The movie relates one of the saddest episodes in Mexico’s history, when the communist government was trying to exterminate the Catholic Church from the country in the 1920s. The persecution was severe and many Catholics were killed. Some courageous Catholics fought back, however. Known as Cristeros, they had few weapons but lots of heart. Their rally cry was Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!). The resulting civil war is known as the Cristiada. Both the words Cristeros and Cristiada and derived from Cristo, the Spanish word for Christ.But wait, the movie must have got it all wrong. They must have a bias of some sort. After all - it's a secular humanist progressive government we're talking about; guided by reason and common sense, they therefore can't act as a bunch of crazed fanatics. It must be those Christians to blame. After all this "Cristiada" of theirs sounds just like a crusade...
The movie follows a group of Cristeros who took up arms defend their people against the an anti-Catholic, Masonic, secular dictatorship. It features an impressive cast. Andy Garcia plays the leader of a group of Cristeros. You’ve seen Garcia in blockbusters such as Untouchables, The Godfather III and the Ocean’s Eleven triology.
Here are a few quotes from the Wikipedia article on the Cristero War (while the text is still there):
This uneasy "truce" between the government and the Church ended with the 1924 election of Plutarco Elías Calles, a strident atheist. Mexican Jacobins, supported by Calles's central government, went beyond mere anticlericalism and engaged in antireligious campaigns to eradicated what they called "superstition" and "fanaticism", including desecration of religious objects, persecution of the clergy and anticlerical legislation.Again, those aren't some foreign invaders suppressing a conquered nation. That's a secular socialist government practically placing its fellow countrymen under a military occupation in an attempt to force its own vision of progress. And, by the way, it all began with the new constitution which proclaimed superiority of the secular state over the Church.
Calles applied the anti-clerical laws stringently throughout the country and added his own anti-clerical legislation. In June 1926, he signed the "Law for Reforming the Penal Code", known unofficially as the "Calles Law". This provided specific penalties for priests and individuals who violated the provisions of the 1917 Constitution. For instance, wearing clerical garb in public (i.e., outside Church buildings) earned a fine of 500 pesos (approximately 250 U.S. dollars at the time); a priest who criticized the government could be imprisoned for five years. Some states enacted oppressive measures. Chihuahua, for example, enacted a law permitting only a single priest to serve the entire Catholic congregation of the state. Calles seized church property, expelled all foreign priests, and closed the monasteries, convents and religious schools.
The government did not abide by the terms of the truce – in violation of its terms, approximately 500 Cristero leaders and 5,000 other Cristeros were shot, frequently in their homes in front of their spouses and children. Particularly offensive to Catholics after the supposed truce was Calles's insistence on a complete state monopoly on education, suppressing all Catholic education and introducing secular education in its place: "We must enter and take possession of the mind of childhood, the mind of youth." The persecution was continued after the presidency of Calles by President Lázaro Cárdenas, an anti-Catholic socialist, and did not relent completely until 1940, when President Manuel Ávila Camacho, a practising Catholic, took office.
The effects of the war on the Church were profound. Between 1926 and 1934 at least 40 priests were killed. Where there were 4,500 priests serving the people before the rebellion, in 1934 there were only 334 priests licensed by the government to serve fifteen million people. The rest had been eliminated by emigration, expulsion and assassination. By 1935, 17 states had no priest at all.
Christians should also understand and appreciate how this film has some relevance here in Canada as the Secular State seeks to impose itself on the religious education of children, without the consent of parents.And that includes dispelling the common myths about moral superiority and non-violence of the "progressive" secular "humanist" ideologies.
Catholics are finally beginning to understand that in order to win the Culture War, we must win the mythology.