Saint Franco's 87th Miracle
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From deep in the catacombs under the Vatican comes a leak: Saint Franco has his 87th miracle on record. Despite that his official sainthood remains delayed.
There are several odd things about the situation. The most obvious is how difficult it is for the Roman Catholic Church to come by miracles in our times. The Church normally requires only 2 miracles for sainthood. None of the miracles needs to be of the type that we read about in the New Testament. The typical modern Catholic miracle consists of a "miraculous" healing of someone who is ill.
Stop your scoffing right this instant. Recovering from a head cold after a couple of weeks of prayer to a dead Pope is not a miracle. The event has to be an unusual, medically unlikely healing. Like the spontaneous remission of a cancer, only instead of being spontaneous, caused by prayer.
Given cancer spontaneous remission rates, and the tendency of Catholics to try to pray their way out of trouble, you would think the Vatican could certify more miracles. But since 1983 only 2 miracles have been necessary to qualify someone as a saint. Pope John Paul II has managed 2 miracles since he died in 2005, so he is to be sainted later this year.
Meanwhile, Francisco Franco knocked his 87th miracle out of the park, but his sainthood is being held up. Why? Politics.
Saint Franco was born in Ferrol, Spain on December 4, 1892 and baptized a Roman Catholic on December 17. His family had produced officers for the Spanish navy for over two centuries, but President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and the U.S. Navy sank most of that Navy in the Spanish-American War while grabbing Puerto Rico and the Philippines. So Francisco entered the Infantry Academy and became an Army lieutenant in 1910. He rose quickly through the ranks killing Moroccans fighting for independence from Spain in the Rif War. He became the youngest general in the Spanish Army in 1926.
Saint General Franco became was a monarchist, but the people of Spain set up a Republic in 1931 (not for the first time). Francisco supported the elected government while it was dominated by right-wing Catholic and centrist parties, but in the 1936 election the center-left won. A group of generals and right-wing supporters, including most of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, decided to stage a coup to install a Catholic, fascist government. General Franco assumed command of the Army of Africa. When the coup did not bring an immediate victory, Franco brought this army to Spain where it became the shock troops for the right-wing in the Spanish Civil War. Franco soon became the supreme right-wing leader.
The real miracle of Saint Franco was that he saved the Roman Catholic Church in Spain by killing everyone lacking in faith. Counts vary, but probably 300,000 to 500,000 non-Catholics were killed by Franco's troops. They even killed Catholics, including priests and nuns, who supported the republican government. Over and over they performed the Miracle of the Return of Faith. Franco's troops would enter an area after defeating the Republican army or its allied militias. The local priest would give hand the victorious soldiers a list of people who had not been attending mass. The unfaithful would be rounded up. The men would be shot, the women doled out, and the children also sent out to be adopted by Good Catholics. Pope Pius XI praised Generalissimo Franco repeatedly, and his pals Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini sent troops and weapons to help the Roman Catholic cause in Spain. Saint Franco won the civil war.
Saint Franco and Spain stayed out of World War II, mainly because the Franco's army, while excellent at killing poorly armed and trained militia, was no match for either the army of the British Empire or that of Adolf Hitler. You might have thought the Allies would have gotten rid of Prime Minister Franco, who had become the fascist dictator of Spain in early 1939. However, American Catholics used their leverage in the Democratic Party to keep Franco safely in power. The "democratic" allies did not even require Saint Franco to hold an election. They did not even require him to stop imprisoning and killing non-Catholics. They just wanted to start a new war against Communism, and to have Spain and the Pope on their side.
Francisco Franco ruled Spain until he died on November 20, 1975. The miracles he performed while alive are, of course, legendary. But since he was closely associated in world opinion with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, and since the international conspiracy of non-Catholics prevented the miracle from being publicized outside of Spain, he has been denied official Sainthood.
Our Vatican source says that, unofficially, Franco recently was certified for his 87th miracle. In 2007 a Mrs. Donna Carlos of Madrid became aware of an atheist living in her apartment building. When the apartment supervisor refused to evict him, Mrs. Carlos started praying to a shrine of Generalissimo Franco, and invited other Catholics in the building to pray there as well. Only six weeks after their prays began, God granted their wish. The atheist died in his bed while sleeping. The coroner was not able to find any cause of death; the man's heart and lungs were fine, other than having stopped. The Vatican has declared this (secretly) as yet another triumph over atheism, of which Saint Franco is now the (unofficial) patron saint.
While Franco can't be recognized in the current anti-Catholic social climate, a number of Catholic priests who died during the Civil War have been declared martyrs and are slowly accumulating their own miracles in preparation for sainthood. They are known as the 498 Spanish Martyrs.
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