The following comes from a Feb. 13 email inviting Cal Catholic staff to a film screening on Feb. 18 in Santa Monica.
Cesar Chavez was inspired by Father Donald McDonnell, who introduced him at a young age to social justice and the principles of nonviolence. “Cesar tried to live the gospels and the social teachings of his Catholic faith every day, but his career dedicated to service to others all began with the lessons he learned early in life from Father McDonnell who profoundly impacted Cesar and so many others.” The priest’s association with Chavez “perhaps changed the course of history,” said Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, auxiliary bishop.
Synopsis: In Cesar Chavez, director Diego Luna presents a powerful cinematic portrait of the legendary activist. The film stars Michael Pena (End of Watch, Lionsgate’s Academy Award-winning Crash) in the title role, along with America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, End of Watch), Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Seven Pounds) and John Malkovich (In The Line of Fire, Summit Entertainment’s Red and Red 2).
Chronicling the birth of a modern American movement, Cesar Chavez tells the story of the famed civil rights leader and labor organizer torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. Passionate but soft-spoken, Chavez embraced non-violence as he battled greed and prejudice in his struggle to bring dignity to people. Chavez inspired millions of Americans from all walks of life who never worked on a farm to fight for social justice. His triumphant journey is a remarkable testament to the power of one individual’s ability to change the world.
Director: Diego Luna
Producers: Canana Films’ Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz and Gael Garcia Bernal and John Malkovich, Lianna Halfon and Russell Smith of Mr. Mudd
Executive Producers: Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King of Participant Media
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Running Time: 98 minutes
“Cesar Chavez was inspired by Father Donald McDonnell, who introduced him at a young age to social justice and the principles of nonviolence.”
I never knew this, but I did know Father McDonnell, who was a strong pro-life priest who spent time in jail for protesting this atrocity.
“… presents a powerful cinematic portrait of the legendary activist.” It will be interesting to see if this cinematic portrait is an accurate one. I remember Chavez were anti-immigration, actually demanding the Feds to shut down the border. When that didn’t work he established “wet lines” on the border to beat the crap out of Mexicans trying to cross the boarder. In the face of competition and reduced wages for his beloved UFW union, Chavez made the decision to put social justice and the principles of nonviolence on the back burner.
This man was a communist. He used the Catholic Church to spread his Marxist ideas. I have known this since I was in Catholic grammar school which was over fifty years ago. Yes, he did some good, but the tons of evil he is responsible for out weights his virtues. Remember, socialism is candy coated communism. Pope Pius X said you cannot be a true Catholic and a socialist at the same time. The damage Chavez did is responsible for the Chicano and militant movements active among the Mexican community living in the United States today. Once the pious Mexicans come into the United States, whether legally or illegally, they soon drop being Catholic and become radical and anti-American marxists. This is not the exception, but the norm.
Cesar Chavez comes from the same lineage as President Barack H. Obama:
“Alinsky formed the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in 1940. After he died, Edward T. Chambers became its Executive Director. Hundreds of professional community and labor organizers, and thousands of community and labor leaders have been trained at its workshops. Fred Ross, who worked for Alinsky, was the principal mentor for Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. ” From Wikepedia.
I imagine the movie will highlight how a Father Roger Mahony was Chavez’ agent in the Catholic Church. It worked out real well for the Cardinal Elector.
Roger Cardinal Mahony worked very closely with CC. I wonder if he will be depicted in the movie?
A now-deceased Jesuit priest who I knew from university days, and who was not into secular-atheist social justice, but true Catholic social justice, knew Cesar Chavez. He told me that, of many fakes in the political atmosphere at that time, Chavez was different. He as much as possible went to daily Mass. He meditated on the scriptures every day for approximately an hour. He fasted in conformity with his Catholic beliefs and in the belief that his was a spiritual struggle. He avoided whenever possible the limelight.
It is true that the media made him into some kind of a superstar for their own purposes. But actually he was from very poor, struggling background in Yuma, Arizona, where his father lost his farm during the Depression, and the family had to become migrant workers. They lost all they had materially, but they never lost their Catholic faith. That is what he told me.
Thanks for this personal insight Steve. It seems when politics are involved things get murky. I am totally against Marxist principles (liberal Catholic social justice, liberation theology and the like) but I choose to believe the best in people. I too heard that Chavez was actually a very faithful and devout Catholic. May his soul rest in peace.
The struggle of Mr. Chavez was largely with another union, the Teamsters, who already represented farm workers. I believe Mr. Chavez had been an organizer for them but wanted his own union to run – so this was a jurisdictional dispute. I never expect any union leaders to have the welfare of the members at heart but the farm workers were better off with the teamsters because the teamsters had the clout to stop the trucking of farm produce thereby really applying pressure to the growers.
As far as non violence goes….he practiced it when it suited him.
Baloney, JimAroo. The Teamsters got into the picture only after the UFW, and as a more grower-friendly alternative to the UFW. Meanwhile, your fantasy of truckers joining with solidarity with pickers is just that, a fantasy.
Steve P – your citation of the testimony to the honesty of Chavez’s Catholicism is noted and welcomed.
Father Karl is entirely incorrect. He accuses Chavez of being a Communist on the basis of – what – being a labor leader? This despite the Church’s own repeated and insistent calls for worker unionization. Was Father O’Donnell was a communist? How about Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko?
My parish priest told me that when he was in the seminary, he was told not to eat lettuce as it was was non union (and anti Chavez). Those seminarians who were caught eating the lettuce, which was in the refectory, were subject to ridicule from the other seminarians, and possible disciplinary action by the rector.
Chavez was a great humanitarian, but a lousy labor leader. the UFW lost most of their contracts with Caliofnira growers because the focus wasn’t on procuring labor for growers but picketing, demonstrationg, and raising money in the urban areas for “la raza”. At the time of Chavez’s death, lawsuite judgements against the UFW couldn’t be paid, the union was tettering on disbanding, and his children are now in divided camps not speaking with each other. It is a tragic but understandable end to an effort that had good intentions but completely failed to live up to its promises of a union for workers instead of a self perpetua;ting political organization that fell apart. Just another modern example that unions are increasingly irrelevant in looking out for workers. Look what happened last week with the VW plant in Tennessee, the UAW lost the election.
“Red-diaper babies” at each other’s throats. What’s tragic about that?
Author Lee Stranahan for Breitbart (April, 2013), “Google This: The Cult of Cesar Chavez” offers a ‘radically’ different view of the ‘legendary Chavez’ revealing lesser-known facts, events and people with whom the ‘real Chavez’ associated.
While he may have been at one time a daily Mass attendee (as mentioned above), it would seem that by the 1970s Chavez was heavily involved, among other questionable things, in the cult, Synanon, (btw–no surprise!– we all know that starting in the 1960s many California Catholics were ‘diverted’ away from the true faith). It is not difficult to think that Chavez’ practice of his Catholic faith may have been ‘put on hold’ at the time.
Randy Shaw, one of Chavez’ biographers, and mentioned in the above cited article, says “Chavez organizing and fundraising tactics are ‘an integral part of the Obama campaign.'” Another ‘no surprise’ response.
Chavez may have done some good, but a partial or complete make-over of the man to portray a false image or to fit an agenda is deceit. It would seem this film is in the ‘revisionist history’ category.
(Not that it’ll make much difference), but it’s easier this way, Mary (cheers!):
So what if Chavez assisted in daily Mass? Typically speaking, all bishops and priest are daily Mass adherents. Does this fact alone attest to their goodness?
Tracy, we do not know the soul of Ceasar Chavez, just as we don’t know the soul of any unbeatified person. But consider if had two neighbors, one who goes to Mass, and one who doesn’t. One has a holy water fount at the door and a crucifix in the living room, the other who has neither. One leads Guadaloupe processions, the other stays away. We both know what your conclusions about them would be.
Now, if you learn the pious one is a union member, and the other isn’t – would that change your mind? Apparently it might, but it would be at a nasty cost of revealing your prime allegiance.
Brian S., I used to make the same assumptions as you, but after having been a daily Mass attendee for over 30 years, and meeting countless other daily Mass attendees, I can assure you that I have meet more than a few fellow daily Mass attendees who for all appearances might very well fall into the category where Jesus said, “away with you, I do not know you!” I can assure you that now, through experience, I NEVER assume that just because a person attends daily Mass and/or has religious items in his/her house that this probably means that he/she is holier than the person who is not there and/or does not have those things.
The film makers should really talk to the people who had to deal with this guy. His “fasts” were often faked. Those across the table who negotiated with him will tell you that instead of increasing the wage of the workers he wanted the ranches to put money directly into union coffers. One of my friends was regularly threatened with beatings and death by his staff just because she was the 16-year-old daughter of a ranch manager. This does not sound like someone to admire.
Was his weight loss faked too?
Bravo , Father Karl. But how do you square that with your praise of Putin and Kirill. They are Communists too (ground zero), but on an exponentially grander, more dangerous, and deadlier scale (Details available upon request—and, at times, when unrequested).
You say he did “some good.” Do tell.
Just how pious can these Mexican “newcomers” be if they can ditch their religion at the drop of a hat (or sombrero—Me, I prefer Panamas. It’s that center crease; gets me every time)?
PS: I think I’ve just coined a new euphemism for “illegal” to one up “undocumented”: Newcomer. It has a happy ring, no?