In a new pastoral letter, Bishop Jose Sanchez of Siguenza-Guadalajara said that in beatifying martyrs, the Church “does not side with one particular group or another confronted during the civil war,” but rather she recognizes “the virtue, testimony, and exemplariness” of Christians who were “unjustly and violently put to death.”
Referring to the 498 martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, Bishop Sanchez noted in his letter that three of them were from his own diocese.
In addition to Saturnino Ortega Montealegre and Franciscans Ángel Remigio Hernández-Ranera de Diego and Julián Navío Colado, the bishop said, twenty other martyrs from the group studied in Franciscan or Salesian schools in the province of Guadalajara.
“In the case of our martyrs, it’s clear they died in a religious persecution, none of them died in warfare, nor did they die killing others, and they didn’t even defend themselves. They died forgiving,” Bishop Sanchez said in his letter.
The martyrs, he noted, “keep alive in us the hope that their testimony is stronger than the supposed power and manifest violence of the false prophets, with their vain promises of paradise on earth and with their atheism.”