Feeling safe about being a faithful Catholic, are you?

OMI‘s have a video about their Spanish Martyrs.

There is an odd liturgical moment, in which, during the Mass as it was during the 30’s, the priest turned around at the elevation of the Host.  I think the producers are familiar with the Extraordinary Form.  This doesn’t take much away from the value of the video.

The video is in Spanish, but with adequate English subtitles.

If any of you are feeling safe about your Catholic identity in this crazy and rapidly changing world, you ought to watch this and think about what happened in Spain, just 80 years ago.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Modern Martyrs, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Joan M says:

    “If any of you are feeling safe about your Catholic identity in this crazy and rapidly changing world, you ought to watch this and think about what happened in Spain, just 80 years ago.”

    Yes. Safe in the hands of our Lord. Perhaps none of us can quite imagine this happening to us, but it is always lurking in the shadows. Haven’t there been more people persecuted for the Faith in the 20th century than in all the others?

    We must always remember that God gives us actual graces when we need them. He will strengthen us with the grace necessary for martyrdom only when we need it. Let us live our lives coming as close to Him as possible.

    That video was heart rending, but also very comforting, seeing how those Religious cared for each other, and forgave those who killed them. Thank God for their witness.

  2. tealady24 says:

    Truly tragic and heartrending! So many Catholics through history have been martyred for their faith and for nothing else.

    Now we have a white house signing off on a bill, so they say will be used for terrorist purposes only.

    Be afraid, be very afraid. Keep praying to Mary Immaculate.

  3. Dennis Martin says:

    From the beginning of the present administration, the Homeland Security apparatus under Napolitano has made it utterly clear that they consider Christian groups to be the most serious terrorist threat. They issued policy statements to that effect. This takes up where the Clinton administration left off, but ratchets it up a notch. Pro-life demonstrators have often been called terrorists; the mainstream media has thoroughly prepared the populace to think of them all as clinic-bombers. Gay activists have repeatedly claimed that Catholic teaching about same-sex acts and orientation inspires violence. And then, of course, there’s the ammunition the sex-abuse scandals have delivered on a platter to the Church’s enemies. The price we will pay for episcopal malfeasance in that area will go vastly beyond money. And pseudo-Catholic intellectuals have delivered the basis for the legal brief against us with their books about the sinfulness of normative heterosexism etc.

    All the pieces are in place to move with criminal penalties and denial of constitutional rights on ideological grounds, and traditional Christians are in the cross-hairs. Right now, public opinion might not quite stand for it. But with enough hammering of both secular and religious conservatives of all stripes as inherently violent, as “haters,” the day will likely come when public opinion will look the other way: they came for the (____ ) haters and I did not object because I was not a (_____) hater”: fill in the blank with whatever Christian group one disagrees with on sexual issues.

    Haters don’t deserve due process, constitutional rights, dontcha know!

    That’s where they have to maneuver us–to make us seem to the general, “sexually-liberated” public as sufficiently misanthropically sectarian that judicial violence against us seems justified in the eyes of the mainstream.

    The level of venom against religion and especially Christianity in the comboxes around the internet, it seems to me, has been steadily rising over the past decade or so. That’s just an impression–I can’t document it. But we should keep an eye on that as a guage of where we stand.

    Remember that, in the early centuries, nearly all the charges (incest, cannibalism, refusal to offer sacrifice to the emperor’s Genius etc.) against Christians boiled down to their being misanthropes, “haters of the human race.” As more and more of the society becomes estranged from Christian tradition, it more readily becomes The Other, the scary Other, the cancerous “Hater-factory.”

  4. jeremyschwager says:

    I would not be surprised if we see Christians martyred in Europe again and even America in this century.

  5. digdigby says:

    Why should they be afraid? Absolved, cleansed by joining their anguish to that of Christ, witnesses and loyal to Christ to the end. Now, me…I should be afraid.

  6. HyacinthClare says:

    How do I make it bigger?? The English subtitles are too small to read!

  7. APX says:

    I’m not going to lie. While I don’t fear for my life, I fear for my future employment-wise and school wise. I was talking to my internship supervisor just about working, relocating and stuff in general. I mentioned that when I moved I took advantage to get myself rooted in my parish to meet people and make connections that way ( we were discussing that women have a difficult time relocating when they get hired because they don’t have their social circle or relationships in place and often end up quitting and moving back home). When he asked me which Parish and I told him ( it has one of those distinct catholic church names) he switched the topic over to how would my beliefs affect the way I do my job. And like night follows day, he asked, “so then how would you handle a file for a priest who had molested A child?” *bangs head against desk*

    My Catholic beliefs have actually helped me deal with my clients with patience and charity usually. When I fail, I get to Confession and try to do better the next week.

    School-wise having to stand up for my beliefs and risk a lower grade is frustrating. The amount of work I have to do on assignments when I have to point out that there’s another side to things like abortion just to prove I’m not making things up is outlandish. I have often been told to just do what the instructor says and get the marks, but my conscience won’t let me.

  8. KAS says:

    I think it is a good thing to remember that martyrdom is inevitable and will come to some at any time at all. It is not just large movements that kill believers, but small groups can go wrong that way, and even single persons can become so crazed or corrupt that they go killing people for being Catholic. It happens same as murder does and it isn’t worth spending time worrying over.

    We vote here, so we should work to elect the best people, watch for bad legislation and lobby against it, and watch for good legislation and lobby for it, and leave the big stuff up to God.

    I pray that if faced with denial or death I will choose to witness with my last breath. Meanwhile, I have other things to worry about. :)

  9. Joseph-Mary says:

    We see hatred for Christianity, and the Catholic Church and especially its priests, growing. The groundwork is again being laid.

    And the senate just passed a bill where someone deemed a “terrorist” (NB: pro-lifers have been called “terrorists”) can be detained indefinitely and without due process or trial.

    Do we learn from history? Do we think our government will protect our rights? Does it even protect the basic right to life for the innocent and defenseless?

  10. BV says:

    HyacinthClare: Click the title at the top of the video and it will open it in youtube where you can enlarge the video to make reading the subtitles easier.

    This is something I have been thinking about for some time, as I have seen growing anti-Christian sentiment in the US. I wonder, one day, will I be shot just for saying “Merry Christmas”? This year as been the worst so far… I think, in all the advertizing I have so far seen, only one place has actually used the word “Christmas”. I regret I forget who it was as I would prefer to shop there.

    Our government is trying to force homosexual marriage (and other things) on the world, promoting Lady Gaga concerts where ever they can. Is that what the State Department is supposed to be doing? Forcing their own liberal agenda all over the word? This next presidential election is crucial. But then, if we get someone good in the White House, and some good changes in Congress… …will it just turn more sour afterwards?

  11. MarylandBill says:

    I have definitely begun to fear the way the United States is going. We are so obsessed with stopping terror, that any action, even subverting the most basic of rights is considered justified. Likewise, the secularists hate anything that clings to traditional Christian values.

    I am not so much worried about myself, but my children….

  12. Joe in Canada says:

    As a Jesuit for whom an Oblate was very influential in his pre-Jesuit youth, may I say “God is glorified in His martyrs!” These men will be beatified this Saturday. Thanks be to God for the Oblates of His mother! One thing I like about this video is that it shows that the supernatural gifts of perseverance and courage can coexist with the natural emotion of fear.

  13. ContraMundum says:

    Safe? Sadly, no. “Wherefore, he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall.”

    As for persecution, I see no reason to believe that we have been found worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. Real persecutions occur in places where the Faith is strong, as it was in Mexico and Spain, not where it is weak. Against a weak faith a comic is more dangerous than the police.

  14. Wade says:

    The numbers I have seen on the killing of religious only during the Spanish Civil War is 13 bishops, 4,172 diocesan priests and seminarians, 2,364 monks and friars and 283 nuns, for a total of 6,832 clerical victims. My wife immigrated to the US from Spain in her mid twenties. Her family recounts instances of friends and family being shot while leaving church at the end of Mass – shot for no other reason than having attended Mass. I hope we are a long way from that.

  15. Jack Hughes says:

    A clerical acquaitence of mine once told me about how his father (who also became a Priest after his wife’s death) smuggled people to Gibralter in the trunk of his car, and that years later one man recognised him in the street and thanked him profusely for having saved him from the communists.

  16. tealady24 says:

    I commented earlier then heard shocking news: our pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in Milford PA passed away yesterday at the age of 61. His name is Fr. Gerald Mullally.
    On Nov. 27th, just 3 weeks ago, we lost our beloved deacon, Cliff Jorgenson. He was 64.
    I have no words. Please pray for the repose of their souls.

  17. totustuusmaria says:

    The first times I ever witnessed the Mass ad orientem were when my family and my pastor and others went to the Holy Land. I was nine and a server. We were mostly assisting at our daily Mass at side altars in the Holy sights. I found it profound to be so near my beloved pastor for those two weeks, and I found Mass at the Holy Places quite moving. At nine, there was nothing strange to me about “the priest having his back to me.” I didn’t even think about it. I just bore it in stride, along with all the other excitements a kid experiences being in a foreign place.

    My pastor had the habit of turning toward the people during the elevation. I remember it, and I have pictures of it. I found nothing odd about that at the time. It was seven years before I attended another Mas ad orientem — it happened to be my first Traditional Mass. I expected the priest to turn toward the people during the elevation. He did not. In fact, I have never seen another instance of a priest turning toward the people during the elevation.

    Until this movie.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    I can only feel safe in that if I am faithful in small things, then perhaps I shall be ready to be faithful in a big thing, such as martyrdom. I have believed this would come most of my life and have tried to teach some of my students to live and think the “the readiness is all”.

  19. PostCatholic says:

    I wonder if Tomás de Torquemada had fears like that, too.

  20. PostCath:
    I’d bet you don’t.

  21. SEOtechbench says:

    I am very grateful for Father sharing this video. So often I concentrate on cultivating the near future, and studying text of ancient days, I forget the endurance the Church in our modern times.

  22. Random Friar says:

    ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

  23. amdgbvmh says:

    HyacinthClare, go right to YouTube and watch it. The subtitles are larger:



  24. bookworm says:

    “think about what happened in Spain 80 years ago”

    Or for that matter, think about what happened in America 150 years ago (the Civil War) or even 85-90 years ago (when the Ku Klux Klan reached its height in the 1920s and controlled a number of state governments, even succeeding briefly in outlawing Catholic schools in Oregon).

    While there was not, as far as I know, any organized persecution of the Church per se during the Civil War it appears, from what I’ve read, that both sides regarded Catholics with some suspicion since the Church steadfastly refused to take sides the way many Protestant denominations did.

    At the link below is the story of a priest in Missouri who after the Civil War ended, ran afoul of a state law requiring clergy (as well as members of other professions) to take a “test oath” as a condition of being able to legally practice said professions (this blog post is rather long, and the incident I am referring to is about 2/3 of the way through the text):


    If you have time, read the rest of Father Hogan’s story as well. Although he was never targeted because of his faith, he makes it clear that at the height of the war when “bushwhacking” was rampant, he risked his life every time he went out to offer Mass or other sacraments, and so did the faithful who attended. The question that has haunted me ever since I read it is: if things got that bad in a society that was culturally far more Christian than the one we live in now, what’s to stop it from happening again, and what will we do if it happens?

  25. I often wonder what we would, what I would do. I pray for the grace to be as brave though the help of our Lady. What have we become as a people? Mary – pray for us all.

  26. Finarfin says:

    “There is an odd liturgical moment, in which, during the Mass as it was during the 30?s, the priest turned around at the elevation of the Host. This doesn’t take much away from the value of the video.”

    Wouldn’t it add to the video, by making it historically accurate?

    Also, I think that America will have martyrs once again. Since Satan is behind all evil, and since he hates the Church above all else, he will do as much as possible to destroy her, given the opportunity. And since he has many human servants these days, an opportunity to scourge the Church is not far off.

  27. Michael J. says:

    One fact we sometimes fail to remember is that there were more Christian Martyrs in the 20th Century than in all of the previous centuries combined. I wonder what the 21’st Century has in store for us.

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