Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.

I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop...
It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.


Friday, 18 October 2013

The Spanish Martyrs


The Oxford Oratory pilgrims to the beatification of Bl. Salvio Huix-Miralpeix in Tarragona at the weekend have returned from what was clearly an enjoyable visit to the ceremony and to other Catalan cities and religious sites. There is an illustrated report from the Oratory website at  Oxford Oratory Pilgrimage to Catalonia and it also has  The Holy Father's Message for the Beatification of the Spanish Martyrs of the Twentieth Century.

Stephanie Mann on her blog Supremacy and Survival has a post Martyrs are Controversial: The 522 Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War about the beatification of these 522 martyrs. She also has quotations  about the controversy this has caused in the minds of those who consider this is either opening old wounds, or from those who are critical of the Spanish Church per se or because the Church supported the Nationalists in the Civil War. Given the persecution to which the Church had been subjected after 1931 that was hardly surprising. It was, of course, the Nationalist rising in July 1936 that gave the excuse for the vicious attacks on the Church, particularly in Catalonia, and led to many of the worst Republican atrocities against those considered in any way likely to be supporters of the Nationalist cause. These dreadful events, as chronicled in Luis Bolin's Spain:the Vital Years or in C.E Lucas Phillips' The Spanish Pimpernel , are only too easily and conveniently ignored by those who go weak at the knees at Orwell's Homage to Catalonia - I recall my amazement when I looked at it to find that the wicked "right wingers" were not the Nationalist forces but the hardline orthodox party Communists...

Whatever convicted Republicans may have suffered after 1939 under the Caudillo's rule, it really is unreasonable to moan about the events after 1939 to distract from the appalling crimes committed by the Republicans, whether officially or by spontaneous acts of hatred and revenge in the summer of 1936. Basically the Leftist have always been bad losers over the Spanish Civil War - for once they were defeated. As afriend and I were reflecting yesterday, what would have been the situation for Europe have been had Spain been ruled by a Stalinist regime in the world after 1945.

Here, for the record, from the blog Mundabor, is Pope Pius XII’s Message After the Victory In Spain.

1 comment:

  1. You are quite right - had the repression under Franco been ten times greater or ten times less, would the martyrs be no less just that, murdered, out of hand mostly, in some few cases with summary trials , for the sole reason of being priests, seminarians, religious, or practicing catholics. To a degree like the English ones ,they have had their numbers winnowed down to those of least doubt , meaning that their number in the sight of God, especially among the laiety,is much higher, I suspect by nearly an order of magnitude.
    Equally , shelves of books could be written , and have, on repression under Franco, but it is losing which really rankles with the trendies.
    A worms nest, into which better not to go , but I would take issue with " It was, of course, the Nationalist rising in July 1936 that gave the excuse for the vicious attacks on the Church, particularly in Catalonia, and led to many of the worst Republican atrocities against those considered in any way likely to be supporters of the Nationalist cause."
    To some extent - that was the propaganda at the time, and it may even have taken in some Spaniards , and even in some cases, have been true! - but it's older than 1936, older than 1934 ( when the left lost the elections , and rose in arms, setting a precedent!) older even than 1931, when the second Spanish Republic came in ...........
    Hate was nurtured, watered, formed, fed, and supported in Spain over decades , until it had taken thorough root , especially amonst the fertileforhate soil of stenching injustice- and what is it but hatred of God , who we can't see ,of Christ, who is spotless, taken out in ire on his visible church, of sinners, with flaws as yet, on visible individual christians with irritating warts and spots which get up our nose.They are unbearable!

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