The Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, said this week he hopes the beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs on October 28 will bring “a triple fruit of holiness, mission and reconciliation” to the Church in Spain.
During a Mass celebrated in honor of the upcoming beatification, the cardinal underscored that of the total number of future blessed, three were from Madrid, 232 studied in Madrid and 176 were martyred there. “They were not responsible for what happened in Spain at that time,” the cardinal said. They gave their lives to God in the “most sublime” way and they witnessed to their executioners. The Church, he pointed out, “has rewarded our martyrs who gave their lives for Christ, for the Church and for their brethren.”
During the homily, Cardinal Rouco also mentioned the need for Christians to be missionaries, as that is “a direct, complete and authentic way” of being a witness of Christ.
Lastly, he invited the faithful to see the martyrs as “intercessors” in the reconciliation process in Spain.
The martyrs did not die for social, political or human interests, “they died for Christ, but they were not belligerent,” the cardinal said. “They only brought words of forgiveness, true reconciliation and peace.”