¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Mexico Flag Cristeros

By Mexico_Flag_(Cristeros).png: User:Immaculate derivative work: Jorge Compassio (Mexico_Flag_(Cristeros).png) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wingnut and I caught a very late showing of For Greater Glory over the weekend.  If you care even a tad about the current events regarding religious liberties in our country, you need to see this movie.  The film documents historical episodes during the late 1920s of the religious suppression, persecution, and sacrilege leading up to and including the Cristeros War.

Being a relatively unknown and untold story that involved thousands of martyred Mexicans, the Catholic Church, and Mexican national and international politics, it was a daunting task to condense so much information down into a two and a half hour movie.  It was done fairly well and the characters of General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde and young Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio particularly stand out.  Agnostic General Gorostieta, played by Andy Garcias, is reluctantly drawn into leading the Cristeros and finds himself inspired by the courage and faith of Jose, who joins the Cristeros after witnessing the assassination his village priest.  Well cast and well acted the performances of Garcia and young Mauricio Kuri were definitely poignant.

If I am honest, I will say the movie did have a few flaws.  Was it overly melodramatic?  Yes, at times it was.  That being said, the most beautiful and touching scenes were very even handed and effective.  I also found the scoring of the film to be a tad distracting and almost soap opera-like. The director seemed to have difficulty connecting characters and events together which led to too much skipping between characters and scenes. Oscar worthy it is not, but still an incredibly important film, and one that should be seen.

The MPAA gave For Greater Glory an R rating, something I found curious.  The reasoning expressed had to do with the pervasive violence, which I found neither too graphic nor too over the top.  I've seen PG-13 movies with more excessive violence than this film.  There was also no vulgar language and no sexual content.  In fact, we found the previews prior to the movie more objectionable.  The USCCB also gave the film a more cautionary rating of AIII (adults only). This was due to the torture scene of Blessed Jose, while distressing it was neither graphic nor overdone.  That being said, I would still recommend this film for more mature teens and adults.  More sensitive viewers could be greatly distressed by a few of the more violent scenes.

The story of the Cristeros War has fascinated me.  I've been reading about it all weekend.  The stories of the martyrs and documented miracles are amazing.  If you are like me and knew little to nothing of this episode in history, a good place to start is this article on Catholic Apologetics.  Sister Hope, SSVM, also recommends the following books as wonderful resources for learning more about the religious persecutions in Mexico and the ensuing uprisings: The Cristero Rebellion: The Mexican People Between Church and State 1926-1929  and La Cristiada: The Mexican Government's Persecution of the Church

What I was left mulling over after seeing For Greater Glory was the undaunted and courageous faith of the Cristiada.  This film is an important one for Catholic Americans looking at the current assault on our religious liberties.  Am I the kind of faithful Catholic or Christian that loves my religious liberty so much, I would be willing to die with "¡Viva Cristo Rey!" upon my lips? Are you?


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