A new movie depicting the lives and deaths of the 20th century Mexican martyrs has received glowing endorsements from bishops and laity alike.
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore praised the film as an important part of history which has “been all but forgotten,” calling it a testament to “those who would not renounce Christ” and “who helped preserve the religious liberty of millions.”
“For Greater Glory” retells the history of Mexico’s Cristero War that was sparked by anti-clerical legislation being passed by the Mexican President Elías Calles in 1926. Those laws banned religious orders, deprived the Church of property rights and denied priests civil liberties, including the right to trial by jury and the right to vote.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York encouraged attendees of the May 2 World Missions Dinner to see the “stunning” film when it releases in the U.S. June 2.
The film starring Oscar-nominee Andy Garcia and pro-life activist and actor Eduardo Verastegui of “Bella,” is “must-see viewing for all those who care about faith and liberty today,” according to Supreme Knight and CEO of the Knights of Columbus.
“Seeing how Catholic Mexico remains today, this film also serves as a timely reminder that – from the earliest days of the Church’s history to the present era – persecution does not stifle the faith, but emboldens it,” Anderson said.
Under the Calles regime of the 1920s, the persecution became so fierce that some Catholics began to forcibly resist, fighting under the slogan and banner of “Cristo Rey” (Christ the King).
“The faith and courage of the Mexican martyrs – clergy and laity – makes us proud to be Catholics,” Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colo. said.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles called the film, which has climbed the Mexican box-office since its April 20 premiere with over $1.06 million, a “top-flight production whose message of the importance of religious freedom has particular resonance for us today.”
“It is my earnest hope that people of faith throughout our country will rally behind 'For Greater Glory,'” Archbishop Gomez said, “and in doing so, will highlight the importance of religious freedom in our society.”
While many audience members may be unfamiliar with the story of the Cristero War, Tim Drake of the National Catholic Register said it is nonetheless a part of history that people “need to know.”
“The stirring story of freedom and heroism,” Drake said, “is one that audiences will reflect upon long after the screen goes dark.”
EWTN explores the highly anticipated epic in an exclusive television special focusing on the film and its producer, Pablo Barroso. The special will air multiple times beginning May 21 at 9 p.m. E.T. until June 2 at 11 a.m. E.T.