Although an abundance of literature devoted to the lives and deaths of historical martyrs exists, scant attention has been paid to Catholic martyrs of the twentieth century. Estimating that approximately one million of the faithful have been martyred over the past 100 years, Royal attempts to validate and document these contemporary victims. Citing the antireligious nature of many modern regimes, he traces both the origins and the results of a relatively recent form of brutal, technologically enhanced religious persecution that has culminated in an unprecedented number of mass murders and individual victims. The virtual globalization of anti-Christian sentiment is underscored by the fact that the chapters outlining the atrocities are arranged primarily by nation. An eloquent, painstakingly researched tribute to those ordinary human beings who managed to meet oppression and death with extraordinary dignity, grace, and faith. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Historian Royal (President/Faith and Reason Institute) surveys the Catholics who, on every continent but Antarctica and Australia, have died for their beliefs in the course of the last century.After an introduction defining the meaning of martyrdom in Catholic faith and devotion, and an explanation of some of the guidelines by which the church determines whether a particular murder constitutes martyrdom, Royal surveys the waves of persecution--from the Mexican government's anticlerical war on the church in the 1920s to the near-genocidal tribal conflicts in Burundi and Rwanda in the 1990s--that have produced more martyrs than any other period of Christian history. Although the stories of many of these figures (such as Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, and Oscar Romero) are well-known, others (the heroic Mexican Jesuit Miguel Pro) are more obscure, and some accounts (the many martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, the victims of postwar Romania's "reeducation," and the surprising story of the Albanian security agent whose denunciation of the Enver Hoxha's persecutions was inadvertently broadcast in 1948) will be new to most readers. Royal treads delicately around some of the more controversial aspects of his martyrology (like the pre-WWII anti-Semitic writings of Kolbe), and he is plainly uncomfortable with the political thrust of the story of Romero and the other martyrs of El Salvador. And some of people profiled here (such as China's Cardinal Ignatius Kung) are not martyrs in the strict sense of the word, as they suffered for their faith without giving their lives. Royal's catalog of the horrors that Catholics, like so many others, suffered at the hands of brutal regimes of both right and left in this bloody century will edify believers--and should provide a useful (and often surprising) historical corrective for all scholars of the modern age. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
This book is a tedious read. However, I had no idea that there were more Christian Martyrs in the 20 century than all others put together. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Dan
Read Tim Drake's comment for a good description.
Having studied Nursing in college, Im terribly remiss in knowledge of history so with a goal of learning history and building... Read more
To be completely clear I have only read the Spanish Civil War chapter of this book at the library due to the fact that frankly this is what I was investigating and also because it... Read morePublished on May 16, 2012 by Mark Gerard
The book's goal is to educate the reader on the many Catholic martyrs of the 20th century and it succeeds in its goal. I found the book to be well-written and informative. Read morePublished on May 30, 2011 by Joseph T.
There have always been Catholics willing to die for the faith. Yet most of the world assumes the age of martyrs is long past, perhaps even that it was mostly over when Rome... Read morePublished on September 18, 2008 by Amazon Customer
Robert Royal's book "Catholic Martyrs" is a decent enough effort. I applaud him vigorously for his efforts. Read morePublished on September 5, 2003 by Titus
Robert Royal deserves resounding applause for having taken on an important, difficult, and outrageously neglected subject. To be sure, Mr. Read morePublished on September 23, 2001