Filipino part of 'biggest beatification' in Spain

Posted at 10/13/13 8:23 PM

The Catholic Church in Spain will beatify on Sunday more than 500 people, most of whom died in the country's 1936-39 civil war, despite calls for Pope Francis to cancel the controversial event.

Three French, and a citizen each from Cuba, Colombia, the Philippines and Portugal will be bestowed with religious honors alongside 515 Spaniards.

A report from UCAN Philippines back in July said among the martyrs was Franciscan Capuchin priest Eugenio Sanz-Orozco, also known as Jose Maria de Manila.

The report quoted Capuchin Order in the Philippines provincial minister Fr. Eugenio Lopez as saying that Orozco’s baptismal certificate can no longer be found after it was burned in the liberation of Manila during World War II.

“But his school records from the University of Santo Tomas showed he is ‘natural de Manila.’ All his biographies from Spain also showed he was born in Manila,” Lopez was quoted as saying.

"For beatification of a martyr who died because of 'odium fidei,' (hatred of the faith) a miracle is no longer needed," he added.

For canonization, however, a miracle is needed. "Let's start asking for his intercessions," he said.

Biggest beatification in history

Critics of what Spanish media have described as "the biggest ever beatification in the history of the Church" accuse the Church of helping to legitimize Francisco Franco's military uprising and dictatorship.

An alliance of Spanish groups wrote to Pope Francis asking him to cancel a "political act of pro-Franco affirmation" by the Catholic Church.

The letter also said the Church had "forgotten the victims of Francoist repression."

Some 25,000 people are expected to attend the ceremony of 522 "martyrs of the 20th century in Spain" in the eastern city of Tarragona, according to the Spanish Episcopal Conference.

Pope Francis will open the ceremony with a pre-recorded video message. – with reports from Agence France-Presse