(Rorate Caeli) Exactly 75 years ago, the arms silenced in Spain at the end of almost three years of war, and almost a decade of intermittent grave persecution of the Church which reached its zenith in 1936. The greatest persecution of Catholics since late Antiquity, Spaniards condemned as reactionaries by their fellow citizens, had taken place in the territory retained by the Communist-inspired forces, and had been particularly brutal in the first six months of the conflict – giving the Church thousands of martyrs (including 13 bishops), of which almost 2,000 have already been beatified – including 522 martyrs beatified last year alone by Pope Francis.
In 2006, we began a special series of posts on the story of this relentless persecution, reverted only after Catholics joined the struggle for the faith: read it all in The Passion of Spain series. We also heartily recommend one of the most important and heartfelt Catholic documents of the 20th cenuty, the Collective Letter of the Spanish Bishops (July 1, 1937); the response of several national episcopates, including the Bishops of Ireland; and the chilling images in the first and second annex on religious persecution of the Causa General.
On our own site, Gary Potter’s article, Spain’s Crusade, 1936-39 is must reading, as is Sister Maria Philomena’s The Good Will Be Martyred: Portraits of Sanctity from the Spanish Civil War.
And speaking of Spain, if you have never seen BBC’s “The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition,” you should. It’s a 46-minute documentary that undermines the Black Legend with sound scholarship. This helps to undermine claims of the Church’s supposed malice and cruelty that we hear so much about from her enemies. The YouTube video of it is below.