The film shows a burning crucifix, gun-toting priests and the torture of a young boy. And the Roman Catholic hierarchy is loving it.
The film, “For Greater Glory,” hits theaters on June 1 and tells a little known chapter of Mexican history — the Cristero War of 1926 to 1929, which pitted an army of devout Catholic rebels (led in the movie by Andy Garcia) against the government of Mexican President Plutarco Calles (played by Ruben Blades).
For Catholics enraged by the Obama administration’s proposed contraception mandate, the film about the Mexican church’s fight in 1920s is a heartening and timely cinematic boost in the American church’s battle to preserve “religious freedom” in 2012.
For other Catholics and non-Catholics, the film is, more simply, action, suspense and a good cast. Besides Garcia and Blades, there’s “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria and the legendary actor Peter O’Toole.
Endorsements for the film from Catholic leaders explicitly connect it to the current clash between church and state.
“‘For Greater Glory’ is ‘must-see’ viewing for all those who care about faith and liberty today,” wrote Carl A. Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, which put the film on the cover of its members’ magazine.
“It is a top-flight production whose message of the importance of religious freedom has particular resonance for us today,” added Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez.
Mexican real estate developer Pablo Jose Barroso, the devout Catholic who produced the film, was asked by the National Catholic Reporter if the film’s release — coinciding with the current activism on religious freedom — was “God’s timing.”
“This is the perfect time for this film,” he said.
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