BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Sunday, 11 March, 2001, 14:36 GMT
Pontiff honours Spanish war dead
Pope John Paul II
The Pope has created 1600 new saints and blesseds
By David Willey in Rome

The Pope has beatified a group of 233 Catholics who died in the Spanish civil war in the 1930s.

Thousands of Spanish pilgrims were in Rome for Sunday's ceremony at the Vatican.

The new blesseds are mostly Spanish priests, monks and nuns from the province of Valencia, who died under republican fire or were murdered in an anti-clerical campaign by leftists at the beginning of the war.

General Franco
The Catholic church backed General Franco
It was the largest group of people ever declared blessed by the Catholic church, meaning they are now recognised as potential future saints.

The decision by the Pope to publicly venerate the memory of these particular victims of war has strong political undertones.

The Catholic church supported General Francisco Franco's right-wing forces in Spain in the bitterly-fought civil war during which a total of more than 4,000 priests, 2,000 monks and nearly 300 nuns were among those killed by left-wingers.

Franco won the war, which claimed a total of half-a-million lives, and went on to rule Spain for 36 years.

The church insists that the new martyrs are being honoured for their religious faith, not their political creed.

Pope John Paul has created 1,600 new saints and blesseds - more than any of his predecessors.

He believes that the church in this way honours the sacrifice of the lives of uncounted numbers of those who died for their faith during the wars of the 20th Century.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

05 Mar 01 | Europe
Pope to pray in mosque
21 Feb 01 | Europe
Analysis: Choosing the next pope
21 Jan 01 | Europe
Pope names new cardinals
15 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Vatican
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories