GLEN COVE, NY — It is fortunate that For
Greater Glory was released in the United States immediately before the American
Catholic Bishops’ campaign
to educate people about religious liberty. This is one of the greatest
films about religious liberty ever made.
It is set during the Mexican Cristero War from 1926 to 1929. This
civil war began when Plutarco Elias Calles, President of Mexico from
1924 to 1928, decided to enforce with extraordinary harshness the anti-Catholic
provisions of the 1917 Constitution. Peaceful protests quickly led
the government to kill priests and other Catholics and to close all
the churches. In response, the Mexican people rose up to form several
spontaneous armies against the government. The armies eventually were
united in a single command under retired general Enrique Gorostieta
Vetorde. The popular army was known as the Cristeros.
In 1929, the Cristeros laid down their arms on orders from the Vatican
and their bishops in exchange for the re-opening of the churches and
the end of the killings. Many Cristeros who were winning the war preferred
to fight on for more complete Catholic freedom, such as the right of
priests to wear cassocks in public and of the church to publish newspapers.
The film tells the stories of martyred priests and of Blessed Jose
Sanchez del Rio, martyred at the age of 14 on the orders of his uncle
when Jose would not renounce Christ under torture. The main heroes
of the film are General Gorostieta and one of the two priest-generals
in the war. General Gorostieta, not a religious man when the war started,
believed strongly in religious freedom. In the movie, his fellow general,
the priest, hears his confession at a pivotal moment. We know, historically,
that he did indeed become a practicing Catholic shortly before the
end of the war, whether or not it was the work of his fellow general.
While the heroes of the film are well developed, President Calles remains
one dimensional. He does extraordinarily wicked things without offering
the audience an explanation. There is one reference in the middle of
the film to the American belief that he was a Communist. Although he
did share many characteristics with the Communists, including a brutal
hatred of religion, the real reason for his crimes is hidden from the
audience. For most of the twentieth century, the Mexican government
was dominated by a truly vicious form of Free-masonry. It was Freemasonry,
not Communism, which drove him to kill 14-year-old boys and feeble
old priests. Perhaps Mexican audiences understand this history, but
American audiences may be unable to appreciate the role that Freemasonry
played in the violence.
For Greater Glory has valuable lessons for us in the United
States as we face President Obama’s war on the Catholic Church.
Officially, the Cristero War ended when the United States helped to
achieve an agreement to re-open the churches and stop the killings,
but in some ways the war never ended. When the Holy Father celebrated
Mass in Guadalajara recently, the Mass ended with a long form of the
battle cry of the Cristeros, “Viva
la Virgin de Guadalupe. Que viva. Viva Cristo Rey. Que Viva....”
The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2012
by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com.
All rights reserved.
For additional information on the For Greater
Glory movie, see Anita
Crane's article from World
Net Daily and Cristeros' lecturer, Christopher
Check's essay in Crisis
Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the
New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in
many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles
about the law.
See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.
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