The correct historical mission pedagogical and pastoral: the Church and the government of Francisco Franco






[…] at the end of the Spanish Civil War in the thirties of the twentieth century, will be counted 6.832 murdered between the clergy, divided into 13 bishops, 4.184 secular priests, including seminarians, 2.365 Religious and 283 religious; to these must be added at least 60.000 Lay, killed because they are part of the Catholic or some religious association, or simply because they are Christians, as well as several hundred thousand people killed as anti-Marxists, royalist sympathizers or right.

Author Ludovico Galaleta, I. C.

Louis Gadaleta, I. C. *


In 1978, three years after the death of Francisco Franco, a Spanish priest - who was the protagonist and eyewitness of the events ofcommunism Revolution in Spain 1936, miraculously surviving the fierce anti-Catholic persecution unleashed by anarchists and communists - A group of young left-wing intellectuals who in his presence he said, the worst of any sort on General Francisco Franco, with disarming calm and serene answered:

"I do those terrible years that I've lived and I've seen my brother priests tortured and murdered, nuns raped by hordes of mercenaries in the pay of the Soviet Communists and then killed in a cruel way, churches desecrated, symbols of Christianity destroyed, with immense damage to the artistic ... well, if today met our Lord Jesus Christ who walks arm in arm with Francisco Franco, First I would greet Franco, then the Lord Jesus!».

This hyperbolic expression all played on pure paradox was used to that priest, eighty years old at the time, to tell those so-called intellectuals in their early twenties, veterans from the "glories" of the sixty-eight: "Why do you speak to blind ideology of what you do not know absolutely?»

historical memory

the lack of historical memory is one of the major tragedies of our modern

In a social situation like ours today, in which the feedback often proceed on the basis of moods lack the most basic historical knowledge, our pastoral task is also to work on a proper recovery of an adequate historical memory, eliminating the history of myths and legends that have been replaced in the historical real: as a matter of fact, "Who does not know the history of the past, is often condemned to repeat it ", as he said the Spanish philosopher and writer George Santayana.

The "clerical complicity" with the Franco regime is still an accusation addressed to the universal Church and the particular Churches of Spain by intellectuals low market, in addition to the accusations against the Popes Pius XI and Pius XII, "Guilty" of having supported this leader rather than the so-called "fighters for freedom and democracy": obviously, many of those who today make such assessments can be found in the circles of the European Left radical chic, stubbornly survived the fall of Communism in the rubble of the Berlin Wall and the victims of their stubborn refusal to accept reality; and if reality conflicts with ideal, so much the worse for reality - Voltaire said! In order to understand certain facts and instead give then a calm assessment on the support given to Franco by the Church and by her two popes, you have to go back in time to the period of the Spanish Revolution, provide the reader with the documented truth of the facts and then leave him in the resulting conclusions, without changing the mood in truth and ideologies in history.


Freemasonry, that much weight and incidence took in all the attacks on the Church in the course of modern history …

The origins of the civil war can be placed from the 1931, when the republic is established in Spain, hegemony of the liberal left and the Masonic: the head of government is Manuel Azaña, anticlerical and turned Mason, that makes up a ministry formed by radical, Socialists and Communists. Incited by their leaders, the anarchist masses begin immediately in several cities: Madrid, Seville, Malaga, Cadiz, Alicante, to make an assault on churches and convents, profanandoli, looting and giving them to the flames. Called on to intervene to protect the personal safety and local, But the government refuses to send the Guardia Civil: "All the convents of Madrid are not worth the life of a single Republican" (1) Azaña declared.
In the following months a constituent assembly, where the Masons are 183, approve a new constitution, that is officially the Democratic, but in practice discriminates against all opposition, and especially virulent against the Church: Catholicism is no longer the state religion, that has now become secular and inspired, especially in the field of education, sectarian theories of Freemasonry; religious congregations are prevented from receiving any public financial support, their movable and immovable property are looted by the state and many of them will be arbitrarily suppressed under the guise of being enemies of the nation; Jesuits are suppressed even express article of the constitution. In addition, the divorce is approved and denied any validity to sacramental marriage.

To men it is totally forbidden to teach and have assets of industry and commerce, and this - combined with the expropriation of property - it throws the most destitute. Religious freedom is possible only in homes and public worship of religion is not allowed, and the government is at pains to prohibit processions, abolish religious education in schools and take away from them and from every public place the crucifix and all religious symbols.

Spanish revolution 4

archive photo: two of the nuns of the Visitation pipelines to be shot by the militia red. The seven Visitation nuns were proclaimed blessed martyrs 7 July 1997 together with others 491 Spanish martyrs.

Religious persecution is as violent as it is unjustified, because "the Church has not shown any systematic hostility to the Republic" (2), admit the Mason Alejandro Lerroux blaming, even as a lone voice, the illegality; but the anarchists are pushing for far more radical measures: "The Church has to disappear forever. The temples will no longer serve to promote the most vile complicity. […] I finished the fonts of holy water. It's horrible to see that the Republicans Madrid did not realize the true importance of incendiary blasts that have stained during the first days of July, our social firmament. There are no more shacks Catholic. The torches of the people were incinerated. In their place will be reborn a free spirit who will not have anything in common with the masochism that incubated in the aisles of the cathedrals. […] For this it is clear that there impadroniremo of all its [of the church, N.d.R.] assets that belong to the people for justice. The religious orders have to be dissolved. The bishops and cardinals should be shot. And the church property should be expropriated " (3), the newspaper of the POUM Workers Solidarity.

Sister Cecilia Cross

pectoral cross of the Visitation Sister Cecilia pierced by a bullet and now preserved in the Monastery of the Visitation

The Communists are no less: Trotskyist leader Andrés Nin said that "the working class has solved the problem of the Church simply, leaving even a non-standing ", and 'we have many problems in Spain, and bourgeois republicans did not bother to fix them: the problem of the Church ... ; we have it remedied by going to the root. We have suppressed his priests, churches and worship " (4). You get to say, as the Communist Juan Peyró, that "kill God, ing esistesse, the heat of the revolution, when the people, inflamed by hatred right, tranships, is a very natural fit for human consumption ' (5); "Spain has ceased to be Catholic ' (6), Cortes to Azaña enthused commenting on the constitution in 1931.

Spanish revolution 2

archive photo: as well as with the living fury of red rages even on the bodies of priests and religious, that are pulled out of their graves and exposed to gruesome mockery

From Rome, Pope Pius XI condemned the violence of the Godless with the encyclical We love the 1933: "We solemnly protest with all our might against this law, stating that it can not be invoked against the inalienable rights of the Church ", writes, hope that the people of the Iberian induced the rulers' to reform these provisions […] replacing them with other laws to reconcile with the Catholic conscience '.

Spanish revolution 1

Nun's corpse out of the grave and exposed on the road

Catholics persecuted advantage of the elections 1934 to send to the government in front of the right, that mitigate as far as possible the measures of persecution and try to restore order in the country, convulsed by violence and expropriation: the Esercito, commanded the Franco, repress the uprising of Asturian miners, that - egged on by the anarchist press - had murdered 33 priests and religious, destroying churches and religious symbols, bombarding the cathedral of Oviedo and even setting fire to the episcopal palace and seminary. But in 1936, expired term, new election marks the rise of the Popular Front, composed of radicals, Social-Communists and anarchists, which allow voting to win a few votes: the violence perpetrated by the left during the campaign shall be reported to the Cortes by right-wing deputy José Calvo Sotelo, the "Spanish Matteotti", my he 13 July 1936 Communists kidnap him and kill him. It is the straw that breaks the camel.

Spanish revolution 3

a firing squad of red-staged the shooting of the statue of Christ the Redeemer

Faced with the threat of a Soviet republic Spanish, now seen as inevitable by both sides, the 17 born July a military uprising immediately supported by the right, by monarchists and Catholics: the alzamiento is warmly welcomed in Burgos, Salamanca, Segovia, Avila, Zamora, and Pamplona where people "transformed the coup into a folk festival, spilling into the streets shouting "Live Christ the King!”» (7). The Republican response is immediate: unleashes the merciless hunt Catholic, be a priest or religious is itself worthy of death, as well as having sympathy for religion; churches were systematically looted and burned, or put to any garages or movie, while there is shameful incidents of sacrilege for which the Eucharistic Species are extracted from the tabernacles and trampled, mutilated statues and crucifixes, beheaded and shot. Works of art of inestimable value end up destroyed or stolen from the red fury: Republicans come to the point of opening the ancient tombs in the churches to steal the gold may be present, and even dig up the bodies of nuns and religious exposing them to the derision of the crowd macabre.

fatebenefratelli Spanish martyrs 2

the friars of the Order of St. John of God, Fatebenebratelli, dedicated to helping and caring for the sick, taken out of their hospitals and killed by red

The 30 September 1936 the bishop of Salamanca Pla y Daniel exudes his pastoral letter The two cities, that reveals the eyes of the world the horrors and hardships suffered by the Church Iberian, explaining the reasons why the Church and Pius XI blessed Franco and the Nationalists: "The current struggle […] yes covers the external form of a civil war; but it is actually a crusade […] an uprising not to disturb, but to restore order "; a crusade 'in favor of the order against the dissolving communism, for the defense of Christian civilization and its foundations, religion, Home and family, contro i without God and against God. […] The alzamiento Spanish is not merely a civil war, but essentially a crusade for religion, for the country and for civilization against Communism ". For every official act of the Church, Republicans react incrudelendo persecution: were exterminated regardless of all the priests and religious, accanendosi also against the sisters and nuns who are often repeatedly raped before being killed; some priests is promised his life if you will consent to lose one's chastity in brothels, but no one will agree to this ignominy.

At the end of the war, will be counted 6.832 murdered between the clergy, divided into 13 bishops, 4.184 secular priests, including seminarians, 2.365 Religious and 283 religious; to these must be added at least 60.000 Lay, killed because they are part of the Catholic or some religious association, or simply because they are Christians, as well as several hundred thousand people killed as anti-Marxists, royalist sympathizers or right.

Francisco Franco

Francisco Franco, the cover of the Times

In 1937 all the Spanish bishops signed a joint letter to support the crusade Franco and seek help from European nations, in the meantime are deployed: send volunteers for Franco Catholic nations of Portugal and Ireland, and for the Republicans socialist nations of France and the USSR. Germany and Italy, for political reasons the first and the second political-religious, sent armed contingents in support of the nationalists, that slowly proceed to the liberation of the territories, where the few priests escaped still be living back and restore Catholic worship, Brother di essi Josemaria Escriva, future founder of Opus Dei. In the meantime, Italian military chaplains, make up for the spiritual needs of the Spanish administering the Sacraments.

Among the Italian contingents are the volunteers of the Blackshirts, that well with the militia Republicans are having to fight against their own countrymen: in Spain are, indeed, many Italian Social-shareholders and the ranks of the International Brigades, they see in the Spanish war a crusade against fascism, according to the propaganda of Moscow, Meanwhile, it extends its control on the grid Republican causing the communists to physically eliminate the anarchists to take the lead in war.

Augustinian martyrs of spain

contemporary painting depicting the martyrdom of the Augustinian friars. In 1936 the friars of the Order of St. Augustine were killed by militiamen red 97

In the battle around Guadalajara, north of Madrid, the two sides are compared, Italians against Italians: the battle is close and long, from 8 to 25 March 1937; Republicans must absolutely reject the onslaught of nationalist, elated to have just released Malaga, in order to prevent the fall of the capital where they are holed up, and therefore resort to the help of Soviet tanks. After initial successes nationalists, Republicans have the upper hand and the Italian troops are forced to retreat: However, it is a Pyrrhic victory. Not even two years after the victorious troops of General Francisco Franco closed the war will come to the Capital, with the blessing of Pope Pius XII (8), who see with joy the end of an anti-Christian regime and the establishment of a Catholic state which will last until 1975 and expressing the Spaniards his "paternal congratulations for the gift of peace and victory with which God has deigned to crown the Christian heroism of your faith and charity", fighting for Spain, 'Nation chosen by God […] as an impregnable bulwark of faith [that] had to make proselytes materialist atheism of our century the most sublime proof that you are on top of everythingor the eternal values ​​of Religion

Franciscan martyrs

i 22 Franciscan martyr dell'Ordine

and of the spirit ". After praising that - despite "the intense propaganda and constant efforts of the enemies of Jesus Christ seem to have wanted to do an experiment in Spain chief of the destructive forces that hold them in the whole world", the Spanish people had risen "decided to defend the ideals of the faith and of Christian civilization" and "helped by God was able to resist the instigation of those, deceived by what he believed a humanitarian ideal of exaltation of humility, in reality, fought not only in favor of atheism "- Pius XII elevated Finally, thanks to the memory of" all those who were able to sacrifice himself heroically in defense of the inalienable rights of God and Religion, both on the battlefield, is enshrined in the sublime offici of Christian charity in prisons and hospitals ».

From this brief historical summary is possible to understand that hyperbole built on pure paradox, to which the elder priest, who had seen his brothers massacred by the hatred of anarchists and communists, appealed illustrating Jesus Christ walking arm in arm with Francisco Franco, the whole thing just to say to the young ideologues: study the history, because if you do not know, you will be doomed to repeat it.


* The AUTORE Religious Institute of Charity (The Rosminians), earned a master's degree in Contemporary History at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan and theological baccalaureate at the Pontifical Lateran University.




(1) Cit. in P. PRESTON, The Spanish Civil War, Oscar Mondadori History, 2000, p. 35.
(2) Cit. in G. ROUX, The civil war of Spain, Trad.. en. Sansoni, Florence, 1966, p. 29.
(3) The Church Down! Editorial anonymous Solidaridad Obrera, 15 August 1936, cit. in A. MOUNTAIN MORENO, Historical summary of the religious persecution in Spain 1936-1939, Madrid, 1961, p. 55-56.
(4) Cit. both in A. MOUNTAIN MORENO, Historical summary, p. 55.
(5) Cit. both in A. MOUNTAIN MORENO, Historical summary, p. 55.
(6) Cit. in Ibid., p. 56, note.
(7) Ibid., p 81.
(8) S. S. PIUS XII, Radio Message "With inmenso joy", 16 April 1939.

2 replies
  1. Louis Gadaleta says:

    At the moment, the debate in Spain has been blocked because the PSOE Government did approve under Zapatero a law that “of historical memory” requiring municipal governments to remove any hint to the Franco Government. In theory the law should cover any deployment, but in practice it is used one way to erase 40 years of Spanish history. You get to ridicule to change not only street names, But even remove the monuments and the Eagle of St. John, who was the Spanish State symbol until the 1978. This gives an idea of how you're acting to force a rewrite one way of history, helped by the usual retinue of filmmakers, journalists, various intellectuals and politicians. Imagine what would happen if the matter goes to the parties reversed, the cries of outrage to democracy etc. The Spanish Church, Unfortunately, is now in decline because of its compromise with anti-Franco movement.

    Louis Gadaleta

  2. vincenzodatorino says:

    If historical correctness allows implies the description of the facts, all not only a part that concerns. No one denies the truth of what you write and why the Church was forced to support Franco in the civil war. Less clear and less clear is the attitude of the Church in supporting the post-war fascist Franco. If you put together anarchists, Communists and Freemasons, the result may not be that you have described and as history documents in other European realities. Because you came to so much hatred that had such a broad popular participation? This is the real question to which we must respond and that the Spanish Church has responsibility in failing to sufficiently conduct, Indeed supporting politically conservative forces did to brake reforms , that painful social situation had a gradual and peaceful solution. A debate which I understand is still very strong in Spain with opposing alignments.

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