the devastating "civil war"
waged by Roman-Catholicism
against Spain's democracy
in the 1930's and beyond

For whom the bell tolls :

If you haven't read that great Ernest Hemmingway novel, you may not be familiar with the Spanish Civil War, as relatively few of us alive now were adults during the 1930's. Whether you are an American or a Spaniard, however, and whether you are a Roman Catholic or not, you may be able to live in ignorance of the power the Roman Catholic Church has over you, over your media and your public servants, but you can't escape that power. We believe that it would be tragic to allow the role played by the Roman Catholic in Spain's so–called "civil war" of the 1930's to be ignored or forgotten.

For Whom the Bell Tolls :

If you haven't read that great Ernest Hemmingway novel, you may not be familiar with the Spanish Civil War, as relatively few of us alive now were adults during the 1930's. Whether you are an American or a Spaniard, however, and whether you are a Roman Catholic or not, you may be able to live in ignorance of the power the Roman Catholic Church has over you, over your media and your public servants, but you can't escape that power. We believe that it would be tragic to allow the role played by the Roman Catholic in Spain's so–called "civil war" of the 1930's to be ignored or forgotten.

Americans who love freedom and liberty need to know how serious a threat to those values the Roman Catholic hierarchy can be, because the leaders of that group in the Vatican and in the U.S. has proven that it has tremendous power over the supposedly secular mass media of our country and over our public servants all the way up to the U.S. presidency. Much of the web page you are reading comes either from a web site called "population-security.org/22-CH14.html, or from the book, "God and the Fascists, The Vatican Alliance with Mussolini, Franco, Hitler, and Pavelic", by a German Catholic named Karlheinz Deschner. Although this very important book has been available to German readers since it was first published in their country in 1965, it was only published in English in 2013.

In order to better illustrate the important issues I raised earlier, I have taken the liberty to reorganize and edit the material I found in those sources. The man responsible for digging up much of this material on the web site I will be referencing was one of America's greatest investigative journalists ever, George Seldes, whose credentials will be examined at the end of this page.

The R. C. Church's promotion of Spain's "Civil War"
in the 1930's wasn't God's idea.

(Over the years) "There had been four insurrections since 1835, and it was the Spanish people, the poor workers and poor peasants, who burned the churches because they blamed the hierarchy for having persistently backed the upper class."

"In 1931, Spain became the Republic of Spain, a liberal democracy that separated church and state, ended state monetary support for the church and adopted the principles of Freedom of Conscience, Freedom of Religion, and Freedom of the Press. (This was a government far more like the U.S.A. than the U.S.S.R. but – like many ultra–conservative entities before and since, –   Rome viewed any and everything to its left as "communism".) The Vatican feared for the Church's very survival in Spain.   The latest uprising against the Catholic Church took place throughout the country in July, 1936.  One historian described it as 'the work of masses of common people, a spontaneous uprising.'  The Vatican feared that the liberal democracy with its freedoms would spell the end of the Church in Spain.

"The Spanish War of 1936 – 39 is often called a "civil war". But a more accurate description would be a "counter-revolution", one in which the results of a prior revolution, in which the people had won their freedom from despots was reversed, so that they were again subjugated to those same powers. As is often the case, this counter-revolution would not have succeeded were it not for the intervention of foreign powers, in this instance, that of fellow Fascists Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, or what Seldes refers to as the 'Fascist Internationale' in league with the Vatican.

Franco&Himmler
Spain's Franco with Hitler's right hand man, Heinrich Himmler
two devout conservative Roman Catholic fascists

"Mussolini landed 200,000 infantrymen from his Black Arrow division in Franco–held seaports and Hitler sent Goering's Condor Legion to bomb civilians,   involving an estimated 50,000 German aviators. All this had been envisioned in Rome in 1934. Seldes writes, 'Mussolini and two representatives of the plan . . . met there and even promised help in overthrowing the Republic and establishing a fascist type of government. They also met with Hitler that same year – and the confessions of the Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials confirm the plot.' There was to be an uprising of treasonous Republic officers led by Franco, the invasion by the Italian and German forces and the promulgation of the lie that this was an uprising against a communist take–over of the Republic and a 'Christian crusade against atheistic communism.' The creation of this great lie would be primarily the responsibility of the Vatican."

According to this N.Y. Time review of an important book about this war, "In quashing democracy and timid agricultural reform, and in restoring the traditional hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, the army, big landowners and an authoritarian state, the Spanish version of fascism was very much a fundamentalist movement."

How "Franco's Cardinal," later to become "Hitler's Pope"
  prevented America from saving justice and democracy in Spain

"Cardinal Pacelli, then papal secretary, began this campaign of falsification in America when he came to Hyde Park [FDR's New York estate] to enlist the aid of President Franklin Roosevelt in this undertaking. Pacelli, who three years later was to become Pope Pius XII, was successful. Roman Catholic layman James Farley, a boss of the Democratic party, Cardinal Spellman, and Joseph P. Kennedy, FDR's ambassador to London, promoted Pacelli's position. Each warned Roosevelt he would lose the Catholic vote (about 1/4th of the electorate) unless he embargoed arms to Spain and joined ` (British Prime Minister) Chamberlain's so–called Neutrality Pact."

(This was a period when Britain and the U.S. were worried about the threat that Hitler and Mussolini were becoming in Europe, when the Jews of Europe didn't know what was to become of them, but all that the Vatican seemed to be worried about was putting out the fires not only of "Communism" but "liberalism" as well. )

        "Holy See" ?
    Isn't it amusing how English-speaking Catholic churchmen insist on translating the Latin "Sancta Sedes" into the meaningless "Holy See", instead of the correct, but silly–sounding "Holy Seat"?

Papal-typeThroneFree
a papal throne

"The making of the 'Christian crusade against communism' myth began immediately following Pacelli's visit to America. 'The New York Times, October 1, 1936, was informed from Rome that Pacelli had `left for the United States of America to enlist the support of President Roosevelt and the U.S. Government for the anti–communist campaign the Pope has been waging for some time. The Holy See regards the spread of communist doctrine as the gravest and most threatening danger hanging over the world.' When the cardinal arrived in New York The New York Times headline read: `Pacelli Reported Seeking Aid in U.S. in Anti–Red Drive . . .'

A myth was born :

In Spain the day before, Seldes later discovered, 'The [Spanish hierarchy's] pastoral letter `Los dos Cindados' of September 13, 1936 had converted a treasonable officer's rebellion into the `Crusade Against Godless Communism.' "

"Immediately following this meeting, Hitler's newspapers reported FDR had made important concessions to the Cardinal and that Pacelli `is declared to have delivered the Catholic vote in the United States to Roosevelt.' Although this appeared at first to be a typical Nazi piece of propaganda, it seems to have been substantiated by important visits to Hyde Park in 1936 by Farley and Cardinal Spellman. In every Catholic country in Europe, Cardinals, priests and diocesan publications had openly declared themselves to be against Franco, but not one in America did so ."

The Neutrality Act was instrumental in the demise of Republican (i.e. democratic) Spain. President Roosevelt prevented guns, food and medicine from being shipped to the Republic. Everyone understood this. 'Roosevelt was re–elected in 1936, and again in 1940. The Non–Intervention Pact, originated by pro–fascists in the British Foreign Office, remained in effect; the world press either falsified the news of the arrival of German and Italian troops, or confused enough people to prevent effective protest.' "

"When in 1938, a last effort was made to lift the embargo on arms, The Nation (magazine) said: `The Catholics got busy and reached the President, who was fishing in southern waters. Big Church dignitaries came to Washington and talked cold politics. . .' The Nation report, written by Max Lerner, columnist for The New York Post, continues: `only a band of heroes could have withstood the combined effort of Catholic votes, State Department leaning and authority, administrative pressure, and mental sluggishness, and the Senate Committee [considering this legislation] was not heroic . . . the biggest factor in the mind of the President was the Catholic vote. . . . It is a cold political fact that Mr. Roosevelt, who has braved concentrated wealth, has not braved the risk of losing the Catholic vote.' The repeal move in Congress failed, and the last hope for the Spanish Republic disappeared." This blockade was responsible for the Republic's defeat.

It was not only President Roosevelt who felt the intense Catholic pressure. When Spain's Congress opened in 1938, 'a resolution was introduced in the American Congress to send greetings. Only 60 members had the courage to sign; 440 were either on the fascist side or too cowardly to declare their convictions. The 60 who signed were attacked in the Roman pulpit, the Roman Catholic press, and by the Cardinals as `anti – American' and as `Reds'. Cardinal Spellman and his colleagues, whose offices were referred to among newspapermen (but never by newspapers) as `the power house', sent orders to the lobbyists to get retractions from the 60 under threat of defeat in the next elections. Many recanted. A few half–recanted, saying their greetings did not mean endorsement. Among them: Harry Byrd of Virginia and Claude Pepper of Florida. Three Senators affirmed their endorsement of the Spanish Republic. Among them: Senator Hubert Humphrey.

Seldes goes on, 'The Vatican lobby continued its work in Washington for many years after the Republic's demise, seeking quick recognition of the fascist regime, loans, admission to the United Nations.' "

Spanish bishops admit
decades of deception :

The accuracy of this report on the role of the Vatican in the fascist takeover of Spain is irrefutable. Why? Because Spain's Bishops themselves openly admitted the role of the Church. Seldes writes, 'The myth of a Christian crusade against Communism in Spain persisted for decades, despite honest revisionist historians. It was not until 1971 that the myth was finally destroyed by none other than the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Spain. This important correction of history was slurred in the world press and is probably not known to more than one person in a million today'.

"In Madrid, September 15, 1971, Primate Cardinal Enrique Taracon presided at a Congress of the entire Roman Catholic Hierarchy, with 94 bishops and 151 priests present. . . . Although a two–thirds' vote was necessary to pass resolutions, and this one did not pass, it is significant that it received a large majority of the vote. . . . The majority confessed it had sinned in supporting the wrong side (the fascist side) in Spain and asked to be forgiven. `We humbly recognize,' said the resolution, `and ask pardon for it, that we failed at the proper time to be ministers of reconciliation in the midst of our people divided by a war between brothers.'" "In 1971 – and again in 1972, 1983 and succeeding years – a majority of Spain's 94 bishops and 151 priests attending voted 60% or more for the Church's apology but never officially passed it." By taking this action, Cardinal Taracon probably prevented widespread killing of priests and nuns upon Franco's death in 1975.

The news of these votes was almost completely suppressed in the world press. Only three minor reports on this story appeared in the United States.

How could any clergyman NOT see
the outrageous immorality
of this war?

The R. C. pope and bishops are fond of accusing others of "moral relativism", by which they mean that instead of being governed by an "absolute truth" that is the same everywhere and for all time, i.e. the morality that the Roman Catholic supposedly possesses and tries to persuade everybody else to embrace, people choose to set moral standards based on costs and benefits analysis to themselves in their own particular time and place (i.e. "situation", which is why it is also called "situational ethics").

Official R. C. church teaching
on the requirements for a "Just War" :

Here is a summary of the most authoritative and up–to–date expression of just war doctrine as laid out in paragraph 2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good. The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy, i.e.

    At one and the same time:
  1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the (victim) nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  3. there must be serious prospects of success;
  4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.     The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

While many of the Roman Catholic Church's best theologians have done a great job of spelling out the rules which should be used to determine when warfare is moral and when it is immoral, the church's executives, the Pope and hierarchy, have been promoting warfare throughout the centuries that doesn't even come close to meeting those standards.

Because these principles have been the "conventional wisdom" of the Roman Catholic Church ever since they were first formulated by St. Augustine, I doubt that it differs much from official teaching of the church on this crucial issue in the 1930's and 40's.
       The Spanish War of 1936 – 1939 was unspeakably brutal. All told, an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 of Spain's population of 25,000,000 were killed.   By 1939, an estimated 100,000 prisoners of war had been murdered by the fascists. ". . . the official organ of the Roman Church in France, La Croix, was the first to report that Franco killed every Loyalist Republican prisoner – a tremendously important news story. That, incidentally, was also suppressed in almost the entire U.S. press."

These Spaniards were murdered for only one reason – they believed in liberal democracy, just as we Americans do here in this country. (Actually, nothing is that simple, least of all a war involving violently conflicting religious, philosophical and sociological views and interests. Another reason for the brutality of this war is that Hitler viewed this war as an excellent opportunity to try out the monstrous war machinery his country had developed, and his brand new air force in particular, which he, along with Mussolini, used to bomb all kinds of targets "just for the fun of it", including many civilian targets of no particular military significance other than sheer terrorism – as was duly noted by Picasso's most famous painting, Guernica.)

Seldes documents the leading role of the Vatican in the destruction of the Spanish Republic. The murder of 100,000 liberal democrat prisoners by Franco was undoubtedly made easier by Pope Pius XI. Referring to the uprising against the Roman Church throughout Spain in July, 1936, Pius XI attacked the "ruinization, destruction, villainies, barbarities by the savage forces whom it is impossible to dignify with the words human beings." Dehumanization always makes mass murder seem less reprehensible.

"Pius XII declared publicly year after year his support for Franco. He sent Franco the Supreme Equestrian Order of the Militia of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Immediately after the war ended in 1939, Pius XII not only sent his congratulations to the fascist victor, but stated his `Christian heroism' had `pleased God'. On July 11, 1939 Pius XII reviewed 3,000 Spanish Legionaries in Rome and called them the defenders of the faith and the culture of their country." "Pius XII [also] blessed the Italian fascist army and air force on its return from Spain . . . in 1939.

"All the American Cardinals endorsed the Franco–fascist cause except Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago. . . . Franco had awarded his decorations, usually the `Sacred Heart of Jesus', to all the American Cardinals except Mundelein. . . . Incidentally, two well known [Catholic] laymen, Ambassador to Spain Ogden H. Hammond and Ambassador William Cameron Forbes, are also listed among the recipients of Franco's bloodstained medals."

In the publication Historia del Franquismo, which began in 1976 to revise 40 years of Spanish history following Franco's death, "Issue No. 1, page 6 states: `The rebellion of the generals was first called a Crusade for God, for Spain and for Franco' by the Church. When Franco won he received the following telegram: `We lift our hearts to the Lord sincerely thankful that your excellency has brought a Catholic victory to Spain. . . . We send your excellency and to all the noble people of Spain our apostolic benediction.' " [signed] Pope Pius XII

SpanishGeneralsbowtoPope

"To the Spanish press Pius XII issued the following statement for April 18, 1937: `The nation selected by God . . . the people of Spain came to the defenses of the faith and of Christian civilization . . . God in his compassion will lead Spain on the safe road of your traditional and Catholic greatness.'"

"Primate of Spain, Cardinal Goma . . . called the war `a crusade for religion, for country, and for civilization' in a pastoral letter."

Seldes offers a mountain of evidence to support his conclusions that "it was the Roman Catholic Church which was fascism's main supporter," and "It was the hierarchy which originated and propagandized the `holy crusade against Godless Communism'. The hierarchy was as responsible as guns and planes in destroying the Republic. It monopolized schools. It propagated Fascism for 39 years."

The Reasons the Vatican embraced Fascism :

Why would the Vatican propagate Fascism? "The first fascist newspaper, Arriba Espaņa, was published August 1, 1936. One of its directors was a priest representing the Church . . . on September 16 Arriba Espaņa said editorially that `Catholicism will find Fascism its best collaborator'."

And what were the Church's rewards?  " Franco repaid the Roman Catholic Church by abolishing divorce, making religious marriages obligatory and restoring taxes for the benefit of the Church – all previously banned by the Republic."

Most important, Franco turned the schools over to the Catholic Church. Seldes offers ". . . two short abstracts from nationally used catechisms taught to two generations of children, in the hope of producing a brain–washed people which would never rebel." "In the second year of the war the Archbishop of Grenada gave his imprimatur to the catechism of the Jesuit priest Angel Maria de Arcos. This catechism was so unbelievable, so obscurantist, incredible, outrageous, that when John Langdon–Davies wrote about it in a London liberal magazine he was attacked by numerous Catholic editors, accused of making the whole thing up. He sued for libel, established the veracity of the catechism, and won his case. Here is what the children in many eastern cities, including Granada, were taught:

  1. Q. Is every Liberal government hostile to the Church?

    A. Evidently, since whoever is not with Christ is against Him.

  2. Q. Then there is no grade of Liberalism that can be good?

    A. None: because Liberalism is mortal sin and anti–Christian.

  3. Q. What of Communism, Socialism, Modern Democracy, Anarchism, and the like sects?

    A. They are contrary to Catholic faith, to justice, and to virtue, and as such condemned by the Church.
    (In reply to another question:)

    A. The Liberal system is the weapon with which the accursed Jewish race makes war on our Lord Jesus Christ, and his Church, and on the Christian people..

    In 1944 the new classic catechism, known as the Nuevo Repaldi, and used nationally, was published and introduced into every secondary school in Spain. It consists of 2 pages, and was fully described by the U.S. press attaché in Madrid during the Spanish War, Emmet John Hughes, in his Report from Spain. Of the ten pages which concern themselves with the essential doctrines of Catholic faith and morals, here are a few samples:

  4. Q. What does freedom of the press mean?
    A. The right to print and publish without previous censorship all kinds of opinions, however absurd and corrupting they may be.
  5. Q. Must the government suppress this freedom by means of censorship?    
    A. Obviously, yes.
  6. Q. Why?
    A. Because it must prevent the deception, calumny and corruption of its subjects, which harm the general good.
  7. Q. Does one sin gravely who subscribes to a liberal newspaper?
    A. Yes . . . Because he contributes his money to evil, places his faith in jeopardy, and gives a bad example.
  8. Q. What rules can be given to know liberal papers?     A. The following:
    a. If they call themselves liberal.
    b. If they defend freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, freedom of the press, or any of the other liberal errors.
    c. If they attack the Roman Pontiff, the clergy, or the religious orders. ( Is "disagreeing with" "attacking"?)
    d. If they belong to liberal parties.
    e. If they comment on news or judge personalities with a liberal criterion.
    f. If they unreservedly praise the good moral and intellectual qualities of liberal personalities and parties.
    g. If, in reporting events concerned with the battle waged by Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church against their enemies today, they remain neutral.
  9. Q. What is the rule to avoid error in these cases?
    A. Do not read any newspaper without the previous consultation and approval of your confessor."
        These two catechisms make it clear just how strongly the Catholic Church feels about freedom of the press, as well as with what disdain and contempt it views this vital democratic principle.

American Hierarchy and the Vatican maintain deception :

As was pointed out above, the Catholic hierarchy of Spain eventually confessed that it had backed the wrong side in this terrible war.  So too did the political leadership of the United States, as we show below.  In sharp contrast to them is the refusal by the leadership of the Catholic Church in both Rome and in the United States. Read on.
"FDR admitted his error in 1939 – but it could not be published in his lifetime. He said to his Ambassador to Madrid, Claude Bowers, who had told the truth about the great world campaign of falsehood against Spain and had urged American help: `We have made a mistake, you have been right all along. . . .' He wrote this confession in 1954. Secretary of State Sumner Welles in his book Time for Decision, 1944, wrote: `of all our blind isolationist policies the most disastrous was our attitude on the Spanish Civil War.' President Harry Truman wrote in his Memoirs: `I believe it was a mistake for me to support the Neutrality Action in the first place.'"

On the other hand, "The spokesman (sic) for the American Catholic Hierarchy, who so powerfully influenced American foreign policy – Farley, Kennedy, Cardinals Hayes, Spellman and Dougherty" and the archbishops and priests and Catholic laymen who so intensely lobbied in Congress, did not join their Spanish brothers and never admitted error. Their vital roles and that of the Vatican are unquestionable in the crushing of this liberal democracy.
        The Spanish War of 1936-1939 was unspeakably brutal. All told, an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 of Spain's population of 25,000,000 were killed. By 1939, an estimated 100,000 prisoners of war had been murdered by the fascists. ". . . the official organ of the Roman Church in France, La Croix, was the first to report that Franco killed every Loyalist Republican prisoner – a tremendously important news story. That, incidentally, was also suppressed in almost the entire U.S. press." These Spaniards were murdered for only one reason – they believed in liberal democracy, just as we Americans do here in this country.

The credibility of the witnesses :

Who deserves to be believed in all of this ? ( the clergy who promoted lies, the media who cooperated with such clergy, or journalists like George Seldes?

From 1940 to 1950, George Seldes edited the nation's first periodical of media criticism called In Fact – which won him a George Polk Award in 1982.

"As a press critic, George Seldes picked up where Upton Sinclair left off. From the 1930s onward, Seldes led the way for new generations of journalists eager to search for truth wherever it might lead.... I.F. Stone aptly called Seldes `the dean and granddaddy of us investigative reporters.'" Seldes was clearly one of the giants of U.S. journalism.

While Paul Blanshard's intensive study of the press (at that time)  focused on what the Catholic hierarchy said and did regarding freedom of the press, Seldes observed and reported on the actual outcomes of the hierarchy's influence over American newspapers. Very few Americans outside the journalism field appreciate the intensive influence exercised by the hierarchy over the American press at least since the adoption of the principle of papal infallibility in 1870. This influence has greatly hampered the truthful and complete reporting on all matters of concern to the Vatican. . . Seldes reported on numerous examples of this influence. I will present here only one example -- the Spanish Civil War -- carefully documented by Seldes to show that the Catholic hierarchy's wielding of enormous influence in the press. " (all of it nefarious)
       These excerpts are from his book, Lords of the Press:

"It was then twenty-seven years since I had started in journalism, by which time I had learned the first lesson, namely, that one must never write on controversial subjects, the first of which was religion, and that one must never report even the truth in any case in which the Catholic hierarchy might be offended."

Seldes quotes Heywood Broun, "And still more precarious is the position of the New York newspaper man who ventures any criticism of the Catholic Church. There is not a single New York editor who does not live in mortal terror of the power of this group."

Seldes continues: "Probably the bravest thing the News has done has been its editorial defiance of the pressure of the Catholic Church...."

"To criticize the Catholic Church is to invite a boycott, the withdrawal of advertising, loss in circulation and in revenue."

"...almost every newspaper in the world is scared to death when any religious sect is mentioned critically."

The hierarchy has a history of manipulating the press to insure that Papal interests are served even at the expense of American interests. . .

After decades of intense study, in an August 1978 article, Seldes concludes: "The New York Times is still in fear of reprisals from the Roman Church in America, as it was during the entire Spanish War when under managing editor Edward L. James and the notorious `Fascist phalanx in the bull–pen.' James's four (incidentally Roman Catholic) editor assistants, bowed to the `power house on Madison Avenue,' Cardinal Spellman's residence, and a certain Father Thorning, and published scores of falsifications from Spain."

Seldes provides strong evidence to support this conclusion. For example, he cites The New Republic magazine: "The New Republic, to its credit, in `Who Lied About Spain?' when the war was over in 1939 listed the [New York] Times' man with Franco as the number one falsifier." In a November 1981 article, Seldes concluded that all of America's 1,750 daily papers were similarly terrified by "the Catholic Church propaganda campaign." This "terror" that Seldes describes is still pervasive and has led to the disappearance of a free press in America in matters of concern to the Vatican.

Footnotes:

        There's a more recent book that may be of interest (but which I have not read) :
Hitler and Spain: The Nazi Role in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939, by Robert H. Whealey, a teacher at Ohio University (pub. 1989)

" Spanish racism was even more extreme than the Nazi brand. In Spain a person with a single Jewish ancestor, however remote, was discriminated against; in Hitler's Germany a person with only one Jewish grandparent was spared."
[ from The Myth of the Jewish Race, by Alain F. Corcos ]

Take it from Stephen;
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