In a peculiar and roundabout way, the American bishops are now finally concerned with religious liberty. Though they may have arrived ten years too late to save the thousands of Mideast Christians who have and will continue to perish, perhaps they can learn from Catholic clergy and laymen south of the border who did not “expect to die in bed” while the next generation “[died] a martyr in the public square.” I speak here of the Mexican priests and laymen of the Cristero War. Though this war may have a better stake to the title of “The Forgotten War”, the Cristero War was a revolt in the 1920s against the Mexican government’s attack on religious freedom. The war produced many martyrs and many saints. It was a testimony to the piety of Catholic priests, the bravery of Catholic soldiers, and the ingenuity of Catholic women (who secretly supplied and nursed Cristero soldiers as members of the Feminine Brigades of St. Joan of Arc).
The Cristero War is finally being told to an American audience through this weekend’s release of For Greater Glory (formerly titled Cristiada). Be sure to watch the preview below – and see the movie this weekend – but also remember that it is our Hispanic brethren in America who possess a lived experience of shedding blood to protect religious liberty. We, too, must learn their hymn and sing their battlefield song:
The Virgin Mary is protector and defender against that [which] we fear / She will vanquish demons with a cry of "Long live Christ [the] King!" / Soldiers of Christ, let us follow this flag, for its cross points to the army of God / Let us follow the flag and declare, "Long live Christ [the] King!"