An attempted coup d’état was launched in Spain 71 years ago, yesterday. The coup was committed by parts of the Spanish army against the government of the Second Spanish Republic and thus, it manifested the start of the Spanish Civil War as a major conflict.
Franco eventually won the day, and the three years of the Civil War. In my humble opinion, he could not have won had it not been for two major allies: one, Joan March Ordinas, from Mallorca, who later became one of the wealthiest people anywhere in the world, and secondly, the Church. Yes, that is Joan March who later founded the Banca March, and yes, that is the Catholic Church.
The Church has long been criticized for their active or passive involvement in the Franco Regime, as they have been criticized for their involvement in the Hitler Regime, elsewhere. It has taken the Church seventy years to try and make amends, but now, it seems, it is time for Rome to say ‘Sorry’. About time, too.
The current Pope, apparently some dinosaurian German, approved on 1st June, 2007, the decrees of recognition of martyrdom of a total of 498 victims of the Spanish Civil War to be beatified later this year, in Rome. To be precise, that includes victims of the 1934 Asturias Rebellion and of the 1936 and 1937 persecution of Catholics during the Spanish Civil War.
The beatification ceremony will be held on 28th October, 2007 (Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a feast which had been established by the very Pope reigning at the time of the victims martyrdom. He was Italian, Pius XI, until 1939, and later, Pius XII, after that, I am told). Time to turn some leaves.
The complete list of all 498 martyrs is available here and includes several known names, such as Bishop Narciso Estenaga Echevarría, of Ciudad Real, and that of Cruz Laplana y Laguna, of Cuenca, as well as some of the martyrs of the greatest massacre of Catholics in the 20th Century (Paracuellos de Jarama), and the Augustinians of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
Well, all that martyr naming will not bring any victims back to life, but let’s all agree that sometime it is better to say ‘Sorry’ late, than never. Something that the March family and others still need to be reminded of.
Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, is in Mexico, on an official visit. He is not there to say ‘Sorry’ but, much better, to say ‘Thank you’ to the Mexican people.
Zapatero’s visit took an emotional turn last Monday, when he paid tribute to the so-called Children of Morelia (see the photo above) who arrived in Mexico at a young age fleeing Spain and the Civil War. Some 60 elderly men and women who arrived in Mexico without their parents in 1937, listened last Monday to Spain’s Zapatero, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the grandson of Lazaro Cardenas, the Mexican president who helped the children get to that far away North American country, 70 years ago.
Gracias. Muchas gracias.
There are always two sides to things, it seems. At least.