Today, the Mexican daily Zócalo has published an op-ed piece by Mexican journalist and writer Guillermo Fárber in which he comments, surprised, about the fact that there was  a priest who was anti-Francoist.  His article starts thus: “I had understood that all the priests had the side of Franco and the nationalist side that had risen up against the Republicans.”

It’s quite normal he’d think that, as it’s quite normal to call the Francoists “the nationalist side”, when they should be called “rebels”, “insurgents”, or simply “criminals”.

We say all this is normal because the régime imposed by the rebel side had forty years to whitewash their murders and create a story that tries to convince us that what they did was caused by the circumstances, and that their régime was actually benevolent.  This view is fed into by the world’s right-wing media since, after all, Franco and his régime were anti-communist.

This distorted view also clashes directly with the reality of the Basques who were loyal to Democracy and the Republic.  Basque Nationalism, Catholic in the time of the Second Republic and the Francoist uprising, faced up to the rebels.  It did so with all its strength.  And they paid a high price for it, in goods, freedom, and lives.  And it sent hundreds of thousands of Basques into exile.

Misa de campaña de gudaris (miembros del Ejército de Euzkadi) durante la lucha contra los insurrectos franquistas
Field mass of ‘gudaris’, the members of the Euzkadi Arm, during the struggle against the Francoist insurgents

A large number of the religious in the Basque Country and in Spain stayed firm in their support of the right side.  On the front, the Basque religious who participated as chaplains and behind the lines with the population and the displaced proved that what the insurgents called a “Crusade” was nothing of the sort.

Their support for the faithful and for Euzkadi, Justice, and Democracy cost them, in many cases, their lives.  Others were sent to jail or into exile.  Hundreds of religious had to leave their homeland, either accompanying the Basque exiles or on their way to the missions.  It’s not strange that wherever they went, they were involved in the defense of the weak.  Nor is it strange how among the “fathers” of the Liberation Theology (and their martyrs), there are so many Basque religious.  It’s worth it to read the chapter dedicated to Aita Patxi, the Passionist religious, or those about the Spanish Civil War and the first years of the dictatorship, in the book Father Elorza wrote that we blogged about during the commemoration of the birthday of Passionist Bishop Martín Elorza.

This situation of a church that is faithful to its People is recounted quite well by 1933-1939 US Ambassador to Spain Claude G. Bowers in his book “Mission in Spain”, as told by journalist and Plural director Enric Sopena.

They were martyrs, persecuted because they refused to bow down to Fascism and the insurrection, and because they chose to stand with the people in the darkest moments.

The Official Church, who protected dictator and murderer Francisco Franco under a (figurative and literal) canopy, doesn’t remember.  Indeed, it seems to hide it, silence it.  That’s why no one outside our homeland, outside the Basque Country, knows what really happened.

This is in memory of all of them, on this very special day, Christmas Eve.

We’ll leave you with the Zócalo article, as well as a magnificent one by Miquel del Toro who tells the tale of what happened.

Zócalo – 24/12/2019 – Mexico

¿Un sacerdote antifranquista?

o tenía entendido que todos los sacerdotes habían sido partidarios de Franco y del bando nacional sublevado contra los republicanos. Pero leo en Wikipedia que Marino Ayerra Redín (Navarra 1903, Argentina 1988) muere atropellado (presuntamente a propósito) a los 85 años por un miembro de las fuerzas armadas argentinas.

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El Estado –

La represión franquista de los curas vascos: los otros “mártires” de la Guerra Civil

La Iglesia católica no sólo apoyó a Franco antes, durante y después de la Guerra Civil, sino que colaboró activamente en la represión posterior sobre cualquier persona que fuese considerada “afín a los rojos”. Además, en muchos casos fueron los propios sacerdotes los que se unieron de forma entusiasta a las columnas de los sublevados, y participaron activamente en las matanzas.

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