took the form of non-violent petitions, suspended religious services and economic boycotts. But bloody popular resistance broke out in 1926. By 1929, 50,000 Cristero rebels were fighting the federal government. A small number of priests took up arms with their people. More than 90,000 persons died in the fighting. In the process, the authorities murdered thousands of Catholic laypeople and dozens of priests.

Blessed Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest, was executed without trial in 1927. Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, age 14, was shot to death for refusing to deny his faith in 1928. In both cases, the martyrs’ last words were Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!) The Church has since honored dozens of other Mexican martyrs for their heroism during the Calles persecution.

“For Greater Glory” succeeds where so many similar films have failed. Led by Academy Award nominees Andy Garcia and Catalina Sandino Moreno, along with Oscar Isaac, Eva Longoria, Ruben Blades, Eduardo Verastegui and others, the cast is superb. And the writing gives them the kind of robust material they need to work with: strong dialogue, fully developed characters, vivid moral conflicts in a time of revolutionary violence and a compelling story that never lags, thanks to the skilled directing of Dean Wright.

One of the hymns Cristeros sang as they went into battle had these words:

The Virgin Mary is our protector and defender when there is something to fear,

She will defeat the demons, crying “Long live Christ the King!”

She will defeat the demons, crying “Long live Christ the King!”

Soldiers of Christ let us follow the flag that the Cross shows the army of God!

Let us follow the flag, crying “Long live Christ the King!”

We Americans in 2012 live in a different land in a different time. We’re blessed with freedoms the Cristeros could only imagine. But those freedoms depend on our willingness to defend them. Religious liberty is never guaranteed by anything but our own vigilance. Even in this country, contempt for religious faith, and especially the Catholic faith, is alive and well.

There are erie parallels between the contempt for religious faith in Mexico in the 1920s and the contempt for religious faith by the Obama administration today. BCI found the movie inspiring and powerful. It is not expected to stay in the theaters for very long, so we urge you to see it on the big screen before the end of the weekend.  If you have seen the movie, feel free to share your reactions via comments.

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6 Responses to Go See “For Greater Glory”

  1. Catholic movie buff says:

    I saw the movie over the weekend and thought it was fantastic!! Definitely worth seeing! My only disappointment is that it’s gotten so little advance promotion. When Sherwood Baptist Church puts out movies like Fireproof or Courageous, and when Bella came out, there was extensive advance promotion to Christian groups who bought out tickets in advance for a whole theater showing. Provident Films knows exactly to promote movies to a faith-based audience. These other movies with less appeal to Catholics specifically and more broad appeal to Protestants and Christian evangelicals or anyone of a Christian faith opened on a limited nubmer of screens (e.g. 800) but the revenue per screen was more than $4,000 per screen – I think Courageous was around $7,700 per screen, which gets a lot of attention by theater operators and gives the basis for expanding the # of theaters the following weekend. Cardinal Sean had a blog post about For Greater Glory, but that’s about all I heard. Too bad, as it’s an awesome film – acting was good, story was good – I highly recommend it!!

  2. Michael says:

    Great movie.

    Why, as Americans, do we not know this history. It happened only 85 years ago. Not long at all. It is shocking that we have never been taught about this. A cynic would say that it is intentional why we have never been taught about this.

    I agree with the Cardinal. We do need courageous people in America to stand up for religious freedom. It is a bit hypocritical of the Cardinal to comment on the “important values that we as Americans and Catholics share and must be willing to protect” and to state that we must “… fight for religious freedom and tolerance. Those values are as relevant today as they were almost one hundred years ago.” His words, once again, sound good, but the evidence of his actions scream hypocrisy.

    Was he “willing to protect” our religious freedoms when he waved the white flag surrendering (without a fight) the Catholic Charities adoption business — leading the way for England to follow suit?”

    Was he “willing to protect” our religious freedoms when he waved the white flag on gay “parents” forcing their disordered lifestyle on Catholic children in Catholic schools?

    Was he “willing to protect” our religious freedoms when he allowed abortifascient drugs to be administered in Catholic hospitals before he was caught?

    Was he “willing to protect” our religious freedoms when he celebrated the life of Ted Kennedy who made a mockery of Catholic Church teaching on abortion and same-sex “marriage?”

    The Cardinal might want to look in the mirror and start mustering the courage it will take to prevent the imminent (and ongoing) persecution of Catholics in America. By the way, did he join the lawsuit against Obamacare? Or is he just letting others, willing to fight to protect our religious freedoms, do the heavy lifting?

  3. Capt Crunch says:

    Catholic movie buff said, “Cardinal Sean had a blog post about For Greater Glory, but that’s about all I heard.”

    In previous posts it has been pointed out Cardinal Sean’s promotion of combating assisted suicide is summed up by a blog entry and a website.

    In other previous posts it has been pointed out Cardinal Sean’s promotion of Fortnight to Freedom is a blog entry and some Parish materials.

    Updates and information about the Pastoral Planning teams comes in the form of website updates and online polls.

    Pontificating via blog entries presents the impression of aloof, detached and uncaring leadership.

    “Some leaders manage to walk by themselves even when surrounded by their team. While it may be fine for the cat to walk by himself and view all places as alike, it’s a very different story for a leader. Being a leader means taking people somewhere and it better
    be somewhere different from where you started. If you’re not part of the journey, you’re not leading. Through their actions, leaders set the tone for their group.”

    — Stephen R. Balzac

  4. Ann says:

    Instead of bashing the Archdiocese of Boston and heaping condemnation back on yourself – try supporting the Cardinal, his bishpops and priests. Even if the man is not perfect, the OFFICE is. The word of God says, life and death is in the tongue – so as you speak negatively, you heap more negativity and death over this Archdiocese. Speak life and you bring life. God spoke and the world was created. As co-creators and co-apostles, the same goes for us. JMJ+

  5. Capt Crunch says:

    The fact the you accuse me of not supporting the priests is laughable and disingenuous. The Cardinal not so much. I’ve never made a single comment about a bishpop, I don’t even know what a bishpop is…

    “Not to oppose erroneous Doctrine is to approve of it, and not to defend at all true Doctrine is to suppress it.” – Pope Innocent III.

  6. Jasper says:

    This JMJ+ (Ann) is a noted left wing kook.

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