When the war reached the end of its first year, the Spanish episcopate

published a collective letter about the meaning of the armed conflict then

in progress. The ‘Collective Letter’, as it is simply called, was to become

the most famous of its kind ever written. It carried the date of 1 July 1937,

but was not placed before the public until well into August in order to

obtain the signatures of a small number of recalcitrant bishops and to

ensure that the bishops all over the world to whom the letter was

addressed would have received their copies before the press revealed its contents.1