Caption below the Railroad
by the Mexican government along railroad tracks near Zapotlán el
Grande (City Guzmán), in Jalisco. The media fallout from this
photograph was so negative that President Calles later ordered
the Secretary of War to hang people away from the train tracks
in the future.
Indeed, thousands of Mexican Knights sacrificed
much for religious liberty. Many lost their lives, and some of these
martyrs — both laymen and priests — have been beatified or canonized by
Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Today in the United States, it is impossible to recall these events
without thinking of current threats to religious liberty, including the
Obama administration’s insistence that contraceptives, sterilization and
abortion-inducing drugs be included in the health insurance programs of
Catholic organizations. This federal mandate is backed by the threat of
millions of dollars in fines if Catholic organizations refuse to comply
as a matter of conscience.
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal
Timothy M. Dolan, earlier this year stated, “We have become certain of
two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our
struggle to protect it.”
The White House more recently invited
representatives of the bishops to meet and discuss the president’s
mandate. But when they asked whether the meeting would consider their
fundamental concerns about religious liberty, the bishops’
representatives were told that these concerns “are all off the table.”
Cardinal Francis E. George, the past president of
the bishops’ conference, has concluded from the intransigence of the
Obama administration that it wants Catholics to “give up” our schools,
hospitals and charitable ministries.
‘Freedom is Our
For Greater Glory:
The True Story
unveils a time
when Mexican Christians, in the pursuit of religious freedom, had to
choose between their faith and their lives.
“Today we send a message to Calles, and to the world,” he says.
“Freedom is not a word just for writers, politicians or fancy
documents. It is our wives, it is our children, it is our homes, it is
our faith, it is our lives. We must defend it or die trying — it’s not
only our duty, it’s our right! Remember: Men may fire the bullets, but
God decides where they land. Viva Cristo Rey!”
The battle they are about to face will be one of many during the
Cristero War, a conflict that lasted from 1926 to 1929. This often
forgotten era of Mexican history is captured in a new film comprised of
an ensemble of talented and award-winning actors.
For Greater Glory is the brainchild of Mexican producer
Pablo José Barroso, a successful businessman who began producing a
string of small-budget, faith-based films following a powerful
rediscovery of his faith. Aimed at furthering Blessed John Paul II’s
call for a new evangelization, Barroso’s company Dos Corazones Films
released Guadalupe, a dramatic re-telling of the story of St.
Juan Diego, among other projects.
But about four years ago, Barroso began dreaming far bigger. He saw
the need to reclaim a period of history that is lost to so many of his
countrymen, a time when the infamous “Calles Law,” which was imposed by
Mexican President Plutarco Calles in 1926, enforced draconian
restrictions on the Catholic Church. ...
This movie includes talent like
Andy Garcia, Peter
Eva Longoria. Dean Wright, an Academy Award-nominated visual
effects producer for iconic films such as Titanic, The Lord of the
Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia series, signed on early
to make his directorial debut
“The first stimulus for me as an actor to be a part
of this movie was the notion of the quest for absolute freedom,” said
Garcia. “Coming from a country where religious freedom was also
curtailed and abolished, I was very sensitive to that reality and those
For the filmmakers, bringing the dark era of the Cristiada
years to life was largely motivated by the silence that surrounds it. As
the story unfolds, the audience witnesses the various ways in which
committed Catholics responded to their plight. Some, such as Blessed
José Anacleto González Flores — who is sometimes referred to as the
“Mexican Gandhi” — favored civil disobedience. Others, like Father José
Reyes Vega and Victoriano Ramírez, known as “El Catorce,” resorted to
armed resistance, beginning a grassroots rebellion of Mexican Catholics
from which the term “Cristiada” originated.
The history of the Cristero War remains largely unknown, even to
Mexicans. Eduardo Verástegui, who portrays González Flores in the film,
experienced this silence first hand.
“When I grew up in Mexico I didn’t know anything about the Cristiada,”
he said. “I went to public school; I had never heard anything about it —
until I turned 30 years old and I learned of the struggle for religious
freedom while on a retreat.”
Wright, likewise, discovered a stark contrast
between those who knew about the Cristero War and those who didn’t while
travelling across Mexico during the movie’s pre-production phase. In
cities, he would ask people, “Do you know about the Cristero War?” They
would respond, “What’s that?” But in the small towns and villages,
people keep alive the memory of the Mexican martyrs and Cristero heroes
through fervent devotion.
But in the small towns and villages, people keep alive the memory of
the Mexican martyrs and Cristero heroes through fervent devotion.
[Do to space constraints on the printable pamphlet, these
paragraphs in blue and others could not be included there. See
full articles below.]
“I’d go into a church and … there’d be a little shrine for the priest
that had stood up for his flock and had been killed for it,” Wright
explained. “It was really moving to see how important it was throughout
the country and also how lost it had become.”
Wright and Barroso also sought to create an
accurate depiction of the violence carried out against Mexican
Catholics. Although never gratuitously, the film depicts priests being
executed, churches pillaged and worshippers massacred. One of the more
chilling scenes involves the execution of St. José María Robles Hurtado,
a martyred priest and Knight of Columbus who blessed and forgave his
killers in the face of death.
Although the film is about specific historical events, the filmmakers
believe that its message about religious freedom is universal.
“We live in a time where religious freedom is as tenuous as it’s ever
been,” said Wright.
The Untold Story of the Knights during the Cristiada
On an ordinary January day in 1927, as Yocundo Durán walked home in
Chihuahua, Mexico, he crossed paths with Federal Gen. Miguel Valle, who
was walking out of a local tavern. The general recognized Durán and had
one of his soldiers detain him and ask, “Are you a Knight of Columbus?”
Durán confirmed that he was a Knight and asked whether there was any
evil in it. Considering this an indictment, Valle pronounced Durán a
“subversive Catholic” and ordered him shot on the spot. Durán’s body was
later delivered to his family in a bricklayer’s cart.
During this time, the government seized Catholic schools and
seminaries, expropriated Church property, and outlawed religious
education. It closed Catholic hospitals, orphanages and homes for the
elderly. It also banned monastic orders, expelled foreign-born clergy
and prohibited public worship. Priests and nuns were barred from wearing
religious garments, from voting, and from criticizing the government or
commenting on public affairs either in writing or in speech. If charged
with a violation of the law, they were, like Durán, often denied a
Mexico’s bishops were expelled, and many of the clergy were exiled
for years; those who remained or returned in secret were forced to work
minister “underground.” Many seminarians were also exiled to Spain
or the United States.
Although the Knights as an organization did not provide support to
the Cristeros’ military efforts, it remained a target for the Mexican
government, explains historian Jean Meyer.
According to Meyer, more than 200,000 people from every socioeconomic
background were killed or martyred by 1930. On May 21, 2000, Pope John
Paul II canonized 25 martyrs — including six Knights — from the
Cristiada period. Thirteen more Mexican martyrs — including three
Knights — were beatified in Guadalajara, Mexico, on the Solemnity of
Christ the King on Nov. 20, 2005.
Read more :
See Full Text of Articles at
'Freedom is Our Lives' by David Naglieri
[ This web page has some additional interesting details when explaining
the importance of this movie when using the FREE PowerPoint
Bishop Cisneros, Cardinal Seán P.
O’Malley of Boston, the movie's Producer -Pablo Barroso and Father Kevin
O’Leary at the premier in NY. See Very Rev. O’Malley
May blog, (scroll down.)
His Eminence Seán O’Malley,
Cardinal, Archdiocese of Boston
“I wholeheartedly recommend it.”
Most Rev. José Horacio Gomez, Archbishop
DIOCESE OF LOS
“For Greater Glory
vividly depicts the difficult circumstances in which Catholics of that
time lived – and died for – their faith. It is a top-flight production
whose message of the importance of religious freedom has particular
resonance for us today. It is my earnest hope that people of faith
throughout our country will rally behind “For
Greater Glory,” and in doing so, will highlight the
importance of religious freedom in our society.”
Most Rev. William E. Lori
“For Greater Glory
is an excellent film that has the courage to tell a story that has been
all but forgotten. The sacrifices and hardships endured by those who
would not renounce Christ helped preserve the religious liberty of
millions … and it makes clear the truth that Christ taught us – that
there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.”
Supreme Knight/CEO, Knights of Columbus
“For Greater Glory
is ‘must-see’ viewing for all those who care about faith and liberty
Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted,
Bishop, Diocese of Phoenix
“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.”
Cardinal, Archdiocese of Washington
He urged his priests and seminarians to see “For Greater Glory” in his
Chrism Mass homily in April, states
Zenit News Reports:
The Cristeros, whose battle cry was
“¡Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Viva la Virgen
(Long live Christ the King! Long live the Virgin of
Remarkably, as the revolutionary party went on to rule Mexico for the
next 70 years [after 1929], details of the conflict were largely hidden
from many Mexicans. “We never knew about it, it’s not in the official
curriculum of the schools,” said Juan A. Mercado, a native of Mexico
City and associate professor of modern philosophy at the Pontifical
University of the Holy Cross in Rome. “We learned about it through
family, or at university you’d hear a bit about it. It was a taboo, the
state didn’t want it known and yet it was a huge movement in the
The movie also contains occasional moments of humor and, largely
through exchanges between General Gorostieta and various other
characters, the movie acts as a kind of catechesis by explaining the
importance and meaning of the Christian faith.
Defending the Bride's
This movie is rated "R" for violence. It is
about a terrible war against Christianity in Mexico. The amount of
violence is well chosen. It is definitely real, but not grisly or
grotesque. The violence factor helps a person appreciate how much
these martyrs sacrificed and how strong their faith was. The movie
is well directed so that the viewer could see beyond the suffering to
see the love, the faith, the valor, and the integrity of those being
killed just because they wanted to love Jesus. They were called "Cristeros"
because of their battle cry "Viva
Cristo Rey." This movie is truly
inspiring! After having seen it, my petty complaints about life
being unfair seemed only a trifle.
Does this movie
glorify war ?
No! Definitely not.
In fact, I would say it offers us the best hope of avoiding war.
Read more ... also read about confusing
See more on
Saint José Sánchez del Río
USCCB Resources :
Current Threats to Religious Freedom
How to Talk about Religious Liberty
Knights of Columbus Mexican Martyrs
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