Inching Towards the Truth

In this case, about the Spanish Civil War – from CNA:

A new film on the Spanish Civil War falls short in portraying the brutal persecution that the country’s Catholics underwent, says author Robert Royal, Ph.D.

“This is a part of Catholic history that has been long neglected,” he said, but “the movie is too nervous to tackle it.”

Released to theaters on May 6, the historical epic “There Be Dragons” was directed by Roland Joffe, known for his work in the acclaimed 1986 film “The Mission.”

“There be Dragons” shows the intense conflict that arose in Spain between the Nationalists attempting to protect the establishment and Republican revolutionaries seeking regime change in the 1930s…

Learning the truth about Spain in the 1930’s is difficult because the losers gained complete control of the historical narrative – mostly because the victorious Franco regime was stained by cooperation with Hitler and Mussolini…something that could never be either ignored or erased. It is said that the Spanish Civil War was a conflict both sides deserved to lose…and there is a great deal of truth in that. But not all truth.

While there were gigantic, unresolved passions and hatreds in Spain – legacy of a series of 19th century, and even older, national conflicts – the bottom line for starting the Civil War lay with the narrow election of a center/left government which proceeded to govern as if the people of Spain had opted for a full-blown socialist and anti-clerical government. Civil War became inevitable as this government – well meaning, it must be said – ran roughshod over long-standing Spanish traditions. While the leftist narrative is that a tiny group of Spanish officers were corruptly trying to maintain their own privileges, the fact of the matter is that the Nationalist and Republican armies were fairly equal in size, and both sides fought with a supreme disregard for personal safety which demonstrates that both sides had deep wells of popular support (the sublime courage of the Republicans defending Madrid is equaled by the Nationalist defenders of the Alcazar…and these are just two among hundreds of examples)

One of the most heartbreaking events of the Spanish Civil War which still does not come out – and is apparently glossed over in this new movie – is the savage persecution of the Catholic Church in Republican Spain. This persecution started before the Civil War with the burning of churches and various legal restrictions on the Catholic faith – and once the Civil War started, it became what amounts to an attempt to erase the Church from Spain. Priests were murdered, nuns were raped, Church property was pillaged and destroyed, the public celebration of the Mass was banned…thousands of Catholic, lay and cleric, were murdered or otherwise persecuted for nothing more than being Catholic. It was as bad a persecution as that the Russian Orthodox Church suffered in communist Russia…and far worse than the persecution of the Church in 18th century revolutionary France. And it has been pretty much dropped down the Memory Hole.

The “why” of this is obvious – it is bad press to have the Republican side in Spain being seen as persecutors. The narrative is that selfless, humane, kind Spanish Republicans fought the good fight against Franco’s fascists. And that is all we’re ever supposed to know about it. But the truth is the truth, after all, and the longer we allow a lying, leftist narrative about any event the continue, the harder it will be to get at the truth. This isn’t, after all, the only effort which has been made to air-brush out leftist crimes in order to paint a false picture…the crimes of the left are glossed over, or explained away, and thus we have people in 2011 who assert boldly that a leftist course would be nothing but light and reason…and I’ll bet that most on the left don’t even suspect the crimes which are buried in the Marxist graveyard.

History has to be “warts and all”, or it isn’t history. You have to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. While all sides will take their lumps in this, the side which stands to lose the most is the left…because most of the left’s crimes have been thus-far successfully covered up, at least to some extent. But the blood of murdered millions cries out to us – to tell the truth; to let the whole world know what really happened so that we all may learn from the past, and do better in the future. It is a pity this new film failed in this charge – but perhaps the upcoming Cristiada will open the door to truth, at least a little bit.