Skip to comments.Viva Cristo Rey!
Posted on 06/15/2013 8:33:06 PM PDT by narses
When I first heard "For Greater Glory" (originally titled "Cristiada," which I prefer) was being shot, I was stunned -- and skeptical. It never could be produced by Hollywood. In fact, it wouldn't be a theatrical release, maybe a short documentary, certainly with a small budget. On the former, I was correct; it was made in Mexico. On the latter, I was wrong; it's a full-fledged major motion picture with grade-A talent. And it's wonderful. The cast includes Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Peter O'Toole (in a cameo role as a murdered priest, the octogenarian is splendid), Ruben Blades and Mexican star Eduardo Verastegui. This is serious stuff.
The movie depicts the Mexican Cristero uprising against the military dictatorship of President Plutarco Calles between 1926 and 1929. Calles was an ardent anti-Catholic in a nation dominated by Catholics. At his command, Catholic churches were ordered shuttered, and Mass was outlawed. Many priests were murdered.
The most famous moment in the struggle, not depicted in the film, was the martyrdom of Padre Miguel Pro. Calles ordered a firing squad to shoot him in 1927, with the heart-wrenching final moments (Pro kneeling in prayer and then standing, his arms extended in the sign of the cross as bullets shattered him, and then shot point-blank when the fusillade didn't kill him) photographed by order of the "presidente." Padre Pro was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
I was shown the early trailers because of the family connection. My grandfather Will Buckley Sr. was a strong supporter of the Cristeros'. A devout Catholic with business interests in Mexico and an ardent love of that country -- so much so that he planned to move his family there -- Buckley provided materiel aid to the impoverished peasants. Some things we know to be true. He was targeted for assassination; his oil leases were expropriated by the government; he was expelled. Others are in question: that there was an actual attempt to kill him (another version has it that the assassins turned and offered him assistance should he want someone capped); that a train he hired to smuggle in arms from El Paso (maybe) became lost, wandered about at night and ultimately found its way back to El Paso and the weapons were confiscated; and that his heirs also were banished -- but don't tell my cousin who has been practicing law there for decades.
You know nothing of this uprising? Not to worry. Virtually no one does. That included the primary actors. Garcia tells Religion News Service he knew nothing but understands it, given that the same catastrophe befell his native Cuba, where it "was not only the taking away of religious rights. They curtailed and took away all rights." Even Verastegui, a fervent Catholic, admits he was ignorant of this struggle because of the Mexican public school system. That has changed now, thanks to the soft-spoken and elegant Mexican real estate developer-turned-producer Pablo Jose Barroso.
Much is being written about the timing of the movie's release in the wake of the Obama administration's anti-religious mandate and on the eve of the bishops' planned "Fortnight for Freedom" June 21 through July 4. The timing is extraordinary but fortuitous. The movie was planned before President Barack Obama's assault against the Catholic Church.
But just the idea of the connection brings out the worst in the secularist press. Slant Magazine pans it as a film "that gives the screen epic a bad name." It attacks the "solemn speechifying," the "overstuffed cast of characters" and the "half-baked material," and given "this religion is specifically Catholic ... the film ... makes the material a tough sell." When Garcia's character ultimately converts to Christianity, "we're back to embracing a worldview where the implied mandate to practice Catholicism feels nearly as onerous as the inability to do so."
But how historically accurate is this "implied mandate to practice Catholicism"? Here's a hint. Slant dismisses "a whole host of bathetic subplots," claiming "its martyrdom fetish reaches its grotesque nadir when a young boy dies rather than make the most token anti-Catholic gesture."
As for the alleged mushy effusiveness and the martyrdom fetish, there are some historical facts. More than 90,000 died. Dozens have since been canonized by the church, including 25 by John Paul II alone. The young boy was Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, who was tortured with his heels slashed before being made to walk to his execution. "He cried and moaned with pain," stated an eyewitness. And then he was shot dead.
The "most token anti-Catholic gesture," which would have saved his life, was his refusal to shout "Death to Christ the King," instead proclaiming, "Viva Cristo Rey!"
Jose was 14. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.
It is still illegal to celebrate Mass outdoors in Mexico.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
Interesting. I’ve not heard of either the event or the film. Too bad Skippy’s in it. I’ll probably see it anyway.
Thanks for posting, I’ll be on the lookout for a showing.
A really good movie, John Wayne style.
It’s on netflix, or on dvd. It was a great movie...
Why did you post a Townhall article that’s more than a year old?
Could it have anything to do with the now-quelled uprising this past Friday?
Or maybe a topic of interest?
Who's to say it couldn't be both?
If you haven’t seen the film, narses, I think you will like it. Ruben Blades is delightfully creepy as Presidente Calles.
A great film—must see for all who love religious freedom and Mexico.
If people think Mexico is violent now, it’s probably not any more violent than it was in the first half of the 20th century. Probably not as near as violent. Many of the “elected” leaders and chief revolutionaries, including Villa and Zapata, ended up dying violently. The Mexican Revolution killed over one million Mexicans in a time when the population wasn’t anywhere near what it is now. In the aftermath of the main bloodletting the Callas regime took over. More violence, bloodshed, and repression of religion.
It is a good film, and well worth the watching. (I was actually suprised at how well it was done.)
I read the article first and wandered what the heck they were talking about regarding the timing of the release. Then I discovered the date of the article, 5/2012.
That's ok, it reminded me that I have the DVD and have yet to watch it........maybe this afternoon.
That movie was chilling reminder that sometimes we have to physically suffer for our faith - and that kind of persecution could happen HERE, thanks to our godless leaders!
***”its martyrdom fetish reaches its grotesque nadir when a young boy dies rather than make the most token anti-Catholic gesture.” ***
Gasp! Shades of Polycarp! Only difference was age.
Has this movie been released on DVD? It never played at our local theaters.
The movie John Ford’s THE FUGITIVE with Henry Fonda has a similar theme.
It is available on DVD. I saw it in a local theater, but also bought the DVD "just in case."
I was pleasantly surprised at the production values and the quality of the acting. Well worth seeing.
Many church mice fell silent. I could hear the quietness. Less squeaking, and a lot less roar.
After a certain cadre appeared to have "declared war" so to speak, they missed a golden opportunity for maximizing benefit for their beleaguered provinces. Which could have been;
Surrender, then immediately apply for foreign aid 'America' has some habit of bestowing upon vanquished foes.
But this time around, though the cadre laying hand upon a "Q" bomb, sort-of like that other incident, powers-that-be (with some perhaps unneeded confirmation offered from Navel [sic] Intelligence) were able to determine, that much as the last time, the "Q" bomb was indeed a dud all along.
Still, unlike those quaintly loveable, old fashioned Franco-Swiss Pinot vintners, the situation last time here devolved into clannish rivalry of a bitter sort, with many otherwise peaceful kilt wearers, along with those non-aligned (no particular pattern of tartan, or just plain denim) swept up into the neighborhood squabbling. It fairly littered the joint with broken window glass and hurt feelings, driving a significant number to leave, and more than few escorted out-of-town, including a small number whom were overall not much part of the festivities, but had their honest questions mistaken for the incendiary rhetoric that was being hurled around by a great many; a bic lighter in hand at that point, flic'd in trying to make a little-bitty light in hope of better seeing in the dark, potentially leading to being mistaken for just another arsonist. For there were some arsonists, and there were fires, at it's worst being like mini-mob mentality rioting. (humans. ya' just gotta love 'em)
A few heads got busted with the nightsticks. When riot cops start swinging at those who were hurling bricks and molotovs at them and the buildings surrounded townsquare, well --- at that point enough was enough. Ker-pow.
Now you know already that which I'm trying to describe, and many others (tartans & denims both) do understand also, and so themselves move slowly, talk peaceably, not raising brick in hand held back and overhead in gesture, or toss lesser stones themselves by habit. May God bless them all, regardless of any outward appearance of clothing. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth.
This is a really good film that dropped out of the theatres way too soon. I saw it in Fresno, CA in a packed theatre a year ago. I didn’t knw that the Buckleys were involved in the Cristiada. This article mentions that it is illegal to celebrate Mass outdoors in Mexico. At least through the 1960s it was also illegal for priests and nuns to wear their habits outdoors.
A Dominican nun from my church moved to Mexico in 1968 to teach, and the Parish gave her a “shower” because she had to accumulate a wardrobe suitable for wear in Mexico. And because the Dominicans of the day shaved their heads because their tight headresses were too hot, we even outfitted Sister with a wig.
I don’t knnow if the prohibition against wearing clerical garments on the street still stands.