Holy Mother Church stirred up some of those passions when today she beatified 498 Catholic martyrs of the Spanish Civil War.
A group calling itself the ‘Association for Historical Memory’, allegedly set up in Spain to preserve evidence relating to the civil war, has reacted with unusual fury to the beatifications. Melancholicus would like to know more about this Association, as it appears to be interested in telling only one side of the story, namely that of the left. The mere suggestion that there is in fact another side seems to have filled them with fury. They have dared to claim that the Catholic Church “accepts only its role as victim and not executioner”. This attitude Melancholicus finds contemptibly rich, since no-one is better than the left in practicing a monopoly on victimhood. And the left, eager to bleat incessantly about crimes committed against itself, will never acknowledge its own crimes, merely plead that its violence is either morally justified, or exaggerated for political effect by its enemies.
It is clear from the reaction of the leftists that even to mention the victims of leftist violence is simply not permitted.
It seems that the attitude that any violence in the service of the left is good and noble is still widespread, and as long as that attitude persists, those who do not share the ideology of the leftists will always be under threat of such violence, and that the leftists can be counted upon to resort to violence if they think they can get away with it.
Is the membership of this ‘Association for Historical Memory’ at all aware that, during the Red Terror in Spain before the final victory of the Nationalists, nearly 7,000 clergy and religious were murdered by Republican forces, or by groups fighting on the Republican side? These included 13 bishops, 4172 diocesan priests, 2364 monks and friars—among them 259 Claretians, 226 Franciscans, 204 Piarists, 176 Brothers of Mary, 165 Christian Brothers, 155 Augustinians, 132 Dominicans, and 114 Jesuits—and 282 nuns. In some dioceses, the numbers are overwhelming: in the words of Julio de la Cueva, “in Barbastro 88 percent of the secular clergy were murdered, 66 percent in Lerida, 62 percent in Tortosa, 44 per cent in Segorbe, about half of the priests in Malaga, Minorca and Toledo.” There are accounts of the faithful being forced to swallow rosary beads, being thrown down mine shafts and of priests being forced to dig their own graves before being buried alive. Is the Association going to tell us, in all seriousness, that all or even most of these were criminals, engaged in violence and terror against Republicans? Do they really expect us to believe such an absurdity, for which there isn’t a tittle of evidence?
Let us now see what grand exploits the brave heroes whose memory is so cherished by the Association for Historical Memory were up to. I wonder, have they bothered to keep any of the following atrocities in their “Memory”?
- An eyewitness to some of the persecution, Cristina de Arteaga, who afterwards became a nun, commented that they [i.e. the Republicans] “attacked the Salesians, people who are totally committed to the poor. There was a rumour that nuns were giving poisoned sweets to children. Some nuns were grabbed by the hair in the streets. One had her hair pulled out.”
- On the night of 19 July 1936 alone, some fifty churches were burned. In Barcelona, out of the 58 churches, only the Cathedral was spared, and similar atrocities occurred almost everywhere in Republican Spain.
- The parish priest of Navalmoral was put through a parody of Christ’s Crucfixion. At the end of his suffering, the militiamen debated whether actually to crucify him or just shoot him. They finished with a shooting. His last request was to be allowed to face his tormenters so he could bless them.
- The Bishop of Jaen and his sister were murdered in front of two thousand celebrating spectators by a special executioner, a woman nicknamed La Pecosa, the freckled one. The Bishop of Almeria was murdered while working on a history of Toledo. His card index file was destroyed.
- In Madrid, a nun was killed because she refused a proposition of marriage from a militiaman who helped storm her convent.
- In El Pardo, near Madrid, a group of militiamen became drunk on communion wine while trying the parish priest. One militiaman used the chalice as a washing bowl as he shaved himself.
- Although rare, it was reported that some nuns were raped by militiamen before they were shot.
- The priest of Cienpozuelos was thrown into a corral with fighting bulls where he was gored into unconsciousness. Afterwards one of his ears was cut off to imitate the feat of a matador after a successful bullfight.
- In Ciudad Real, the priest was castrated and his sexual organs stuffed in his mouth.
- Also in Ciudad Real, a crucifix was shoved down the throat of a mother of two Jesuit priests.
Melancholicus has only this to say to these protestors: shut your filthy, lying mouths, you hypocrites and sons of hypocrites. The Church has beatified only those of her personnel who were murdered, often by cruel and inhuman methods, during the conflict of 1934-37. She has not beatified Franco, for goodness’ sake. So why the fuss?
The fuss of course proceeds from those for whom the Church can only be an oppressor, never a victim; those for whom the clergy are no more than enemy combatants that must be killed at any price, never innocent men simply carrying out the duties of their state.
It is clear that the wholesale slaughter of bishops, priests, monks and nuns was carried out not for military reasons, or even because the Church may have sided, or have been perceived to side, with the Nationalists.
The slaughter was occasioned by nothing other than a hatred of the Church and her clergy — a hatred for the Catholic religion itself, a hatred which manifested itself in such bizarre displays as one sees in this photograph (original here), which shows leftist troops shooting a statue of Christ.
Yes, shooting a statue. And that obviously because it represents Our Lord. If this does not indicate a virulent—not to say irrational—hatred of the Christian faith, then what does it indicate? In military terms, this is simply a waste of ammunition. But this is not a military act, it is a symbolic act.
Because they could not murder Christ Himself, they turned their fury on His representatives—even upon those who were most far removed from political life, who spent their time hidden away from the world in silent prayer, monks in their monasteries, and cloistered nuns. Even though these could not have had less to do with the political controversies that convulsed Spain in the 1930s, they were nonetheless dragged from their enclosures and mercilessly done to death.
There were sufficient numbers of anarchists and communists among the Republican forces during the civil war to ensure that in the chaos of the war, the Church would indeed be targeted. This much was inevitable. To the fanatical ideologues of socialism, the clergy are indeed the enemy, and must be done away with. After all, the revolutionary hero cannot proceed to construct the socialist order while there are still men in soutanes going about, instructing the people in doctrines that contradict socialist dogma, and filling their heads full of all that counter-revolutionary nonsense about Jesus and heaven and eternal life.
Today the same element holds sway in Spanish society. The spiritual descendants of the murderers of the 1930s are just as trenchantly opposed to religion as were their forebears. Except that today, as it is no longer possible for them to shoot the clergy, to throw them down a mine shaft or to bury them alive, it is necessary to shout down the Church and to portray her as the practitioner of every barbarity, in order to claim for the left the status of unique and only victim of the violence of the Spanish Civil War. The right is always expected to acknowledge its crimes and be contrite; the left never. And unless the Church of God toadies up to the left and plays by the left’s rules, she is denied a voice.
How narrow-minded, mean-spirited and small-souled must they be, who cannot stomach even the memory of the martyrs who suffered in the passion of Spain!
Omnes santi martyres Hispaniae, ora pro nobis et pro universo mundo!
Read the whole thing, from Catholic World News, here.