Religious  Freedom

and the Movie

For  Greater  Glory


The movie, For Greater Glory, accurately depicts the Mexican governments persecution of the Catholic Church in the 1920's.  Great acting by award winning actors.  True History that is often ignored. 

This is not just another Hollywood movie.  It is a spiritual journey.



Free Pamphlet    Download  Free PowerPoint

Watch a Free EWTN documentary video,
Listen to a Free MP3 talk by Patrick Madrid about this time in history,
Read several Articles from Knights of Columbus about the martyrs of the Cristeros and its importance today,
Read many Endorsements from Cardinals and Bishops,
See USCCB  Resources

Print out a Free Pamphlet on this movie and resources stated here.

Purchase the movie, For Greater Glory on DVD,
Purchase companion book, or book on CD,
Purchase Lighthouse CD, Patrick Madrid’s talk. 

What Mexico Teaches Us

This article is comprised of excerpts from Columbia magazine May 2012. Copied with permission from Knights of Columbus, New Haven Connecticut.


Columbia magazine explores the history of the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico during the 1920s and ’30s. This history has been hidden from the people of Mexico, and the real causes of the conflict have been ignored by many scholars. One textbook in the United States misleadingly portrays Catholics who fought against religious persecution in this way: “Leaders who emerged from the (Mexican) Constitutionalist movement … fought off a challenge from armed Catholic traditionalists in the countryside. These devout counterrevolutionary peasants were called Cristeros.”

These articles set the record straight, both as to the real cause of the violence and the peaceful efforts of the Knights of Columbus on both sides of the border to defend religious liberty in Mexico.

The persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico began when the administration of Mexican President Plutarco Calles took punitive measures to silence priests and bishops, confiscate Church property and close Catholic schools. When the archbishop of Mexico City spoke out against such measures, his residence and the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe were bombed.


Caption below the Railroad tracks reads:

Catholics hanged 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 Lives’

For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada 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 O’Toole and 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 struggles.”



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 trial.

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 and 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

What Mexico Teaches Us  by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

'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 below.]

The Untold Story of the Knights during the Cristiada  
by María de Lourdes Ruiz Scaperlanda

The Voice for Religious Freedom Knows No Border  
by Maureen Walther and Jennifer Daigle




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

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.”

Carl Anderson,
Supreme Knight/CEO, Knights of Columbus

For Greater Glory is ‘must-see’ viewing for all those who care about faith and liberty today.”

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.”

His Eminence Donald Wuerl
Cardinal, Archdiocese of Washington

He urged his priests and seminarians to see “For Greater Glory
in his
Chrism Mass homily in April, states George Weigel


Zenit News Reports
The Cristeros, whose battle cry was
“¡Viva Cristo Rey!                 ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

(Long live Christ the King!    Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe!)”  ...

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 country.” 

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 comments:
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 "Train Incident."

See more on  Saint  José  Sánchez  del  Río  

USCCB  Resources :
Current Threats to Religious Freedom
Fact Sheet
How to Talk about Religious Liberty

Knights of Columbus Mexican Martyrs



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Padre Francesco Vera who was shot by a firing squad,
just after celebrating the outlawed Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in 1927.

Blessed Padre Pro died in a similar way.


See a list of martyrs such as Cristóbal, or Christopher, Magallanes.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!
The Cristeros versus the Mexican Revolution

By: Christopher Check at


See more on  Saint  José  Sánchez  del  Río


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PowerPoint on the Movie:
For Greater Glory



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See  FREE  EWTN  Historical documentary on this movie : Video

For Greater Glory:
The True Story of Cristeros



What Happened and Why is it Important Today 

This web site article is comprised of excerpts from Columbia magazine May 2012. Copied with permission from Knights of Columbus, New Haven Connecticut.

See Full Articles at

What Mexico Teaches Us  by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

'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 below.]

The Untold Story of the Knights during the Cristiada  
by María de Lourdes Ruiz Scaperlanda

The Voice for Religious Freedom Knows No Border  
by Maureen Walther and Jennifer Daigle

See more on  Saint  José  Sánchez  del  Río



FREE  MP3 Download
Attack on Religious Liberty - Battle for the Faith in Mexico
by Patrick Madrid

Available for purchase

                          Or, Purchase  CD  $3.50 of same talk from St. Joseph's



         DVD  Major Motion Picture  $14.95
         Electronic Book Download,  English,  Ignatius Press
         Book on CD, 3 CD-Set  St. Joseph's Communications
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Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.
¡ Viva Cristo Rey !

Rejecting the traditional blindfold, Miguel stretched his arms out in the form of a cross and facing the firing squad said, "May God have mercy on you. May God bless you. Lord, You know that I am innocent. With all my heart I forgive my enemies." 
External links to other web sites :Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.   
¡ Viva Cristo Rey ! 
Mexico's Merry Martyr - Free short video on biography of Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.








Watch Trailer

Spoiler Clips

Cristero War took her father but strengthened her faith, says woman

Archbishop Chaput’s comments about the film.

Review :  Spoiler : The article below reveals some important scenes in movie
by  Patrick F. Fagan |