Skip to comments.Movie on Cristeros War Exposes Mexican Govt.'s Anti-Christian Campaign
Posted on 06/10/2012 12:39:05 PM PDT by IbJensen
¡Viva Cristo Rey! (Long Live Christ the King.) That was the rallying cry for millions of Mexicans during the second and third decades of the 20th century, as revolutionary governments, modeled after the Bolshevik regime in Russia, unleashed round after round of persecution and terror throughout Mexico.
For Greater Glory, the newly released epic film starring Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, provides a stirring introduction to the Cristero War, or Cristiada (1926-1929), a heroic chapter of Mexicos history that, until now, has been almost virtually unknown in the United States (as well as in Mexico, where the government has suppressed true reports of the persecutions and all favorable mention of the Cristeros, who finally rose up to fight for religious liberty).
The wholesale raping, pillaging, destruction and desecration of churches, torture and murder of Catholic priests, closing of Catholic schools, the takeover of education by anti-Christian propagandists, and other outrages initiated by the regime of President Plutarco Elias Calles, ultimately drove the long-suffering Mexican people to take up arms against the dictatorial oppressor. Tens of thousands mostly peasants joined the Cristero army, led by Gen. Enrique Gorostieta (played by Andy Garcia in the movie).
Although poorly armed and usually outnumbered, the Cristeros repeatedly inflicted decisive defeats upon Calles army. Unable to defeat the Cristeros militarily, Calles resorted to diplomatic treachery, suing for peace and promising to restore religious liberty. Hundreds of Cristero leaders who accepted his amnesty and laid down their arms were tortured and executed; thousands of Cristero supporters were hunted down and murdered.
It is to Americas everlasting shame that our White House and State Department not only aided Calles in this deception but also provided him with arms and airplanes, while blocking all attempts by the Cristeros Christian freedom fighters to buy arms and munitions. In so doing, the U.S. government aligned itself with the anti-Christian forces that have been initiating communistic revolutions throughout the world since that great atheistic prototype, the French Revolution of 1789.
Although Mexico is overwhelmingly Catholic (and was even more so at the beginning of the 20th century), the Mexican Constitution of 1917 reflected the Marxist and anti-clerical zeitgeist of the Bolshevik Revolution of that same year. In addition to confiscating all property (churches, schools, universities, hospitals, monasteries, convents, rectories, etc.) of the Catholic Church, the new Constitution placed draconian restrictions on Catholic worship and Catholic clergy, forbidding priests, bishops, and nuns even to wear their religious garb in public, on pain of fine and imprisonment.
For Plutarco Calles, the anti-clerical provisions of the revolutionary constitution were insufficient; he illegally added his own more brutal measures to augment it. Although For Greater Glory does portray on film some of the cruel reality and barbarism of Calles attack on Mexicos Catholics, it understates the depravity and the viciousness of his pitiless campaign.
Under Calles, Mexico became the first country in the world to recognize the new Soviet Union, and the Soviet embassy that was established in Mexico City grew to be one of Moscow's largest in the world and a key center for NKVD/KGB subversion, espionage, and terrorism throughout the Americas. However, even before Calles came to power in 1924, the new Communist regime in Moscow had begun exercising its influence in Mexico. Soviet dictator Lenin sent top Comintern (Communist International) agent Mikhail Borodin to Mexico in 1919 to coordinate a growing Communist-Socialist movement that was heavily larded with foreign elements, mostly American and European intellectuals. Among the agents Borodin recruited there was Manabendra Nath Roy (more commonly known as M. N. Roy) of India, who had studied at Stanford University before coming to Mexico, where he was a founder and first secretary-general of Socialist Party of Mexico. Under Borodins tutelage, Roy became a Comintern delegate and a founder of the Communist Parties of Mexico and India.
The Kremlin next sent Comintern agent and feminist revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai as ambassador to Mexico, though her real job was to prepare Mexico for its role (as perceived by Moscow) in the world revolution. As was frequently the case in other countries as well, Mexicos native revolutionists didnt always want to take orders from Moscow, even though they were muy sympatico with the political, social, and economic programs of the Soviet Union.
One of the key features of Russian Bolshevism that found its counterpart among the Mexican communists/socialists was a fanatical hatred for Christianity. Foremost among the atheist fanatics was the infamous infidel Tomas Garrido Canabal, Governor of Tobasco, whom Calles brought into his Cabinet. Canabal (called Cannibal by his critics) deported or killed virtually all of the Catholic priests in his province. The few whom he allowed to remain, he forced to marry. Canabal named one of his sons Lenin, in honor of the Soviet dictator. He named his murderous enforcers Las Camisas Rojas (The Red Shirts), who adopted The Internationale, the anthem of communists worldwide, as their own anthem.
One of Canabals nephews, a member of his Red Shirts, was named Lucifer. Canabal himself took delight in publicly burlesquing Christianity at every opportunity, and at one livestock exhibition christened a donkey Christ, a bull God, a cow The Virgin of Guadalupe, and an ox The Pope. Canabal delighted in festivals featuring the burning of crucifixes, crosses, religious statues and paintings, vestments, Bibles, and the libraries of Catholic schools and libraries. His thugs desecrated cemeteries, destroying all crosses and tombstones with angels, religious symbols, or Scriptural passages. As in Russia, all cities, villages, streets, and buildings with Christian names were given new, revolutionary names. One of Canabals top officials and his representative for Tobasco to the National Convention of 1933, was Arnulfo Perez, who styled himself The Personal Enemy of God. Perez told the Convention:
Yes, gentlemen, the Revolution has the imperative duty of combating the false divinity that is venerated in every temple and that has many altars in the hearts of the people. We must fight this outdated and absurd belief, inspired only by the fear and ignorance of humanity. We must fight God, the maximum myth from which the greatest lies have been derived to exploit humanity and keep it on its knees throughout the centuries. "God" does not exist.
For militant atheists such as Calles, Canabal, and Perez, anti-Christian propaganda was an essential and integral part of their concept of scientific and socialistic education.
Calles illegally amended the Constitution in 1933 so that Article 3 read:
The education imparted by the State shall be a socialistic one and, in addition to excluding all religious doctrine, shall combat fanaticism and prejudice by organizing its instruction and activities in a way that shall permit the creation in youth of an exact and rational concept of the Universe and social life.
President Calles himself confirmed the worst fears and accusations of Mexican parents, teachers, and pastors: that his revolutionary, socialist government aimed at collectivization and brainwashing of the children, purging them of the taint of religion, tradition, parents, and family. In his address to the people of Guadalajara on July 20, 1934, Calles declared:
The Revolution has not ended It is necessary that we enter a new period, the psychological period, of the Revolution. We must now enter and take possession of the consciences of the children, of the consciences of the young, because they do belong and should belong to the Revolution . I refer to education, I refer to the school because the children and youth belong to the community; they belong to the collectivity, and it is the Revolution that has the inescapable duty to take possession of consciences, to drive out prejudices and to form a new soul of the nation.
Typical of the oaths required of teachers under the Calles regimes socialistic education is this pledge that teachers in the State of Yucatan were forced to sign:
I, _____, before the Federal Board of Education, solemnly declare, without any reservation whatsoever, to accept the program of the Socialist School and to be its propagandist and defender; I declare myself an atheist, an irreconcilable enemy of the Roman, Apostolic, Catholic religion, and that I will exert my efforts to destroy it, releasing the conscience from every religious worship and to be ready to fight against the clergy in whatever field it may be necessary....
The Continuing Revolution
Mexico has not completely repudiated its Bolshevik legacy. Although the anti-clerical extremes of the Calles regime have been attenuated or repealed, Article 24 of the Constitution, prohibiting prayer and the teaching of religion in schools, remains in place and has become a political hot issue in this election year. Most of the politicians of the ruling Partido de Alianza Nacional (PAN), including President Felipe Calderon, favor repeal of the religious prohibition. The party of Calles, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), which ruled Mexico for 70 years, is split on the issue. Meanwhile the far-left Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), an off-shoot of the PRI, not only adamantly clings to the anti-Christian constitutional provision, but has moved aggressively to implement policies favoring abortion and homosexual marriage in a way that would warm the revolutionary hearts of Comrades Calles, Canabal, Borodin, and Kollontai. After narrowly losing the 2006 presidential election to Calderon by less than one percent, PRD candidate Andres Lopez Obrador used his partys control of Mexico City to pass one of the worlds most liberal homosexual marriage laws and a law legalizing virtually all abortions through the 12th week of pregnancy, for the nations capital, the huge Federal District. Obrador is again running for the presidency and again faces a tight race, although this time it appears his closest opponent is left-liberal PRI candidate Governor Enrique Pena Nieto, who holds a slight lead in some polls.
During his trip to Mexico in March of this year, Pope Benedict XVI delivered outspoken support to the efforts of Mexicos Catholic Bishops and Catholic laity to repeal the anti-Christian legacy of the Calles regime. Will the papal exhortations and the renewed interest and fervor stirred by the Cristiada film, For Greater Glory, be enough to overturn the nearly century-long oppression of religious liberty endured by our neighbor to the South? That remains to be seen. Some political analysts discount any impact of Article 24 on the election, which is likely to be greatly overshadowed by two other issues: the economy and the ongoing violence of the drug wars. In a close race, however, it could affect the ultimate outcome.
No wonder the majority of Mexicans were illiterate as the Catholic Church operated the educational system and communism and Christianity cannot co-exist.
We saw it last weekend here in Los Angeles. It is very well done, gripping, so moving. I lived in Mexico City after high school and studied Latin American history to some depth, as well as speaking Spanish fluently. I was never taught this history.
Many of the priests and nuns, convents-full, came to southern California during this era, another fact I had never known until 2 years ago, when this history was presented at the local retreat center near our Catholic church.
There was a movie starring Henry Fonda and Pedro Armandarez about a fugitive Mexican priest during this shameful era. I believe the title was The Fugitive? There was also a novel from which the movie was adapted.
I recall reading the book as well. It was The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.
Saw the movie a week ago Friday and thought it was very well done. I did not know anything about this aspect of Mexican history. Very sad that America supported the commies.
Studied South and Central American history in college and worked in Mexican travel for a number of years. Never heard of this. Its amazing how the left can control information.
Homeschooling parents may find this intersting. Some may want to include this in the history cirriculum, or at least introduce it to their children and gague their reactions.
It’s an excellent movie, and few people in either the US or Mexico know about this period of history. Incidentally, the US supported Calles against the Cristeros and sent him weaponry and airplanes to use against the Catholics.
Few people know that the “Republicans” (who were dominated by Communists and finally actually run and supplied by Russia) in Spain killed more than 13,000 priests, nuns and Catholic lay leaders before Franco was successful in putting a stop to it. Again, guess which side the US supported...or at any rate, which side was supported by US “intellectuals” and leaders, although we never provided any official military support.
I read about Father Miguel Pro in the Catholic comic book “Treasure Chest” in the 1950’s, in a story called “Mexican Martyr”. It depicted him giving absolution to his brothers Roberto & Humberto in prison before he is led to the firing squad where he shouts his final prayer, “Long live Christ the King!”
Unfortunately, atheism isn’t our only enemy nowadays.
Catholics really need to support this movie... it will send a message to Hollywood that these kind of movies can make good money. Then hopefully more of these movies will be made instead of the putrid filth they usually put out.
Threats to religious freedom come in many formssome hard, like during the Cristero War; some softer, if no less lethal to the first freedom. One way to blunt the hard threats is to stand firmly against the softer threats and to name those threats for what they are. For Greater Glory will inspire and encourage those already committed to defending religious freedom today. It is even more important, though, that those who havent yet seen the threat, or who deny that it exists, ponder this powerful depiction of the nearby and not-so-distant past, for the sake of the present and future."
It’s rated R for a reason. The violence is just awful. The torture of the young Jose was more than I could take, and I closed my eyes and ears.
The McClatchy review of the movie repeated the old canard that the Calles government was opposed by an alliance of Church leaders and landowners. No wonder the US did not se Castro for what he was.The Left is blind to his sort of tyrranny and blames Cubas present state on the US boycott.
>Barack Obama is not Plutarco Elias Calles<
Maybe not but they both came from the same mind set and if the adherents of that mind set succede in consolidating the power they have acumulated over the past one hundred years they will, by their god Marx, implement the same pograms here and now thatr they implemented then in Mexico.
Maybe not but they both came from the same mind set and if the adherents of that mind set succeed in consolidating the power they have accumulated over the past one hundred years they will, by their god Marx, implement the same pogroms here and now that they implemented then in Mexico.
Please ignore post 18. The spell check gave no indication and I did not preview. sorry
After the movie, we all said this is so very pertinent to today's attempt by Obama and his minions to supress Christianity in this country.
Father Pro, A Mexican Hero:
Interesting that upon return of control of real estate assets to the church, the church apparently gave up support for the Cristeros. I had read that somewhere else too. Also, many Cristeros fled to California, particularly Los Angeles. Made a great work out of California and LA in particular, they did.
The Mexican government was waging war on the Catholic Church. The vast majority of Christians in Mexico at the time were Catholics, but I have read that some American Protestants were happy with the anti-Catholic policies, thinking that they would give them the chance to win Mexican Catholics to Protestant churches. I don’t know whether they did in fact make any appreciable number of converts, but President Calles was an honored guest at the White House in 1924. I’ve seen a photo of him standing in front of the White House flanked by President Coolidge and former President Taft.
By October the boycott had collapsed, due mainly to lack of support from rich Catholics. (As the rebellion progressed, rich Catholics became almost as hated as the anticlerical government.) As one Guadalajara merchant put it: "I'm a businessman and I have obligations. I'm losing money because of this damn boycott." Rich Catholics also incurred anger by paying the federal army for protection and calling on police to break up the boycotters' picket lines.
From here: Click here for the source.
This atrocity completely turned public opinion against the Cristeros. In Los Altos, the rebellion's focal area, the government adopted a policy of "reconcentration," where civilians were ordered into population centers and the countryside was declared a free-fire zone. In this manner the government could confiscate food and livestock and prevent a sympathetic civilian population from feeding the rebels. By summer of 1927 the rebellion was virtually over.
Also from the above posted source: Click here to read more.
Always good to search out the WHOLE truth, and not what selectively pleases us.
I attended a Jesuit middle School in Europe in the early 50’s and we studied the terror that took place in Mexico in the 30’s.
We learned about Padre Pro, a Jesuit, who was executed together with his brother. Photos of their execution are well known. They both shouted ‘Viva Christo Rey!’ as the executioners pulled the triggers. While they were dying, they were shot in the head at close range.
It was also about that time that the Spanish Civil War took place — Franco against the Bolsheviks. There were many Americans who fought on the Bolsheviks’ side and the nazis send their Luftwaffe to support Franco.
Wife and I saw it last Sunday. It is simply one of the best movies I’ve ever watched. It has an engaging plot, complex and interesting characters, a solid historical basis, and action.
And after Franco took all that military aid from Hitler & Mussolini, he kept Spain out of the Axis and out of WWII except for the token “Blue Division”. Three years of civil war was enough.
The Loyalists on the other hand allowed the entire Spanish gold reserves to be transferred to the Soviet Union. BTW, when the Reds had run out of priests & nuns to murder, they desecrated the graves of those religious who had already passed to their reward.
This movie is not just for Roman Catholics.
It is for all who love liberty regardless of religious persuasion.
Well, there’s a leftist spin on every story. Usually it is found wanting when hung in the balance.
Your citations are by Jim Tuck, who “founded the only chapter of Americans for Democratic Action outside the U.S., now named in his honor. Adelante (’Forward’ in Spanish) is the chapter’s official publication.”
The ADA is a soft leftist organization. However, “Forward” has been the traditional slogan of Marxists for almost a century.
There’s no dispute whether every action of the Cristeros was saintly. War is a horrible thing regardless of who is involved.
At least you’re honest enough to admit both sides were filthy dirty in that war. The government hung Cristeros from telephone poles for a long distance. Is not the first casualty of war, the truth?
I didn’t know about it until I read about Padre Pro about 10 years ago. They actually took pictures of his execution.