From .................... The Human Quest ............... March-April, 1994
Pub by ............ The Churchman Associates
1074 23rd Avenue North, St.Petersburg, Fl 33704
During this 190th Anniversary Year, The Human Quest expects to republish significant articles from years past. This one, by the eminent journalist George Seldes, reveals pertinent information from his investigative experience. It was first published in The Churchman for December, 1978.
THE ROMAN CHURCH AND FRANCO
Flagrant Loyalties to Fascism Are Now Coming to Light
by George Seldes.
THE QUOTATIONS from the Rapaldi Catechism dated 1944 warned against 'freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and freedom of the press.' These 'liberal errors' are from the seventeenthe edition. The Monarchy permitted this publication and 50 did the liberal democratic Republic of 1931, but it was not until the fascist regime was established that this catechism became part of the law of the country, so to speak. That it failed completely to affect the entire Spanish people- or at least the 70% who voted 'Si' for democracy in 1977- is a subject worth the investigation of sociologists and psychologists, not this factual reporter.
But, it must also be emphasized that the unquestioned, unchallenable historic facts which now almost every day for almost two years have been disclosed to 39 million people by the now free newspaper's and magazines merely confirm the rumors and whispers about fascist murders, terrorism, atrocities. So far as the established church is concerned, this is not only news, but sensational, even devastating, news.
'Historia' 16 [January, 1977] now tells the Spanish people that when Franco had executed a score of Basque priests and exiled 500 others and the unfavorable reaction throughout the civilized world was tremendous, it was Franco who asked the Roman church to vindicate him. He asked for that notorious collective pastoral letter of July 1, 1937. Franco repaid the Roman Catholic Church by abolishing divorce, making religious marriages obligatory and restoring taxes for the benefit of the church-all previously banned by the Republic. [The first such pastoral letter, 'Los dos ciudados' of September 30, 1936, had converted a treasonable officer's rebellion into the 'crusade against godless communism.' It was accompanied by a picture of Cardinal Pla y Daniel with the caption, 'theologian of the Crusade,' and another of Pope Pius XI underlined 'the major ally of the regime.']
As Historica 18 discloses, Franco first established his government in Burgos, and its archbishop, Manuel de Castro, immediately issued a proclamation saying- 'The Popular Front is nothing more than a conglomerate of atheists, Freemasons, Jews and enemies of God and of Spain.' Forty years later the oldest generations and the younger ones can read the facts that the Popular Front's largest segment consisted of two Republican parties with 128 representatives in the Cortes, 99 Socialists, 36 Catalan Separatists and just 17 Communists. The Center parties elected 54, the Rightists 143.
It is also disclosed for the first time in Spain that Naziism and Fascism were accepted and became Franco's policy from the first days of the war. These facts the American press also Iargely suppressed, preferring to call Hitler's and Mussolini's's collaborator Franco a Nationalist.
The first fascist newspaper, 'Arriba Espana', was published in Pamplona August 1, 1936, with pictures of Hitler and 'HeiI Hitler' as a caption. One of its directors was a priest representing the church. Its first headlines were:
'La Falange, Cruzada de Espana, contra la Politica del Marxismo, la Masoneria Alerta la Masoneria y a la Diplomacia Judia'
On August 19, the newspaper announced the creation of a branch of the Society of Jesus [S.J.], and a celebration was held under the auspices of the primate of Spain, Cardinal Gom'a of Toledo, and General MoIa. The last line of the announcement was: 'L'Espana, Catolica y Imperial'. [Incidentally, this newspaper's society page was headed daily 'The Brief Life" and its church page 'The Eternal Life.']
On September 16 Arriba Espana said editorially that
'Catholicism will find Fascism its best collaborator.',
Twelve days later it called the Falange [the only real fascist outfit in Spain then] the 'militia of God' and likened its activities to that of Ignacio of Loyola. On November l the center of the first page featured the Spanish and German flags with a swastika occupying two two-thirds of the illustration. Fifteen weekly issues of Historia del Franquismo have now been issued of a projected 60, each revealing documented facts suppressed for 40 years. Issue No. 1, p. 6) states: 'The rebellion of the generals was first called a Crusade for God, for Spain and for Franco' by the church. When Franco won he received the following telegram:
'WE LIFT OUR HEARTS TO THE LORD SINCERELY THANKFUL THAT YOUR EXCELLENCY HAS BROUGHT A CATHOLIC VICTORY TO SPAIN ... WE SEND YOUR EXCELLENCY AND TO ALL THE NOBLE PEOPLE OF SPAIN OUR APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION PIO PAPA XII
[The signature in translation, is Pope Pius XII who followed Pius XI in blessing the Franco 'crusade.' Neither mentioned the crusaders, who were in vast majority Muslim Moors, the Foreign Legion, Hitler's Condor Legion of aviators and Mussolini's Black Arrow division, estimated at IOO,OOO to 200,000 men.]
To the Spanish Press Pius XII issued the following statement for the April 18, 1937 issue-
'The nation selected by God as the principal instrument for the evangelization of the New World and an unconquerable bulwark of the Catholic faith, has given to the proselytizers of materialistic atheism in our century the highest proof that above all there remains the eternal values of religion and of the spirit... the people of Spain ... came to the defense of the faith and of Christian civilization... and aided by God, who does not abandon those who believe in Him... against the provocation of atheism. God in his compassion will lead Spain on the safe road of your traditional and Catholic greatness.'
Since no one can accuse a pope of falsification, here is absolute proof that the Vatican, whose information system has for centuries been said to excel any on earth, had been totally misinformed for years, accepting completely the Hitler Big Lie theory of the Spanish War. Every honest writer, from reporter to great historian, knew otherwise. If it were true -and it is not- that all the communists in Spain were materialistic atheists, it would then be true that only 25,000 out of 25,000,000 were atheists. There never were in Spain as large a proportion of communists, or 'materialistic atheists' as there are in the United States.
And as for Soviet Russian help, the Vatican's spies surely were as welI informed as the U.S. Embassy: there was never one - repeat one -Russian soldier [infantryman] in Spain. Of the total of Russian "communistic atheists," ranging from 575 to 700, there were aviators aviation mechanics, officers, four or five perhaps six generals, and even doctors included. In short, the hundreds of thousands of persons Franco kiIled - the estimates of historians on both sides - ranged from 500,000 to l,OOO,O0O. They were if not 98% Roman CathoIics, then perhaps onIy 97% Roman Catholics.
The fourth issue of Historica del Franquismo is entitIed 'Con todos las benediciones' and its cover picture shows Christ and Saint Peter placing a laureI wreath on the head of Franco. After giving a short history of the beginning of the church and state union [with the generals and the IandIords] for the 'Cruzada,' the editor asks editorially why the church, reporting the destruction of thousands of churches and the deaths of priests and nuns in 1936 - a repetition of simiIar actions from l935 on - 'never asked, or never wanted to ask, for the truth.'
He cites the cause and gives its answer: 'Long before the 1931 Republic was established, the Spanish Church Iost the foIIowing of great masses of people. It aIienated the entire working class, remaining apathetic to the development of proletarian revindications, and finalIy becoming nothing more than the moraI arm of the interests of the oIigarchy. These statements are neither viewpoints nor editoriaI opinions-they are church statistics and quotations from priest-professors in their books written before, during and after the dictatorship.'
[Example quoted: Father EIoy Montero in 'The Future of the Church in Spain,' 1933, foresees the decay of the church because it has forsaken the common people, because it has faiIed to take the side of the "closes populares" in their legitimate opposition to 'the grand, the powerful and the rich.'] 'The church lost the support of the people,' the priest continues, and three years later when the generals rebelled, Franco at the Shrine of the Virgin of Montserrat called the uprising [Ied by his Moors, HitIer's aviators and Mussolini's infantry] a 'Cruzada'.
'At the very beginning,' the writer continues, 'the hierarchy and the clergy in like proportions abandoned their posts and ran as fast as they could towards the [Franco's] insurrectioiiists. The church blessed the rebellion as a crusade. It invented the story that Moscow pIanned a communist take-over in 1936, to liquidate the Spanish church.'
The editor quotes the Jesuit Juan de la C. Martinez who in his book 'Cruzada or Rebellion', p. 182, says 'Moscow .... in the summer of 1936 prepared to liquidate the Spanish church, and so with this war we have avoided the major evil... Since the armed communist revolution was imminent, it was good ['beneficio'] to save the milIions of individuals from certain death.'
Page 85 is devoted to naming the cardinaIs responsible for this falsification of history, chief of whom was the primate Cardinal Gom'a of Toledo. It was he who composed the first pastoral to which all the bishops Spain with one or two exceptions subscribed, using the term 'crusade.'
Cardinal Pla y Daniel called the war 'a crusade for religion, for country, and for civilization.'
The Bishop of SaIamanca referred to the 'satanic enemies of Spain,' the Archbishop of ValladoIid called it 'the most heroic crusade recorded in history.' A dozen cardinals, bishops, priests, did likewise. Gom'a, the primate, several months later, issued a pastoral letter calling it 'a true crusade for the Catholic religion. Christ versus Anti-Christ are engaged in battle for our souls.' [El Caso Espana, November 24, 1936.]
Every so often there is a touch of anti-Semitism in the newspapers, books and pastoral letters of the church during the Franco regime.
[Spain absorbed no less than one million Semites, Moors and Jews, after the Inquisition stopped burning them and gave the two people a choice of exile or conversion. So there are few Spaniards today whose genes and chromosomes are entirely free of the Semitic strain.] Bishop Eijo y Garay in his pastoral said Franco [and his mostly fascistic forces] were fighting the ''Bestia Apocaliptica,' [The "Beast" of the Revelation] that the Republic had 'sold itself to the Jewish interests of Soviet Russia' ['La hora presenta', March 1937].
Father Olmedo wrote that this was the holiest war in all history because the enemies today are 'the Turks, the Moors, the Jews, and the Protestants.' [El sentida de la guerra espanola," pp. 18-19.]
[Can it be possible that on the fascist side priests did not know that the first troops Franco landed on the mainland were his Moors? And where were the Turks, of all people?]
The Dominican Mernendez-Regada said the RepubIican Government was a traitor, an enemy of God, and the Church... unfaithful to religion, guilty of crimes against humanity.
It is of course not only possible but most Iikely that due to -the censorship that half of Spain in the Fascist Internationale's hands in 1936 did not get the news of the massacre of 2,000 workmen in the bullring of Badcijoz, the destruction of the HoIy Basque city of Guernica and the machinegunning of its population by HitIer's Condor Legion, or the test Hitler made of destroying cities with his bombardment of one square block in Barcelona, with 200 littIe school children among the dead, or the Moorish atrocities wherever they went, reported even by war correspondents on Franco's's side. Can it be that the Vatican information service knew nothing of all this, and did not inform the Spanish hierarchy if it, in fact, had received the news??
Of course, as the now free press points out, the fascist-held haIf of Spain knew nothing of the Catholic protest throughout the civilized worId against some of the more notable atrocities listed above.
The 'Historia del Franquismo' quotes only a dozen known notable Catholic writers who protested. For example, Jacques Maritain in the official organ of the Roman Church in France, 'La Croix' - whose correspondent, Victor Monserrat, must be given credit for being the first to report that Franco kiIIed every LoyalistRepublican prisoner - calIed it a tremendously important news story. That, incidentally, was also suppressed in almost the entire U.S. press.
Franco's Spaniards, prisoners of Fascism, may-have known nothing of atrocities, church colIaboration with Fascism, etc., but it is apparent from reading denunciations in the Franco press of Ieading CathoIics who opposed Franco that the fascist side was considerably worried by this situation. 'Historia' quotes the publication Amanecer of Zaragoza denouncing 'false Catholics' notably Jacques Maritain [JuIy 21, 1938], and Francois Mauriac and Georges Bernanos.
Mauriac had written; 'How many years, how many centuries will it take for the Spanish Church to free itself from its terrifying mistake, and for the chiIdren of those mothers assassinated in Guernica', in BarceIona, in all of Spain, to stop confounding the Son of God Crucified with the General Franco?' and Bernanos wrote that the majority of prisoners on the isIand of Mallorca lined up by Franco to be executed had asked to receive the last sacraments.
End of 'Human Quest' article of March-April 94
George Seldes his written several books on freedom of the press, among them, 'You Can't Print That', 'Lords of the Press', 'Tell the Truth and Run'. His latest, 'Even the Gods Can't Change History', was recently published by Lyle Stuart.