TEXT OF THE BISHOPS' LETTER
(Continued from Page 1)
" Oar political regime of democratic liberty was unsettled through arbitrary actions on the part of the authority of the State and through Governmental co-action which overrode the people's will forming a political machine in conflict with the majority of the nation, as occurred in the last parliamentary elections in February. 1936. when. with more than half-a-million votes of surplus over the Left, the Right only obtained 119 deputies loss tban the People's Front, becauee the votes of whole provinces had been cancelled at will thus corrupting in its origin the legitimacy of Parliament.
Soviet's Insidious Propaganda
And whilst our people were being disrupted }Ty the relaxation of social ties and our economy bled to excess, and the rhythm of work altered without aim and the strength of the organs of social defence maliciously enfeebled, another powerful people. Russia, was combining with the Communists of Spain, by means of the theatre, the cinema, through the introduction of exotic ways and customs. through intellectual fascination and material bribery, and prepared the people's spirit for the breaking out of the revolution which could be pre, dieted needy at a fixed term.
"On February 27, 1936, and immediately after the triumph of the People's Front, the Russian Komintern resolved to decree the Spanish Revolution and financed it with exorbitant amounts of money.
" On the 1st of the following May hundreds of young people clamoured openly in Madrid
For bombs and pistots, powder and dynamite for the coming revolution '; on the Stith of the same month the representatives of the C.S.S.H. met with the Spanish delegates of the 3rd hiternationa/ at the People's House in Palencia, resolving in the ninth of their accords: ' To charge one of the wireless stations of Madrid, that one designated with the No. 25, constituted by police officers on active service, with the elimination of the political and military personages destined to play an important role in the counter-revolution.' Meanwhile, from Madrid to the most distant. villages, She revolutionary militiamen learned the military instructions, and they were armed plentifully, to the point thait, when the war broke out, they were able to rely upon 150,000 shook troops and 100,000 reserve.
Would There Have Been Bloodshed Without Franco?
" It may appear to you, Venerable Brothers, inappropriate in an episcopal nlocument to enumerate these fade. Wo have preferred them to the reasons of political law which could justify a national movement of resistance. Without God. Who must he in the foundation and on the summit of the social structure; without authority, which nothing eon replace in its functions of creator of order and maintainer of civil rights; with the material strength at the service of the Godless and of men without: conscience, driven by powerful agents of international type. Spain had perforce to slide towards the anarchy which is the contrary of common weal and of justice and social order. To this end have come those regions of Spain where the revolution has followed its initial trend.
" These are the facts. Compare them with the doctrine of St. Thomas concerning the right to defensive resistance by force and let each judge with just judgment. Nobody will be able to deny that iu the very moment the conflict broke out. the eetual existence of the common good religion, justice and peace—was gravely compromised; and that the entirely of the social anthorities. and of prudent men, 'who make up the people in their natural organisation and in their better elements, recognised the public danger. With regard to the third condition whisk the Angelic Doctor requires as regards the conviction of prudent men concerning the probability of success, we leave it to the judgment of history; the facts up to the present are not contrary to it.
"We reply to an observation which a foreign review applies to the fact of the murdered priests, which could be extended to all that constitutes this immense social trouble that Spain has suffered. It refers to the possibility that, if the rising had not occurred, the public peace wend(' not. have been altered : In spite of the misbehaviours of the Reds— we read—it remains true that if Franco had not revolted the hundreds or thousands of clergy who here been murdered would have been spared and would have continued to do God's work for souls. Vie cannot subscribe . to this assertion, witnesses as we are of the Spanish situation in the moment of the outbreak of the cotillion The truth is just the contrary; because it is a doeutuentally proved fact. that in the scrupulously prepared scheme of the Marxist Revolution which was being prepared and which would have broken out in the whole conutry, if in a great part it had our been hindered by the civic military movement, the extermination of the clergy was ordered. along with that of those known as members of the Right. with the Sovietisation of industries and the introduction of Communism. It. was during last January that is leading anarchist told the world by wireless: We most say things as they are, and the truth is none other than that the military have stolen a march on us to avoid our unchaining the revolution.'
" Let it remain. therefore, established as the first assertion of this document. that five years of continuous insults to Spanish subjects in the religious and social order put the very existence of the commonweal in the gravest
danger and produced enormous tension in the spirit of the Spaniel] people; that the national conscience felt. than once the lawful legal means were exhausted, there was no other recourse left but that of violence for maintaining order and peeve; that powers other than the authority considered um legitimate determined to subvert the constituted order by the violent implante.tion of Communism: and finally, that through the fatal logic of the facts. Spain had no other alternative but this: either to perish in the definite assault of destructive Conatinunieno already prepared and decreed, as has occurred in those parts where the national movement has not triumphed. or to attempt a titanic effort of resistance, in order to escape from the terrible enemy and to save the fundamental principles of her social life and of her national characteristics."
It is emphaaised that the military revolt which broke out in July N of last year was not produced without the collaboration of the sound niece of the people; they joined the movement. in great numbers. and therefore the rising can he qualified as a civic-military movement. That movement, and the Communist revolution, are facts which cannot. be separated : they mark the deep division of the two Spains which were to contend on the battlefields.
Cause of Civic-Military Rising
Also, it is pointed out, those who initiated the revolt had preciously urged the publM authorities to oppose the imminent Marxist rovalutioe by legal means. The attempt was unsuccessful. The conflict broke out, from the first instant, between the civic-military forces on the one bend, and on the other not so much the forcer( of the Government which tried to reduce in as the unchained fury of popular militiamen. who, protected et least by governmental passivity, placed themselves in the officio] commands of the army, and made use, not only of the armament which they unlawfully possessed. but also of that stored in the military arsenals of the State.
The reaction against the civic-military riming is thus a counter-attack. certainly, by forces loyal to the Government, but above all it. is al fight in partnership with the forces of anarchy. Russia has grafted herself on to the governmeutal army. as the whole world knows, taking part in he commands; and she aimed really, whilst preserving the appearance of the People's Front Government, at implanting the Communist regime through the subversion of the established social order. And the Communiet revolution, allied to the Government armies, was above all antireligious.
Going back to 1931, the letter points out that the secularist legislation of the Constitution in that year closed with the destruction of all that was connected with God. And so, in the national soul, there arose a reaction of a religious nature, corresponding to the nihilist and destructive action of the Godless. Spain remained divided into two great military factions; each one of them cemented by the two deeply popular tendencies; and surrounding and collaborating with them there polarised, in the form of voluntary radle lumen :cud nuesistance and rearguard services, the opposing forces which hold the nation divided. The war in, therefore. like all 'armed plebescite,
The ulterior complications of the war have not altered, but accidentally its character has. Communist internationalism has run to Spanish territory to help the Marxist Army and people; just as. for the natural exigencies of the defence and for considerations of an international character, there have come to help the traditional Spain arms and men of other foreign countries. But the national nuclei remain equnl, although the struggle, being profoundly popular, may have taken on the character of an international struggle. From the historical survey the bishops derive this assertion: The civic-military revolt was in its origin a national movement of defence of the fuudamental principles of every civilised society; in its development, it hap been one of defence egainst anarchy bound tip with the forces at the service of a Government. which could not or would not guard those principles.
Conclusions following from this assertion are, in the first place, that the Church, in spite of her spirit of peace and the fact that she neither wanted war nor collaborated it. could riot be indifferent to the struggle. On the one side God was suppressed; on the other, whatever might be the humeri defects, there teas the effort to preserve the old Spanish and Christian spirit. Secondly, the Church has not been able to identify herself with conduct, tendencies or intentions which at present or in the future might be able to distort the character of the national movement,
National Movement the Only Hope
Thirdly, the civic-military rising has taken a double grip on the popular conscience: that of the patriotic sense which sees in it the only way of raising up Spaiu and avoiding her ruin, and that of the religious sense which considered it as a force necessary to defeat the enemies of God and to Recur() the faith and prectice of religion, Lastly, it is emphasised, there is for the moment no hope, in Spain, for the restoration of justice and peace other than the triumph of the National Movement.
The characteristics of the Communist revolution are then examined. It is shown that. judging as a whole, the excesses of crime and
savagery by the Reds are " exceptional in history." That the revolution was preconceived is demonstrated by the fact that before the revolt broke out there had arrived from Russia seventy-nine specialised agitators. The destruction of the churches or' of their furniture was systematic; within a month all the (diuretics had been Millie neelees for public worship. " Black Bets," previously drawn up, gave in some oases first place to the Bishop's name.
Terrible details are adduced, following a computation which puts the destroyed or totally plundered churches and chapels at about 20,000, and gives 6,000 as the number of the murdered secular priests alone. As to the laity murdered, for their political, and especially for their religious ideas, their total is calculated ae exceeding 300,000. More than 22,000 persons were murdered in Madrid alone during the first three months. Without accusation, without proofs, mostly without trial, hunted and in many cases horribly tortured, the best men of the Right have been eliminated.
The revolution was " inhuman." The honour of women has nut, been respected, not even of those consecrated to God. Tombs and churchyards have been profaned. Many details aro given of such profunations.
The revolution was " barbarous," inasmuch as it destroyed the civilising work of centuries. It destroyed also thousands of works of art, ninny of them of world-wide reputation. It. plundered or burnt archives, flunking historical research and the instrumental proof of ('acts of a social and juridical order impossible. There remain hundreds of slashed canvasses, mutilated sculptures and architectural marvels, destroyed for ever. No war, nor any barbarous invasion nor tiny social commotion, in any century, has caused in Spain a ruin to compare with the present.
The revolution trampled under foot essential principles of the law of titions. Remember. the bishops write, the Bilbao prisons, where hundreds of prisoners were murdered by the crowds in an inhuman way; the reprisals committed on hostages guarded on ships and in prisons without. any 'mere reason than a reverse in war: the mums-murders; the shellMg of defenceless towns without any military objective. Also hue revolution was essentially " anti-Spanish." The work of destruction was realised to cries of " Long live Russia!" in the shadow of the international Communist flag. The mural inscriptions, the propaganda of foreign personages. the military commands in the hands of Russian leaders. the spoliation of the nation in favour of foreigners, the anti-Commenist hymn—all are abundant proofs of hatred towards the national spirit.
But, above all, the revolution was antiChristian. " We do not believe." the letter continues, " that in the history of Christianity and in the interval of a few weeks there has occurred such an explosion of hatred in all forms of thought, will, and passion, against
Jesus Christ and His sacred religion." Antireligioue outrages and profanationa in many forms are referred to in proof of this stern indictment.
Spain's bishops leave to history the true narration of the facts. " 11 we should be accused of having pointed out in so crude a manner these stigmas of our revolution. we would justify ourselves with the example of St. Paul, who does not boatels] to vindicate with tereible words the memory of the Propinets of lerael, and who uses the hardest qualifications for the enemies of OM; or with that of our Holy Father who, in his Encyclical on Atheist Communism speaks of Such a dreadful destruction realised in Spain with a hatred, a barbarity and a ferocity that nobody could have believed possible in our contury.1 The Fault Was Not The People's "11-e reiterate our word of pardon for all, and our purpose of doing them the greatest good that we can. And we finish this paragraph with these words of the ' Official Report ' concerning the incidents of the revolution in its first three months: ' The Spanish people must not be blamed for anything more than for linving served us an instrument for the perpetration of these faults.'" TIIE NATIONAL MOVEMENT Its Characteristics The Spanish Hierarchy firmly believe the movement to be fairly deemed " National." They say this " First, on account of its spirit; because t re Spanish nation was disassociated, in its vat majority, from the position of a State w 'eh was not able to represent its deepest n et's and aspirations; and the move ment es hailed as a hope in the entire nation. n the regions not yet liberated it is only i aiting to break the weight. of the C=11111[1. t forces which hole] it down. Netionel also because it aims at saving and supporting for the future the essentials of an organised people, in a State which may be aisle worthily to continue their history."
" The movement has strengthened the patriotie sense against flue exotic nature of the forces wl ich are against. it . . . Its moral atmosphere is that of a vast family, in which the eitiele attains his total development.; and the National Movement has released current of love which has concentrated round the nameesnd historical essence of Spain, with aversion for the foreign elements who occasioned our ruin. . .
The bletod of thousands of Spaniards martyred in the calor of the National Pfiroveinent " must *Onto in 1 hp future, under penalty of an ithmense political responsibility', the action of klinse who, once that arms have been set aside, will have to construct the new State in the calm of peeve.
The Spanish Hierarchy contrasts the situation in thole: regions, where the National 1110VellielA has prevailed, with that of those still held' by the Reds.
A movement which, even in the midst of war, produces internal order in its social life, has given to the Spaniel] Theta rchy ru measure of nonfidence and hope for a regime of justice and peace in the future "; realising, at the same time, that even with victory to the National increment there will he grave dangers t4 be faced:—
" The relaxation of Social ties; the customs of corrupt politics; ignorance of the duties of the citieees; scanty formation of a full Catholic conscience; division of ideas in regard to the solution of national problems; the murder of thousands of select men called by their condition Ind training to the work of national reennetruetion: the hatreds and scarcity which are the reisult of every civil war; foreign ideas concerning the State which tend to uproot it from the Christian ideal and influence; all these wit prove an enormous difficulty in making a new Spain. But we hope that. the enormous sacrifice realised will assert itself in its fill strength, and that once more we
shall find our true national spirit. We are entering 1 eon it slewly through a legislation
in WI i (711line Christian course prevails culture, in !urinals, in social justice. and in the honour' aid worship chick is owing to God." THE CHURCH ACCUSED Bishops' Reply
The object. of their letter would not he fulfilled, the signatories state, if they did not reply to some of the accusations levelled against the Church in Spain : (1) Of having defended herself against a people's movement., transforming her churches into fortresses, and thins leading to the
of clergy and the ruin of the