- Jul 24, 2021
Three Red Cross nurses are to be beatified as martyrs in Spain, 85 years after they were raped and shot while caring for wounded Civil War soldiers, having refused to renounce their Catholic faith.
The Catholic Church’s newest blesseds are six “meek disciples of Christ,” who showed heroic courage defending the Eucharist from profanation when French troops sacked their Italian monastery in 1799 and scattered the Blessed Sacrament on the floor while searching for any valuables they could carry away, Pope Francis said.
The deaths of those martyred in the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation on Oct. 31, 2010, Francis said during a meeting with the bishops, religious, and catechists in Baghdad, “are a powerful reminder that inciting war, hateful attitudes, violence or the shedding of blood are incompatible with authentic religious teachings.”
On the sixth anniversary of the martyrdom of the 21 Coptic men by ISIS terrorist in a Libyan beach, Pope Francis released a heartfelt video praying for them.
In one of the regions of El Salvador most battered in a bloody war funded by American dollars, four Catholic women from the U.S. were hailed as examples of solidarity, of Christian faith and martyrdom, as Salvadorans remembered them Dec. 2, the 40th anniversary of their assassination.
In the remote rural swathe known as the Wild West of Honduras, said to be a bandits’ hideout where it is “easy to get in, tough to get out,” the Church finds itself once again at the forefront of a movement for justice.
Global Christianity, Catholicism very much included, experienced two traumas over the last decade that are both global in scope and historic in their consequences.
“In the joyous climate of Christmas, the memory of the first Christ killed for the faith could appear out of place,” Pope Francis said. “However, precisely in the perspective of the faith, today’s celebration is in harmony with the true meaning of Christmas.”