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Vatican Names Fascist Saints

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On Sunday, October 28, 2007, the Roman Catholic Church "beatified" 498 of its employees who died during the Spanish Civil War. Beatification implies that the Vatican thinks these people are Saints, people with miraculous powers who hang out with God in Heaven.

Because of the legacy of the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic Church in Spain, at the beginning of the 20th century, was the most powerful institution in Spain. But the ordinary people of Spain were sick of it. They were also sick of an economic system that kept most of them in poverty. The 20th century in Spain was a turbulent era with attempts to establish a democratic Republic, a variety of socialist and anarchist rebellions, and the usual right-wing coups and dictatorships.

A Republican form of government was established in Spain in 1931, replacing the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. At first a coalition of rightist and centrist parties dominated the government. As in Germany and Italy, there was fighting between some leftists and rightists. In 1936 a combination of leftist parties and centrist parties won the election.

This new government was a threat to the established interests of Spain. The Catholic Church was subsidized through taxes even though most churches were nearly empty on Sundays. The rich were threatened by laws designed to liberalize the economy.

The Civil War itself broke out in 1936, with Catholic Generals and organizations revolting against the elected government. Casualties in the war were high in battle, but General Franco gave orders to his troops that went far beyond the normal cruelty of war. No prisoner were taken. After capturing an are the Catholic priests there were asked to give lists of those who had failed to attend Sunday mass. Those named by the priests were executed without trial.

So naturally in the areas controlled by the legitimate government people became even less fond of priests than they had been prior to the civil war. What is surprising, given the circumstances, is how few priests were killed in the war.

The Catholic Church chose to start a brutal religious war and now pretends that its thugs were saints. Who were the brothers in arms of these Catholic Priests, other than the savage General Franco? Nazi troops from Germany and Fascists from Italy.

By the way, the Catholics, or at least Franco's army, won the Civil War. Largely because the Democratic Party held power in the United States during that era and until after World War II, Franco was allowed to remain dictator of Spain after his buddies Hitler and Mussolini were terminated. Most Catholics in the United States in that era were Democrats.

The Catholic Church under the current pope and his predecessor seem determined to return the Church to the Dark Ages. Calling fascists saints makes me wonder what the more ancient saints were up to. Maybe they too were simply the Pope's assassins, rather than the victims they are portrayed as.

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