Decrees Issued for 65 Martyrs of Spain

Step Closer to Beatification

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 22, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Sixty-five martyrs killed before and during the Spanish Civil War moved a step closer to beatification when decrees attesting to their example were promulgated in the presence of John Paul II.



A total of 16 decrees were promulgated today in Clementine Hall of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, relating to the heroic virtues, martyrdoms and miracles of diverse "servants of God," as read by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes.

In the presence of representatives of the dioceses and religious institutes to which the servants of God belonged, members of the Vatican congregation, and the corresponding postulators, Cardinal Saraiva Martins noted that these causes affect "in a special way, Argentina, Chile, India, Italy, Mexico and Spain."

"The heroic Christian witness of her sons and daughters is a source of consolation and stimulus for those ecclesial communities," he said. "Their glorification on earth will certainly augment the efficacy of their example and confidence in the power of their intercession before God."

The decrees on martyrdom refer to "a small representation of the great multitude of martyrs and witnesses of the faith who followed Christ to the spilling of their blood on Mexican and Spanish soil," he continued.

Killed out of hatred for the faith during the religious persecution in Spain between 1936 and 1937, "among many others," as Cardinal Saraiva Martins explained, were 14 Discalced Carmelites, 12 of whom were priests led by Father Lucas de San José, born in 1872 and killed on July 20, 1936, in Barcelona.

Added to those above are 44 religious Brothers of the Christian Schools led by Brother Leonardo José, killed on Aug. 9, 1936, in Traveseres; and the general superior of the Carmelite Sisters of Charity, Mother Apolonia of the Blessed Sacrament, killed on Sept. 8, 1936, in Barcelona; and four Missionary Carmelite Sisters: Sister Esperanza of the Cross, Sister Mary of the Holy Angel's Refuge, Sister Daniela of San Bernabe, and Sister Gabriela of St. John of the Cross.

"Also part of the group was a seminarian from Barcelona, the Servant of God José Casas Ros," Cardinal Saraiva Martins added, and the Servant of God, Spanish Friar Bernardo, of the Marist Schools, killed out of hatred for the faith on Oct. 6, 1934, in Barruelo.