Film revisits the many sides of Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion

Even as modern-day church-state relations improve, the impact of Mexico’s three-year Cristero Rebellion in the 1920s on the Catholic Church remains widely debated in Mexican society.

The rebellion saw Catholic clergy and laity taking up arms to oppose government efforts to harshly restrict the influence of the church and defend religious freedom. In the end, the rebellion of the Cristero — soldiers for Christ — was quelled in 1929, leaving the church sidelined for much of the last century and its role limited to a pastoral concerns with no say in the public policy arena.

Ask Mexicans about the rebellion and the answers about what it means today depends on a person’s point of view.

Catholics leaders consider the government’s actions to limit church influence that led to the rebellion an attack on religious freedom. Self-described liberals and many in the Mexican political and intellectual classes consider the suppression of the revolt a triumph of the secular state. Some academics and authors are less passionate, describing the uprising as an agrarian conflict with political and religious overtones.

Now the conflict comes to the big screen at a time with improved church-state interaction — even if the interpretations of one of Mexico’s defining events remain controversial.

“What price would you pay for freedom?” posed the synopsis for the movie, “For Greater Glory,” which stars Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria and opens in the United States June 1.

The synopsis continued, “An impassioned group of men and women each make the decision to risk it all for family, faith and the very future of their country.” [More]