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Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Thursday, December 11, 2003

An Episode from the Spanish Civl War

From The Spanish Civil War by Hugh Thomas:

The parish priest of Torrijos, Don Libero Gonzalez Nonvela... told militiamen who took him prisoner, 'I want to suffer for Christ.' 'Oh you do,' they answered, 'then yu shall die as Chirst did.' They stripped him and scourged him mercilessly. Next, they fastened a beam of wood on their victim's back, gave him vinegar to drink, and crowned him with thorns. 'Blaspheme and we will forgive you,' said the leader of the militia. 'It is I who forgive and bless you,' replied the priest. They militiamen discussed how they should kill him. Some wished to nail him to a cross, but in the end they simply shot him. His last request was to be shot facing his tormentors so that he might die blessing them (pp. 229-230).

This account does not tell the whole story of the Spanish Civil War; it is too great for that. There were, of course, atrocities on the Nationalist side as well.

Interestingly, a common practice of the Nationalists was to have priests on hand to offer last sacraments to victims during mass executions. The author of the book fails to understand a point that should be clear to any practicing Catholic who prays for a good and holy death; the following was said by a Fr. Martin Torrent:

Happy is the condemned man, for he is the only one who knows when he must die. He has thus the best chance for putting his soul in order before he dies.