‘For Greater Glory’ is a ‘strong film with a timely message’ about religious liberty, says archbishop

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez at premiere of “For Greater Glory.” (CNS photo/Reuters)

It’s not every day a Catholic archbishop welcomes a host of Hollywood celebrities at a movie premiere, but that was the scene on the red carpet May 31, when Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez greeted the stars of the new movie “For Greater Glory,” among them Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria and Eduardo Verastegui. The film, opening yesterday in theaters, is about the 1920s Cristero Rebellion in Mexico.

“The anti-Catholic persecutions in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s are long forgotten, it seems. The reality is hard to believe,” the archbishop wrote in his May 29 column for The Tidings, newspaper of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. “Just a generation ago, not far from our borders, thousands of men, women and even children, were imprisoned, exiled, tortured and murdered. All for the ‘crime’ of believing in Jesus Christ and wanting to live by their faith in him.

“So I welcome the new film, ‘For Greater Glory.’ It tells the dramatic story of this unknown war against religion and our church’s heroic resistance. It’s a strong film with a timely message. It reminds us that our religious liberties are won by blood and we can never take them for granted.”

Catholic News Service reviewer John Mulderig echoed that sentiment in his review: The Mexican government’s tyrannical interference with religious liberty, while obviously far more extreme than anything taking place north of the border today, nonetheless carries a sobering resonance with current events.

“If the film can be taken as a cautionary tale about where excessively zealous, overweening secularism can lead a nation, the warning is a stark one.”

The Catholic Church has canonized 25 martyrs of the rebellion and beatified even more. The most famous of the martyrs is St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez, a popular patron of Mexican migrants. On March 25,  the second full day of his two-day visit to Mexico before he traveled to Cuba, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Silao, in the central state of Guanajuato, the country’s Catholic heartland and a stronghold of the 1920s Cristero Rebellion.

On Blessed Kateri’s feast day in Canada, a video reflection on her life

Here in the United States we don’t celebrate the feast of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha until July 14. But in Canada her feast day is today, the date of her death in 1680.

To celebrate the feast, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt + Light Television in Canada, to produce this video reflection on the life of Blessed Kateri, who will be made a saint Oct. 21:

The new evangelization, explained

Archbishop Fisichella (CNS/Paul Haring)

If you’ve been following the pontificate of Benedict XVI, chances are you’ve heard of the “new evangelization.” You may even have heard that there’s a new Vatican office dedicated to it. But have you ever heard the president of the new office explain it?

In this feature-length interview which premiered on Easter, Salt + Light Television‘s Basilian Father Thomas Rosica sat down for an interview with the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella. What follows is an engaging discussion on its meaning and what Archbishop Fisichella’s office is trying to accomplish. While some pastors may see it as just another program to be implemented by an overworked presbyterate, the archbishop calls the new evangelization a new way of approaching an old job — “a new work, a new language, a new enthusiasm for announcing the Gospel.”

Last-minute Lenten reflections

If you’re looking for some quick ways to reflect on the meaning of Lent as you finish up Holy Week, here something you may want to check out. Salt + Light TV in Toronto had Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa do a series of quick Lenten reflections. They’re all two minutes or less in length, so they’re easy to digest. This one, for instance, is on how the prophets call us to reconciliation and repentance.

Others that you can sample are on the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, why we focus on baptism during Lent, and how the life of King David reflects humanity’s need for redemption.

U.S. bishop featured by Canadian Catholic TV network

Our friends at Salt + Light TV in Toronto recently spoke with Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City for its series of one-on-one interviews called “Witness.”  Bishop Wester is the new chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Communications and a former chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration.

As the only Catholic bishop in Utah, he also is at the forefront of Catholicism’s relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So topics he discusses here include the differences between his native San Francisco and his current home city and how the Catholic Church and the Mormon community both emphasize family values and care for the poor. He also speaks eloquently on immigration reform and on contemporary challenges for the church in modern communications.

New video highlights work of priests, in their own words

Our friends at Salt + Light Television, Canada’s premier Catholic media ministry, sent along this video they produced for Toronto’s annual “Ordinandi Dinner” for seminarians who will be ordained this year. (Here’s a story posted today by another longtime CNS friend, The Catholic Register in Toronto, on this week’s dinner.)

In the fast-paced video, about a dozen priests (they’ll come at you so quickly you’ll lose count) give their testimonies to what their priesthood means to them. It’s a celebration of ordained life. Take a look:

Canada welcomes new cardinal home with joyous celebration

Canada welcomed home its newest cardinal yesterday with a Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto. The celebration for Cardinal Thomas C. Collins, the 16th Canadian to be elevated to the College of Cardinals, was covered live by our colleagues at Salt + Light Television, Canada’s premier Catholic media ministry. Cardinal Collins was among the 22 prelates elevated to cardinal Feb. 18 by Pope Benedict XVI. You can watch Canada’s joyous celebration here:

You also can see a special report by Salt + Light on the making of a cardinal that focuses on Cardinal Collins. Our Rome bureau also had the pleasure of interviewing the new cardinal last month in Rome about the significance of the red that a cardinal wears.

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