Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fascist Beatifications

Pope Benedict XVI was a member of the Hitler Youth as a child. I've never cared much; he was 14 years old, a German, and membership was about to be made mandatory. It was more a coincidence of geography and age than it was a matter of belief. I'm rethinking that. The bulk beatification last October of 498 Spanish priests killed during the Spanish Civil War leads one to wonder about Benedict's relationship with fascism.

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was between the established government (called Republicans and Loyalists). They were Socialists and supported by the Soviet Union. The opposing forces were the monarchists, Roman Catholic Church, and Falangists (fascists) and were supported by Nazi Germany. The Falangists eventually won leading to the longest Fascist dictatorship in world history, 36 years (1939-1975). There were atrocities on both sides. The Loyalists "Red Terror" killed some 40,000 Spanish, including several thousand priests and nuns. The subsequent Fascist "White Terror" killed between 200,000 and 800,000 Spanish loyalists and Basques.

The beatifications followed efforts in the Spanish Parliament to remove statuary and other venerations of Francisco Franco's bloody rule. In essence, the Church is making a political statement in support of the Franco regime. Proof this act is in support of Spanish Fascism and not the Church rests in the bloody hand of Father Gabino Olaso Zabala. In 1896, Olaso tortured a Catholic priest (Fr. Mariano Dacanay) in the Philippines because Dacanay supported Filipino Catholics against the Spanish colonial rule of the time. Olaso is one of the beatified.

This does lead naturally to the question where Pope Benedict XVI (nee Joseph Ratzinger) rests on the question of fascism?

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