AGUILAR DE LA FRONTERA, Spain (ChurchMilitant.com) - The country noted for great saints like St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross is suffering attacks from leftist forces on crosses at its Catholic historical sites.
The most recent assault occurred last week in the city of Aguilar de la Frontera in southern Spain. The city council sent workers to cut down the Cruz del Llanito de las Descalzas —a towering cross — outside the convent of discalced nuns.
Aguilar's city mayor Carmen Flores claimed removing the cross was necessary as it was a memorial to anti-left forces who had died during the Spanish Civil War.
This cross was erected in 1938 at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The war was so brutal and the key player General Francisco Franco so controversial, it continues to engender fierce debate.
María García, president of the Observatory for Freedom of Religion and Conscience (OLRC), a religious watchdog group in Spain, objects to the removal.
In a recent article called "Spain, Land of Crosses Broken by Hatred of Christians," García speaks directly to the reason behind the iconoclasm. She writes the destroyers "do not seek to eliminate monuments or symbols of the Franco era — they seek to eliminate the Cross."
The purging of the cross in Aguilar is not an isolated event. García listed many other crosses that leftists have eliminated in recent times, including:
Many, like García, fear leftists now have their sights on the famous Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen outside of Madrid built by Franco after the war. The spectacular cross is almost 500 feet high and Franco intended the entire complex to symbolize a "national act of atonement." Franco's body, originally buried in a mausoleum, was exhumed and his corpse was reburied at a cemetery in Madrid.
Catholic Arena, a media "devoted to serving the Church," described the left's goal to topple the Valley of the Fallen.
"The socialist government [is] determined to mock Catholics and to undermine their faith under the guise of political revisionism. This has been seen with the exhumation of General Franco and the efforts to shut down the Valley of the Fallen," the media reported.
There were various local reactions to the destruction of the cross in Aguilar.
The "humble nuns" who lived in the convent where the cross once stood "asked for the remains of the cross to venerate it inside their convent and to pray for those who have done this barbarity," according to García. Various sources reported the cross had been taken to the local garbage dump.
Faithful youths attempting to undo the travesty placed another cross in its place. It was removed.
And social media users expressed dismay at the attack. One tweeted:
Moral misery, stale revenge action by the Aguilar de la Frontera City Council, Córdoba, with its mayor Carmen Flores in front. They cut down, literally, the well-known "Cruz de las Descalzas" in a Taliban act. My absolute rejection of this disgusting attack.
Another tweeted: "DISGUSTING A cross being RIPPED down in #Spain by its far left, anti-western government."
Underneath both tweets is an almost two-minute video of the felling.
Miseria moral, revanchismo rancio la acción del Ayuntamiento de Aguilar de la Frontera, Córdoba, con su alcaldesa Carmen Flores (@iuandalucia) al frente. Talan, literalmente la conocida "Cruz de las Descalzas" en un acto talibán. Mi repulsa absoluta a este repugnante ataque. pic.twitter.com/aGBxtjNrDL— Luz Belinda Rodríguez Diputada Parlam. Andalucía (@LuzBelindaFE) January 19, 2021
Catholic Arena reported that the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers denounced the event as "illegal," which signaled "their intention to challenge it for not following protocols."
Many are wondering when the spate of attacks on the cross will stop and what force can counter the Left's attack on Catholic history and heritage.
The Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross (1542–1591) wrote The Dark Night, a treatise on the painful process of spiritual purification, during a time of personal and political upheaval. Some might see in his title an apt description of the current situation in Spain.