The Spanish Civil War and the Vatican's Beatification of the 'Martyrs'

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The Spanish Civil War was Europe's grim curtain raiser on the horrors-to-come of World War II. It was Ernest Hemingway's bloody backdrop to "For Whom the Bell Tolls".

The Soviets backed Spain's leftist government. Nazi Germany backed the rightwing backlash and dictator-in-waiting Francisco Franco.

So did the Roman Catholic Church.

Half a million or more Spaniards died. Now, Pope Benedict has moved to put hundreds of Spanish clergy killed in the war on the path to sainthood.

In Spain, that is still a hot political act.

This hour On Point: saints and sinners of the Spanish Civil War.


George, Esenwein, Associate Profesor of History, University of Florida, author of "The Spanish Civil War: A Modern Tragedy"

John Allen, Vatican Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter

Gustavo de Aristegui, Spanish Member of Parliament

Jack Beatty, Senior Editor at the Atlantic Monthly.

This program aired on July 17, 2007.


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