Heroes Till Death

March 1st, 2011

Heroes Till Death

September 1937, page 93

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Few people today give much thought to the Spanish Civil War, but it was a huge event at the time Catholic Digest was born. A Spanish republican government with strong socialist leanings had outlawed the monarchy and, among other reforms, legislated a strict separation between church and state and put tight restrictions on the Catholic Church, appropriating church funds, forbidding nuns and priests to teach, and banning the Jesuits.


In 1936 a failed coup carried out by rightwing opponents of the government turned into a nasty civil war that ripped Spain apart for the next three years and resulted in numerous atrocities carried out by both sides. The “republican” government forces received military aid from the Soviet Union and from communist organizations around the world. The right-wing “nationalist” rebels received military aid from, among others, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. The Catholic Church, having suffered at the hands of the republicans, and seeing communism as its mortal enemy (and not yet fully aware of the evils Hitler was to unleash on the world), sided with the nationalists, as did the editors of Catholic Digest.


In this article, from our September 1937 issue, a Jesuit priest imprisoned by the republicans tells us of his emotional late-night meeting with 11 Catholic, nationalist naval officers who have been sentenced to death by the republicans, and who are to be shot at dawn.


Dan Connors



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