“Spain is one place where brutality against the Catholic Church in the 20th century was really quite extraordinary.”

Entire seminaries and convents of women religious were “slaughtered,” Royal said, adding that in Madrid alone, there were over 1,100 priests killed.

“That was almost one third of the number of priests in Madrid,” he noted. Six hundred more priests were killed in the cities of Barcelona and Valencia combined.

“You’re not talking about people who’ve done anything wrong – these people were just ordinary Catholics pursuing their vocation.”

“It’s an astonishing thing,” he said. “Catholics don’t know about this. When you tell them they’re shocked and they can’t believe it.”

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