Tim directs me to a post on Angela Messenger's blog which can be found here. It appears that her godfather lives in Holland and has beeen scheduled for euthanasia (don't ask me how). Prayers please for the poor man, and for his murderers.
It puts me in mind of one of the grand themes running through Georges Bernanos's Les Grands Cimetières sous la lune which I quoted from yesterday. The position of critics has long been that this text shows Bernanos going over in sympathy to the Left and embracing an Enlightened form of liberalism. My own theory is that this text shows rather his increasing preoccupation with the innocence of scapegoats, i.e. those who are persecuted for reasons of State. It is a halting preoccupation at times; it did not, for example, make him reform his views on Alfred Dreyfus, as far as I have read. Still, it is tangible throughout his later pamphlets and makes better sense of his change in position than some putative shift to the Left (which can be proven in no other way).
Again, the witness of Les Grands Cimetières is so eloquent I am tempted to let it stand for itself. It hardly needs commentary. And I plead sickness, having been off work today!
Until the last moment the right-wing Spanish parties claimed to be totally against violence. [...] The 19th July 1936, the Falange was still thought of as reprehensible. For example, a young Falangist aged seventeen, whose name was Barbara, had been killed almost in front of me on the morning of the coup d'Etat. Now, the person whom propriety obliges me to call his Lordship the bishop of Majorca, after hesitating at length as to whether to grant this bandit a religious funeral - he who lives by the sword will perish by it - contented himself with forbidding his priests to go to the ceremony in surplus. Six weeks later, having just gone on my motorbike to fetch my son from the forward positions, I was to find the dead boy's brother stretched out by the side of the Porto Cristo road, already cold and covered by a shroud of flies.
Two nights before, two hundred inhabitants of the small neighbouring town of Manacor, who were thought by the Italian mercenaries to be suspect, had been dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, taken in batches to the cemetery, killed with a bullet to the head, and their corpses set ablaze. The person whom propriety obliges me to call the bishop-archbishop had delegated there one of his priests who, his shoes covered with blood, gave out absolutions between the gunshots. [...]
I simply observe that this indefensible massacre of these misérables drew not a word of blame, nor was subject to even the least inoffensive reservation, from the ecclesiastical authorities who contented themselves with organising thanksgiving processions. [...] The second Barbara was given a solemn funeral, and since the town had decided to name one of their streets after the two brothers, the new street sign was inaugurated and blessed by the person whom propriety obliges me still to call his Lordship, the bishop-archbishop of Palma.