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Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

January 17, 2017. The Holy See has issued a statement Tuesday in response to "attempts by the Order of Malta to discredit” the new group established by the Vatican to conduct the investigation of why the Chancellor of the Order of Malta was asked to step down.

Pope sends condolences for victims of Turkish cargo jet crash

January 16, 2017. On Monday morning, a Turkish cargo plane has tragically crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing dozens and hospitalizing many others. Many homes and vehicles in the small village are also destroyed. As a result, Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin has sent a message of condolences to the victims of the disaster on behalf of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis to meet with Palestinian president on Saturday

January 11, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas on Saturday, January 14, at the Vatican to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

Former Director of the Vatican's school for diplomats, Justo Mullor dies

December 30, 2016. The smiling archbishop Justo Mullor died this morning in Rome, at the Pío XI Clinic. He was 84 years old.

Future beatification of Spanish martyrs sheds light on country's religious persecution


On October 13, the Catholic Church will witness one of the largest beatification ceremonies in history. It'll take place in the northeast Spanish city of Tarragona. Five hundred and twenty two martyrs of religious persecution from the 1930s will be one step closer to sainthood.   


"The fundamental conditions for declaring martyrdom are: death for their faith, to grant forgiveness before dying, and even praying for their executioners. These are the basic reasons for the Church to raise them to the honors of the altar, and present them to Christians and believers, as witnesses to the faith.”

This period of persecution surged during the Spanish Civil War, but the harassment began much earlier. Vicente Cárcel Ortí, one of the privileged few with access to the Vatican Secret Archives from that time period, called it one of the most ruthless persecutions of Catholics in history.


"Since 1931, there was a covert practice of forbidding Catholic newspapers from publishing, of not allowing funeral processions on the streets, or forcing people to remove any religious objects from public view. It was certainly the greatest persecution number-wise in all of Western Europe, practically since the Roman Empire.”

In 1987, the first beatifications of these martyrs began. John Paul II, moved by their stories of forgiveness and reconciliation, was one of the leading proponents.

"A cardinal once told me that the reason John Paul II pushed for these beatifications was the fact that they had killed women, especially lay and secular women. That for him was incomprehensible. He said, 'It's clear that they're martyrs of the faith.'

Some calculations place the number of Catholics killed during that time period at 10,000. With the latest beatification ceremony, Spain will now have a total of 1523 martyrs of religious persecution from the 1930's.