As I Said, The Main Stream Media Critics Are Attacking "For Greater Glory"
I would also remind Ebert of the origin of the word catholic. The word catholic was derived via the Late Latin catholicus, which came from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal." So in fact, looking at the attack on the Catholic Church's religious freedom does apply the principle to other religions as well.
Also, as the Wikipedia article on the 1917 Mexican Constitution points out "Articles 3, 5, 24, 27, and 130 as originally enacted were anticlerical and restricted religious freedoms, as well as the power of the Catholic Church, in part due to a desire by anticlerical framers to punish the Mexican Church's Hierarchy for its support of Victoriano Huerta." Did you get that Ebert?, the restrictions were aimed at the Catholic Church & Calles was using those restrictions to attack the Catholic Church. Also, these restrictions remained after the war & they were NOT removed until 1992. & even then, not all of them.
No, it has been buried. Ebert might do well to remember that even though the war ended in 1929, the attacks on the Catholic Church continued. Like I already said, the Constitutional restrictions remained. & continued to be sporadically enforced. After the war the government executed some 500 Cristero leaders and 5,000 other Cristeros. & that is just 1 example. So naturally, they were going to do their best to keep it out of the history books. We are seeing a modern form of historic revision with FDR & his memorial in DC. They omitted his wheel chair & his cigarette holder, to intentionally present a different picture.
Ebert goes on to say "It is well-made, yes, but has such pro-Catholic tunnel vision I began to question its view of events. One important subplot involves a 12-year-old boy choosing to die for his faith. Of course the federal troops who shot him were monsters, but the film seems to approve of his decision and includes him approvingly in a long list of Cristeros who have achieved sainthood or beatification after their deaths in the war."
Now we get into the meat of Ebert's attack on the Catholic Church. 1st of all, I again remind him that this is about the attack on the Catholic Church, so naturally it will be pro-Catholic. apparently that is something he doesn't like. Which fits in well with the current anti-Catholic attitude in Hollywood that usually uses the Catholic Church as it's whipping boy.
On the other hand, he called The DaVinci Code "preposterously entertaining." He went on to say "Both (book & movie) contain accusations against the Catholic Church and its order of Opus Dei that would be scandalous if anyone of sound mind could possibly entertain them." But nowhere does he criticize it for its anti-Catholic tunnel vision.
& yes, the film does approve of José Sánchez del Río's decision. He chose to die for the faith like many other martyrs for the faith did over the past 2000 years, martyrs of all ages, young & old. Some were even younger than José. & the reason he was included in the list is because the Catholic Church approves of his actions as well. Apparently Ebert thinks he knows better than the Catholic Church who should or shouldn't be made a saint. He might do well to look at the whole process. It just doesn't declare anyone a saint. There is a long process of discernment that ensures the person is really a saint in Heaven.
As Fr. Barry pointed out to me after Mass on Sunday, what we saw in the movie were people growing in their faith & towards sainthood. That is exactly what we say in the movie when it came to José. IMHO, José's last few days were shown as his taking up his cross willingly to follow Jesus. The journey to his execution came across to me as José's Via Dolorosa.
Ebert does, sort of, get 1 thing right. He says "President Calles (Ruben Blades), who can't believe the Cristeros can possibly be successful, pursues the war beyond what seems to be all common sense." (emphasis mine) He got that right. Calles hatred of the Catholic Church blinded him to using any Catholic sense. Something that seems somewhat true of Ebert as well when it comes to this review.
Ebert then goes on to add "It's one thing to enforce legal restraints on the Catholic Church and another — a riskier one — to order such extremes as sending all the bishops and foreign-born clergy out of the country and authorizing the murder of priests in their own churches." (emphasis mine) Here we get to a very interesting point & one that may reveal a hidden motive in Ebert's attack on the movie & the Catholic Church. Ebert apparently approves of Calles' use of the Constitution to restrict the religious freedom of the Catholic Church. Could it be because he sees a parallel in the Obama asdministrations's attempt to use ObamaCare to put what they say are "legal restraints" on the Catholic Church? & he sees this movie as a reminder that what Obama is doing is just as wrong as what Calles is doing? Apparently so, & like the rest of the media he is trying to subvert &/or silence the message by attacking the messenger as I pointed out.
He ends the review with another attack on the Catholic Church. "If it had not hewed so singlemindedly to the Catholic view and included all religions under the banner of religious liberty, I believe it would have been more effective. If your religion doesn't respect the rights of other religions, it is lacking something. " (emphasis mine) You will notice that he restates the attack he started the review with. He wants to remind us that if you only show the Catholic view in a movie about the Catholic Church than that invalidates the message. In one sense, this is another example of the spirit of relativism so widespread in the world that Papa Benedetto has been regularly warning us about.
But then we have that last line than can only be read as an out & out attack on the Catholic Church for its views on homosexuality, abortion & birth control, among others. He is intentionally confusing respecting the religious liberty rights of others with being able to proclaiming the truth. The Catholic Church fully respects religious liberty. Ebert should read Dignitatis Humanae. It says "the human person has a right to religious freedom," which is described as "immunity from coercion in civil society." Did you get that last line? It clearly points to what Obama is doing, not the Catholic Church. But, just like the rest of those who support Obama, Ebert is twisting what the Catholic Church is saying to imply it is attacking others who believe differently rather than defending its own right to not be forced to support abortion, birth control etc. He knows full well that the Catholic Church isn't taking away other's rights. Or disrespecting them.
On the other hand, Ebert is saying it is OK to take away the Catholic Church's freedom if society doesn't like what it teaches. There is no need to respect the Catholic Church or those who are faithful to its teachings. He is giving glowing approval to Obama's attack on religious freedom for those who disagree with what Obama thinks is right.
The sad thing is that Ebert was raised as a Catholic. These days he admits to being a secular humanist.* His attack on this movie also shows how far he has come from the day when was critical of films that he believed are grossly ignorant of or insulting to Catholicism, for example Stigmata & Priest. Now he attacks those films that uphold authentic Catholicism.
*As an aside, he says in the article that "Catholicism made me a humanist before I knew the word." What he fails to point out is that there is a huge difference between secular humanism & the humanism promoted by the Catholic Church that has its basis in the fact that man is made in the image & likeness of God. (Note: it is not religious humanism as modern humanists try & promote either.) That humanism has been arround in the Catholic Church since the start. Although it received its greatest expression in the Catholic Church's support of the arts during the Renaissance, something that probably never would have happenned without the support of the Catholic Church. & don't forget that it was the Catholic Church who provided the foundation for it by the preservation of civilization in the monasteries during the Middle Ages. (I once again recommend you read Thomas E. Woods, Jr.'s book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization for more on this subject.
Additionally, he admits to being pro-choice when it comes to abortion, another motivation for his attack on the Catholic Church's freedom through his attack on this movie. Of course he is going to support the Obama administration's forcing the Catholic Church to pay for abortions & attack anything that reminds people of what is really going on with the administration's actions, they are an attack on religious freedom.