See and promote the movie ” For Greater Glory” and read here why:
On 31 July, 1926, certain men drove Our Lord God out of the temples, from off of the altars and out of the homes of Catholics; but other men took ation so that He would return; these men did not see that the Government had innumerable soldiers, and arms and money beyond counting. They did not see this. What they saw was the defense of their God, of their Religion, of their Mother the Holy Church. .. It did not matter to thsee men to leave their families, their children, their wives and all that they possesased; they went off to the battlefields, to seek Our Lord God; the torrents, the moutnains, the forests and the hills bore witness that these men were speaking to Our Lord God when they ried out the holy names “long live Christ the King, long live the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, long live Mexico!”; the same places bear witness that these men soaked the ground with their blood and that, not content with that, they gave their very lives so that Our Lord God should return, and Our Lord God, seeing that these men were truly seeking Him, was good enough to return to His churches, to His altar, and to the homes of Catholics, where we can see Him today.” – Francisco Campos
Shrine of the Mexican Martyrs, San Luis Valley, Colorado
This sums up the struggle of the Cristeros Rebellion of 1926-1929. I urge you to see the film ” For The Greater Glory”, an epic movie like those of the 1930s-40s. Filmed in Mexico at the actual sites of battles, Cristero camps, churches that were desecrated, with an outstanding Hispanic cast and Peter O’Toole as an elderly priest shot down in his vestments, and Bruce Greenwood the US Ambassador sent to protect our oil refineries and get more under our control, but only because of the protests of the Knights of Columbus did he finally see the horrible reality of revolutionary Mexico.
The film depicts real people of the Cristeros, of the government which sought to capture religion for itself and the minds of the young through socialist education. At the end of the film, the photos of actors are merged with those of the real people and a short biography of what happened to them.
The struggle between Church and the Revolution is unknown both in the US and Mexico: Mexico because the Revolutionary Party ruled for so long and forbade public teaching or discussion, and the US because we are, as always, ignorant of our neighbor and probably because of embarrassment that we worked to keep the oil running, but not to stop the slaughter.
After the revolution in 1914, there were recurring crises in which the new State worked to assimilate the Catholic Church to its own ends. Major persecutions took place which aimed at reducing Catholic contacts with foreign states by expelling all non-Mexican clergy; shutting down monasteries of contemplatives, who are always the first victims in revolutionary attacks – I think because the revolutions cannot stand the picture of men and women living in prayer, penance, and intercession and so living proof of Someone Beyond the revolution and its claims – introduction of socialist education and very secular sex education in schools, and steady restrictions on church life.
In fact, my mother’s parents – J. William and Marguerite (Maxwell) Watkins – helped the Carmelite Nuns of Queretaro settle in Buffalo. their dramatic escape from Mexico and settlement can be read here: http://www.carmelitenunsstjoseph.org/Buffalo.htm
http://fountainofelias.blogspot.com/2009/07/mother-mary-elias-of-blessed-sacrament.html and http://fountainofelias.blogspot.com/2009/07/mother-elias-part-2.html where you see the sufferings inflicted right away on cloistered Nuns.
Finally, in 1926, President Plutarco Calles deliberately pushed for a constitutional church, and it was a threat because non cooperating priests could not serve the sacraments. At this, the bishops gave up reconciliation and ceased all public worship as of July 31. With that announcement, Mexican churches were crammed with people going to Confession before the final day, and the people began to discuss what could they do, as the bishops negotiations had clearly failed. From this arose the Cristeros, their companion Women’s Brigades, and the story of this film.
In particular it focuses on Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio
a fourteen year old boy who met a terrible death, on February 10, 1928, and the impact of his holiness and love for Christ on both the Cristero army and on General Enrique Gorostieta, the non-believer leader who may have found his way back to Christ.
This movie, shown in Mexico as “La Cristiada” which is the name given to the uprising of 1926-29, is showing to packed cinemas and is the top film there. In the US, I fear that the Church is not pushing it hard enough, and wish my blog had many more readers. … So pass this on, and urge others to see the film, and go to Amazon and pre-order the companion book :
For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada, the Cristero War and Mexico’s Struggle for Religious Freedom
When the movie finally ended, the last photographs gone, we were sitting quietly. I was in my priest clerics, sitting in my wheelchair. Two Hispanic women who were leaving stopped, and each took my hands and nodded to me. This is what priests and laypeople alike are called to do: witness to Christ Jesus to the greatest extent. Their hand clasps, and tear filled eyes, brought home to me the desire of those Cristeros to see the Lord God back on His altars, and the importance of what I am asked to do by God Himself.
See the film.