The movie opens with Mexican President Calles giving a speech to his cabinet on the dangers posed by the Church. Immediately I was struck that he was presenting the same rhetoric, the same bigotry, used today by enemies of the Church and freedom. I've heard this tripe personally and I realized that little has changed in 85 years. Initially, the faithful Catholics fought back by celebrating Mass in secret and with economic boycotts. But the government rhetoric eventually led to government violence and oppression. We would be hard pressed to recall a time in history when government rhetoric against religious liberty did not progress to government violence against religious liberty.
As the Cristeros War wound down, the government offered "accommodations." (Sound familiar?) These were immediately reneged upon. The government murdered hundreds of former Cristero leaders and thousands of former Cristero fighters in reprisals. The oppression against the Church continued throughout the 1930's. Even today, it is prohibited by law to celebrate Mass outdoors in Mexico.
In his 1994 visit to Baltimore, Blessed John Paul II reminded us of why we must resist attacks on religious liberty. He said: "The challenge facing you, dear friends, is to increase people’s awareness of the importance for society of religious freedom; to defend that freedom against those who would take religion out of the public domain and establish secularism as America’s official faith." The Pope continued, "And it is vitally necessary, for the very survival of the American experience, to transmit to the next generation the precious legacy of religious freedom and the convictions that sustain it." His words ring so true today.
If you believe in religious freedom, if you believe in liberty, you must see this movie. While we pray that the current war on liberty waged by our own government is settled in the courts and the voting booth, "For Greater Glory" serves as a foreboding warning of the alternative.
Actual images from the Cristeros War found here.