El Camagüeyano Libre, Miami, Sept., 1998. Diario Las Américas Digital, Espacio de Discusión Interactiva, Nov. 12, 1998
We will not forget them
One of the most important causes of beatification of martyrs, victims of communism, that up to now has been opened by the Church, has just concluded in Spain its first phase of investigation and documentation.
This is the information from the catholic news agency Zenit, from the Diocese of Almeria.
It is about 117 martyrs, 95 priests and 22 laymen, victims of the furious anti-Catholic sentiment of the communists during the Spanish Civil War of 1936. The results of such an investigation, at the ArchDiocese level, were directed to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, in Rome, which will proceed for its study. A priest named Jose Antonio Bernabe, who is one of many in charge of this Cause, said that he will hope that these martyrs would be included in the recapitulation of the 2,000 years of history of the Church, that his holiness John Paul II wants to do at the threshold of the Third Millenium.
If the process advances successfully, these martyrs will be added to the 45 more Spanish faithfuls that were beatified by the Pope on October 1, 1995, and that were also murdered because of hatred to the Catholic faith during the Civil War of 1936.
While recapitulating these antecedents, it is impossible not to remember those lay Cuban Catholics, that during the first years of the communist revolution, died being executed on the wall, with a proclamation of faith and Christian principles on their lips: "Long live Christ the King! Down with Communism!"
On the night of April 17, 1961, the agronomist engineer Rogelio Gonzalez Corzo, was executed in La Cabana Fortress, a member of the Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria (ACU), after a very brief trial, where there were no facts presented against him whatsoever. His last word
were: "Long live Christ the King! Down with communism! Long live the Agr...." He could not finish the words Agrupacion Catolica, for a barrage of bullets ripped his life apart. The next day, Alberto Tapia, 20 years old and an architectural student, and Virgilio Campaneria, 22 years old, student at the Catholic University of La Salle, were also executed. The example of these martyrs and others, can be found in the book "Pasion de Cristo en Cuba" (Christ's Passion in Cuba), edited in Chile in 1962, by a young exiled priest.
Armando Valladares, who spent many years in Cuban jails, cites in his memories an emotional recount about these martyrs of faith, assassinated in the deplorable famous prison of La Cabana: "Every night there were executions. The cries of patriots of Long Live Christ The King; Down With Communism, would make the pits of that centennial fortress, tremble."
Valladares narrates that the fact of hearing those words coming from young people full of valor, seconds before their deaths, contributed for his conversion and that of many others.
It would then be true the axiom of the early persecutions against the Church: "the blood of martyrs is seed of new Christians."
"Those cries were a symbol," continues narrating the ex-political prisoner, " as those involved in the religious persecution in Cuba, tried to avoid by any means or price, those proclamations of faith by the heroic efforts of lay Catholics --- and the fruits derived from the conversions that they produced ---that they ordered to cover their mouth and gag those condemned to die.
At the same time that this silence was obtained by gagging the condemned, a new phase in the Castroite religious politics came about, which its diabolic objective was to obtain apostates and not martyrs.
Also at the same time, a wave of forgetfulness started to come down within and outside of Cuba about those heroes of faith.
The martyrdom of those lay Catholics is of not less value than the Christians who died in the roman Coliseum; of the Mexican martyrs at the beginning of the XX century, victims of hatred revolutions, one of which, the admirable father Pro, was beatified by the present pontiff; or of the martyrs of the Spanish Civil War to whom we have referred before.
Hopefully it will soon become a reality, that from some Cuban exiles, a crusade will be formed, to ask the Church to initiate the canonization process of those heroes of the faith. It should be soon, as time runs fast and the indispensable testimonies and antecedents, run the risk of being dissolved in History's haze. From Heaven, they do not forget us. We will not forget them either.
Only God knows what merits the blood from the Cuban martyrs have had from the rubbles of that communist society, that there still can be heard the heart beats of a "Christian soul," that our holy father the Pope, knew perfectly, how to auscultate in his visit to the prison-island.
Since now, they are an example of perennial fidelity to the Church and love to the Motherland, not only for the Cubans inside and outside the island, but also for those who in the Americas, and Africa, suffered in their own flesh, the communist aggression.
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