|It's a toss up between St. Kolbe and Fr. Vega|
(pictured above) for most badass priest ever.
Steven and I went to see For Greater Glory and thoroughly enjoyed it. For the ladies and soft hearted gentlemen: bring tissues; for the manly macho men: make sure whoever you go with brings extra tissues. You'll need them.
This isn't a review of the movie (there are plenty of those already, like this one, and this one, and this one) instead it's a reflection. I had never heard of the Cristero War before and quite frankly I'm disgusted by that fact. We've heard all injustices to every other race, gender, and religion yet this was kept hush hush. So for those of you unaware let me enlightened you (via Wikipedia)
"The Cristero War (1926-29) also known as the La Cristiada, was an uprising and counter-revolution against the Mexican government. The rebellion was set off by the persecution of Catholics and a ban on their public religious practices. More specifically, the strict enforcement of the anti-clerical provisions by atheist and former President of Mexico Plutarco Elias Calles through the Mexican Constitution of 1917 along with the further expansion of anti-clerical laws exacerbated the conflicts."
Here are a few examples of the 'anti-clerical' provisions:
1) wearing a cassock or chasuble in public was punishable by a fine of 500 pesos (approximately 250 U.S. dollars at the time, or worth $4250 in 2010.)
2) a priest who criticized the government could be imprisoned for five years.
3) all foreign born priests, bishops, and cardinals were deported.
As if that's not enough there was a ban on saying Mass or distributing any of the sacraments. Men, women, and children were tortured, raped, and murdered solely for being Catholic. Religious faithful who stayed with their parishes were killed. Churches were stormed during Masses by government soldiers and mass executions were ordered.
This brings me to another, albeit off topic, point: while the struggle for religious liberty is currently going on today in our country, the two are not comparable. Today we are being asked to adjust our morals. We are not being forced to abandon our faith lest we be martyred. While what Obama (and Sebelius) have done is deplorable, it doesn't hold a candle to what Calles did. To equate the two is an injustice to the Cristeros who sacrificed everything just to be able to practice their faith.
Anyways, stepping off that high horse, I can not help but wonder what I would do if I were put in a similar situation. Would I have the faith and assurance in God to trust in His mercy? Would I be able to look a dozen men with guns in the eyes and affirm my faith in God? Would I sacrifice my life to ensure my children would be able to practice their Catholic faith freely, to help their souls make it to Heaven?
I pray that I would but I'm not sure. In fact I'm more than not sure; I'm quite certain I wouldn't be courageous enough. I look at what I've done in response to our current religious liberty battle: made a website. Wawho! That'll show 'em!! Seriously though, how many 13 tweens have made websites for Justin Bieber? Wow, I'm comparing myself to a Belieber and losing...new low.
So as protocol for my achievement of a new low, I start to rationalize away faultiness. It's a different time. Our Lady of Guadalupe had appeared to them, preparing them, ensuring their faith and her protection. We've just been a country of lackluster Catholics for years now. Surely if that whole "God only gives you want you can handle" thing is true then we're in no shape for such a serious test of faith. (As evidenced by my reaction to Finchel breaking up.) Besides who am I to speak up? Who would listen to me? This is a time for the bishops and big name Catholics or Marc Barnes to voice their opinion and indignation, not me. I mean I can hardly muster the courage to make it to the peaceful sidewalks of Planned Parenthood one Saturday a month, how would I ever wrangle up enough courage to look an army in the eye and profess my faith?
I don't have an answer to that. I wish that I did; that there was some equation I could find where you plug in x amount of rosaries prayed, n amount of candles lit, y amount of tongue biting when that bitchy old cashier rolls her eyes when you say "God bless you" to someone who sneezed. If I could just know how to get there I would be on top of it. I would be the most saintly women this side of heaven.
I guess that's the thing about faith. If you know it's a sure thing you don't need any faith at all. Instead of begging for signs and assurance I should be asking that the gift of faith be bestowed upon me. I should be praying to be tested, in small ways at first, but tested none the less. I should pray to get accustomed to the rolled eyes and pursed lips when my Catholic faith is brought up. Because while that bitchy cashier is a formidable foe, she's nothing compared to devil who is waited with bated breath.