Newly Beatified Seen as Profiles in Forgiveness

Martyrs Amid the Spanish Civil War

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2005 ( The eight martyrs who were beatified in Rome on Saturday are a «model of forgiveness,» says Bishop Joan Enric Vives Sicilia of Urgell, Spain.

«Their spirit of peace and forgiveness, as well as their sense of faith is exceptional,» said the prelate, whose diocese produced seven of those martyrs.

Those seven were diocesan priests who died during the religious persecution that took place during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.

Bishop Vives told ZENIT that he discussed those martyred priests with Benedict XVI at a private audience Friday.

Josep Tàpies and six diocesan priests were beatified together with Sister María de los Ángeles Ginard Martí, a religious from Majorca, who were killed out of hatred for the Catholic faith.

«The blessed forgave, entrusted themselves to the Virgin Mary, and one of them wanted to die barefoot, imitating Christ,» said Bishop Vives, 56, president of the Spanish episcopate’s Commission of Seminaries and Universities.

To their killers, «one of the martyrs, Josep Boher, said that he forgave them in the name of them all and cried out, ‘Hail Christ the King!'» said Bishop Vives.

«There is nothing stronger than God and eternal life,» he said. «This is the sense of faith of these martyrs that are an example for Christians of today, so that we will imitate them in their consistency and love of truth, in their patience in adversity and above all in their spirit of forgiveness without any rancor or vengeance.»

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