A friend who is a deacon has drawn my attention to a Spanish film company, Contracorriente Producciones, which makes shorts on various Catholic topics, including the lives of the martyrs of the Spanish Civil War. You may remember that last year I did a series of posts on some of the martyrs - I believe their stories are very important for us Catholics at this time as the governments of once Catholic/Christian nations now have a very sour approach to our faith, and many of them are enshrining laws that not only offend our faith, but in many cases criminalise our beliefs, or at least require that we act in a manner which is contrary to our faith in order to stay within the law.
Just yesterday the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, drew attention to this in his criticism of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, as he prepares to introduce gay marriage even though it seems most British citizens are not too keen to have it. In recent years Lord Carey has been to the forefront in defending basic Christian values. Interestingly the former Archbishop has been attacked, and that is to be expected these days. As an aside I wonder what the Supreme Governor of the Church of England will do when legislation deeply repugnant to the Christian faith and its stance for true marriage arrives on her desk? I suppose she probably will do what she did when abortion and equality legislation arrived at the palace for signing.
That in itself raises an interesting question: should a head of state be the head of a Christian denomination, especially when that head of state is endorsing laws that are contrary to the Christian faith and is not prepared to take a stand and oppose them? I understand that Elizabeth II has no power - so she cannot refuse to sign what is put in front of her, and as far as we know, she never has. But she is in a bind when it comes to her role as the head of the Church of England. Lord knows what that does for her soul: an unenviable position.
While they loved their country and respected its government, the martyrs of the Spanish Civil War chose faith rather than act against their Christian faith or deny Christ. After making a number of shorts, Contracorriente has made a full scale feature film on the Claretian martyrs of Barbastro who were killed for their faith in August 1936. These fifty-one Claretians, most of them young students, were beatified by Blessed John Paul II on the 25th October 1992. Entitled A Forbidden God, the movie is due for release later in the year. Here is the trailer - in Spanish only I'm afraid, but you'll get the sense of the film. Let's hope it is subtitled and available outside Spain soon after its release. It may well be one for the Dublin Film Club some time in the future.