For Greater Glory movie recommended viewing Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Brent King, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, May. 24, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
Showing at Marcus Eastgate Cinema, Madison

For Greater Glory will be showing at Marcus Eastgate Cinemas, Madison, beginning Friday, June 1.

Friday through Sunday

  • 9:55 a.m.
  • 12:55 p.m.
  • 3:55 p.m.
  • 6:55 p.m.
  • 9:55 p.m.

Monday through Thursday

  • 12:55 p.m.
  • 3:55 p.m.
  • 6:55 p.m.
  • 9:55 p.m.

For Greater Glory (opening Friday, June 1) is a timely historical film about the fight for religious freedom.

Set in the increasingly-secular, increasingly-socialist, and increasingly-power-hungry political atmosphere of 1920s Mexico, For Greater Glory tells the true story of anti-Catholic and anti-clerical oppression by the Mexican Government, led by President Plutarco Elías Calles.

The outlawing of religious orders, wearing of clerical garb, violation of Church property rights, rights to due process, and the violent enforcement of these anti-Catholic laws led to Catholic opposition and eventually to the Cristero War, with Catholic clergy and laity taking up arms in rebellion.

The movie offers a star-studded cast, including Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Peter O’Toole, and Eduardo Verástegui (of Bella fame), among many other notable actors.

Religious freedom

While not a commentary on current events, it offers us all reason to pause to consider the direction of politics in our world, relative to religious freedom, and, in retrospect, to wonder “how different the world could be, if the faithful stood up for what we profess to believe?”

It is the story of Catholics simply wanting the freedom to practice their faith without government interference and a government seeking to marginalize the Catholic hierarchy and those whose faith comes first.

Andy Garcia stars in a scene from the movie For Greater Glory. Garcia, a Catholic, plays a Mexican Revolution-era general lured out of retirement a decade later to fight his own government’s severe curbing of religious freedoms. (CNS photo/ARC Entertainment)

It is a part of history that has been too much ignored, and sadly which has been repeated the world over. While war is always regrettable, at least 50,000 Mexican faithful were willing to fight, rather than allow these laws to stand, or to allow their Church to be violently attacked and controlled by the secular government.

Cuban-born star of For Greater Glory, Andy Garcia stated in a recent press release, “Nobody wants a war, but when they take away the right to that basic freedom from someone, especially people who have a deep faith, it turns out there are people who are ready to die for that freedom.”

Soldier of Christ

The movie doesn’t paint an unrealistic picture of a universally-holy Cristero (soldier of Christ), rooted in love and fighting a pure and just war. Whether a soldier’s prime motivation was revenge, money, fighting against the secular socialists, land, universal religious freedom, or specifically for their Catholic faith, the film portrays the Cristeros becoming united through the faithful Catholic witness of the rebellion’s more saintly members, and hearts and souls being changed by this witness.

It is the story of saints, sinners, and conversion, as well as power, pride, and Godless greed. Steadfast faith and conversion are the heroes of the story and why Mexico remains a more faith-filled country today.

As the Catholic News Service reports, “Ask Mexicans about the rebellion and the answers about what it means today depends on a person’s point of view . . . The Cristero legacy remains somewhat divisive, with the conflict and the beatification and canonization of Cristero martyrs at the center…”

Archbishop Jose Gomez, of Los Angeles, remarked that “For Greater Glory vividly depicts the difficult circumstances in which Catholics of that time lived — and died for — their faith.” And, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, of New York, called the film “stunning” and encouraged Catholics to see the film when it opens.

Film’s messages

Other than the need to know this important and embarrassing part of Mexican history, the message portrayed is that religious freedom must be fought for and protected.

Similarly, our faith must come first and define who we are, before our politics or personal aspirations.

The movie poses the question, “What price would you pay for freedom?” We cannot stand to allow history to repeat itself, and, where the Church is oppressed and marginalized, we must change hearts, minds, and souls, hopefully through peaceful means, but that some things — the most basic things, like religious freedom — are worth dying for.

Not that this fight is over in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Austria, parts of Africa, the Middle East, China, or many other places in our world, we do know how it ends — God wins. ¡Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Film’s caveats:

In being true to the history of the Cristero War, which claimed approximately 90,000 lives, For Greater Glory is a violent movie and not for children. The movie is rated R.

It tells the story of a Catholic rebellion against an atheistic socialist-run government, seeking to silence and marginalize the Church and her leaders. Atheists, Socialists, or those with the sympathies for the anti-Catholic Freemasonry (as they are the villains) will not like this movie all too much — it is an unabashedly Catholic movie.

Brent King is the Communications Director for the Diocese of Madison.

Last Updated on Wednesday, May. 30, 2012 -- 5:46 PM
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