Eduardo Verastegui: Defending the Faith through Art

A lot of people were complaining because The Passion was too violent, but actually if you read the book of the Prophet Isaiah, it describes the death of Jesus, it says, you can count His bones. What we saw in The Passion was nothing. The director and the producer wanted to make it more watchable for the people who are more sensitive to violence, they wanted to reach them too, and they wanted to bring the volume a little bit down so you can still see the essence of the film, and the message and the heroes.

What so you think is the lesson of the witness of Bl. Anacleto Gonzalez Flores?

It's how a simple man who is a lawyer, who loves his family and is living a beautiful life in Mexico, working hard, a man of faith, a man of character, loyal to his faith, to his family, a man who wants to be a saint, and who loves God very much, is trying to allow the love of God to enter into his heart so he can love people with the love of God. A simple man living his life in the middle of peaceful Mexico, and boom, everything is threatened. He has three choices: do I leave for a country where I can continue to live my life with my family and my Catholic faith where I am not going to be persecuted; or do I join the army of the Cristeros and start killing people, justified by defending my faith, since it was the government who started it; or take the opportunity of being a martyr, being a saint, of trying to defend my faith with peaceful means?

And he chose that one, which is the hardest one. The first one is 'let's just leave'; the second one, 'let's get a gun and defend my faith'; but the third one, 'I'm going to try and defend my faith with peaceful means', doesn't mean that you are going to be left alone; it means that you are going to really work hard, but, you say, 'if, in the process it means that they will get me, they will torture me, I will offer it up to God'. That example changed many people; things like that impacted more people after his life than before. A lot of people were saying, "let's join the war," and he said 'no' and he was right.

This film engendered a lot of thoughtful discussion about violent versus non-violent approaches to injustice in the blogosphere, and on Facebook. When we can expect to see Little Boy in theatres?

I don't know exactly when, maybe around Father's Day of 2013 as it is about the love between a father and a son, and how the kid is willing to do anything, even sacrifice his life to bring him back home from war, from World War II. So it would be a perfect date, but we are still finishing post-production, it will be finished in November.

Tell me are you working on a feature film version of The Butterfly Circus?

That one, I don't know either, I only helped the producer and the director as an actor. I heard they ordered the script and it's ready and they want to make the film.

My pastor is showing this film to our parish youth group; the kids love it.

It is showing all over the world, in universities and colleges and conferences. It has a universal message of hope and love, and vocation and dignity of life. I think that working with Nick Vuijic is another blessing, I was talking to him a few days ago, he's unbelievable, he is married, his wife is pregnant, I think this guy is amazing, one of the best speakers in the world.

I have some questions from Facebook. These mothers want you to know how much they appreciate your witness to a life of faith and chastity out in the world. They want to know how to talk to teenagers who are obsessed with Hollywood. What advice would you give to parents?

Wow! It's a hard question! (laughs)

I know, you're not even a parent and you get this tough question!

Well, I said the other day, that this generation needs more testimony than teachers. The best thing the parents can give to their children is to lead by example. For example, if my father tells me, "Get a job" and he doesn't get a job, why in the world am I going to be listening to him if I am a teenager?

Who is God for you at that time, but your parents? Everything you are going to learn about God is going to come from the love and the actions and the examples of your Papa and Mama. And if they behave well and if they raise you well, by example, you are 90 percent out of the gate.

If you are telling them "go watch TV" and you are watching TV, you are doing this and you are doing that, you are not really loving them and spending a lot of time with your kids. Because if you have a father who works all day and a mother who works all day and the house is completely abandoned, they are going to feel like they are not important, because you are not spending time with them. Many parents justify that; they say we have to work hard to give them the right education but when you are thinking like that, right here you are not giving the right education because you're not spending time with them; all they need is the love of Papa and Mama. So, I don't have all the answers. . .

9/10/2012 4:00:00 AM