Monday, July 13, 2009

The Fascist Friendly Catholic Church

It is not enough, you could actually file this one under the "too little, too late" label, but at least it brings into the lime light one historic fact that is often denied by revisionist historians, the Catholic Church supported the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco, a murderous regime that lasted forty years. This note regarding the ceremony by the Basque Autonomous Community's bishops to ask for an apology for their silence regarding the execution of Basque priests by Francisco Franco's troops during the so called Spanish Civil War was published at The Telegraph:

Basque Bishops call for Catholic Church apology

Bishops in the Basque Country have urged the Roman Catholic Church to apologise for its silence over the killing of priests by General Francisco Franco's Right-wing forces during the Spanish Civil War.

Fiona Govan

Spain's Catholic Church supported Franco's uprising against the elected Left-wing Republican government. While the Church has always honoured the thousands of clergy who died at the hands of the Republicans, those who were killed by Franco have been officially ignored.

In an unprecedented step, a service was held in the cathedral of the Basque Country's capital, Vitoria, to remember 14 priests who were killed by Franco's forces during the 1936-39 war.

"The silence with which officials of our Church surrounded the deaths of these priests is not justifiable, nor acceptable for much longer," said Miguel Asurmendi, the Catholic bishop of Vitoria, during the ceremony.

"Such a long silence was not only a wrongful omission, but also a lack of truth and an act against justice and charity."

The Catholic Church has beatified hundreds of "martyrs" who were killed by the Republicans, who were explicitly anticlerical. Pope Benedict XVI staged the largest beatification ceremony ever in October 2007 when he honoured almost 500 Spanish priests, monks and nuns who died in this way.

There are plans for another such ceremony, sparking further criticism by Spaniards who feel the Church should atone for having supported Franco's regime, which lasted until the general's death in 1975.

Spain has made great strides in coming to terms with the trauma of its recent history. Two years ago, the socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero passed the Historic Memory Law, which recognises Franco's victims.

Sadly, the author chooses to give Zapatero a free pass. Yes, a Historic Memory Law was passed under this government but it is actually a watered down version of the original. Zapatero made sure that this Law would represent no danger to the Spanish elites that today uphold Francisco Franco's principles, a Law that erects all kinds of roadblocks for the NGO's trying to literally unearth the truth of what happened. After all, Zapatero works directly for Juan Carlos Borbon, a "king" that was selected by Francisco Franco himself to perpetuate his regime.

No, regarding the Basque bishops act of contrition, it is not enough with asking for forgiveness. The damage caused must be repaired. The names of the priests that murdered Republicans must be provided, the Catholic Church archives have to be available for researchers and truth commissions, the continuous support of the Catholic Church towards fascist regimes must be denounced. Asking for forgiveness leads to nothing. What's so courageous about condemning yesterday's executions when today you join ranks with the direct descendants of those who ordered the executions?

Truth and justice, trial and punishment for those responsible. That's what they must demand, not just play it easy and resort to a deceitful request for forgiveness.

Asking for forgiveness does not right a wrong, only justice does. Not forgotten, not forgiven, a loud and clear no to reconciliation.

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