Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Martyr, Psalm 56:10-14 ,Luke 8:4-15, Bl. Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, 498 Martyrs, Spanish Civil War (Spain 1936-1939)

Saturday, September 22, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Martyr, Psalm 56:10-14 ,Luke 8:4-15, Bl. Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, 498 Martyrs, Spanish Civil War (Spain 1936-1939)

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  martyr  mar·tyr  [mahr-ter]

Origin: before 900;  (noun) Middle English marter, Old English martyr  < Late Latin  < Late Greek mártyr,  variant of Greek mártys, mártyros  witness; (v.) Middle English martiren, Old English martyrian,  derivative of noun

1. a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.
2. a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.
3. a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: a martyr to severe headaches.
4. a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.
verb (used with object)
5. to make a martyr of, especially by putting to death.
6. to torment or torture.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 56:10-14

10 In God whose word I praise, in Yahweh whose word I praise,
11 in God I put my trust and have no fear; what can mortal man do to me?
12 I am bound by the vows I have made, God, I will pay you the debt of thanks,
13 for you have saved my life from death to walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 8:4-15

With a large crowd gathering and people from every town finding their way to Jesus, he told this parable: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed. Now as he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up. Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture. Some seed fell in the middle of thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell into good soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.’ Saying this he cried, ‘Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!’ His disciples asked him what this parable might mean, and he said, ‘To you is granted to understand the secrets of the kingdom of God; for the rest it remains in parables, so that they may look but not perceive, listen but not understand. ‘This, then, is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God. Those on the edge of the path are people who have heard it, and then the devil comes and carries away the word from their hearts in case they should believe and be saved. Those on the rock are people who, when they first hear it, welcome the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of trial they give up. As for the part that fell into thorns, this is people who have heard, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life and never produce any crops. As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.

• In today’s Gospel, we will meditate on the parable of the seed. Jesus had a very popular word to teach by means of parables. A parable is a comparison which uses the visible things of life that are known to explain the invisible and unknown things of the Kingdom of God. Jesus had an enormous capacity to find very simple images to compare the things of God with the things of life which people knew and experienced in their daily struggle to survive. This presupposes two things: to be within the things of life, and to be within the things of God, of the Kingdom of God. For example, the people of Galilee understood all about seeds, of land, of rain, of the sun, of salt of flowers, of the harvest, of fishing, etc. Now, there are exactly these known things that Jesus uses in the parables to explain the mystery of the Kingdom. The farmer who listens says: “The seed in the ground, I know what this means. Jesus says that this has something to do with the Kingdom of God. What could this ever be?” It is possible to imagine the long conversations with the people! The parable enters into the heart of the people and urges them to listen to nature and to think about life.

• When he finishes telling the parable, Jesus does not explain it, but he usually says: “Who has ears to hear, let him hear” This means: “This is: You have heard and so now try to understand!” From time to time he would explain to the disciples: People like this way of teaching, because Jesus believed in the personal capacity to discover the sense of the parables. The experience which people had of life was for him a means to discover the presence of the mystery of God in their life and to have courage not to be discouraged along the way.

• Luke 8, 4: The crowds follow Jesus. Luke says: a large crowd got around him and people from all the towns ran to him from all the towns. So then he tells them this parable. Mark describes how Jesus told the parable. There were so many people that he, in order not to fall, went into a boat and sitting down he taught the people who were on the seashore (Mk 4, 1).

• Luke 8, 5-8°: The parable of the seed is a mirror of the life of the farmers. At that time, it was not easy to live from agriculture. The ground was full of rocks; there was little rain, much sun. Besides, many times, people, to shorten the way, passed through the fields and stepped on the plants (Mk 2, 23). But in spite of that, every year the farmer sowed and planted, trusting in the force of the seed, in the generosity of nature.

• Luke 8, 8b: Anyone who has ears to hear let him hear! At the end, Jesus says: “Anyone who has ears to hear, let him hear!” The way to be able to understand the parable is to search: “Try to understand!” The parable does not say everything immediately, but moves the person to think. It does it in such a way that the person discovers the message beginning from the experience which the person has of the seed. It urges the person to be creative and to participate. It is not a doctrine which is presented ready to be taught and decorated. The parable is not water in a bottle, it is the source.

• Luke 8, 9-10: Jesus explains the parable to the disciples. At home, alone with Jesus, the disciples want to know the meaning of the parable. Jesus responds by means of a difficult and mysterious phrase. He says to the Disciples: “To you is granted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God, for the rest it remains in parables so that “they may look but not perceive, listen but not understand”. This phrase gives rise to a question in the heart of the people: What is the purpose of a parable? Is it to clarify or to hide things? Did Jesus uses the parables in order that people continue in their ignorance and would not convert themselves? Certainly not! In another place it is said that Jesus used the parables “according to what they could understand” (Mk 4, 33). The parable reveals and hides at the same time” It reveals for those who are “inside, within” who accept Jesus Messiah Servant. It hides for those who insist in seeing in him the Messiah the glorious King. These understand the images of the parable, but do not understand its meaning.

• Luke 8, 11-15: The explanation of the parable, in its diverse parts. One by one, Jesus explains the parts of the parable, the seed, and the earth up to the harvest time. Some scholars think that this explanation was added afterwards; that it would not be from Jesus’, but from one of the communities. This is possible! It does not matter! Because in the bud of the parable there is the flower of the explanation. Buds and flowers, both of them have the same origin, that is, Jesus. This is why we also can continue to reflect and to discover other beautiful things in the parable. Once, a person in a community asked: “Jesus says that we have to be salt. For what does salt serve?” The persons gave their opinion starting from the experience which each one had regarding salt! And they applied all this to the life of the community and discovered that to be salt is difficult and demanding. The parable functioned well! The same thing can be applied to the seeds. All have a certain experience.

Personal questions
• The seed falls in four different places: on the road side, among the rocks, among the thorns and in the good earth. What does each one of these four places mean? What type of earth am I? Sometimes, people are rock; other times thistles; other roadside, other times good ground. Normally, what are we in our community?
• Which are the fruits which the Word of God is producing in our life and in our community?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Blessed Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War

Feast Day: September 22
Patron Saint: n/a

Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War is the name given by the Catholic Church to the people who were killed by Republicans during the war because of their faith. As of July 2008, almost one thousand Spanish martyrs have been beatified or canonized. For some two thousand additional martyrs, the beatification process is underway.


During the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and especially in the early months of the conflict, individual clergymen and entire religious communities  were executed, with a death toll of 13 bishops, 4,172 diocesan priests and seminarists, 2,364 monks and friars and 283 nuns, for a total of 6,832 clerical victims, as part of what is referred to as Spain's Red Terror.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II beatified a total of about 500 martyrs in the years 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 2001. Some 233 executed clergy were beatified by John Paul II on the 11th of March 2001.[4] In 1999 he also canonized the nine Martyrs of Turon, the first group of Spanish Civil War martyrs to reach sainthood. Regarding the selection of Candidates, Archbishop Edward Novack from the Congregation of Saints explained in an interview with L'Osservatore Romano: "Ideologies such as Nazism or Communism serve as a context of martyrdom, but in the foreground the person stands out with his conduct, and, case by case, it is important that the people among whom the person lived should affirm and recognize his fame as a martyr and then pray to him, obtaining graces. It is not so much ideologies that concern us, as the sense of faith of the People of God, who judge the person's behaviour 

Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI beatified 498 more Spanish martyrs in October 2007, in what has become the largest beatification ceremony in the history of the Catholic Church. In this group of people, the Vatican has not included all Spanish martyrs, nor any of the 16 priests who were executed by the nationalist side in the first years of the war. This decision has caused numerous criticisms from surviving family members and several political organisations in Spain. 

The beatification process recognized the extraordinary fate and often brutal death of the persons involved. Some have criticized the beatifications as dishonoring non-clergy who were also killed in the war, and as being an attempt to draw attention away from the church's support of Franco (some quarters of the Church called the Nationalist cause a "crusade"). Within Spain, the Civil War still raises high emotions. The act of beatification has also coincided in time with the debate on the Law of Historical Memory (about the treatment of the victims of the war and its aftermath) promoted by the Spanish Government.

Responding to the criticism, the Vatican has described the October 2007 beatifications as relating to personal virtues and holiness, not ideology. They are not about "resentment but... reconciliation". The Spanish government has supported the beatifications, sending Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos to attend the ceremony. Among the present was Juan Andrés Torres Mora, a relative of one of the martyrs and the Spanish MP who had debated the memory law for PSOE .

The October 2007 beatifications have brought the number of martyred persons beatified by the Church to 977, eleven of whom have already been canonized as Saints. Because of the extent of the persecution, many more cases could be proposed; as many as 10,000 according to Catholic Church sources. The process for beatification has already been initiated for about 2,000 people.

At the October 28, 2007 beatifications, Pope Benedict underscored the call to sanctity for all Christians, saying it was "realistic possibility for the entire Christian people". He also noted, "This martyrdom in ordinary life is an important witness in today's secularized society." 

Passionist Martyrs of Daimiel 

They were a group of priests and brothers of the Passionist Congregation killed by Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 1989. Eye-witnesses reported that all of the Passionists had forgiven their murderers before they died. A witness to the murder of Father Niceforo reported that after being shot the priest turned his eyes to heaven then turned and smiled at his murderers. At this point one of them, now more infuriated than ever, shouted: “What, are you still smiling?”  With that he shot him at point blank range.


Saint Innocencio of Mary Immaculate killed by leftists in the Asturias Uprising in 1934 before he was about to say Mass because he chose to defy the leftists prohibition on religious instruction in school.

Saint Innocencio of Mary Immaculate

Saint Innocencio of Mary Immaculate born Emanuele Canoura Arnau, was a member of the Passionist Congregation and martyr of the Spanish Civil War, born on March 10, 1887 in Santa Cecelia del Valle de Oro in Galicia, Spain; died October 9, 1934. Canonised by Pope John Paul II in 1999.

Eugenio Sanz-Orozco Mortera

Eugenio Sanz-Orozco Mortera (Jose Maria of Manila) was born on September 5, 1880 in Manila, Philippines. He was a Franciscan Capuchin priest. He died a martyr on August 17, 1936 in Madrid, Spain during the Spanish civil war. He is venerated in the Catholic Church, which celebrate his Feast on August 17.

Blessed Bartolomé Blanco Márquez

Bartolomé Blanco Márquez was born in Cordoba, Spain in 1914. He was arrested as a Catholic leader—he was the secretary of Catholic Action and a delegate to the Catholic Syndicates—on Aug. 18, 1936. He was executed on Oct. 2, 1936, at age 21, while he cried out, “Long live Christ the King!" Born in Pozoblanco 25 November 1914, Bartolome was orphaned as a child, and raised by family with whom he worked. He was an excellent student, studying under the tutelage of the Salesians.


During the 19th and the 20th centuries, the role of the Catholic Church in the Spanish society and government was one of the issues polarizing Spanish society. It supported and was strongly supported by and associated with the Spanish monarchy and the system of privileges for a small aristocratic elite. However at the same time, even in military and conservative circles anti-clericism began to gain ground, partly as a reaction to the Carlist wars, and partly due to the feeling that anti-Enlightenment religious dogma was responsible for Spain's failure to develop and imperial decline. 

The Second Spanish Republic saw an alternation of progressive and conservative coalition governments between 1931 and 1936. Amidst the disorder caused by the military coup of July 1936, many supporters of the legitimate (Republican) government pointed their weapons against individuals they considered local reactionaries, including priests and nuns.

A paradoxic case for foreign Catholics was that of the Basque Nationalist Party, at the time a Catholic party from the Basque areas, who after some hesitation, supported the Republican government in exchange for an autonomous government in the Basque Country. Although, virtually every other group on the Republican side was involved in the anticlerical persecution, the Basques did not play a part. The Vatican diplomacy tried to orient them to the National side, explicitly supported by Cardinal Isidro Goma y Tomas, but the BNP feared the centralism of the Nationals. Some Catalan nationalist also found themselves in the same situation, such as members of de Unió Democràtica de Catalunya party whose most relevant leader, Manuel Carrasco i Formiguera was killed by the Nationalists in Burgos on 1938.


A number of controversies have arisen around the beatification of some of these clerics, most of them opposing the notion of these priests being killed for mere religious hatred and, while not excusing their brutal murders, putting them in the context of the historical moment and questioning the appropriateness of their beatification.

One of the most notable of these has centred around Cruz Laplana y Laguna, bishop of Cuenca, a well-known supporter of the monarchic regime, who since the proclamation of the Second Republic had carried out a number of political, pro right-wing campaigns throughout the province, and had established close contacts with military officials such as general Joaquín Fanjul, a supporter of Francisco Franco's coup. The bishop of Cuenca is described by his biographer as "supreme advisor" to the general, as well as being closely involved with the Falange. In 1936 he personally endorsed José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the leader of this party, as a candidate to the 1936 local elections. When the pro-coup uprising in Cuenca failed, the bishop was arrested by Republican militiamen for collaborationism. He was tried for conspiring against the Republican government and executed on 8 August.

Fulgencio Martínez, a priest in the village of La Paca in Murcia who was shot after the uprising, was reported by many locals to be closely allied to the local landowners. Over several days before the uprising, father Fulgencio met with these landowners in the village casino—the hub of social life for the local elites in rural Spain—to organise the support for the military coup by offering guns and money to any of those who would join an improvised militia. On the 18th of July, the day of the uprising, father Fulgencio was among the armed thugs who were going through the village streets on lorries rallying support for the uprising under shouts of "Long live the army!" and "Long live general Queipo de Llano!"

Another priest from Murcia was murdered for his alleged molestation of a number of local young women. He was well known in the city of Lorca for practicing extortionate moneylending among the workers in the impoverished mining barrios, and who made business out of stocking food and reselling it at inflated prices at a time where one of the main causes of death among the worker classes was malnutrition.

Public statements by some of these clerics have also been widely publicised as a form of criticism against their beatification. Rigoberto Domenech, archbishop of Zaragoza, declared publicly on the 11th of August 1936 that the military uprising was to be supported, and its violent actions approved, because "... it is not done in the service of anarchy, but in the benefit of order, fatherland and religion". Another notorious and polemic statement was that given in November 1938 by Leopoldo Eijo Garay, bishop of Madrid-Alcalá, regarding a possible truce between Republican and rebel forces; “To tolerate democratic liberalism… would be to betray the martyrs”.

The controversy surrounding the beatification of Augustinian friar Gabino Olaso Zabala has been different. Friar Zabala was murdered during the civil war and was beatified. However, attention was called to the fact that this priest had been formerly accused of carrying out acts of torture on Filipino friar Mariano Dacanay, in the days when friar Olaso was a missionary in the former Spanish colony and the Filipinos were trying to liberate themselves from Spanish rule ”.

It's often questioned why weren't beatified all the Basque catholic priests and clergymen who were killed by Franco's nationalist troops under the accusation of supporting the Red Army, after nationalist victory in Basque provinces, in what is considered "fascist terror".


  • Julio de la Cueva, "Religious Persecution, Anticlerical Tradition and Revolution: On Atrocities against the Clergy during the Spanish Civil War" Journal of Contemporary History 33.3 (July 1998): 355
  • "Vatican's Plan to Beatify Spanish Clergy Divisive" by Jerome Socolovsky. Morning Edition, National Public Radio, 13 July 2007.
  • Reijers-Martin, Laura Vatican honours Spanish war dead BBC October 28, 2007
  • Mártires.- Unas 400 personas celebran la beatificación en la Embajada de España ante la Santa Sede, Europa Press, 28 October 2007.
  • WINFIELD, NICOLE Vatican Beatifies 498 Spanish Martyrs Los Angeles Times (AP) October 28, 2007
  • Religion in Spain - Roman Catholic Church and Politics
  • Stanley G. Payne, A History of Spain and Portugal Vol. 2 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973), 649


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippet I:  498 Spanish Martyrs

The 498 Spanish Martyrs were victims of the Spanish Civil War beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in October 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI. It was the greatest numbers of persons ever beatified in the Church's 2000-year history. They originated from all parts of Spain. Their ages ranged from 15 years to 78 years old. Although almost 500 persons, they are a small part of the Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War.


The Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War were those were clergy, religious and lay persons of the Roman Catholic church who were executed during the Spanish Civil War, in a period known as the Red Terror. It is estimated that in the course of the Red Terror 6,832 members of the Catholic clergy were killed. Some 2,000 of these have been proposed for canonization and have had their causes advanced to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS). Pope John Paul II was the first pope to beatify a large number of saints from the Spanish Civil War. About 500 Spanish martyrs were recognized by him in several beatifications since 1987. In this ceremony, Benedict XVI beatified 498 individuals, proposed in 23 separate causes, the largest group to be beatified so far. In addition to these, another 1000 martyrs are awaiting conclusion of their causes in the Vatican.

Individual fates

The 498 martyrs include bishops, priests, male and female religious and faithful of both sexes. Three were 16 years old and the oldest was 78. They were from all parts of Spain, including the dioceses of Barcelona, Burgos, Madrid, Mérida, Oviedo, Seville, Toledo, Albacete, Cartagena, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Gerona, Jaén, Málaga and Santander. Although Spain was the site of their martyrdom and the homeland of many of them, there were also some who came from other nations, from France, Mexico and Cuba. They are described as "men and women who were faithful to their obligations", and "who were able to forgive their killers". Cruz Laplana Laguna, the bishop of Cuenca, wrote I cannot go, only here is my responsibility, whatever may happen, while Fr. Tirso de Jesús María, a companion of Eusebio Fernandez Arenillas, wrote in the letter sent to his family on the eve of his execution: "Pardon them and bless them and amen to everything, just as I love them and pardon them and bless them.....".

Saint Peter ceremony

The beatification of the 498 martyrs (list below) took place on Saint Peter's Square not in the Basilica itself, which can include only 60,000 persons. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins who gave the sermon during the beatification ceremonies, stated that these Martyrs all loved Christ and the Church more than their own life. The Cardinal pointed out, that the victims of terror forgave their killers, referring to Father Tirso as an example. The logo of the beatification, because of the very large number of new Blesseds, had as its central theme a red cross, the symbol of love taken to the point of pouring out blood for Christ. The Cardinal explained the difference between "Martyrs of Spain" and "Spanish Martyrs". Spain was the site of their martyrdom and the homeland of many of them, but there were also some who came from other nations, such as France, Mexico and Cuba. Catholic martyrs are not the exclusive patrimony of a single diocese or nation. Rather, because of their special participation in the Cross of Christ, they belong to the whole world, to the universal Church. Pope Benedict XVI stated that faith helps to purify reason so that it may succeed in perceiving the truth. The Cardinal invoked the intercession of the Martyrs beatified of Mary, Queen of Martyrs "so that we may follow their example".

Spanish reactions

Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, the secretary-general of the Spanish bishops, replied to criticism that the martyrs were old fashioned conservatives: The first martyrs of the Church died, after they were labeled as traitors of the Roman Empire and during the French Revolution, Catholic priests were defined as enemies of the revolution. The Spanish victims were considered an obstacle to historical progress.

The Spanish bishops stated that Spanish society is threatened by secularism. The 498 Martyrs were thus a reminder of other values. "their beatification intends first of all to render glory to God for the faith which conquers the world" The bishops organized a national pilgrimage to Rome, the place of the beatification of the 498 Martyrs, and the martyrdom of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

The 498 Martyrs

The 498 Martyrs were proposed in 23 separate causes; the Vatican lists them as:
  • Lucas de San José Tristany Pujol, of the Discalced Brothers of the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel; also Leonardo José Aragonés Mateu, a religious of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (the De La Salle brothers); and Apolonia Lizárraga del Santísimo Sacramento, who was Superior of the Carmelites of Charity, with 61 brothers and sisters of the same orders;
  • Bernardo Fábrega Julià, a Marist Brother;
  • Víctor Chumillas Fernández, Priest of the order of Little Brothers and 21 members of the same order.
  • Antero Mateo García, a lay person was head of family and third order of Saint Dominic. He was slain with 11 others from the second and third order of Saint Dominic.
  • Cruz Laplana y Laguna, the Bishop of Cuenca;and Fernando Españo Berdié, a Priest;
  • Narciso de Esténaga Echevarría, Bishop of Ciudad Real, and ten companions;
  • Liberio González Nombela, priest and twelve companions, all clerics of the Archdiocese of Toledo;
  • Eusebio del Niño Jesús Fernández Arenillas, a religious priest of the Discalced Carmelites, and 15 companions;
  • Félix Echevarría Gorostiaga, Priest, and six companions of his order;
  • Teodosio Rafael, a priest of the Congregation of Christian Brothers and three companions from the same order;
  • Buenaventura García Paredes, a priest and Religious; Miguel Léibar Garay, Priest of the Company of Mary, and forty members of that order.
  • Simón Reynés Solivellas and 5 companions, from the missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary and from the congregation of Franciscan sisters
  • Celestino José Alonso Villar and 9 companions of his order;
  • Ángel María Prat Hostench and 16 companions of the Carmelite order;
  • Enrique Sáiz Aparicio and 62 companions of his Salesian order;
  • Mariano de San José Altolaguirre y Altolaguirre and 9 companions of the order of the Most Holy Trinity.
  • Eufrasio del Niño Jesús Barredo Fernández, Priest of the Carmelite order ;
  • Laurentino Alonso Fuente, Virgilio Lacunza Unzu and 44 companions of the Institute of Marist Brothers;
  • Enrique Izquierdo Palacios, Priest and 13 companions of the order of Hermanos Predicadores;
  • Ovidio Bertrán Anucibay Letona and 5 companions from the Institute of Christian Brothers,together with José María Cánovas Martínez, a diocesan priest;
  • María del Carmen, and Rosa y Magdalena Fradera Ferragutcasas, Sisters of the Congregation Hijas del Santísimo e Inmaculado Corazón de María;
  • Avelino Rodríguez Alonso, Priest, order of the Augustins and 97 companians from the same order, together with Six Diocesan priests,
  • Manuela del Corazón de Jesús Arriola Uranga and 22 companions of the congregacion Siervas Adoratrices del Santísimo Sacramento y de la Caridad;


A number of controversies have arisen around the beatification of some of these clerics, most of them opposing the notion of these priests being killed for religious hatred and, while not excusing their brutal murders, putting them in the context of the historical moment and questioning the appropriateness of their beatification.

One of the most notable of these has centred around Cruz Laplana y Laguna, bishop of Cuenca, a well-known supporter of the monarchic regime, who since the proclamation of the Second Republic had carried out a number of notorious political, pro right-wing campaigns throughout the province and had established close contacts with military officials such as general Joaquín Fanjul, who would lead the Madrid military uprising on 18 July 1936 in support of Franco's coup. The bishop of Cuenca is described by his biographer as "supreme advisor" to the general, as well as being closely involved with the fascist political party Falange. In 1936 he personally endorsed José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the leader of this party, as a candidate to the 1936 local elections. When the pro-coup uprising in Cuenca failed, the bishop was arrested by Republican militiamen for collaborationism. He was tried for conspiring against the Republican government and executed on 8 August.

The controversy surrounding the beatification of Augustinian friar Gabino Olaso Zabala, listed as a companion of Avelino Rodriguez Alonso, has been different. Friar Zabala was murdered during the civil war and was beatified. However, attention was called to the fact that this priest had been formerly accused of carrying out acts of torture on Filipino friar Mariano Dacanay, in the days when friar Olaso was a missionary in the former Spanish colony and the Filipinos were trying to liberate themselves from Spanish rule ".


  • Beevor, Antony (2006), The Battle For Spain; The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939, ???: Weidenfeld and Nicholson.
  • De la Cueva, Julio Religious Persecution, Anticlerical Tradition and Revolution: On Atrocities against the Clergy during the Spanish Civil War, Journal of Contemporary History Vol XXXIII - 3, 1998
  • August Franzen, Remigius Bäumer, Kirchengeschichte, Herder Freiburg, 1991 (Church history) (cit Franzen)
  • Anastasio Granados, El Cardinal Goma, Primado de Espana, Espasa Calpe Madrid. 1969
  • Hubert Jedin, Konrad Repgen and John Dolan, History of the Church: The Church in the Twentieth Century Burn& Oates London, New York (1981) 1999 Vol X (cit Jedin)
  • 'Frances Lennon Privilege, Persecution, and Prophecy. The Catholic Church in Spain 1875-1975. Oxford 1987 
  • Mitchell, David Mitchell (1983), The Spanish Civil War, New York: Franklin Watts. 
  • Ruiz, Julius Ruiz (2007), "Defending the Republic: The García Atadell Brigade in Madrid, 1936", Journal of Contemporary History 42 (1): 97, doi:10.1177/0022009407071625.


Today's Snippet II :  Spanish Civil War

General map of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939).
  Initial Nationalist zone – July 1936
  Nationalist advance until September 1936
  Nationalist advance until October 1937
  Nationalist advance until November 1938
  Nationalist advance until February 1939
  Last area under Republican control
Solid blue.png Main Nationalist centres
Red-square.gif Main Republican centres
Panzer aus Zusatzzeichen 1049-12.svg Land battles
Vattenfall.svg Naval battles
Icon vojn new.png Bombed cities
City locator 4.svg Concentration camps
Gatunek trujący.svg Massacres
Red dot.svg Refugee camps
The Spanish Civil War was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939. The war began after a pronunciamiento (declaration of opposition) by a group of generals under the leadership of José Sanjurjo against the elected government of the Second Spanish Republic, at the time under the leadership of President Manuel Azaña. The rebel coup was supported by a number of conservative groups including the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right, monarchists such as the religious conservative Carlists, and the Fascist Falange.

Following the only partially successful coup, Spain was left militarily and politically divided. From that moment onwards, general Francisco Franco began a protracted war of attrition against the established government for the control of the country. The rebel forces received the support of Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy, as well as neighbouring Portugal, while the Soviet Union and Mexico intervened in support of the Republican government or loyalist side.

Atrocities were committed by both sides in the war. Organised purges occurred in territory captured by Franco's forces to consolidate the future regime. A smaller but significant number of killings took place in areas controlled by the Republicans, normally associated with a breakdown in law and order. The extent to which killings in Republican territory were carried out with connivance of the Republican authorities varied. The Civil War became notable for the passion and political division it inspired. Tens of thousands of civilians on both sides were killed for their political or religious views, and after the War's conclusion in 1939, those associated with the losing Republicans were persecuted by the victorious Nationalists.

The war ended with the victory of the Nationalists, the overthrow of the democratically elected government, and the exile of thousands of left-leaning Spaniards, many of whom fled to refugee camps in Southern France. With the establishment of a dictatorship led by General Francisco Franco in the aftermath of the Civil War, all right-wing parties were fused into the structure of the Franco regime.

Course of the War


A large air and sea-lift of Nationalist troops in Spanish Morocco was organized to the south-west of Spain. Coup leader Sanjurjo was killed in a plane crash on 20 July, leaving an effective command split between Mola in the North and Franco in the South. This period also saw the worst actions of the so-called "Red" and "White" "Terrors" in Spain. On 21 July, the fifth day of the rebellion, the Nationalists captured the central Spanish naval base, located in Ferrol in north-western Spain.

A rebel force under Colonel Beorlegui Canet, sent by General Mola, undertook the Campaign of Gipuzkoa from July to September. The capture of Gipuzkoa isolated the Republican provinces in the north. On 5 September, after heavy fighting the force took Irún, closing the French border to the Republicans. On 15 September, San Sebastián, home to a divided Republican force of anarchists and Basque nationalists, was taken by Nationalist soldiers. The Nationalists then advanced toward their capital, Bilbao, but were halted by Republican militias on the border of Biscay at the end of September.

The Republican government under Giral resigned on 4 September, unable to cope with the situation in which it found itself, and was replaced by a mostly Socialist organization under Largo Caballero. The new leadership began to unify central command in the republican zone. On the Nationalist side, Franco was chosen as chief military commander at a meeting of ranking generals at Salamanca on 21 September, now called by the title Generalísimo.

Franco won another victory on 27 September when his troops relieved the Alcázar in Toledo that had been held by a Nationalist garrison under Colonel Moscardo since the beginning of the rebellion, resisting thousands of Republican troops who totally surrounded the isolated building. Two days after relieving the siege, Franco proclaimed himself Caudillo ("chieftain"), while forcibly unifying the various and diverse Falangist, Royalist and other elements within the Nationalist cause. The diversion to Toledo gave Madrid time to prepare a defense, but was hailed as a major propaganda victory and personal success for Franco.

In October, the Francoist troops launched a major offensive toward Madrid, reaching it in early November and launching a major assault on the city on 8 November. The Republican government was forced to shift from Madrid to Valencia, outside the combat zone, on 6 November. However, the Nationalists' attack on the capital was repulsed in fierce fighting between 8 November and 23 November. A contributory factor in the successful Republican defense was the arrival of the International Brigades, though only an approximate three thousand foreign volunteers participated in the battle. Having failed to take the capital, Franco bombarded it from the air and, in the following two years, mounted several offensives to try to encircle Madrid. The battle of the Corunna Road, a Nationalist offensive to the north-west, pushed Republican forces back, but failed to isolate Madrid. The battle lasted into January.

Red Terror (Spain)

The Red Terror in Spain (Spanish: Terror Rojo en España) is the name given by historians to various acts committed "by sections of nearly all the leftist groups" such as the killing of tens of thousands of people (including 6,832 members of the Catholic clergy, the vast majority in the summer of 1936 in the wake of the military rising), as well as attacks on landowners, industrialists, and politicians, and the desecration and burning of monasteries and churches. News of the military coup unleashed a social revolutionary response and no republican region escaped revolutionary and anticlerical violence - though in the Basque Country this was minimal.

A process of political polarisation had characterised the Spanish Second Republic – party divisions became increasingly embittered and questions of religious identity came to assume a major political significance. Electorally, the Church had identified itself with the Right, which had set itself against social reform.

The failed pronunciamiento of 1936 set loose a violent onslaught on those that revolutionaries in the Republican zone identified as enemies - " where the rebellion failed, for several months afterwards merely to be identified as a priest, a religious or simply a militant Christian or member of some apostolic or pious organization, was enough for a person to be executed without trial."

In recent years the Catholic Church has beatified hundreds of the victims, 233 of them on 11 March 2001 in a spectacular ceremony, the largest single number of beatifications in the church's history. Some estimates of the Red Terror range from 38,000 to 72,344 lives. Paul Preston, speaking in 2012 at the time of the publication of his book The Spanish Holocaust, put the figure at a little under 50,000.

Historian Julio de la Cueva has written that, "despite the fact that the Church... suffer[ed] appalling persecution" in the Loyalist rearguard, the events have so far met not only with "the embarrassing partiality of ecclesiastical scholars, but also with the embarrassed silence or attempts at justification of a large number of historians and memoirists." Analysts such as Helen Graham have linked the Red and White Terrors, pointing out that it was the military coup that allowed the culture of brutal violence to flourish. Graham wrote of the coup, "...its original act of violence was that it killed off the possibility of other forms of peaceful political evolution." Others see the persecution and violence as predating the coup and found in what they see as a "radical and antidemocratic" anticlericalism of the Republic and its constitution, including dissolution of the Jesuits 1932, nationalization of virtually all church property in 1933, prohibition on teaching religion in schools, prohibition on teaching by clergy, and violent persecution proper beginning in 1934 in Asturias with the murder of 37 priests, religious and seminarians and burning of 58 churches.


Map showing Spain in October 1937:
  Area under Nationalist control
  Area under Republican control
With his ranks swelled by Italian troops and Spanish colonial soldiers from Morocco, Franco made another attempt to capture Madrid in January and February 1937, but was again unsuccessful. The Battle of Málaga started in mid-January; this Nationalist offensive in Spain's south-east would turn into a disaster for the Republicans, who were poorly organised and armed. The city was taken by Franco on 8 February. The consolidation of various militias into the Republican Army had started in December 1936. The main Nationalist advance, to cross the Jarama river and cut the supply of Madrid by the Valencia road, termed the Battle of Jarama, led to heavy casualties (6–20,000) on both sides. The operation's main objective was not met, though Nationalists gained a modest amount of territory.

A similar Nationalist offensive, the Battle of Guadalajara, was a more significant defeat for Franco and his armies; it proved the only publicised Republican victory of the war. Italian troops and blitzkrieg tactics were used by Franco, and while many strategists blamed the latter for the rightists' defeat, the Germans believed it was the former at fault for the Nationalists' 5,000 casualties and loss of valuable equipment. The German strategists successfully argued that the Nationalists needed to concentrate on vulnerable areas first.

Ruins of Guernica.
The "War in the North" began in mid-March, with Biscay as a first target. The Basques suffered most from the lack of a suitable air force; on 26 April, the Condor Legion bombed the town of Guernica, killing two to three hundred. The destruction had a significant effect on international opinion. The Basques retreated.

April and May saw infighting among Republican groups in Catalonia. The dispute was between an ultimately victorious government – Communist force and the anarchist CNT. The disturbance pleased Nationalist command, but little was done to exploit Republican divisions. After the fall of Guernica, the Republican government began to fight back with increasing effectiveness. In July, it made a move to recapture Segovia, forcing Franco to delay his advance on the Bilbao front, but for only two weeks. A similar Republican attack on Huesca failed similarly.

Mola, Franco's second-in-command, was killed on 3 June. In early July, despite the earlier fall in June of Bilbao, the government launched a strong counter-offensive to the west of Madrid, focusing on Brunete. The Battle of Brunete, however, was a significant defeat for the Republic, which lost many of its most accomplished troops. The offensive had led to an advance of 50 square kilometres (19 sq mi), and left 25,000 Republican casualties.

A Republican offensive against Zaragoza was also a failure. Despite having land and aerial advantages, the Battle of Belchite resulted in an advance of only ten kilometres and the loss of much equipment. Franco invaded Aragón in August and then took the city of Santander. With the surrender of the Republican army in the Basque territory came the Santoña Agreement; Gijón finally fell in late October. Franco had effectively won in the north. At November's end, with Franco's troops closing in on Valencia, the government had to move again, this time to Barcelona.


Map showing Spain in July 1938:
  Area under Nationalist control
  Area under Republican control
The Battle of Teruel was an important confrontation. The city, which had formerly belonged to the Nationalists, was conquered by Republicans in January. The Francoist troops launched an offensive and recovered the city by 22 February, but Franco was forced to rely heavily on German and Italian air support.

On 7 March, Nationalists launched the Aragon Offensive, and by 14 April, they had pushed through to the Mediterranean, cutting the Republican-held portion of Spain in two. The Republican government attempted suing for peace in May, but Franco demanded unconditional surrender; the war raged on. In July, the Nationalist army pressed southward from Teruel and south along the coast toward the capital of the Republic at Valencia, but was halted in heavy fighting along the XYZ Line, a system of fortifications defending Valencia.

The Republican government then launched an all-out campaign to reconnect their territory in the Battle of the Ebro, from 24 July until 26 November. The campaign was unsuccessful, and was undermined by the Franco-British appeasement of Hitler in Munich. The agreement with Britain effectively destroyed Republican morale by ending hope of an anti-fascist alliance with Western powers. The retreat from the Ebro all but determined the final outcome of the war. Eight days before the new year, Franco threw massive forces into an invasion of Catalonia.


Map showing Spain in February 1939:
  Area under Nationalist control
  Area under Republican control
Franco's troops conquered Catalonia in a whirlwind campaign during the first two months of 1939. Tarragona fell on 15 January, followed by Barcelona on 26 January[ and Gerona on 2 February. On 27 February, the United Kingdom and France recognized the Franco regime.

Only Madrid and a few other strongholds remained for the Republican forces. On 5 March 1939, the Republican army led by the colonel Segismundo Casado and the politician Julián Besteiro, rose against the prime minister Juan Negrin and formed a military Junta, the Council of National Defense (Consejo Nacional de Defensa or CND) in order to negotiate a peace deal. Negrin fled to France on 6 March, but the Communist troops around Madrid rose against the Junta, starting a brief civil war within the civil war. Casado defeated them, and started peace negotiation with the Nationalists, but Francisco Franco only accepted an unconditional surrender. On 26 March the Nationalists started a general offensive, on 28 March the Nationalists occupied Madrid and by 31 March they controlled all the Spanish territory. Franco proclaimed victory in a radio speech aired on 1 April, when the last of the Republican forces surrendered.

After the end of the War, there were harsh reprisals against Franco's former enemies; thousands of Republicans were imprisoned and at least 30,000 executed. Other calculations of these deaths range from 50,000 to 200,000 depending on which killings are included. Many others were put to forced labour, building railways, drying out swamps, and digging canals.

Hundreds of thousands of Republicans fled abroad, some 500,000 to France. Refugees were confined in internment camps of the French Third Republic, such as Camp Gurs or Camp Vernet, where twelve thousand Republicans were housed in squalid conditions. In his quality as consul in Paris Pablo Neruda organized the immigration to Chile of 2,200 Republican exiles in France using the ship SS Winnipeg.

Of the 17,000 refugees housed in Gurs, farmers and others who could not find relations in France were encouraged by the Third Republic, in agreement with the Francoist government, to return to Spain. The great majority did so and were turned over to the Francoist authorities in Irún. From there they were transferred to the Miranda de Ebro camp for "purification" according to the Law of Political Responsibilities. After the proclamation by Marshal Philippe Pétain of the Vichy regime, the refugees became political prisoners, and the French police attempted to round up those who had been liberated from the camp. Along with other "undesirables", the Spaniards were sent to the Drancy internment camp before being deported to Nazi Germany. About 5,000 Spaniards thus died in the Mauthausen concentration camp.

After the official end of the war, guerrilla war was waged on an irregular basis by the Spanish Maquis well into the 1950s, being gradually reduced by military defeats and scant support from the exhausted population. In 1944, a group of republican veterans, who also fought in the French resistance against the Nazis, invaded the Val d'Aran in northwest Catalonia, but were defeated after ten days.


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