Review of For Greater Glory

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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.

Go here to read the rest.  This is a must see movie for all American Catholics and all Americans who cherish religious liberty.  The film is in limited release, so go here to the movie website to find a theater in your area showing it.

Update:  Steve Greydanus has a first rate review of the film at National Catholic Register:


Visiting Mexico earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted ongoing  restrictions on religious freedom in Mexico’s Constitution. In the United  States, the U.S. bishops have made a top priority the defense of religious  freedom against encroaching federal tyranny on a host of fronts, from immoral  health-care mandates to acquiescence to same-sex “marriage.”


The magnitude of the conflict around religious freedom today is something no  one could have predicted when production began on For Greater Glory.  Some might call the film’s timing providential. I wouldn’t argue with them. For Greater Glory is the right movie at the right time.

Go here to read the brilliant rest.


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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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