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21 June

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron of Youth

Marist Calendar - June

Our martyred brothers



Cause of Brothers Laurentino, Virgilio and 44 companions

05/07/2006: Vatican

On the morning of 20th June 2006, twenty-five cardinals and bishops met to examine the cause of the group of our martyred Brothers Laurentino, Virgilio and forty-four other brothers.
The result was good and positive. All recognised our brothers as true martyrs of Christ. Their judgement confirms that given by the theologians who had unanimously expressed a favourable opinion on the 28th January 2005.

What does this last step signify? Simply, that the examinations of the cause have finished. When the theologians, cardinals and bishops give a favourable opinion on the case of a martyr, the Pope always accepts this decision by promulgating the decree of martyrdom. This decree and that of the heroicity of virtues for the confessors are issued three times a year: July, Christmas and Easter. For our martyred brothers, the decree will come thus in July and during the next celebrations of Christmas or Easter.

The date of the beatification is then fixed. Here we need to wait. Twenty-three causes have been grouped for one beatification. Among them, nineteen have completed their circuit, those of Bernardo and of Brother Laurentino. There are still four causes to be studied by the cardinals and the bishops; let’s hope they will do so between October and December 2006. If that is the case, we can plan the beatifications for autumn 2007, without being certain of it. The postulators of this large group of 496 martyrs have already met to plan the different preparatory works for the beatification.

Why this delay when we could plan the beatification for the autumn of 2006? Because the new Pope, Benedict XVI, has taken his time in establishing his policy of the government of the Church. For example, he has asked that in general the beatifications be done in the dioceses. That has slowed all the work of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

Where will the beatification take place? We are not expecting it to take place in Spain. The Spanish cardinals and bishops want it to take place in Rome. That is also the advice of the Spanish ambassador and all the postulators. It remains to convince the Secretary of State of the Vatican.

Are our brothers martyrs or political victims? Both. They are true martyrs because they have been killed through hatred of the Christian values that they incarnated and defended. They are true martyrs because many of them were told before being shot that if they renounced Christ they would be freed. But there is also a political context. The political aspect is rarely absent in martyrdom, starting with that of Christ. According to John’s account, Christ’s passion deals with his royalty: “Are you a king? … You are thus a king! … Do you want me to kill your king? … We have no other king but Caesar…” and the letters of condemnation on the cross are political: “Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews!” However, Jesus is not only a martyr, but the MARTYR and because of him, all of the others accept to be martyrs

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